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Slashdot Ghost Stories? 490

clemens asks: "As Halloween is just around the corner, does anyone have good geek-oriented spooky stories to share? No, I don't mean that hey-freddie-is-creeping-out-of-your-screen stuff, but some after-wee-hours-in-comm-room-i-see-dead-people stories. Anyone?" I'm sure there are enough creative people out there that can come up with a few Scary Stories that are uniquely Slashdot. So if you're game, write away! CT here's my favorite :)
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Slashdot Ghost Stories?

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  • by Nijika ( 525558 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:15PM (#2503403) Homepage Journal
    Datacenters will be ripe for ghost stories in about 50 years... actually to speed up the process I've thought about installing an internal speaker into my co-lo that would scream at random intervals to freak out the DC staff....
    • by ptomblin ( 1378 ) <> on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:26PM (#2503448) Homepage Journal
      At one of my jobs, one of the computers in the training room (which had about 15 computers in it) was named "bovine". I set that one up to moo at 25 minutes after the hour, 24 hours a day. For some reason, the trainers didn't realize it was coming from the computer named "bovine", they didn't know how I did it, but they sure knew that I was the one responsible.

      It's terrible to have a reputation.
      • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:40PM (#2503526)
        LOL. Now I have to figure out how to apply this idea to my server named "uranus".
      • That sounds like what I used to do in my school's computer labs. I wrote a script called, the_herd, that rlogin'ed into all the machines in a room and moo'd. Sometimes I'd mix it up and thrown in some chickens. Imagine a lab full of 30 people and all of the sudden the computers start a moo'ing. We had a lab assistant cancel class because he thought the computers were possessed. I'll have to hand it to HP -- their OS allows anyone to login and grab the audio even when they're not at the console. I'm still not sure who's fault it was... all the HP-UX boxes on campus could do it. I would hope the admins could change that.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I don't know about you... but I have worked in hardware engineering labs for many years. The only really scary story that I can think of is about a fellow named Black Cloud that I once worked with.

      He got that nick name cause for some reason hardware would stop working when he was near. Sometimes all he would have to do was walk by and it would fry is a most spactacular way. (Rolling black smoke, hense the name.)

      Personally I have always that that was one of the most scary things in life. Cause it was true.

      Anonymous to protect both the innocent and the deathly guilty.
      • We have a guy similar to that. He's been a tester for years. Anything he touches breaks within minutes. It's great to have a creative tester.

        The capper is his nickname has always been "Spike". We should have known better than to let him near our gear in the first place... We even wanted him to change his nickname, but the best idea anyone came up with was "Surge", and that didn't make anyone feel better in the least.


    • That is really funny.
      I wish I would have thought of it 6 months ago when my servers were in Savvis' datacenter.

      I could have mounted a webcam in the box and waited until someone was looking at the box after they figured out which one it was and then do voice over ip with netmeeting or some equivalent and yell, "DON'T TOUCH ME OR I'LL SWALLOW YOUR SOUL!"
    • Sounds like a case of deus ex machina ... well someone had to say it..
  • about:magic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by acroyear ( 5882 ) <> on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:16PM (#2503410) Homepage Journal
    The Story of Magic [] from the Jargon File always amuses me...
  • well... (Score:4, Funny)

    by shik0me ( 235948 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:16PM (#2503411)
    I don't know about you, but I see trolls all the damn time :)
  • by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:25PM (#2503440) Journal
    We drove to Florida once. In like 11 hours (from Michigan - that's fast)... After being awake for a LONG time we just jumped in the van and decided to drive to Florida.

    Long story short... We were all strung out on caffine and ephedrine (diet pills) to stay awake when we encountered a stop light in the Florida "pan handle". This particular stoplight was on a "surface road" that had very few stop lights. Few and far between... In any event, this area had been previously designated a "fog zone". We saw the signs but did not know what this meant in terms of changes in actual equipment used on the highway. I dunno if anyone else is familiar but they equip some of the stoplights with a VERY intense flash sorta like a camera flash but lots brighter... They proceed to flash these when the light turns red and there is fog out. Kinda like an extra warning.

    I don't know if it was the drugs or lack of sleep (combination maybe?) but we were pretty freaked out when we witnessed this light at 3:00am after driving for 10 hours. It took us like 15 minutes (several stoplight changes) to figure out that these weren't aliens but rather a safety feature implemented by FDOT.

    • by rho ( 6063 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:29PM (#2503476) Homepage Journal

      It's not neccessarily a fog safety device. It's used extensively down here to bring attention to stoplights, especially ones that are as you described -- on a lonely road with few stoplights.

      They are quite annoying late at night, when you're going home after a long day of staring at a computer screen and there's this damn seizure inducing halogen light going blink blink blink at you...

      It's horrible, I tell you, _horrible_

  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:26PM (#2503446) Homepage Journal
    "Rob Malda and the Disappearing Slashdot Database".

    - A.P.
  • System Shock 2 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FortKnox ( 169099 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:27PM (#2503454) Homepage Journal
    If you have never played "System Shock 2", go out to your local video game store and see if you can get your paws on a copy (shouldn't be more than $5 bucks these days).

    It starts off kinda cheesy, but if you only play at night with all the lights out, it'll eventually get freaky enough to scare the bejesus outta you.

    Sitting in a corner, you have a gun that's in such bad shape, you anticipate maybe one or two more shots left until it jams. You can hear the mistress coming for you, speaking in akward statements (must protect the baaaby....). You back up into a corner by the opposite door to make a hasty exit, when, while your back is turned, the door opens! You hear "SILENCE THE DISCORD!" as a zombie hits you with a tire iron.
    I jumped up, and couldn't get to the keyboard fast enough to actually get outta the way (took 3 hits to kill me).
    • by drodver ( 410899 )
      Aliens vs. Predator was also quite freaky. The first five minutes of the game is you in a dark facility that's been evacuated. The entire time your motion tracker is pinging away like in the movie. The place is dark so you must use your flares but when you throw them they make the motion tracker go off. By the time you actually get attacked the tension is enough that my roomate jumped out of his chair when he played.
      • by Glytch ( 4881 )
        That game is one of two that have actually scared me. AvP *must* be played in the dark to be fully appreciated. The first time a facehugger jumped me I screamed "JESUS CHRIST!", jerked back, and fell away from the computer.

        The original Alien Doom total conversion was the other. Not quite as good graphics, but the first time throught that first level... damn scary.
    • SS2 was great for keeping the creepiness up throughout the game. The apparations were great, especially the one in the hall to the hangar bay control room.

      The beginning of Half-Life is also good for a few shocks. By the end, however, it's back to the tried and true formula for FPS: Ever increasing odds, and the persistent need for a bigger gun. That, and a sudden detour into Super Mario Bros. :-) The midgame gets a bit slow when the military isn't around.
      "Gee, I bet there's a headcrab behind that crate. Better switch to the crowbar."
      SKRAAAAAAKKK! Thump-thump-thump. Guurrrrggglllle...
    • Re:System Shock 2 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by steveo777 ( 183629 )
      If you've ever played Silent Hill for the PSX in the dark, you may know what it feels like to piss your pants.
      The game starts off with you, a father, who is vacationing in a town called Silent Hill. Your daughter is kidnapped and you must find her. Well, the only equipment you have is a broken radio that doesn't make any noise unless there is an enemy nearby (mind you, the enemies in this game are things like dolls that are absolutely gruesome).
      Also, the radio makes that white fuzz noise, like when you are inbetween stations, louder as something approaches, but never completly consistent. This is all in a fogged area. When you are outside, you can't see twenty feet in front of you, so when you hear the radio, you just turn around, but nothing is there.
      This game is ten times freakier than any of the Resident Evil games ever were. There's a sequel for the PS2 coming out now. Just what I need, more urine on the couch...
    • I agree totally. I actually couldn't finish System Shock 2... I just got too freaked out. Well, that, and I was out of ammunition, the robots were coming for me, and there was no place to hide...

      Something very similar to your experience happened to me while playing that game... I was walking on a glass walkway, looking down on some sort of nest of alien eggs, and thinking, "Wow, I sure hope none of this glass breaks --" Just as it broke, of course, and I fell down into the pit, and I heard the rustle as the alien mothers started moving in on me...

      "The babies must be protected!"
      "Lady, you can have them, just get me the %&*$ out of here!"

      That, and I had a zombie sneak up and clock me while I was examining something on one of the walls. Jumped a mile. I can count the number of times I've ever had my adrenaline kick in from playing a video game... the first time a fiend jumped at me in Quake, hearing Sinistar bellow "BEWARE, I LIVE!", and that.

