FARMINGTON — The building that currently houses the San Juan County Partnership, at 3535 E. 30th St., may also house a ghost that employees have named “Fred.”
“He's a really friendly, mischievous ghost,” said Katrina Fowler, who has worked for the community services agency as a program manager for the past 12 years.
Fowler said Fred has been responsible for moving items off of desks, making noises in the halls and in the unoccupied upper floors, rolling unseen carts down the hall, and occasionally turning computers on and off.
Pamela Drake, SJCP's director, has also experienced Fred's presence and has heard the many accounts reported by staff.
“One of the employees had a photo holder on her desk with a photo in it,” said Drake. “One morning, she came in and the photo was gone. When she searched, she saw the photo was behind the desk, between it and the wall.”
The desk was too heavy to move, so the employee decided not to retrieve the photo. When she left for the day and came back the next morning, the photo was back in its holder.
“We had no way to explain that, as no one was in the building after she left; we have no cleaning people, and that desk is too heavy to move,” Drake said.
Another dramatic example of Fred's antics was actually captured on film, Drake said.
“We had an employee taking things from my office, so we set up a camera over the desk to try to catch whoever was doing it,” Drake said.
One day, Drake's niece was in her office working on the computer, with her back to the desk, which had a stack of papers on it. When the footage was later reviewed, pieces of the paper could be seen being lifted from the stack on the desk, one by one being turned over and laid down in a separate stack, as if an unseen person was reviewing the papers.
“There was also an unexplained shadow on the wall in the footage,” Drake said.
Fowler said one of the most chilling incidents occurred when she had her young son, whom she describes as sensitive to paranormal activity, with her in the building.
The son was playing with some art supplies in a supply room down the hall from Fowler's office when he suddenly appeared in Fowler's doorway. When Fowler asked him what was wrong, he just shook his head and asked to leave right away.
Later in the car, her son explained that while he was in the storeroom, he had heard someone breathing behind him. He then felt someone breathing directly on his neck, but when he turned around, no one was there.
Despite wanting to leave, Fowler's son did not feel the presence was negative, but instead had a friendly, mischievous nature.
“That kind of goes along with the stories we've heard from staff, that things disappear off of desks, the mischievous activities, etc.” Fowler said, adding that people who are more frightened of Fred seem to attract more attention from him, as if he is playing with them.
Before being used by SJCP, the building was the home of Burlington Resources, and before that it housed El Paso Oil & Gas Co., believes Fowler.
“Some say the bottom floor was used as an infirmary, or that the building was once a hospital,” Fowler said, though Drake is uncertain if the building was ever used for medical purposes.
The upper two floors of the building are used only for storage, and are locked and unoccupied. Despite this, employees often hear furniture moving around, and the sound of footsteps overhead. Drake said some people outside have even reported seeing someone inside the windows on these floors.
Drake is convinced the building is haunted, and said the phenomena will come and go, often stopping for months before starting up again.
“There have been too many incidents and experiences for it to be a case of just hearing things,” she said. “We really do have a ghost — but he's a friendly one.”