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Are the Cerritos Chamber Offices Haunted?


HMG-CN Staff Report

It was a dark and dreary October night … well, actually it was a bright and cheery Thursday afternoon when HMG-CN reporter Tammye McDuff approached the Executive Director of the Cerritos Regional Chamber of Commerce Scott Smith with a quirky question, “Since it is Halloween season, we would like to do an article on a real haunting in Cerritos. Do you know of any?”

With raised eyebrows Smith replied,”Yeah-The Chamber is haunted!”

As the story goes, the Chamber offices, located off of Carmenita and South Street, have been haunted by an entity that likes to pull pranks.  The area where the Chamber sits was once a dairy farm, then an airport back in the 1920’s, later purchased by the Padelford family. The offices have been a warehouse and even a medical office at one time.

Doors have been locked from the inside, light switches turn off by themselves, items seem to mysteriously move after hours and one woman has even heard a female humming in the bathroom, when no one was visible. The spirit has been named Ralph.

For anyone who knows McDuff – they know she has always been interested in the paranormal. McDuff has taken photos that have been examined by photographers, and has been on site for real investigations – that have ended in unusual results.

McDuff has had experiences  “that would have freaked most other people out.” And she does have equipment that is used to detect ghosts.

McDuff and husband Scott were invited to visit the Chamber after hours to bring their equipment, including a Spirit Rod, and see what they might be able to pick up.

For lack of a better explanation, the Spirit Rod acts in the same manner as water dowsing wands. Due to the construction of this rod, which is only held with an index finger at each end, it cannot be influenced by movement of the person holding it. The idea is to ask a yes or no question and the rod – and entity – will answer accordingly.

“When I first started at the Chamber,” says Smith, “I was told about Ralph and really didn’t pay much attention to it. I thought the staff was pulling a joke on me.”

In time though Smith has come to be somewhat of a believer.

Every once in awhile staff will come into the office in the mornings and lights will be on. Smith says he is usually the last one to leave and there is no cleaning crew.

Items mysteriously move from one office to another after hours, a Dalmatian dog has been seen running through the offices, and one evening Smith swears he saw a shadow standing in the doorway. Other strange occurrences have happened such as keys being pulled out of hands and photo frames falling off the wall when no one is around.

McDuff then demonstrated how the Spirit Rod works. Standing in the main room of the Chamber, McDuff asked, “where is Scott?”

McDuff’s husband Scott was sitting in a chair to her left and Smith was standing by a desk to her right. The rod slowly moved to the right and then to the left and then back to a middle position. McDuff asked,”which Scott am I married to?’ The rod swiftly moved to the left.

Smith was handed the Spirit Rod to ask questions about the ghost in the office. Turns out that ‘Ralph’ is a woman. According to the questions asked, there was a fatal accident sometime in 1963-64.

As the evening progressed, Scott  (McDuff’s husband) decided to ask questions. The first was “can you manifest somehow, to let us know something is really in these offices?” The Spirit Rod swung to the yes position. Immediately his cell phone began to ring and turned off just as he reached to pick it up.  The number was marked ‘unavailable’.

An audio recorder was placed in Smith’s office and left on. After the cell phone rang an odd static was recorded, lasting 26 seconds and sounded like Morse code. At the same time Smith was asking, “please let us know if you are here.”

When the pattern was put into the Stephen C. Phillips online Morse code translator, it said “hello- I am here.”

Photos were taken of each room of the Chambers office. Three photos in particular were taken of Smith holding the spirit rod. In the background were the closed blinds.

The first photo taken – a pattern in the blinds was a diamond shape with rainbow colors around it.

The second photo showed a vertical shape with rainbow colors and the third shape in the blinds was curved rainbow colored stripes.

You could see these shapes and colors on the camera, however when the photos were transferred to the computer – the shapes and colors were not visible.

A question was asked where a specific office was. The rod responded correctly. No one went into that office. The next morning photos that were clipped onto a holder were found on the floor.

At that point it was getting very late and everyone was already convinced the Chamber had some sort of entity inside its’ offices.

“Every so often the hair will stand up on the back of my neck, and I know it is time to go home,” says Smith, “We say goodnight whenever we leave, now.”