      Funny, I couldn't finish Thief II either. I believe it was when I realized I was trapped in an unlit basement with one of those undead Hammers. I basically said "the hell with this." I must be getting game-wimpy in my old age. Although maybe if I didn't play with all the lights off and the earphones on, and a cruel girlfriend who likes to sneak up and grab me and shriek in my ear while I'm playing, things might go better.
    • Re:System Shock 2 (Score:3, Informative)

      by CtrlPhreak ( 226872 )
      Even better is the amazingly great single player mod "They Hunger" for half-life. It's a dark monster movie type mod set in the fifties, including the obligatory insane asylum, mad doctor, twisted sherif and hordes of zombies. There are many points in the game where something comes right out of nowhere after you, or a door slams closed, after you have been wandering around in the dark for a half hour. In the end you feel like you are running for your life. It's really the only game that has actually scared me. Can't say enough good about it.

      Take a look []
    • I've never played System Shock 2, but I have memories of playing Doom
      and Doom 2 late at night with headphones on and the soundtrack to 2001
      playing. The 2001 soundtrack has some pretty eerie stuff on it, which
      only intensifies the general vibe of walking around in the dark wondering
      when the next monster is going to come around the corner at you.

      --Phil (I was also younger and more easily frightened then, too.)
  • Scary weather... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mdemeny ( 35326 )
    The fact that it's snowing here in Ottawa [] right now is pretty friggin' scary, if you ask me!
  • I live in sunnyvale, calif, and the toys-r-us (some toys are kinda geeky =P) down the road on El Camino is supposed to be haunted. Some employees and former empoyees swear up and down that they've seen a ghost that wanders around there. Of course, those people work a near-minimum-wage job at a toy store and prolly arent the brightest dimes in the jar ;) m
  • by tmark ( 230091 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:29PM (#2503473)
    Every evening, after the lights have been turned off and everyone has been put to sleep, I go to my terminal in my dusty attic. I log on to Slashdot and through bleary eyes I could swear I see stories that I thought had died long ago. I read further, and find that others also seem to have believed these phantom topics to be long dead, but usually within a few weeks, the stories are mysteriously back again, chasing me to my nightmares.
  • by laserjet ( 170008 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:29PM (#2503477) Homepage
    Mine's not really a story, just something I remember back in the day. I'm sure the rest of you have had a similar experience:

    I was up late, playing Wolfenstein, and it was amazing. I had never before played it with a soundcard (just the pc-speaker), but today I had gone to the store and bought a sound blaster! I installed the card, and was playing wolfenstein, almost being sppoked by the level of realism the sound introduced.

    I was pretty far into the game, and had killed nearly all the nazi's in the level. It is the level that is like a maze. Anyway, I was wondering throught this maze for maybe 15 minutes without seeing any nazi's or anything, then all of a sudden, i hear that german speach come blasting out of the speakers and it scared the shit out of me. I think I had forgotton that my computer had sound, and I spilled my pop all over my keyboard and knocked a nuch of shit off the desk when I flinched. This was the beginning of late night gaming... when it's dark, you're the only one up, it's not too hard to scare yourself with computers...

    • Yep, I had a similar incident playing Doom when I got my first sound card .. I was wondering around a level for quite a while looking for secrets, I thought I had killed everything. I ran down some stiars and came face to face with one of those big pink pig-like demons ... First time I ever screamed out loud playing a game!
    • GUTEN TAG!


      *shudder* I loved that game. Can't wait for the new one.
    • I had the same experience, but it was with Quake. I had just got a sound blaster 16 (high tech!) and I was playing late at night alone in my apartment with my headphones on. It was the first time I had ever heard the zombies make that nasal moaning sound, only I didn't quite know what it was because I couldn't see any of them around (they were on the other side of a wall or something). totally freaked me out.
  • There has been one or two occasions, late at night while coding, that I thought I saw someone standing behind me reflected in my monitor. When that stats happening it's time for bed!!
  • by StevenMaurer ( 115071 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:29PM (#2503482) Homepage

    With apologies to Edgar Allen Poe ...

    Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary, System manuals piled high and wasted paper on the floor, Longing for the warmth of bed sheets, still I sat there doing spreadsheets. Having reached the bottom line I took a floppy from the drawer, I then invoked the SAVE command and waited for the disk to store, Only this and nothing more.

    Deep into the monitor peering, long I sat there wond'ring, fearing, Doubting, while the disk kept churning, turning yet to churn some more. But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token. "Save!" I said, "You cursed mother! Save my data from before!" One thing did the phosphors answer, only this and nothing more, Just, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    Was this some occult illusion, some maniacal intrusion? These were choices undesired, ones I'd never faced before. Carefully I weighed the choices as the disk made impish noises. The cursor flashed, insistent, waiting, baiting me to type some more. Clearly I must press a key, choosing one and nothing more, From "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    With fingers pale and trembling, slowly toward the keyboard bending, Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored, Praying for some guarantee, timidly, I pressed a key. But on the screen there still persisted words appearing as before. Ghastly grim they blinked and taunted, haunted, as my patience wore, Saying "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    I tried to catch the chips off guard, and pressed again, but twice as hard. I pleaded with the cursed machine: I begged and cried and then I swore. Now in mighty desperation, trying random combinations, Still there came the incantation, just as senseless as before. Cursor blinking, angrily winking, blinking nonsense as before. Reading, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    There I sat, distraught, exhausted, by my own machine accosted. Getting up I turned away and paced across the office floor. And then I saw a dreadful sight: a lightning bolt cut through the night. A gasp of horror overtook me, shook me to my very core. The lightning zapped my previous data, lost and gone forevermore. Not even, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    To this day I do not know the place to which lost data go. What demonic nether world us wrought where lost data will be stored, Beyond the reach of mortal souls, beyond the ether, into black holes? But sure as there's C, Pascal, Lotus, Ashton-Tate and more, You will be one day be left to wander, lost on some Plutonian shore, Pleading, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

    • That reminds me of this. []

    • by Stavr0 ( 35032 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @03:46PM (#2503846) Homepage Journal
      This is a variant on 'Poe Puree' written by Marcus Bales. Here is the official, unabridged, author-approved version. [] Marcus' is even more Poeesque IMHO.
    • Here is one a friend of mine wrote. It's really scary as it keeps the same syllabic scheme as the original. I have scary friends...

      Once upon a website dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
      O'er many a strange and eerie page with flash and gifs galore,
      While I left-clicked, nearly happening on a web-page about rapping,
      Came the sound of someone rapping, rapping at my office door.
      "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my office door--
      Only this, and nothing more."

      Yes, distinctly I remember it was 'fore I was a member
      and could only read from senders who had written there before.
      Eagerly I wished the morrow;-- vainly I had sought to borrow
      A login, (spelled out as 'D0rr0w') -- I had borrowed once before--
      From the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
      D0rr0w there for evermore.

      And the silken sad uncertain rustling threads on alt.rec.curtain
      Bored me-- filled me with an ennui I had never felt before;
      So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I clicked, repeating,
      "'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my office door--
      Some late visitor entreating entrance at my office door;--
      This it is, and nothing more."

      Presently, my interest stronger, though the posts became no longer,
      "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
      I was reading newsgroups, chuckling at a usenet poster's buckling,
      And so faintly you came knuckling, knuckling at my chamber door,
      That I scarce was sure I heard you"-- here I opened wide the door;--
      Janitor there, and nothing more.

      Deep into the blackout peering, long I stood there wondering, peering,
      Thinking through a post on topics no-one had posted before;
      But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
      And the only word there spoken was a whispered "404!"
      This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "404!"-
      Merely this, and nothing more.

      Now my browser I was booting, all my inner junkie hooting,
      Now I'd read of usenet looting anecdotes I'd heard before.
      Booting Google, I thought "surely that is something torn from surly:
      .com, late not early; let us surf the web, explore--
      Yes, the web-page is the same it is nothing new from before;--
      I'll read usenet, as before."

      Opening up the usenet window, then, to the usenet group I'd read, though
      In there stepped a user- 'Raven'- lurker of the days of yore;
      And the shortest posting made he; no paragraph nor sentence said he;
      And, with mien of lord or lady, posted URL before--
      Posted just above my post before--
      Posted, sat, and nothing more.

      This blank statement then beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
      By the grave and stern decorum of the posting that it were.
      "Though thy post be short and wordless, thou," I said, "art sure no bird, 'less,
      Bird could type with wing fingerless, posting to alt.rec.folklore--
      Tell me what thy login name is on the network, to be sure!"
      Quoth the Raven, "404."

      Much I marvelled this ungainly lurker to read text so plainly,
      Though his answer little meaning-- little relevancy bore;
      You cannot credit reading that man of any breeding
      Ever yet was blest with reading posts from birds on rec.folklore--
      Bird or beast upon the URL that Raven placed before,
      With such name as "404."

