; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, August 26, 2022

More 'Weird Customer' Encounters Described by Employees (Part 2)


Business employees describe their strange encounters with unusual customers. There are references to pumpkin heads, sudden outbursts, and a ghost of a former employee. I truly believe that people and their idiosyncrasies can, in some cases, be much stranger than the paranormal:

"I work at a gas station convenience store, and this happened last night. I'm going to remember what I can, but I thought it was worth a post here simply because of how strange it was.

This happened about 8:30pm-ish. I had recently come off my break, it was just over halfway through my shift, and I was feeling unusually energetic. I was watching the front counter, with my co-worker restocking drinks in our store's fridges. It's about then that I notice them.

It's two young guys, ambling around outside the store. For some reason, they're wearing pumpkins on their heads. Actual pumpkins, carved eyes and mouths in them, and one of them not fitting quite right over one of their heads. The other has a strange-looking and very long stalk, which unfortunately is not quite what it seems. That they were walking back and forth around the entrance was unsettling enough (though in hindsight I think they might have been drunk or something), but before too long they entered the store.

They continue wandering around the store, just doing their own thing, and I (as well as my coworker and the other customers present) are giving them odd looks. That "strange stalk" doesn't look natural anymore, and I start to fear that it might be a knife. I'm robbed of my voice, however, only barely managing to help the customers that come up to the counter and check out their purchases. Then, the two come up with only a soda to purchase. That's when I get a closer look at these horrific monstrosities.

It was unsettling enough that they were wearing pumpkins like helmets, but now that I could see them up close I could feel 5-alarm fire bells ringing in my head. Possibly literally -- jaggedly lining the mouths and the eyes, there were matchheads. Lots of them, to the point where the pumpkins would likely explode into a ball of flame if just a single spark ignited one of them. As if to make my heart race more, the "strange stalk" from earlier drops from one guy's head and onto the counter. It is indeed a knife -- a large hunting knife. I had initially thought it was an 8-9" blade, but looking back it was probably 6" of wide, rusty-looking hunter's knife. I almost couldn't keep it together for the rest of the transaction after that, fearing that I was about to be robbed, stabbed, or possibly both in the face of these now positively psychotic-looking individuals.

But, the reason I can talk about this peacefully is that they simply bought their single bottle of soda and left. It didn't stop me from shaking for the rest of the shift and going into an anxiety attack at some point, but this is the first terrifying experience I've had as a retail employee, and it's one I hope never gets repeated. At least I'll have an interesting story to share with the night-shift co-worker when I see him on Saturday.

I'm still wondering why they had the matches in the pumpkins though, and strangely I think this encounter would have been less unsettling if they weren't there (if only slightly). I also hope those two don't end up on the news for something screwed up later, but we'll see.

There are some real weirdos out there. I'm lucky that, this time, these specters haunting my place of work only wanted a soda. This time." TN


"I used to work at a now-defunct Chicago area convenience store on the overnight shift.

Almost every night this really short and crazy wild-eyed woman with short disheveled black hair would come into the store. She would get a small coffee and a pack of smokes.

You could tell she was just out of it and never said much if anything at all, but she would always have to pay either in change she literally dumped on the counter or in dollar bills she would roll up into little balls.

I never said anything because there was just something about her, a vibe that let you know she was really crazy and possibly dangerous.

So one night she came in and did the same and exited the store. As the door closed behind her she suddenly whipped around and kicked the door open and I mean fully open, and it was one of those doors that had some weight to it, hard to do that.

She comes into the store again and she literally has spit all around her mouth and her eyes look like she is possessed by some creature out of a horror film.

She points her finger at me in rage and screams: "And you got me pregnant you son of a b*tch!!"

Now this store was right across the street from one of the hospitals in the Chicago area that takes all the shooting victims. I have had ten gang members from Englewood in the store by myself at like two AM and never really got 'shook.'

But this lady freaked me out to no end. The next cop that came in for coffee I asked about the lady and he said she lived down the street from the store and when she was off her meds she got really crazy and she had a history with them, including assaulting an officer before too.

