By Wendy Nugent, HC Now
NEWTON—ReMax realtor Stephanie Mayes plays a game with her children when they’re with her at the office, a game that backfired one night as she got a scare when trying to give one.
“My kids and I are pretty awful,” Mayes said in her second floor office at 500 Main Place. “We like to scare each other. This building makes it easy to scare each other.”
The building includes a maze of hallways and offices and businesses on several floors, as well as an elevator. It was built in 1925, according to Kris Schmucker, curator at the Harvey County Historical Museum & Archives.
As a realtor, it’s not unusual for her to work very early and quite late hours in the office. She said she hadn’t experienced the ghost until one night. Before that, she had never heard nor seen anything out of the ordinary in the building.
“I don’t have a ghost agenda,” she said. “I’m not a ghost hunter.”
She said other realtors have said they’ve heard noises when they’re in the second floor office late at night, like someone moving around in the kitchen or hallway.
“My daughter had already tried to scare me when I went around a corner,” Mayes said about that particular night.
Around 9:30 p.m., there were no other people in the building they knew of.
“The halls are pretty dark up here,” Mayes said.
To set the spooky mood, Mayes said there was moonlight streaming through the windows over the mezzanine area into the ReMax area.
“It was not pitch black, but it was not lit up with light,” she said.
Mayes said she left her second floor office, going down a flight of stairs to the main entrance of the building off Fifth Street. The stairs lead down to the mezzanine that has tall, potted plants. This is where many of the sightings occur.
“At the bottom of the stairs, I saw my daughter,” she said. “I saw a shadowy profile and thought she was going to jump out at me.”
So, Mayes decided to sneak down the stairs and scare who she thought was her daughter. As she got to the bottom of the stairs, Mayes jumped over a couple steps and said, “Boo!”
Well, to her surprise, the figure just disappeared.
“She’s there and then kind of a whoosh,” Mayes said. “I saw movement, not a full body.”
The figure had the same kind of long hair her daughter did and the figure appeared more as a shadow in the doorway.
“That was the first, ‘Oh my God!’” Mayes said, adding the girl appears to be around 10-12 years old.
Immediately after trying to scare her daughter, Mayes heard her daughter at the top of the stairs asking her what she was doing. Mayes said there’s no way her daughter could’ve taken another stairway to that spot in a second. It takes minutes, which was proven after Mayes gave a quick tour of the route her daughter would’ve had to take.
“It looked like my daughter, so I didn’t try to pick out her features,” Mayes said. “I was trying to scare her before she scared me. It didn’t work.”
Another incident that happened to Mayes was at an attorney’s office on the third floor. Shortly after Mayes had the girl sighting, she was coming out of her office late one night when the elevator opened and no one was there. She texted the attorney, asking him if he missed his flight, which means the elevator ride. She said she and the attorney tease each other about seeing the ghost.
Mayes doesn’t feel like the spirit is mean or malevolent and that no one in the building asked the girl to raise from beyond the grave.
“We’re all faith-based people,” she said about the folks who work in the building. “There’s no conjuring.”
Mayes’s daughter, Gabriella Mayes, also saw the apparition. She said as she went down those same stairs and looked to the right, she thought she saw someone standing by the bottom right. She said she saw a little girl wearing a white dress.
“She ran past the stairs and turned the corner really quick,” Gabriella said. “I was like, ‘I’m going back upstairs where my mom’s at.’”
Mayes said they don’t hear talking.
“There’s no communicating,” she said. “This little one is funny, not scary.”