      But the raven, silent lurking, watched as I went off websurfing
      to the URL, knee jerking, posted to alt.rec.folklore:
      No more packets then he uttered-- not a single word he uttered--
      As my modem strained and puttered, as great Kibo I implored:
      Then Netscape said, "404."

      Startled at the whiteness broken by a error page's token,
      "Doubtless," said I, "what it's spoken is a prank and nothing more,
      Some teasing posting posted so this 'Raven' can have boasted
      Of his post; be broadly toasted by the trolls and gimps galore--
      'Less my cut-and-paste left spaces that I did not see before
      and brought me this 404."

      But the post was still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
      So I edited the URL I had tried once before;
      Then booting up Explorer, I re-pasted what this snorer
      had put up in alt.rec.folklore (as I mentioned here before)--
      To see what this ungainly, lengthy, URL before
      Meant by giving "404."

      Thus I sat engaged in guessing, where that space might be expressing
      as a percent-twenty, guessing that my defaults would ignore;
      This and more I sat divining, with my head slowly inclining
      T'wards the monitor, all shining, that the error glowed o'er,
      But which monitor, all shining, with the error glowing o'er,
      Still it says, ah, 404!

      Then methought my mind grown feeble, or perhaps the server evil,
      Or perhaps it was slash-dotted, as it hadn't been before.
      "Now," I cried, "by God I'll read thee-- read the address Raven sent me
      Having spied a Percent-twenty that I hadn't seen before!
      Now I'll hit the enter key and be tormented thus no more!"
      Quoth the browser, "404."

      "DAMNIT!" said I, "What's the matter?!?-- After all this keyboard clatter!--
      And I've edited the spaces and yet still this 404??
      This server must be dreadful, or upstream provider dead-fall--
      I may just go to the damned mall-- tell me truly, I implore--
      Is there any website hosted? Let's go down a folder more!"
      Quoth the browser, "404."

      "DAMNIT!!!" said I, "What's the matter-- After all this keyboard clatter!
      This behavior does not flatter-- though I've gone a folder more--
      What's been posted to the newsgroup, Something more from this whole sick troupe?
      Let me check if there's a posting that I previously ignored--
      A posting, perhaps where this Raven, fixed the address from before."
      Posted Raven, "404."

      "Be that post your final parting, bird or troll," I typed, upstarting--
      "Get thee back into IRC and we clever folks ignore!
      Leave no posting as a token of that URL- it's broken!
      Leave my newsgroup, I have spoken!-- get the hell out! And what's more,
      Take thy server, fold it sharply, and stuff it where--" I deplore,
      but a new posting: "404."

      And this Raven, never typing, probably is still out there, hyping
      URLs and websites, knowing that their service is but poor;
      And his words must have the seeming of a mailer-daemon screaming,
      And the bandwidth he has streaming just as useless as before;
      Though his posts from parent's basement, all those posts I so deplore
      Shall be lifted-- 404!

  • ... a preschooler in a penguin costume knocked on Bill Gates' door.
    Tux: "Trick or Treat!"
    Bill: "Release the lawyers!"
    Needless to say, the evil empire met a grisly end at the hands (and fins) of Tux and his minions.
    The End.
  • It was a deep, dark night, in a deep, dark town.
    In the deep, dark town, there was a deep, dark office park.
    In the deep, dark office park, there was a deep, dark building.
    In the deep, dark building, there was a deep, dark hall.
    At the end of the deep, dark hall, there was a deep, dark stair.
    At the bottom of the deep, dark stair, there was a deep, dark security door.
    Behind the deep, dark security door, there was a deep, dark server room.
    In the deep, dark server room, there was an

  • by Lendrick ( 314723 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:31PM (#2503495) Homepage Journal

    About two years ago, when I was still cooped up in my tiny little freshman dorm room with my two roommates, I knew a guy named Tom Freck. Tom was a pretty nice guy, always willing to stop by and chat, or lend a hand with homework.

    I always wondered, though, why he was a Computer Science major. His computer skills were at best mediocre--he could turn his system on and run a word processor without any problems, but when it came time to install hardware or write an actual program ... well, suffice it to say that problems would arise.

    Normally, this wouldn't have been too big a deal. There were at least seven other Computer Science majors living on our floor--so there were very few computer problems that, among all of us, couldn't be fixed. Tom's problem, as far as I could tell, was a general lack of faith in our abilities.

    The event that I have thus far been leading up to took place in November of 1996, if I remember right. Somehow, one of Tom's Windows 95 driver files got corrupted. Tom immediately pulled out the number to Compaq's customer service line and dialed up to ask their assistance.

    It should be noted at this point that the error occurred at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Myself and a few others offered to help him out, but he insisted that Compaq Tech Service would do a better job. Not thinking much of it, I proceeded to my evening classes, then went home and flopped into bed. The next morning, I was surprised to see Tom in his dorm room (the doors in Taylor Tower are routinely kept open--it's tradition or something), eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep, still on hold waiting for tech service to answer.

    "You okay, man?" I asked him.

    He gave no indication that he even noticed I was there, so I waved my hand in front of his face. He jumped about three feet in the air. "Huh?"

    "I asked if you were doing alright."

    He shook his head vigourously to clear the fog from his brain. "Yeah, I'm okay. Just waiting for tech support to take my call."

    I shrugged. "Well, just lemme know if I can help out, okay?"

    He just nodded dismissively, so I headed off to my freshman chemistry course, leaving him to his fate.

    When I returned that night, he was still on hold. My attempts to get his attention were innefective this time, so I again shrugged it off and went to bed.

    This went on for the better part of three days. It got to the point that people walking by his room were so used to him being glued to the telephone that they would hardly give him a second look as they passed.

    Then, that fateful Saturday morning, he dissappeared. We asked around the building to get some idea of his whereabouts, getting a few responses about a strange figure stumbling out of the building some time around 3 AM.

    We decided to file a missing persons report with the campus police--there wasn't much else we could do at that point. Later that day, one of my neighbors called me into his room to see something on the six o'clock news. Apparently, an unidentified man had been sighted running stark naked down North High Street, screaming, "I AM THE NEXT AVAILABLE SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE!" at the top of his lungs.

    None of us ever saw him after that, but to this day, if you listen hard enough late at night, you can still hear a recorded voice saying, "Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line and wait for the next available service representative."

  • In the last year I've been noticing the spirits of more former employees haunting offices. I come across old photos, badges, books, an occasional mug that says, "Scott" in script letters. Spoooky....
  • See, I was drunk that night in the streets, and taking a puke down the alley. All of sudden, this dark haired chick with biker overalls appeared out of nowhere. She dashed out and around the corner. I hobbled after her to see her dart into towards a telephone booth with the phone ringing off the hook. And there was this huge tractor, which was gunning straight for her. She ran in, picked up the handset and just melted away like a ghost, just before the tractor mowed the thing down.

    I tell you, there's something mighty weird going on here.

  • by BigAl_nz ( 39616 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:33PM (#2503503)
    Oct 31 = Dec 25

  • I used to be an AS/400 computer operator working the night shift. We had an IBM 3130 printer in the computer room. This printer, after being idle for several hours, would somtimes make thumping noises for no reason. When your at a new job, in an empty office building at 4:00am and you hear strange thumping noises coming from the corner of the room, it'll freak you out!
  • by guinness_duck ( 231583 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:39PM (#2503522) Homepage Journal
    It was a quiet night, just like any other, the cosntant hum of the air condtioning systems nearly putting me to sleep as I stared at the command prompt, the Dell PowerEdge waiting for me to throw some command at it. I'd been at it for hours, resenting the fact that I was being made to work on Halloween. There were people to see, parties to go to, neighbors to egg, and script kiddies to frag in UT. But no, I was sitting in the server room trying to implement the bosses next big whiz bang idea. I knew it wouldn't work. The people in the other division knew it wouldn't work. My manager knew it wouldn't work, the night time cleaning lady Dorris, whose entire computer skills revolved around the fact that once she had dialed in to AOL, knew that it wouldn't work. However the nice consultant who sold us tens of thousands of dollars of gear said it would work just fine, every other reputable company in our line of work was doing it. So here I was, on Halloween, staring at a command prompt.

    I threw back another cola and tried to clear my head. The makefile was hosed, some dependency was missing that I couldn't find. I checked site after site but saw it listed nowhere. I even hoped on several IRC channels to now advail. In a leap of desperation I called up the developers tech support number. I was instantly transfered to a machine that transfered my call to the night answering service, but that came up with a message telling me the number was no longer in service.

