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The Old Parma Train Station Secretary


This event didn't happen to me, but to my late husband, John, back when he was 15 years old, and I have no reason to doubt the validity of his account. He and I have, both, had paranormal encounters throughout our lives. He was quite psychic himself, having gotten that ability from his mother's side of the family.

Back in 1961 about several months after the Parma rail station closed permanently, he and his buddy, Eddy, decided to go exploring the abandoned 2-story building to see what they could find of interest. Back then it wasn't called urban exploration. It was called trespassing plain and simple. They were old enough to know better, but too young to resist. I'm not being critical of them since I've trespassed once, or twice in my youth myself. The last time I trespassed was with my cousins and sister in Pennsylvania. We were greeted by a farmer with a shotgun. Lesson learned. I, no longer, trespassed after 'that' incident.

First, a little background on the original railroad station. It was opened in 1909 as part of the B&O Railroad. The site was located in Parma, Ohio. It was a passenger train at first. In 1913 it was enlarged by adding a 2nd story to the building. In 1926 it went from transporting passengers to hauling coal and freight. It operated in that capacity until it completely shut down in 1961. The building was completely demolished in 1962 thus preventing curious teens and whomever from invading the premises for a thrill. Let alone possible injuries, or fatalities since it was run down and not safe to walk around in.

Before that happened, John and his friend, Eddy, decided it would be 'neat' to go explore the place to see what interesting treasures they could find. They waited for a weekend. It was nearing nightfall. They mounted their bikes since it wasn't too far to get to. It took less than a half an hour to get there by bike. It was a bit darker when they arrived, but they each had a flashlight with them.

They dropped their bikes near the perimeter and ventured on to the vacant building. The office door was locked. However, what appeared to be a large garage door was partially open for them to gain access. From there they entered what looked like a warehouse that had 4 doors to the right of it. Those doors led to different office areas. With a long hallway between them. They entered the main dispatch office. Inside it was very dark as there were, certainly, no streetlights around outside. They shined their flashlights around to peruse the area. They saw a number of old metal desks lined up along the wall with all sorts of antiquated office machines sitting on them. They noticed a huge, old map covering an area of wall on the far end of the room. It smelled extremely musty and dirty naturally.

Because it was rather dark with no ambient streetlight, they moved cautiously through the office inspecting the desks and opening the drawers that were now just empty, except for some old, tattered file folders that smelled moldy. They were rather engrossed in trying to see what they could possibly find that might be useful to take back home, when they both heard a steady click, click, click, click noise fairly nearby. They were puzzled as to the source of that noise since they knew the building was empty. They began shining their lights around trying to locate the source. Suddenly, Eddy nervously remarked to John that he found it and to come look at what he was seeing quickly.

John hurriedly left the area he was checking out to join Eddy in front of a large desk located in the middle of the office. On the desk was a very old type of adding machine. The kind with a lot of keys and an arm on the side of it that had to be pulled down to advance to the next row. I 'think' it was called a comptometer, but don't quote me on that. They stood in relative shock and amazement when they noticed that the keys on the device were being punched in making the clicking noise 'by themselves' with no human agent nearby to 'operate' it.

They snapped out of it rather abruptly when Eddy winced and told John that they should get the 'bleep' out of there. He began pushing John toward the entry door that they came in and out into the warehouse, then outside running toward their bikes. John said he didn't know Eddy could run 'that' fast since he was on the somewhat portly side.

Once they reached the bikes, they paused to catch their breath. Eddy was almost hyperventilating by that point but was beginning to calm down enough to talk. John noticed how rattled and pale Eddy was. He asked him what happened to alarm him like that. Eddy rather sheepishly told John that he 'heard' a woman's stern voice close to his ear telling him to stop poking around and leave. John told him that 'he' didn't see 'anybody' in there but the 2 of them.

However, when they both glanced back at the building where the windows to the offices were located, they 'saw' the face and partial silhouette of an older woman. She looked to be dressed like they did in the 1940's with gun-metal grey hair in a short, curled hairstyle and a clipboard clutched to her chest. It was the look on her face that sent the chills down them. She did have a very stern demeanor to her facial expression.

