Essex University: Boffins study supernatural happenings in workplace

UNIVERSITY boffins are carrying out research into paranormal happenings in the workplace.

Dr Kathleen Riach, of the Essex Business School (EBS) at the University of Essex, and Dr Simon Kelly, of Bradford University School of Management, are studying how paranormal activity in the workplace can affect staff relationships, morale, productivity and turnover, and want to hear from anyone who has experienced ghostly goings-on at work.

Dr Riach said she was inspired to research the phenomenon after hearing anecdotes from managers and staff while working on other projects.

“One chef refused to go to a specific part of his workplace due to phantom footsteps, and another accountant spoke of avoiding a cold part of their office where a murder had apparently taken place years ago,” she explained.

“Whilst this may seem like a curious topic for a research study, by exploring the supernatural at work we might better understand the wider implications for how people experience work.

“Using the supernatural as an extreme example of the emotional experience of work may help to uncover how employees behave or react when faced with something that falls outside formal organisational practices or does not fit with their expectations or assumptions.”

The research team is looking for interviewees willing to speak about unusual or unexplained occurrences such as strange noises, moving objects, disembodied voices or cold spots; stories and urban myths about company buildings or history.

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They also want to hear about ghost stories that are used to promote an ‘experience’ such as a haunted room in a hotel.

If you would like to take part, contact Dr Riach at or 01206 872373, or Dr Simon Kelly at or 01274 238919.