    My brain felt fuzzy, I was getting nowhere quick so I grabbed another cola and tossed it back. It wasn't helping. I just couldn't focus, the caffeine wasn't giving me what I needed. I looked down at the can and then dropped it, pushing my chair back sliding me across to the far side of the server room.

    "Caffeine free!" I cried out in horror.

    Quickly I got out of my seat, flew from the server room and up the stairs to the small office kitchen. I shuffled around for the coffee. This would do the trick, this would bring me back to life. I opened the can and it was empty. I grabbed another one, but dropped it just as fast as I saw it was decaffeinated, the foul brew of the devil himself. I tore through the kitchen cupbard, looking for anything that contained the substance I so greatly desired. How would I ever get this to compile without the aid of caffeine, the stuff that needed to be flowing through my veins! I found a stash of herbal tea, but it too was without caffeine.

    I grabbed for my wallet, there was still some cash in it. Good. I bolted from the office and across the street to the all night convieant store. I pulled on the handle but it was locked. I banged on the door, trying to get someones attention but there was no movement inside.

    I could feel the fuzziness creeping deeper in to my brain, taking hold of me, choking me, dragging me further in to darkness. I tried to fight it, tried to do something, anything. I couldn't scream. I couldn't move or breathe. The darkness. The darkness....

    NO CAFFEINE!!!! Ahhhhh!!!!!!
    • Similar story - and even in the Haloween timeframe...

      During my time in college, the engineering and computer science student societies had their own room in one of the buildings. Although is was technically there for administrative purposes, we ended up using it as a hangout. We'd do homework and stuff but when it filled up with geeks, not much got done. Speaking of geeks, nothing bad really ever happened there simply because of the intellectual types (namely the Tau Beta Pi honors society) wouldn't stand for it. Hell, smart people don't seek out trouble, do they? Well, on one particularly full moon, we did.

      Most of us were under-aged so we'd always be jealous of those who could steal off to the bar after a difficult test or 50 hour jam session in the lab (I actually did this but the official record is two weeks without leaving the building or showering). Anyway... On this particular night, we decided that it was time to do some non-constructive mid-term "venting" (read: beer). Because of the underaged thing, we ended up designating the office for the location of choice. It started out with an innocent 12 pack. Then the stories started flying and everyone was enjoying the social lubricant that is beer. By the arrival of the second batch of beer, we had gained a new drinking partner - the quiet "guy in the corner" who was there working on his lab in apparent disapproval of our actions. He had just given up on a lab report that was going nowhere quickly so alcohol was the natural choice (cause of, solution to all of life's problems).

      Time lapse:

      Two cases of beer later, we've now got a lovely "beer-a-mid" on the table and were all having a good time. Someone mentioned that it would be a neat idea to run up to the roof top of the new engineering building and piss off of the top. The rest is history... After we returned, we had all pretty much calmed down and the guy who was working on his lab returned to the work. The most notable quote from the night ocurred shortly after he started working again:

      Beer made my lab work!
  • by don_carnage ( 145494 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:39PM (#2503523) Homepage
    Try alt.folklore.ghost-stories [].
  • by WillSeattle ( 239206 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:45PM (#2503553) Homepage
    He went to his local store to buy a PC. Configured it with a nice graphics card, good sound card, decent NIC, dual hard drives, 21" monitor, 1GHz dual CPUs and 1GB RAM. Asked them to preload it with Mandrake.

    They said it would be ready the next day.

    Next day, he came back. Picked up the machine, took it home. Plugged it in. Turned on the power.

    Went to get a cup of coffee. While he was doing this he thought he heard a wierd sound.

    He turned around and looked at the monitor.

    And he saw ...

    [spooky music]

    [tension builds]

    It was booting Windows XP!

    [maniacal laughter]

  • by Stephen Samuel ( 106962 ) <samuel AT bcgreen DOT com> on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @02:51PM (#2503564) Homepage Journal
    Many years ago, I worked at McDonalds, and it so happened that I worked a late shift -- finishing at 11:30. I didn't live that far from work (about a mile and a half), so I decided to walk home.

    Near our home was a cemetary, which was in my path. Depending on which path I took home, the Cemetary was often on my way, and I would either go around or cut through, depending on my mood.

    Well, to be honest, I think that bravado took over... Damned if I wasn going to avoid the cemetery just because it was haloween night.

    As I walked through the cemetery, the nearest street light was about 3 blocks away. It was dark, but there was still enough light for me to see the road ahead of me and the outlines of the tombstones around me. Suddenly, I saw something white moving to my left.

    I stopped. I turned off my radio. I scanned around where I thought I had seen the movement, and shortly, I saw something white moving on a grave.

    Now, I don't consider myself very superstitious, but at this point, I was in a prime superstition territory. Midnight, alone om a cemetary on Haloween night, with something white moving on a grave. If it got any closer to being a Hollywood movie, I was not going to like the next scene.

    Suddenly the white thing started to move... and I mean move fast! My heart jumped as I prepared to run like my life depended on it and then I realized what I was facing.....

    I don't know who was more scared -- Me or the rabbit -- but I don't remember ever taking a shortcut though that cemetary again.

  • by somethingwicked ( 260651 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @03:10PM (#2503598)
    Not an original idea, but fun nonetheless:

    In one of those boring training classes with tons of computers, wait for a break or other convenient moment

    Discreetly swap your keyboard into the input of one of your "more-gullible" classmates, if you have been in class long, you have figured out who...

    Now's when the fun starts



    You get the idea, run with it

    Can be fun, but its hard not to laugh when you start getting these mumbled WTFs and the victim calling out for the instructor!

  • Tried before and the DB had crashed...

    I see dead servers...
  • Reality is scary enough []!
  • Here's a very scary, very /. thought: all of the authors of /. are eaten by zombies save one: JonKatz. He then decides to keep /. running in his free time. The first story: Into the Zombie Mouth.
  • My freshman year at college, I was worried about an exam, and stayed up very late studying my computer science textbooks. Around 3 or 4 in the morning, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone creeping up on my left, holding a big knife. I snapped my head around to see better and of course there was nothing there.

    I immediately packed up my books and went to bed. Time for some sleep!

  • On the one hand, I am a scientist, and therefore reject any notions that do not survive the scrutiny of the scientific method.

    On the other hand, I have seen things I can not explain. This is one of them:

    When I was still single, and living in an apartment, c. 1990, I awoke from a nap and thought I saw my bicycle in the hallway outside my room move backwards... frame move back, pedels reversing, the whole thing move... about a foot.

    Though this freaked me out, I figured I must have been dreaming in a half-asleep state and investigated. If the bike had actually moved recently, there'd be a noticible indentation where the carpet had been previously compressed by the tires.

    Sure enough, such a carpet mark was quite noticible for a foot in front of both wheels.

    To this day I can not explain this. I lived alone, and no one else was present at the time. It was rather unnerving.

  • It was late, Halloween night at my workplace. At the time, I was a system administrator stuck with the late shift. Of course, around midnight on Halloween all alone in a big office building can be a bit creepy.

    I was sitting at my desk, pretending to work (in reality I was surfing the web, but there were no real problems with the system that required my immediate attention) when I heard a noise out in the hall. The noise had a metallic sound, almost as if someone was bending a piece of aluminium siding.

    What with this being around midnight on Halloween I was a bit freaked out. I am not normally supersitious, but there are limits. I reasoned with myself that perhaps someone else was working late, or was coming in after a party to check their email or something. Of course, it could also have been a burglar but we didn't have a lot to steal outside of our computers. Or at least, nothing a burglar would really want.
    So I step out of my cubicle, and out of our office into the hall. "Hello?" I called out. There was no answer. The halogen lights were flooding the hallway with such a sharp illumination, it made everything seem so surreal. I checked around the corner, and I noticed the airvac vent pipe had been pulled back with a hole big enough to fit a large man, as if someone had gone in there to hide. Or come out of hiding.

    Now I was getting more than a little nervous. The airvac did lead to the roof, and a Burlgar could have come in after all. The airvac vents were large enough that someone could have squeezed through fairly easily, although I don't know how they could have supported someone's weight. I decided to head back to my cube and call the police, but then I heard a noise from the vice president's office. Visions of me confronting the burglar and capturing him ran through my mind, with possibly a raise or a promotion.

    I approached the door, and I could see through the glazed glass the shadow of a large man moving around. The door was ajar and he was making a bit of noise with the rattling of papers or some such. I burst in, and was suprised when I saw a large, portly gentleman in a Santa's suit. "Excuse me, but what do you think you are doing?" I said in a voice that I hoped was filled with disdain, but more likely sounded a bit scared.

    "Hello," the man in the Santa outfit exclaimed. "Working late again tonight, Markus?"

