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Peripheral Man Visits In Boiler Room


This is by no means a scary or exciting account but it certainly was puzzling at the time. Even yet I have no definitive explanation but many people on this site have had similar experiences which lends an air of normalcy to otherwise inexplicable happenings.

18 years ago I was employed at a large automotive manufacturer just outside of Cambridge, Ontario. I worked in the boiler room on a 24 hour rotation. Part of my duties was to perform water tests on the various boilers and chillers, which would take about half an hour on each of the eight hour shifts. We worked with at least one other person on "off" shifts and with a few more people during day shift.

Water tests took quite a bit of concentration as you were usually looking for a colour change in the water sample while adding very small amounts of chemical reagent. This is called titration.

One night, at about 1:00 AM, while absorbed in my tests, I noticed in my peripheral vision, my shift partner walk up to me in a bee line from another part of the large boiler room. He stood about three feet in front and to the right of me, beside the water testing counter. I could not look up to talk to him as I was concentrating on a titration end point. He stood there patiently and silently waiting for me to finish.

When I could finally look up at him, there was nobody there. I could not understand it as he was there in my peripheral vision but he certainly was not there when I moved my head to look at him directly. I was not scared but I sure had a lot of questions and self doubt about what really happened just then.

A week later I was on night shift again and the same thing happened as it did the week before. I believed that a real life person had walked up to me and was waiting to speak to me. When I looked up, you guessed it, nobody was there.

This happened numerous times but only on night shift, never on day shift or afternoon shift. But as it was not scary and I was a fairly new employee I did not mention it to anybody for fear of being ridiculed.

After a couple of months of this happening fairly regularly I was on night shift with "John". While sitting in the lunch room we were talking about various things when he abruptly changed the topic and asked me if I ever saw a person walk up to me in my peripheral vision and that when I would look up nobody was there. I eagerly told him, with some relief, that this happened most of the nights that I was there. He told me that this happened to him at about the same frequency.

It must have bothered him more than me though because he proceeded to produce a newspaper article, that he had neatly folded in his breast pocket, that spoke to this type of occurrence. In short the author, a medical doctor, wrote that when we are alone we are in an unnatural situation where we are starved for seeing people so our brain manufactures them and we then see people in our peripheral vision to make up for our loneliness. He even had a medical name for this type of event (which I fail to remember).

I found this to be nonsense and told him so. This never happened to me in any other place where I was alone nor did it happen at that factory on any other shift but night shift even though I was just as alone on afternoon shift. It also happened to him and to me, only at the water test bench. He insisted that the doctor knew better.

I believe that he took comfort from the "normalization" that the doctor's diagnosis provided but I still believe that what happened was paranormal.

After these happenings were outed, so to speak, I asked others if they had experienced this but they had not. One person, though, told me that as the factory was built they found quite a few buried bodies in what must have been a long forgotten and unmarked graveyard. The bodies were removed to another location and work on the factory recommenced. This graveyard was in the area that became the boiler room. I am not sure if the disturbance of the graves caused my peripheral visitations or not.

Not long afterwards I left that job and moved on to other places of employment but I have never had a repeat of that type of occurrence.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Kindly_refrain, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Pelatiah (4 stories) (73 posts)
1 year ago (2023-01-11)
Late to this interesting story, I was prompted to read some of yours by your kind comments on my recent one...

You mention the quickness of the approach of this peripheral man...

One of the things I've noticed when viewing "paranormal" videos, or even listening to EVPs, is that whatever plane these spirits are on causes them to move much faster than us & when they speak in evp's it's not always in the same timing or cadence as us.

I think if you were really lonely at the job, you likely wouldn't "manufacture" some fast guy... Maybe a slow-talking girl? There's a joke somewhere in that...
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
6 years ago (2017-12-09)
Oh the archaeologist in me weeps for the loss of the information that could have been gained from the remains in that sand pit - especially since they were found with coins in the same context which would've made dating them so much easier. But its true, archaeology in the 1930s wasn't nearly what it is to day and you can't blame kids for being kids. Often its stories just like these that lead academics to re-examine places like that often to discover that not all information has been lost so there still may be hope:)
Kindly_refrain (16 stories) (193 posts)
6 years ago (2017-12-08)
Hi AugustaM, your story of the callous destruction of a graveyard and the extreme disrespect of the bodies that lay there, is very disturbing. I had no idea that would be allowed anywhere "civilized".