Only saw her a couple times after that and eventually, she faded away...

I have TONS of these, like the woman who came into the store wrapped in a sheet and did not know what year it was, a bum I let sit in the store who would scream about god, a man when I worked at a drug chain who would come in and stack rubber balls on the floor to take photos of them in the black and white film he bought there and one drunk chick who decided to pee right outside the door when she could not use the washroom because of where it is located...and plenty more lol." TS


"I used to work at a pharmacy in a small town, so we sell a bunch of other non-pharmacy-related items so I'm counting this as retail? This story may not sound that scary to anyone else, but at the time I was young and terrified.

I worked at the counter serving people and processing their transactions etc. I was using scissors to cut up paper that we write people's details on. In the middle of this, a man comes to the counter, so I place my scissors down to talk to him. I don't remember what he wanted, but all I remember is he picked up my scissors, and was swinging them around wildly. At the time I was around 16, and wasn't very tall. So I'm feeling quite threatened as this fully grown man is just flinging a pair of scissors around. Of course, my first thought is that has going to hurt me.

I'm trying to keep my composure and have a calm conversation with this man, all the while I'm thinking he's going to launch the scissors into my face. The only two other people that were working with me were busy and didn't really seem to notice the scissor-swinging dude. I was too, shocked and scared to try and get them to help me. Apparently he just liked twirling scissors around because he got bored and put them down without incident. I quickly put them away and try to help this man with whatever he needed to be could leave as ASAP. I never left scissors on the counter again." PP


"Mike seemed like a good enough guy: friendly; did a decent job. Liked to arrange the newspapers so they looked really good instead of just popping them on the shelf like the rest of us. But sometimes he was a bit... well, the wheel was turning, but the hamster was probably dead.

One morning, I came in and Mike was seriously freaked out. The story he told was that it was that time around 3am when it was too late for the stoners and too early for the hunters and people headed to work, so generally no one came in. Plus it was snowing, so it was dead. But a little old lady came in and bought something that no one goes out at 3am in the snow for. A bag of chips or a pack of gum or something.

So Mike made some small talk, and asked her if she had a long way home since she'd apparently walked. (That does seem weird, doesn't it? A little old lady walking to the store for gum at 3am in the snow?)

She laughed: "It's a long way back to heaven," she said.

Mike rang her up and she left.

Now, the way the store was set up, the cashiers were in a U-shaped area enclosed by a counter, deli case, and oven/proof box, and the front door was on the wall opposite the closed end of the U. So as the lady left, Mike went to the back of the U so he could go around to the door and look outside. I think he said he had wanted to see which direction she went, but it was snowy, so he might have just gone to see if the snow was sticking yet.

It wasn't a long walk to the front of the store, but apparently, it was long enough for the lady to vanish without a trace.

Mike spent the rest of the shift terrified and convinced he'd seen an angel. And for some reason that scared the hell out of him. (Okay, I don't believe in that stuff, but if you do... isn't an angel one of the good guys? Why would you be afraid of an angel?)

Sadly, the camera wasn't on that night. It might have been fun to see what "angels" look like on videotape.

My boss was convinced it was a long-time employee' Phyllis' who had passed away a few months earlier. When Mike left a few weeks later, the midnight profits went up in a way that suggested maybe he'd been stealing, so my boss thought 'Phyllis' might have been warning him that she was watching.

I thought an old lady had wanted gum or chips or whatever. Still, it made for an interesting morning." DL

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W.T. Watson is a coffee addict and writer of both fiction and non-fiction. He infuses his work with his expertise in cryptozoology, monster lore, magic, Forteana, and the paranormal. He brings a unique shamanic and magical perspective to all of his work after over 30 years of exploration of these topics. When he is not writing or reading about monsters, he can be found outdoors allowing his dogs to take him for a walk around his neighbourhood in Kitchener, Ontario. He lives with his spouse, Stacey, in a townhome that would be jammed with books if it weren’t for e-readers.

Travis recently published a book with Beyond the Fray Publishing entitled “Canadian Monsters & Mysteries.”

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