    I was suprised that he knew my name. Perhaps it was a co-worker coming back in from a halloween party after all. of course, I didn't recognize him, and he definitely wasn't the vice president. "Do I know you? Do you work here?"

    The man looked amused. "I guess you could say that, although I'm finished now." He hoisted a large bag over his shoulder, and walked out of the office.

    "Excuse me?" I exclaimed as I followed him. "Who are you?"

    He headed towards the hole in the vent. "Why I'm Santa Claus, out giving presents." He stopped in front of the hole in the vent.

    I was flabbergasted. I worred about how to handle this obviously insane man until the police showed up. The fact that he climbed down from the roof through our "chimney" at what must have been obvious threat to life and limb meant he had no concerns for his own safety.

    "Pardon me," I said, trying to humor him. "But today is Halloween, not Christmas."

    The old man turned and looked at me, with a twinkle in his eye. "Of course. I always make my deliveries to computer geeks on Halloween. It cuts down on my workload during the holidays."

    "What? Why?" I exclaimed.

    "Why, every geek knows that OCT 31 equals DEC 25." And with that, he touched the side of his nose and vanished up the air vent.

  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <> on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @03:26PM (#2503751) Homepage Journal
    Long ago I worked for what was then the #3 (or #4 - who really knew) email vendor. Nobody has heard of them today but back when Notework Instant Email was a big player in the Netware networks of the world.

    Anyway, one day one of the support staff got a call from a customer asking about delayed email, specifically could messages arrive months late. Well, it was possible if the site had two or more servers and if after some types of problems the "Resend" command wasn't used but it was rare and *months*?

    Anyway, this was a small office that was calling and they just had the one server and no external email (this was about '87). Our support person said that no, there wasn't any way she could imagine this happening though possibly if a client machine hadn't been used in all of that time but it was still unlikely... The customer seemed to accept this, thanked her and hung up.

    The next day they called back. More mysterious email. It turned out what really bothered them was that the sender was an employee who had died some months ago. Getting the messages was very disturbing to the staff and was there any way to purge them? Not to purge as there wasn't a centralized email store but the account could certianly be deactivated. As the folks calling weren't technical our support person faxed off a set of direction for them to give to their systems consultant.

    Three days pass then she gets another call and the person on the other end is in tears: More email, it contains personal information and current events! The office is in an uproar, half the staff is freaked and the other half is furious. Our support person reassures the caller we've never heard of anything like this and to have the systems consultant call her as soon as they come in before *anything* is touched.

    Eventually through some sleuthing (well, mostly login times) it's determined that someone has the password to the dead fellow's account, had gone through his old email learning personal details and was now using this to harass co-workers.

    Once the times and dates of the messages creation were firmly established it was in the hands of the customer but they apparently had a good idea who was doing this once it was confirmed how & when.

    Real ghost story? No - but creepy enough that someone would torture their co-workers this way.

    BTW at the same software company we had to go around removing a screensaver that randomly composed funny headlines with staff's names in it after a person listed died.

    • > The next day they called back. More mysterious
      > email. It turned out what really bothered them
      > was that the sender was an employee who had
      > died some months ago. Getting the messages was
      > very disturbing to the staff and was there any
      > way to purge them?

      I dunno about you, but if it asked me to join
      the Wired, I'd be outta there.

      Chris Mattern
  • by KosovoYankee ( 310988 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @03:26PM (#2503752) Homepage
    Where to begin - My great-grandfather built the house that my parents currently live in at the beginning of the last century. My grandfather grew up in that house. The strange things started to happen towards the end of the second world war. My grandfather's brother was killed over Sicily, and buried overseas. The night he found out about the news, my great-grandfather went across the river to the sawmill he owned and paced the yard. His son appeared to him, in uniform, and told him not to worry, and that he was ok. A short time later, my grandfather awoke to see the image of his older brother standing at the end of his bed, smiling at him, and then fading away into the darkness.

    We moved into the house when I was 8 years old. My great grandmother died peacefully in her sleep, in what was to become my bedroom. I had had a good relationship with both of my great grandparents. The first things I began to noticed were the balls of light at night. For the frist 6 months, a white ball of light the size of a softball would travel back and forth across the bottom of the wall opposite my head. I blocked every light source and curtained all the windows, (the house is in the country so not much outside light anyway), but the light remained. Later, it moved into the hallway directly opposite my head as I slept, and then after another few months, disappeared. I like to think of it as my great-grandmother watching over me.

    But it didn't end there. At night, after 11 or se when everyone had gone to bed, I would hear what sounded like big band era music coming from the basement, through the heating ducts. I would go out into the living room (I was the only one who slept on the ground floor), but I could onyl hear it coming from my room. It wasn't until last year that I mentioned it to anyone, and that's when I found out that my great-granparents would always listen to their big band records in the basement/den that they had.

    I have seen objects move, seen movement in hallways when I was the only one home in the house. I once saw a small statuette fly 6 feet off a piano into the middle of the room. My sister has some more negative experiences with the house. She is 2 years younger than I (19) and will not stay in the house alone at night. She either invites a friend over, or leaves. She has seen and heard doors slam, windows close, heard loud noises and felt presences. Which leads me to the scariest single thing thing that has ever happened to me at the house.

    I no longer live with my parents, and when I go back to visit, I sleep in the basement, on a hideaway couch. I have never had any creepy feelings or bad dreams in the basement, and as a child I used to mow the lawn in a cemetery as a summer job, so I do not scare easily. One night, around 2 am, I woke up, staring out into the room, and I SWEAR I saw a thin hand reaching OUT OF THE DARKNESS towards my face. Scared out of my mind, I lunged towards a lamp and after several agonising seconds turned on the light and saw nothing at all except an empty room. I ran upstairs, lit a candle, put it beside my bed and tried to forget about it, but I couldn't. I am getting chills just writing this. This happened last April. Now, when I visit, I have to have a small light on in the basement, or I CANNOT sleep. It is the only time I have felt or seen anything other than the protective spirits of my family in the house.

    I don't know if I am more sensitive to spirits, or what, but I have had some other experiences that were definitely weird. I like my parents house, but some people, like my sister and my best friend, refuse to spend the night there, as it gives them the creeps.
  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @03:26PM (#2503755) Journal

    One evening after hours of trying to explain to a clueless user how to double-click, my supervisor interrupted to ask what was taking so long. I explained that the guy who kept calling was a total idiot. The super said he would try to help.

    About 15 minutes later the super came back on the other line and said "the calls are coming from in-house!!!".

  • by peteshaw ( 99766 ) <> on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @03:31PM (#2503773) Homepage
    I used to work in this computer lab, that was actually was the first level of a parking garage that was converted into office space. It was okay, except for the lack of visible light and the strange gurgling noises that would come from the plumbing that ran floor to ceiling throughout the lab. One saturday night I was working late, this was a few years back, I think it was in October, but I'm not sure.

    Around 7pm my Kastle card stopped working at the keydoors around the lab. For some reason, they had built a wall around an area that had been an exit to the stairwell at one point. The stair well had been walled over, and the emergency exit open INWARD. I know this now, because around 8pm, I was rooting around for a network card I needed to put in an IVR server. I thought there was a spare parts bin in this large closet, instead I was trapped, with no way out but my Kastle card.

    I was stuck.

    Well, I figured I was in there for the night, so I managed to find some foam packing material, and stretched out in the corner between a few odd sized piles of pc components. I guess when I enterd the room I must have tripped a silent alarm, because sometime later a large swedish looking guy in a security uniform opened the door about an hour later. He must have been 6 foor 5 and weighed about 300 pounds, he was a healthy boy to sya the least.

    He opened the door with and slowly entered with his flashlight shining all over the place. Then he proceeds to do the exact same thing as me! He shuts the door behind him, and eventually, as he is trying to leave, realizes that he is stuck too.

    So the security dude is banging on the door, when I finally wake up enough to figure out what's going on. I get up, and walk over to him in the dark room. I say, "don't even bother, there's no way to get out of here."

    Son of a bitch if the guy didn't break down the door on his first try getting out of there! Funniest god damn thing I ever saw!
  • It was the craziest thing...
    Somehow, our linux server had crashed... and hard. I was at the end of a 36-hour non-stop debugging section when I was haunted by the Ghost of Operating Systems past.
    The server rebooted spontaneously and when it came up... it was sitting at a prompt for PC-DOS 5.0... the first operating system that had ever been installed on this particular machine.
    "What the hell?" I said. It was as if some mysterious force had forced the partition table to restore some old data... it was unexplainable. I staired at my can of Red Bull and wondered if drinking twenty of them in an hour might have /warped/ my senses.
    It was warped all right... OS/2 Warp! The screen melted away to reveal the OS/2 Presentation Manager! I blew chunks.
    When I finally pulled my head out of the trash can, I looked up to see that the screen was at the Windows NT 4.0 logon screen.
    I screamed. My hair went white. This was the most frightening thing I had seen.
    I ran from the server room... activating the Halon before my ass was out the door.
    I never went back... I'll never go back! I CAN'T GO BACK TO WINDOWS!
  • Stalag '99, my comic strip, has a send-off of the old classic here. []
  • by gizmo_mathboy ( 43426 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @03:40PM (#2503816)
    Dungeon Keeper has to be about one of the coolest games to play late at night. Nothing quite like the computer telling you to go to bed or give up because it's late and your soft bed is calling.

