The Graveyard Shift
October 29, 2019
Yes, it’s that time of year when radio stations across the country start playing the usual suspects – Thriller, The Monster Mash, Don’t Fear the Reaper – and I’m ready to enjoy the goosebumps that Vincent Price’s maniacal laughter raises. While we enjoy the annual ritual of these “spooky” classics, we’re reassured by our knowledge that there’s no such thing as ghosts. But perhaps that’s not as true as we might think – especially in a few radio stations that have reported some interesting phenomenon. And as you might suspect, many of these occurrences took place with DJs working the graveyard shift alone. Here are some of their stories.
1360 WIXI-AM, Jasper, AL
This “party blues and oldies” station had no paranormal issues until the station relocated its studio in 1975 to a house that had been owned by Mercury car dealer George Vines. According to many radio station personnel, George never left the building. As Pamela Decker, a DJ who worked there in the ‘90s tells it in the book Stories from the Haunted South by Alan Brown, George’s repertoire included doors opening and shutting, window blinds and door knobs rattling, toilets flushing, and lights turning themselves off and on. And George liked to be noticed. Decker soon realized that if she tried to ignore the audio occurrences, George would switch to visual. “It started out with a shadow passing by the door … I could make out that he appeared to be wearing a red jacket. He’d swing his arms as if he was walking in a swift gait back and forth down the hall. And it didn’t stop until I turned my head and looked up and down the hallway and acknowledged his presence.”
On at least one occasion, Decker’s “visitor” was witnessed by others. One night shortly after she began working for the station, her sister drove by and saw, through the control room window, that a man was standing behind Decker while she worked. When her sister later related this, Decker admitted that her “blood ran cold” since she knew she had been alone at the time.
97.7 WRMX-FM, Beaverton, MI
While this classic hits station is now a satellite-feed, back in the ‘80s they were known as WGEO, with live broadcasts/ethnic programming. Deciding to do live promotions, the station purchased an RV. Almost immediately poltergeist activity was noted in and around the vehicle, and people reported seeing phantom children. There isn’t much more to add here as the RV was very quickly gotten rid of. Hmm, wonder why?
1260 KLYC-AM, McMinnville, OR
In the ‘90s Tim King was the news director for this small station. It was his job to open up the studio at 6:00 am each morning, which required him to “warm up the plates” for 15 minutes prior to switching on the transmitter. During this time, he worked in the rack room where the broadcast controls were located. Each morning as he went about his start-up routine, he “would see a person or an object moving in my periphery … but whenever I would look up to see it, nothing was there.” Despite this eerie occurrence, King noted that the rest of the day was pleasant with no hint of any paranormal experiences.
According to the website, Arcane Radio Trivia, KLYC relocated its broadcast tower in 2000 and the former studio building is now a daycare facility. No word on if the children have any “imaginary” friends.
Pye Vintage Radio
So we’re safe as long as we’re not a DJ working the graveyard shift, right? Well … maybe not. It is possible for a radio itself to be haunted. At least that’s what multiple people report about a vintage radio at the RAF Montrose Air Station in Scotland, which is now a Scottish heritage site. In 2010, volunteers at the museum were startled when an old Pye valve wireless radio (used in a re-creation of a 1940s room) began broadcasting World War II-era transmissions and music – sometimes for up to 30 minutes straight. And did we mention it was on display and not hooked up to any power source?
This has occurred on multiple occasions, and the radio seems to enjoy Glenn Miller and speeches by Winston Churchill. Technicians who have examined the radio found it full of dust and spider webs. In addition, it lacks key parts and wouldn’t work even if it were plugged in. But maybe it’s to be expected. The RAF base is often mentioned as one of the most haunted places in Great Britain. Sometimes you just go with the flow – even if you’re an unplugged, broken-down display piece.
So my advice for this Halloween when it comes to radio, enjoy the music but avoid the graveyard shift. And if you can’t avoid it, let us know if you hear anything that goes bump in the night!
-Barbara Krebs, Quality Assurance
Haunted Places: The National Directory by Dennis William Hauck.