They didn't stick around to rationalize or discuss it. They just hopped on their bikes and peddled like the wind back home. They had had enough adventure for one night.

The next day John went to Eddy's house and his friend felt a bit more comfortable about talking about the previous night. Eddy told John that he used to be a sceptic in regard to things like ghosts, but he couldn't explain what he heard and what they 'both' observed the other night inside the building, as well as the strange woman standing at the window glaring out at them. John told him that the building was very old and had seen a lot of use and activity in its day. He surmised that, possibly, the phantom woman was a former secretary that used to work there. It was quite possible that being a secretary was very important to her and after she passed, she came back to the place where she felt useful and happy. John said, "I think we disturbed her space and she let us know about it."

"To the point of chasing us out". Eddy had to nod in agreement. It made sense at that point.

They kept the incident between themselves and never went back to the place. When it was demolished the following year, they both wondered if the lonely secretary finally moved on, no longer having her office desk to work at. It was a little piece of Ohio rail history that they wanted to investigate but it didn't quite turn out the way they thought it would. John told me he didn't go exploring old buildings after that. No more trespassing for him either. John and I were part of the population that 'had' to learn the 'hard way'. Hopefully, these accounts serve to enlighten our younger readers that you should be very careful 'what' you decide to venture into. Enough said!

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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, Linjahaha, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Rajine (14 stories) (776 posts)
6 months ago (2023-10-31)

When I think back on some of my reckless immature behavior I often wonder, what was I thinking or how am I still alive 🤦‍♂️😂 I guess I have to thank my guardian angel for that.

Thanks and take care as well...
Linjahaha (24 stories) (127 posts)
6 months ago (2023-10-31)
Rajine, That's so true. It's almost like the 'common sense' part of us isn't developed enough when we're young.
Ah, the follies of youth. We all go through it!

Take care! 😊 😊
Rajine (14 stories) (776 posts)
6 months ago (2023-10-30)
You right about the last part, when one is young common sense goes out of the window and is replaced by recklessness, I suppose the old lady had an attachment to the place.
Linjahaha (24 stories) (127 posts)
6 months ago (2023-10-29)
Dear Crimson, Thank you very much. I am flattered that you liked it so much.
Incidentally, I added 'you' to my favorites, also!

Take care, & all the Best! 😁 😁
CrimsonTopaz (1 stories) (239 posts)
6 months ago (2023-10-29)
Sorry to hear John is no longer with you. May he RIP.
This was a real adventure to read. Boys will be boys and John and his mates sound like they had a really scary time with the spirit of the secretary and the adding machine.
I put this post into my favourites. Thanks for sharing it.
Linjahaha (24 stories) (127 posts)
6 months ago (2023-10-28)
Thank you, Lost Voyage: I 'almost' wish "I" could've been there for 'that', except I probably would have had the you-know-what scared out of me.
I think John was right about her as well. Maybe, that office was where she felt appreciated and happy for a career. It's possibly a very pleasant memory that she was reluctant to let go of.
The building was demolished long ago. I think there is a park, or housing there now. I'm not sure.
I hope that lady finally moved on from there to be with her family where she can be happy for eternity and not worry about going to work now!

Glad to Hear from You as Always and Thanks! 😁 😁
The_Lost_Voyage_11 (7 stories) (238 posts)
6 months ago (2023-10-28)
Hello Linjahaha, another great story!

Many of these old buildings, especially ones where a lot of people have either worked or passed through (train stations, hospitals, etc) are sure to have a lot of activity. There is a great deal of history in these areas and not all of it was made public. I feel that John's assessment of what he saw was pretty spot on. I also feel 'she' showed herself at the window to make sure the boys got the point and not to return, since some would later try to rationalize the earlier incident away. It sure must have been unnerving for the boys to witness that adding machine working by itself!

Still and all a fascinating recollection, very detailed as always.

Thanks for sharing!

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