    There is even weirdness around special dates like the solstices and equinoxes. I haven't played it on Halloween in awhile but maybe I'll try it again tonight.
  • There was some guy called J.Suzuki who haunted my computer.

    My computer was a Spectravideo SVI-318. Someone claimed that by giving some sort of PRINT/POKE/PEEK command combination it printed out "J.Suzuki".

    When I tried it, it didn't work.

    Now, remember, I was but a little kid back then and didn't knew that this sort of easter eggs are rather common - and that companies at that time often removed this sort of things later on if they were found.

    But back then, I lost my sleep when I tried to think where that Suzuki fellow was. I found the fact that I couldn't find a trace of him very frightening.

  • by Sarin ( 112173 )
    I'm a hobby musician with the computer..

    Well not quite "hobby" anymore since this story happened; one night I was working late behind my computer and I didn't have a musical inspirition so I went out with some friends, when I came home and watched on the computerscreen, it had generated a track out of nowhere, I listened to it, it was awsome. The rest is history (yeah I'm quite famous and rich now!)

    (would be fun eh? but it's not true however..I'm still working quite hard myself to make cool tunes)

    this really happened - for real - once:

    One winter-night I was slashdotting really late at my parents place. They live in a 600 year old house with parts that are even a little older than that. I felt quite tired but kept on reading comments and downloading some stuff I really didn't need. At one moment the printer turned itself on and started to make some noise like it was cleaning the heads or whatever and a paper slit into the printer. It scared me a little because I knew I wasn't messing with the printer and hadn't print for a couple of days. Then I heard it print and the page came out:

    It had print one character, a black heart.
  • Once, not too long ago, Slashdot died. Panic ensued, and when it finally was up and stable again there was an explanation by one of those in the know that included a timeline of events.

    Within that timeline a name surfaced, and that person wasn't spoken too highly of. As the day progressed the person's involvement in the matter, as well as her mere EXISTANCE, were expunged from all records of the event. When others asked about the whereabouts of this technician, they too were removed from the common viewership.

    To this day merely mentioning her name can bring to the mentioner the same fate that others before them experienced. While I have not spoken that Unspeakable Name, I fear that I have said too much already.

    Go well, my friends, and keep record of these events. We must never forget!

  • How about reaping dead children?

    Ghost images?

  • I'm reading a scary and gruesome book right now: Perdido Street Station [].

    It's got technology, magic, fearsome creatures, true love, betrayal, and tons of grime, dirt, slime, and bodily fluids. Highly recommended.
  • weird (Score:3, Interesting)

    by austad ( 22163 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @04:26PM (#2504144) Homepage
    I used to live with my Aunt when going to college. My bedroom was down in the basement, and had a large opening into the rest of the basement with no door. One night, it was completely dark in my room except for the light on my stereo. I was just falling asleep, and I heard that little purring noise that cats make right before they jump up on something, and then felt something land solidly on my chest. There are no pets in the house, so as you would imagine, I was pretty freaked out. I tried to jump up, but I couldn't move, I was paralyzed. I managed to finally crack my eyes open, and I could barely see my lights on my stereo. Finally, after what seemed like 2 or 3 minutes, I felt whatever it was on my chest jump off and I was able to jump up and hit the lights. Nothing in my room, nothing in the rest of the basement. I have no idea what it was, but I slept with the light on the next few nights. It scared the hell out of me.

    Last night, I watched a show on TLC about sleep paralysis and people who have similar experiences, some with actual physical damage from it (cuts and scars). It hasn't happened since then (about 6 years ago), but everytime I think about it I get the shivers.
  • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @04:34PM (#2504191) Homepage
    This is the very worst horror [] story.
  • Real ghost story (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Flounder ( 42112 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @04:34PM (#2504192)
    OK, here's my story. At my last job, I was sysadmin at an auto recycling plant (not your mom and pop pick-u-part places, much much bigger.). Office space attached to a huge warehouse surrounded by about 60 acres of totalled cars. Some cars come in with blood stains still on the interior of the car.

    Anywho, I would work late nights alot, being the only person in the whole complex. Almost every night I ever stayed there, I heard things. Indistinct voices down the hall. Doors opening and closing. Footsteps walking across rooms. I'd stand up to see what was happening, instantly all sound would stop.

    Now for the doozy. One night, working late. It had been raining, but had stopped. Usual footsteps, voices in the background. After a few hours of this, heard some very loud footsteps walking through an adjoining office. Walked into the office and across the carpet, from one side of the room to another, wet footprints of some sort of work boot. Started in the middle of one wall, walked straight across the room to the other side, through two cubicle walls, to the other wall. No doorways anywhere near the footprints. One print actually was underneath a cubicle wall, half the print on either side. These prints were not there minutes earlier. Needless to say, I was a bit freaked out, left the work unfinished and went home.

    Talked to the boss about it the next morning. The prints were gone before anybody else saw them, but I pointed out where the prints were. Turns out where the footprints ended at the walls, there used to be doorways there before they remodeled and added the office space.

  • There's Infocom's excellent text adventure The Lurking Horror [], which is a horror story based on G.U.E. Tech [] (Great Dome, anyone?). It is an excellent story, and it can get scary as hell as you play it.

    You can download it here [] (direct link []), as well as pretty much all of Infocom's adventures. You can also find these [] high-quality scans of the manuals that came with original Infocom games very helpful -- you should always read them before actually playing the game, as you'll discover with The Lurking Horror.

    Sidenote: in order to play these games, you'll need something like frotz []. Good luck.
  • by bstrahm ( 241685 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @04:59PM (#2504326) Homepage
    So I was walking around the building late one night (probabaly after 1 or so) and I see a coworker and say hello before ducking into the bathroom...

    While I was "relieving" myself, I realized that he had been struck and killed by a train about a month ago... Good thing I was already in the bathroom...

  • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:04PM (#2504350) Homepage
    Submitted for your approval... Eddie Smith, an altogether unimpressive specimen of manhood and of mankind. Never one to broaden his own horizons, Eddie will take a trip tonight; A trip that will find his world expanded beyond anything that he has known before; A trip into... The Geek Zone."

    Eddie worked at Fry's. It was an OK job he guessed, except when people asked him tough questions. Questions like, "Where are the car stereo?" and "Do you think this 2 GHz P4 is fast enough to run Microsoft Word?" Some days he found himself wishing to return to his old job at Burger King.

    One day while trying to avoid customers back in the storage area of the warehouse, Eddie found himself lost in a maze of cartons. Upon turning a corner, he found himself faced by a monitor having a window holding the message:

    Free P0rn!!!!
    Click here for a good time!

    Underneath this was a button that said only, "Enter".

    "All right!" thought Eddie, "Free p0rn!"

    He grabbed the mouse sitting beside the monitor and clicked...

    Eddie found himself standing in a room with hundres of monitors. In the one directly in front of him he saw the monitor where he had stood only a moment ago. "Oh fuck," thought Eddie, "this must be the security area."

    Suddenly a voice boomed behind him, "I am the Great SysMin."

    "Huh?" said Eddie, turning around.

    "I said, I am the Great SysMin!" said a tall man in a turban, "Your not very quick, are you?"

    "Then this isn't security?" asked Eddie.

    "No, not very quick at all," said the SysMin, rolling his eyes, "Look kid, this is where I live. I am the Great SysMin. I used to be a genie until they got rid of the lamp schtick. But we got a good union. the had management retrain us on this new equipment and... Well, we're back."

    "A genie?" asked Eddie, "Like Aladdin and shit?"

    That's SysMin to you, boy -- Great SysMin. Now I got a meeting to get to in twenty minutes, solet's cut to the chase."

    Eddie interjected, "I know! I know! I get three wishes!"

    "Can you just shut up?" asked the SysMin, "first of all, you don't get three wishes any more. Management said it was costing too much. What you get now is one click."

    "One click?, asked Eddie, "What the hell is that?"

    The Great Gen^H^H^HSysMin pointed to a gold encased monitor. Sitting in front of it were a keyboard and mouse whose buttons were jewels. "Here's the scoop," said the SysMin, "You get to use the mouse to select a web site. The left one goes forward, the right one goes back, and the middle button puts you into the site,"

    "Puts you into the site?" questioned Eddie.

