Thursday, September 8, 2011

Toys "R" Us Toy Demonstrations by a Ghost

Many believe that only buildings can be haunted and that the likely cause is a person’s death on the premises. There are a great percentage of hauntings that can be categorized under these circumstances, but it is also possible that a person can be attached to the land. This leads us to the unfortunate and heartbreaking story of Johnny Johnson.

Johnny Johnson (or Yonny Yohanson) was a young Scandinavian immigrant who was studying for the ministry in the late 1800s. One summer he took a job working on the farm of wealthy landowner Martin Murphy, Jr. in Sunnyvale California. It is said that at some point during his employment with Murphy he contracted encephalitis, which caused brain damage. Johnson never completed his ministry study and stayed on as a hired hand due to his mental impairment.

Not long after Johnson began working on the farm, Beth, one of Murphy’s daughters caught his eye. He was devastated when he discovered that Beth would be leaving to wed a wealthy banker back east. His story is typical of unrequited love, but his story does not end happily.

One summer day, Johnson was in the orchard cutting wood when the axe slipped and hit him in the leg. The wound was deep and he lost a great deal of blood. He attempted to make his way back to the house, but in his attempt to summon help, he bled to death. The year was 1884.

Fast forward to 1970, where a 60,000 square foot Toys ‘R Us is built on what was once the Murphy farm. Soon after the store opened, the employees began reporting some strange occurrences. The sound of whispering, laughing and even sobbing could faintly be heard through the dark isles. The incidents became even more frightening as employees names were being said over the intercom, when no one was in that area. The message “The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away…” was broadcast from the speakers one night when an employee was closing the store.

Physical manipulation would also take place. Lights would turn on and off, dolls that did not talk suddenly talked, and toys and boxes were tossed in the aisles. Employees spied a shadow out of the corner of their eyes on many occasions and the women employees would not enter the bathroom alone because the faucets would turn on and off by themselves.

Sylvia Browne, a well-known psychic and author, visited the story in 1984 with a film crew from “That’s Incredible” to converse with the ghost and attempt to influence him to cross over. Johnson refused, citing that he did not believe he was deceased. Browne described Johnson’s state as confused and very sad. The encounter was captured with an infrared camera and produced a most astounding picture. Behind the crowd, you can see a young man leaning against some shelves with his hands in his pockets.                                                                

Johnson became unsettled when Browne spoke of his death and  went so far as to tell her that if she mentioned that fact that he was dead ever again, he would stop talking to her. Browne stopped, and Johnson remains there. One can only speculate why Johnson, a man of faith, is choosing not to cross over. Does he think he is still alive? Is he confused because of his mental condition? Is Johnson waiting for Beth to return?

This is an example of a haunting of a building that was secondary to the haunting of the land. From the spirit’s perspective, Johnson views the store as an infringement of his territory. When researching a haunting, it is important to not only learn about the homeowners, but also the history of the land.

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