The graves I refer to in my account were unmarked so it was not an intentional desecration. Although I wasn't there, I suspect that the remains would have been respectfully handled as I have been privy to these situations at other locations where much more care was taken than you describe.

On a similar note, my father grew up in the Netherlands in the early 1930s. As a boy, with his friends digging in the park's sand pit, they would occasionally come across human bones. I asked him if they ever found a skull, to which he replied that they did a few times. He said that they would play soccer with it until it disintegrated. The area had never been a cemetery. Locals believed that the site was probably the scene of an ancient battle. I am sure this would have been handled with greater sensitivity and archeological interest in more modern times.

He also found very old coins at the same location but there were so many of them already in museums and in private collections that these were deemed worthless.
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
6 years ago (2017-12-07)
Its always sad to hear of the past being plowed under in the name of more concrete and 'progress'. Many old family graveyards wind up this way- especially those where the families have been too poor to afford large durable grave markers.

When my mother was in high school in the mid 1960s, she spent a semester at the local public school (she had been in Catholic school until then and begged to go to the public school where all her friends were going - at semester's end her parents put her right back in Catholic school for having had too much of a good time at public. Anyways...) She used to sit on the school steps with her boyfriend during lunch period and watch the earth movers digging up an old graveyard (the oldest monuments dated to the early 1700s) - the coffins were old and disintegrating many fell to bits scattering bones here and there as the backhoe's scoop ripped them from their resting places. The remains were loaded into a dump truck with the rest of the dirt and debris and carted off to an unceremonious end at a land fill. And for what were all these people uprooted - the records of their existence erased? A tennis court... One I have rarely seen in use more than a hand full of times my whole life and one I would NEVER set foot upon after dark!

Given that society went through more than a century during which time it was preferred to bury your loved ones on your own land - you have to wonder how common such occurrences are... As a person with an interest in genealogy - the potential for lost information alone is tremendous. I am hoping the graves found during the construction of the factory were properly documented and moved.
Kindly_refrain (16 stories) (193 posts)
6 years ago (2017-12-02)
Hi Jubeele, I read the link on vision that you provided; it was interesting.

In the end though it does come down to what you and lady-glow mention; we both independently and initially unknown to each other saw the same thing at the same location and only on night shift.

That does seem to rule out hallucinations or visual anomalies.

I have not previously thought about OBE travelers being a possibility. If I could experience an OBE, however, I would like to see more interesting things than water tests.
Jubeele (25 stories) (882 posts)
6 years ago (2017-12-01)
Hi Kindly_refrain, I came across this article on the physiology and psychology of vision, which mentions vision distortions and illusions that can affect individuals in isolation:

Colour would not register prominently in peripheral vision as receptor cells on the retina are densest in the centre and less so on the edges. Our peripheral vision is primarily used for detecting motion.

I agree with lady-glow that the significant fact is that your shift partner also experienced the same phenomena. You were either both hallucinating in exactly the same way, independently of each other and at different times - highly unlikely - or you indeed experienced something extraordinary.

Another idea - could it be an OBE traveller dropping by to check on your water tests? 🤔
Kindly_refrain (16 stories) (193 posts)
6 years ago (2017-11-28)
Hi Lady Glow, we did discuss his appearance.

At first we both confused what we saw with the appearance of a coworker, that being around 5' 10" to 6' tall, medium to large build and wearing dark clothing (we wore dark blue coveralls so this was normal). Again, it was in our peripheral vision so more accurate details were lacking.

I am not sure that there was any colour. Peripheral vision has no colour capability anyway, our brains are just great at filling in this kind of information according to our expectations.

It was, somehow, never creepy nor were there any sensations, such as cold, hot, or electrical tingling, etc associated with these events.

As this happened many times I started to recognize what was happening (although oddly I never expected it) but it always occurred when my attention could not be easily diverted. Although I looked up earlier in the event, at times, there was never anybody visible to me standing there.

The other aspect that struck both of us as well is that the person moved in a direct line towards us and at good speed as if they wanted to talk about something in more than a casual manner.
lady-glow (16 stories) (3144 posts)
6 years ago (2017-11-27)
Did you discuss the man's appearance with your coworker? I know you didn't look at him, but perhaps something got your attention, like the colour of his clothes, or his height and body built.

Although I wouldn't discard that doctor's information, I think it would be impossible if two different people 'manufactured' the same image for a peripheral companion.

I think it was a ghost!👻

Thanks for sharing.

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