    "Yes," said the SysMin, "Puts you into the site. You get to live there forever."

    "Wow!" thought Eddie, "This could be great!

    The Sysmin said, "In order to facilitate your search, may I help you select a site?"


    "No, not very quick at all," muttered the SysMin as he added, "What kind of sites do you want to look at"

    "P0rn!" yelled Eddie, "The hottest, nastiest p0rn out there!"

    The Sysmin sighed, "They always want p0rn. Just once I wish one of them would choose Congress. But...".

    The SysMin led Eddie to the machine and set him in front of it. Eddie clicked the forward button time and time again. A plethora of beautiful young ladies flashed before his eyes. Blonde, brunette, redheads; old and young; partially or totally unclothed; many performing acts that... well, acts that would make Eddie's mother blush.

    And suddenly, Eddie stopped, staring transfixed at the screen. Displayed there was the most beautiful woman that Eddie had ever seen. Flame red hair and liquid green eyes shone out at him. Her lips were ruby and perfectly formed. Clothed in only her own glory, her legs didn't seem to stop until they reached the most magnificent chest Eddie had ever seen.

    "That's the one!" exclaimed Eddie, "She's it!"

    "Amanda, " sighed the SysMin, "They all choose Amanda.

    "Are you sure you have chosen wisely?" asked the SysMin, "What is done will never be undone."

    "Yes, I'm sure! I'm sure!" shouted Eddie, "Send me there!"

    The Sysmin said, "Then click the middle button and your dream will come true."

    Maybe it was the fatigue from clicking the mouse so many times, and maybe it was the tension of anticipation that caused it. Eddie had just a moment to see that his finger had glanced the left mouse button before it finally landed on the middle one. With a quick glance at the screen, Eddie screamed in horror as he realized that he would not be with his beautiful Amanda throughout all eternity, but instead would be here [].

    His screams echoed and died away, mixed with the SysMin's chuckled voice, "Oh, yes. They always pick Amanda..."

    It is said that one should never accept gifts from SysMins, for there is always a high price to be paid. A price that Eddie Smith would be tightly stretched [] to pay. His price? A one-way ticket to his own hellish corner of "The Geek Zone..."

  • At my previous job we had a hodepodge intranet of Convex supercomputers, PCs and Macs. Each of us at a minimum had a PC and a Mac in our office.

    This one guy named Jim could not get his Windows 3.1 PC to work. The darn thing was the most insane collection of parts that the OEM could throw at us, and it crashed almost every time you booted it up. Once Jim got it booted, he'd leave it that way as long as possible. Jim always had a supernatural Pauli field -- every machine he touched started malfunctioning in some way -- but this PC was never more than barely functional.

    I was the sysadmin of the network, and so it was I who found that computer all over the logs for our office. The insane PC had been trying to log into every computer on our network, including the supercomputers, with the username/password combo of 'root root'.

    Needless to say, we checked that thing with a fine toothed comb. No viruses, no software running. Jim swore he knew nothing about the hack attempts. This was before we were attached to the internet, so there were no intrusions. We reformatted the drive, and a week later the PC started trying to hack our network again. That's when I told Jim to dismantle the thing and I'd get him another PC.

    But that's not the weirdest thing I ever saw from computers Jim touched. The weirdest was when our Convex supercomputer -- again, unconnected to the internet -- started sending the word 'Jim' written in banner images twenty ASCII high to Jim's workstation. Again, he swore he knew nothing about it. I didn't even know 'banner' was installed on Convex UNIX. Fortunately this oddness only happened twice and then stopped. If I were forced to find the cause I don't think I would have succeeded.

  • by Psmylie ( 169236 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:38PM (#2504529) Homepage
    In a supernatural sense, at least. I was riding my bicycle late at night (It was about 2:00 am) and I was on a road with almost no lights. However, I did have one of those friction-powered lights on my bike, the kind that runs off of your front wheel.
    I was riding past a graveyard, and just had time to think about how bad it would be to be walking past this instead of riding, when I ran over something in the road. Both of the tires on my bike blew, and I fell half sideways. As the glow faded from my light, I could just make out a tombstone with "Eternal Rest" written on it.
    I remember thinking that this was how many horror movies started out. I don't think I EVER walked as fast in my life as I did the rest of the way home.
  • by ocie ( 6659 )
    "Ghost in the machine"
    "kill -9"
    "terminal madness"
    "the curse of the zombie process"

    Anyway, here is my story:

    It was a dark and stormy night at an engineering school not unlike
    this. The wind was howling and the branches of the trees tapped against
    the windows. I had just powered on my terminal and settled in for an
    evening of working on a programming assignment. The assignment was due
    the next morning, but I thought I'd have plenty of time to finish.

    After an hour or two, I had just finished the first draft of the code
    and it was time to compile. I guess everyone else had waited until the
    last minute too, because the compiler was running very slowly (good
    thing I saved the compile results to a file). After what seemed like
    ages, it had finished with only 666 warnings and 13 errors. I got up to
    make myself some ramen to eat while I was debugging the code. The
    lights flickered for a second and then came back. Fortunately, the
    computer I was using was still up and running.

    The first compile error I saw in the results file was the following:

    /var/tmp/ccsfAMEG.o: In function `main':
    /var/tmp/ccsfAMEG.o(.text+0x10): undefined reference to `kill_user'

    That was at the same time ominous and a bit confusing because I don't
    remember using that symbol name. I thought I'd search my files just to
    make sure:

    % grep kill_user *.[ch]

    No matches. That was strange. I always liked to deal with the compile
    errors in the same order that the compiler gave them to me, but I
    thought I'd go on and come back to this first one later. When I went
    back to view the compile results, I noticed that the error had changed.
    It now said:

    /var/tmp/ccsfAMEG.o: In function `main':
    /var/tmp/ccsfAMEG.o(.text+0x10): undefined reference to `free_buff'

    Of course, I recognized that symbol as the name of one of my functions,
    but before I could go edit the source to see what was wrong, The screen
    started showing strange characters:

    % ~#!!~~~!~~~!~~!~!

    Damn, line noise, or someone being cute with the dorm's terminal server.
    Either way, I thought I'd best go down to the terminal room. It's a
    good thing it's open to students all day. I grabbed my backpack and
    threw in some CDs for good measure and headed down to the computer
    science building.

    I didn't make it more than about 20 yards before I realized it was
    really cold and I'd better go back and change into some jeans and a
    sweater instead of my normal shorts and t-shirt. I got back in my room,
    and as I was looking for my sweater, the lights flickered and then went
    out. Well, I'd have to go to the terminal room now. Fortunately, I had
    a flashlight and was able to grab my sweater and head down to the
    terminal room.

    I ran the whole way there, because I figured it would be very crowded.
    As I turned the corner and saw the lights on in the building, I was
    relieved that the power would still be on in the terminal room. I
    entered the building and was about to take off my sweater when I
    realized that it was extremely cold inside. Not only that, but the
    building was completely deserted. I made it to the terminal room, which
    was also empty and even colder than the rest of the building.

    I duct taped some cardboard over the AC vents and sat myself in the
    corner next to the hard drives and the line printer. Hopefully that
    will keep me warm.

    I logged in and started up the CD player. I always listened to
    instrumental classical music when programming because there were no
    lyrics to distract me. 'Pictures at an exhibition' was just starting as
    I logged in. The system login script told me:

    Welcome to the computing cluster, you have -559084514 new messages

    Funny. I thought I'd take just a second to mail the sysadmins and let
    them know something was funny with their login script. But wait, that's
    a funny number. Let's see:

    (gdb) p/x -559084514
    $1 = 0xdead0c1e

    That ain't good. I quickly sent of the email and got back to the
    project. The computer was even slower than before, so I figured I'd
    better do as many fixes as I could before recompiling. After I had
    finished my edits, I started the compile, then I went to the soda
    machine to pick up some caffeine.

    I was bummed out that the machine was empty. On the way back, I heard
    some strange scratching noises coming from the machine room. I had been
    in the room before, but I wasn't on the sysadmin staff, so I didn't know
    the combination for the door.

    But I did have my student ID card and the door looked easy to jimmy open.
    When I got inside, I was met by a knee-deep pile of backup tape strewn
    around the room. Lights were blinking everywhere, and the smell of
    burning resistors hung in the air. I followed the scratching sound back
    into a corner I had never seen before, and couldn't believe what I saw.

    It was one of those old "washing machine" type disk drives that held a
    million bytes and cost almost a million dollars. These guys don't throw
    anything out do they? Then I heard the scratching noise again, followed
    by a faint moaning. "help me" it said, "I'm trapped". I don't know
    what I was thinking, but I pushed the unload disk button.

