Early in Shakespeare’s ”Hamlet,” the title character says to his best friend Horatio after they encounter the ghost of Hamlet’s father that there’s more in Heaven and on Earth than is contained in his (Horatio’s) philosophy.
This version of Mercer Memories will be dedicated to those reported instances where strange unexplainable circumstances have been reported. I’m not placing value judgements here. I’m just compiling instances.
My inspiration for this column came from a phone call I received from retired Mercer County Sheriff’s Department deputy Wardell Wilborn about unusual circumstances on Oct. 29 while he was working security during early voting at the courthouse.
Before then, though, he’d went through another experience while still on active duty with the MCSD.
“I was working midnight shift with another deputy and we were doing paperwork. He finished and was preparing to go on patrol and I said that I’d be out as soon as I finished. I watched him go out the door. Shortly afterwards, I saw a figure walk by the door and I thought it was him. I asked if he forgot something but didn’t get an answer,” he said.
Wilborn then went around the various rooms of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department law enforcement office checking for anyone but without success.
“I checked the records room, the workout room and nobody was there. I even checked a room with a steel door that never is open. I went back to the office and called the other officer. He said he left 10 minutes ago. I told him that I wasn’t alone and told him what happened. Soon, a dispatcher from the 911 center called and asked what was happening. I told her and we all laughed about it ,” he said.
The incident and the courthouse’s history of unexplained phenomena, as detailed by former “Princeton Times” editor Tammie Toler in 2010, attracted Mercer County native and ghost hunter Mark Painter to investigate the courthouse.
As for the latter incident, he said, “I was working early voting and security and I was standing at the door facing the annex. There were four people working in the Voters Registration Office in the basement. I heard voices upstairs and I walked up the steps to the second floor to check them out but found nothing.”
Wilborn returned to the voters registration office and asked the employees there and they told him they had heard voices as well.
“I went back upstairs to check out the offices and the bathrooms, the assessor’s office was locked as was the tax office both front and side doors. The east door of the courthouse was locked and the bathrooms were empty, I checked the north entrance, then went to the circuit clerk’s office and the county clerk’s office.”
While doing his inspection, Wilborn heard something.
“I heard footsteps and stopped to look around but didn’t see anything, I then went upstairs and checked the offices and courtrooms but nothing there.”
He concluded by saying, “I worked at the courthouse for 29 years and experienced a lot. There is definitely something there.”
Another employee at the courthouse, Vicki Ruble, had her own encounter with the unexplained while working there.
“I had knee surgery and couldn’t go up and down stairs so I had to use the elevator. After I got on the elevator and was leaning against the wall, I felt the floor dip down as if someone else had entered the elevator but I was the only person on it. I never used the elevator after that,” she said.
She added, “Another time, I was in the tax office and left through the door for employees. I heard a voice say ‘Vicki.’ I asked another employee if she said it and she said no as did another employee.”
Next time, we’ll examine a number of locations where the supernatural was reported.
— Contact Jeff Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org.