As a former security guard for the old Abraham & Strauss stores, from time to time we'd have to perform a complete check of the alarm system. That entailed two guards staying overnight in the store, one to walk the floor setting off each alarm, the other to be in the control room recording that the alarm had been activated. We'd communicate via walkie-talkie which alarm we were going to set off and then the next one we were heading to.
From the time I began working at the store, I heard from other guards that the store was haunted. You may have heard tales yourself that the Paramus Park Mall in Paramus, NJ was built on an old Indian graveyard. I didn't know if those stories were true, and don't know to this day, but that was one of those tales that were always told.
But without fail, one security guard or another reported strange and unaccounted for events. One said that during an overnighter he fell asleep on one of the mattresses in the bedding department that had been right next to the kitchen department. He's not sure how long he slept, but when he awoke every knife in the displays and on the countertops were pointed towards him, blades forward. He said he jumped up and called out that he was leaving and wouldn't be back to bother them anymore, whoever "them" was.
Not having experienced anything of the sort, I tended towards disbelief. I'm of the mind that there are usually some valid non-paranormal explanations to everything.
So one night it was my turn to do the overnight security alarm check and I volunteered to walk the floor. Although you had to go into some creepy stairwells at times that were dark or dimly lit, it was usually an uneventful chore. This night was shaping up to be more of the same. I started as I always did on the third floor and worked my way down to the first. Each of the floors was set up pretty much the same way: the escalators rose from floor to floor in the centre of the store (over which hung a massive chandelier) and surrounding the escalators was tiled flooring about 10 feet wide all the way around and then down main aisles to the various departments. Those departments were each carpeted and had rack upon rack of clothing displays hung by hangers. Your typical department store setup.
That night I climbed the escalator to the third floor (which was turned off as it always was after the store closed) and as I reached the third floor landing I heard what sounded like a "whoosh!" Not of air, but of a large box being pushed along the carpeted floors. That was then followed by the distinctive clacking together of plastic hangers. I stood for a moment peering into the darkness.
Although the emergency lights remained on in the store, the deeper recesses of the departments were clothed in darkness so you had to manoeuvre by flashlight. I heard nothing more and reasoned it must have been the air conditioning unit either turning on or off and the resulting gust of air had pushed the hangers into each other.
I completed the test of the third floor alarms and began walking down the escalator to the second floor. I was about halfway down when I heard footsteps on the tile. Someone was walking around the perimeter of the escalator well. It wasn't a heavy shoe nor was it a high heel; it was just a loud footstep. It took about 10 steps for the sound to reach the top of the escalator by which time I had reached the second floor and turned around to see what was at the top. There was nothing standing there, but it was almost as if I was being sized up because the footsteps paused for a few moments and then started down the escalator building up speed until it was as if they were running down the stairs straight at me standing at the bottom. I was frozen in place looking up and hearing the footsteps but seeing nothing. They charged right at me and then it seemed it went straight through me... And then silence hung in the air. Needless to say every hair on my body was standing straight up. I immediately radioed the other guard on the desk that I was done. I wasn't completing the rest of the test and was coming back to the office. He asked me what happened and I told him I'd let him know when I got back, but I wasn't going to be out on the floor anymore that night.
After relating what occurred, the other guard ran out to the floor wanting to see -- or hear, really -- what it was I experienced. But after about 15 minutes or so of walking around and nothing happening he came back dejected. But he had to do the rest of the floor walk because I refused to go back out there that night. To this day, whenever I relate this story -- even now writing about it more than 25 years later -- the hair on my arms still stands up on end.
I never had another experience at the store and I did do many more alarm checks afterwards. Other guards inevitably ended up having their own ghost stories to relate. Sometimes it would be little things, like noises you'd hear; other times, it was more pervasive, like all the TV's in the store coming on (and every department had several monitors that would play music or ads and they'd all come on... At full blast), or the escalators, which required a key to turn on and off, suddenly starting on their own. We used to joke that there were just two kinds of guards: those who had met the Paramus Park ghosts, and those who hadn't...yet.