    The lights in the room flickered again getting slightly brighter and the
    disk shuddered to a stop. The lid opened and a hand reached out and
    grabbed my arm. I screamed, and then noticed that I was back in the
    terminal room. The line printer had woken me up.

    "Can you look at this error with me?" One of my classmates asked. He
    always printed this stuff out before asking for help. "Sure I said",
    and rubbing my eyes, I looked at his printout:

    /var/tmp/ccsfAGRE.o: In function `main':
    /var/tmp/ccsfAGRE.o(.text+0x40): undefined reference to `kill_user'

  • psssttt? (Score:4, Funny)

    by burtonator ( 70115 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @05:49PM (#2504578)
    OK. This is a true story. Some of the other ones seem made up.

    Anyway. I was at the office at around 11:00.

    There are about 20 other machines around me. Some workstations. Some servers.

    I am deep into a Zen state, hacking on code and rebuilding our mail server when I hear this noise...


    so I look around don't see anything.
    strange... maybe too much coffee.

    Start trying to debug again.

    Ten minutes later.


    OK... I know I heard that one. Stand up... say "mat??" nothing.


    hack on more code.


    "OK... who the hell is thhat!"

    I walk out into the hall. NOTHING!

    The hair on the back of my neck is now standing at attention. Very spooky.

    Ten minutes later


    I stand up... run out of the door and run around the whole office trying to find out who is doing this to me.


    I am the only person in the whole office.

    I am standing up next to my desk... thinking about this...


    It is coming from the workstation next to me.

    My stupid friend Alan configured his e-mail to say
    "psst..." when a new message arived.

    As I was fixing the SMTP server, new messages were getting droped into his email and were being popped off every ten minutes thus scaring the hell out of me!

  • A story of my own... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @06:00PM (#2504636) Homepage
    I swear this is true - I wish I were making it up...

    My system is rather set up wierd - I have two tower systems underneath a 6 foot folding table, 19 inch monitor to one side, keyboard, hub, KVM switch, printer, scanner - and various other things.

    Now, this setup is out in the middle of the floor - all the wires are laying along the back, in a loose bundle. For power, and my network connection (which goes to a back room in the house), I run the wires up and along the ceiling, then down to the outlets (the wires are bundled in cable split-loom tubing). Anyhow, my speakers are on the wall, up high, each near the corner of the room directly across from me. The sub is down low, all is connected through a garage sale stereo (with tape deck etc - hooked up to allow me to make MP3s of old tapes a friend and I recorded in HS, another story). They are wired together well - using normal connectors - except for the wire between the speakers (one is amped, and drives the other on the other end of the wall) - which is soldered well, of 12 gauge stranded wire.

    Anyhow, all this is hooked up to my SuSE Linux system, running ALSA, so I can play my MP3s and whatnot through XMMS. It works well, and has good sound (not the best, but adequate for my needs). Pretty, though - it isn't - rat's nest would be a better word for it.

    Anyhow, I am sitting there late one night, just browsing around, doing a little Perl coding, and the like. Not playing any music. Nobody else is in the house, so it is pretty quiet...

    I hear a sound - like somebody talking. But in the attic? Or - maybe it is coming from the speakers. I can tell it is a human voice. But I can't understand it. I get closer, wait for it again - there! - but even though I am right next to the speaker, all I can tell is that it is a man's voice - nothing more.

    It sorta sounds like speech - but I don't know what it is. Scared the shit out of me the first time it occurred - thought it was in the attic - because our attic is open on the sides (to allow air to blow through - you gotta see this house we rent), and anyone could climb up into the attic if they were inclined enough.

    I don't know what it is - but it only comes through when the speakers are on (if everything is unplugged from the computer and stereo - but the speakers are on, it will still happen). I have theorized that it is simply radio interference - except it doesn't sound like a radio broadcast. I have thought it might be walkie-talkies from construction, or CB radio - but this is at night, and while we have construction going on around us, as well as a nearby rock quarry - they are both shut-down at night...

    Of course - it doesn't help that both me and my SO have seen some strange shit in the house (doors openning and closing on thier own, appliances, TVs, and lights turning on and off spontaneously, we even have some funky pictures taken last halloween - in that case, there is the "ghost fog" streaked through the image of one of our guests we were taking pics of, but the guest pics taken before and after that guest, in the same spot - do not show the streaks, and it was done with the same camera, not more than a few minutes apart).

    I am not making this up - and everyone here knows that I am a pretty rational and intelligent individual, or at least I hope. My rational side says that there is a good explanation for it - and indeed - for most of the things that happen, there is. But some of the things I have seen (as well as some of the things my SO has seen which I hadn't, but I have no reason to doubt her veracity) - let's just say it stretches the mind.

    Anybody up for a real haunted house Halloween?
    • Reminds me of something I did back at school. I was sitting in my apartment, logged in on my own linux machine as well as remotely to one of our lab machines, and I wanted to start up XMMS to play some music.

      Of course, I seriously abuse screen, and it's very easy to mix up what terminal is what. So I start up XMMS, and get no sound. After some poking my equipment for a few seconds, and realizing what I had done, I kill XMMS and start it up again locally. All is well.

      When I get into work the next day, my officemate says something to the effect of, "Dude, it was really weird. Your computer is possesed or something. Yesterday I was just sitting here working, and your computer started BLASTING music for like 10 seconds, and then stopped." I almost died laughing. Wish I remembered what song it was.

      Not on Halloween, but funny. Maybe a subtle friend was playing audio from your machine remotely? :)

  • by ryanwright ( 450832 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2001 @06:06PM (#2504658)
    Not a ghost story, but I scared the hell out of a girl in the CS lab at my local college many years ago. They were running Netware & Windows 3.1, and I thought it would be fun to harass someone. I did a "whoami" on my omputer and the one next to me, then sent a few test messages to figure out how the rest of the users in the lab were named. Pretty basic stuff: lab304. lab305. lab306. I counted computers and deduced the name of the account the gal across from me was using, then started sending messages.

    I started with, "Hello". She stopped typing, looked at her screen for a second, figured out how to clear the message and went on typing her essay, love letter, or whatever it was. Not much of a reaction...

    "I can see you." Again, nothing. She just cleared the message. Damnit. What does a guy have to do to get a reaction around here?!

    "Why are you ignoring me?" This time she stopped, looked around the room a little, then resumed working.

    "Whom are you looking for? I can still see you." She ignored this one.

    "You're wearing (insert color of her clothes, I forget what they were but I described them for her), and you have a black jacket on the back of your chair." She immediately stood up and began scanning the room with a worried look on her face.

    "Sit down. NOW." She did.

    "If you don't want to get hurt I suggest you do exactly as I say. Eject the disk from your computer, NOW." The poor girl was trembling. She was scared out of her mind - it was hilarious. She ejected the disk as fast as she could.

    "Good. Now, stay put. I will be there in 20 seconds." She got up, grabbed her books and RAN out of the lab as fast as she could!

    Looking back, I almost feel bad, but it was worth it to see the expression on her face. I never saw her in the CS lab again...
  • Back in college, Oct '94, I pulled a prank on my roommate that's probably more common today (I would think.)

    I set up my 486/66 tower to blast the movie theme song from Halloween at full volume, and flash my 14" monitor between black and orange at like 3Hz, when the mouse detected movement. I coded this hack in x86 assembler (when it was cool to waste your time with DOS, DMA, mode-x, etc., at low-level).

    I unscrewed the lightbulb to keep it dark in the room, and placed the mouse trap (pun!)gently on top of the answering machine that I knew my roommate would check when he got back.

    I waited in the dark like a poser for about an hour, then left for a party because he didn't show ontime.

    The next day he said something like, "yeah, you got me bad. I had to turn your computer off."

    Okay... not the best story. :)

  • Within a realm of dark and gloom
    Stood the cold unopened tome
    With symbols strange and runes abnormal
    beaconed things far from formal

    Chosen once; beyond the tatter
    it wasn't such a simple matter
    But with the turn of a few pages
    I had found the wisdom of the ages

    A simple script; instead of masses
    to parse the data into classes
    to learn the magic through the channel
    of a book on perl (the camel).

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Thursday November 01, 2001 @03:45AM (#2506091) Journal
    Oh Magic 8-ball, am I going to die soon?
    Without A Doubt

    Will I die peacefully?
    Don't Count on It

    Will I be murdered?
    It is Certain

    My God! Is the killer already in my house?
    You may rely on it

    Can I do something to prevent this?
    Very Doubtful

    Couldn't I just call the police?
    The Lines Are Cut

    Wait a minute! You shouldn't . . .

    Will I die a horific death? []





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