A Haunting at Department

Sarah Daniels - 10/11/2023

When you find yourself alone at the VFW Department of Michigan Headquarters building, you may hear footsteps, doors slamming, or unexplainable noises that send a chill down your spine.

It is well known among the VFW and VFW Auxiliary staff that a presence lingers at 924 N Washington Ave. in Lansing, Michigan. Encounters with this mysterious…thing have occurred repeatedly, leaving some afraid to stay after hours, and others growing used to the company.

"We have a ghost,” said VFW Michigan Administrative Assistant Amanda Lipocky, who has also worked in the building for nearly 28 years. "I’ve never felt threatened, but whatever it is, it reveals itself when you are alone in the building.”

VFW Michigan Bookkeeper Jan Passmore has reported a presence behind her multiple times, believing another person walked into the building, but no one has ever entered.

"It's like a shadow,” she said. "I’m getting chills just talking about it.”

Sandi Onstwedder, VFW Michigan Auxiliary Secretary, comes into the building earlier than the rest of the staff, which is when she hears most of the strange activity. She’s grown accustomed to slamming doors and unexplainable sounds down the hallway, but once, a male voice spoke from her desk printer, that spooks her to this day. Sandi now has a new printer.

"The first couple times the noises freaked me out, but I’ve gotten used to it,” she said. "The voice from my printer jarred me. I don’t ever feel like I’m alone here.”

There are some theories of who or what this presence could be. One, is an old quartermaster that frequently slept in the office to avoid his long drive home, and his spirit lingered in his second home after his death. 

Another theory is that the presence stayed after the demolition of a residential home, which made way for the construction of the headquarters building in 1968.

But these are only theories. There is no concrete evidence pointing to the identity or origin of the supposed spirit, but VFW Auxiliary Treasurer Nicole Koutz says she believes the ghost can communicate simple things, like telling her to leave when mysterious banging intensifies late at night. 

"I don’t know what it is, but I walk around the building to see if anyone is there, no one ever is,” she said. "I hear the elevator moving on its own the most. When it gets to be 7-8 pm at night, I feel like it's telling me to leave.” 

Whoever, or whatever the thing is haunting the department, none of the staff have felt intimidated or threatened by it, and have grown to accept it as part of working at the office.



A satirical reflection by Author/Artist Phil Fehrenbacher

Phil enlisted in the Army in 1965 where you served for years in Vietnam.  He became a graphic designer and has worked for the state of Oregon for 26 years.  He retired in 2003 and started the Cartoon "In-Country".  The cartoons reflect his experiences during his tour of duty in South Vietnam.

There is a new cartoon everyday.