Before I left my last workplace, a number of colleagues told me that the building had been briefly used as a morgue during WWII, sometime between 1942 to 1945. It was in a logical spot for it: the small cottage hospital used to be just up the road, the old church across the road is still there, along with the house that was once the bishop's residence. The funeral home is only a block away.
There is the original sandstone on the ground floor, with the floor above added later on. The building was a sports and recreation club after the war, but had been unoccupied until a few years ago. Could it possible that the renovations and disruption of people moving into the place stirred up something that should have been left in peace?
One of the supervisors who came in early to work reported hearing noises in the morning, as if people were moving around downstairs. This woman is sensitive to paranormal nuances, having had a few strange experiences before. Downstairs was where the morgue was said to have been located, near the room that was used for meetings.
Another woman said she felt so uneasy downstairs that she would avoid using the meeting room and any of the facilities. It was nothing she could explain, just this unreasoning fear that would come over her whenever she was down there. This meeting room was extra cold even in summer or when it was full of people. As was the ladies' restroom upstairs. I had told myself it was just an old building, but now I wonder.
In the months after it became an office, the place became very unsettled. People were reacting to situations when no offence was intended, or finding fault with everyone and everything over minor situations. It was increasingly uncomfortable and I was coming home exhausted from such a toxic environment.
On some days, walking past these unhappy people was like pushing through sticky cobwebs, with my feet trudging through thick mud. But when they were not in the office, it all seemed much lighter. I had to eventually leave when the negativity became overwhelming. The resultant stress was affecting my health.
During the last week, I took a few photos of the place as a keepsake. I took precautions, praying for protection and blessings before I ventured to the floor below on my lunch break. My mobile camera worked fine at first but then the button wouldn't respond for a while. When I finally got it going again, the autofocus either wouldn't function or the pictures turned out blurry. I deleted the photos that came out too fuzzy. It was odd because I was sure my hands were steady at the time. The flash did not come on even though the place had seemed rather dark to my eyes. But the photos turned out looking brighter.
Then I heard something fall over in the lounge area. Suddenly I didn't feel alone any more. The hair prickled at the nape of my neck. I had the distinct impression there were groups of people here and there. All were looking curiously at me. Maybe they hadn't seen a mobile camera before?
I said aloud politely: "I'm leaving and wanted some photos for the memories. I wish you all well and to be at peace." I had no idea who I was talking to or why I did that. But I got out of there in a hurry.
When I showed the photos to friends whom I know had experiences of their own, a few saw faint shadows where there should not be any. One was from a family with unusual abilities. He said there was a faint image of a man sitting on the bottom step of the staircase, his head bowed, smoking. He also saw a number of people standing or around the lounge area near the windows. The sound of something falling was most likely some files that had been previously on a nearby chair.
Perhaps the story about the morgue could have originated from the 1918 influenza pandemic. The number of people affected and the spread of the virus would have overwhelmed the small hospital at the time. When people passed away, the floor below could have been made into a makeshift morgue and the bodies later ferried a short distance away to the Quarantine Station. That room might have been later used as the cold room by the club.
The building could have been used as a hospice during WWII for the returned servicemen needing urgent care, somewhere to house the mortally wounded. A similar arrangement might have been made to store the recently deceased before transporting them across the water. A small bronze plaque on the side of the building does say: The Soldiers' Wing.
But whatever the history, I feel very relieved now that I'm away from the place. I didn't mind the lingering memories. It is far easier to ignore the dead than the living.
PS. My work colleagues gave me farewell gift vouchers for the Quarantine Station, one of the reputedly most haunted places in Sydney!