Yongsan’s Creepy crematorium tale
Many of the buildings on Yongsan Garrison in South Korea have been there longer than the U.S. military. Some date back to Japan’s occupation of Korea before and during World War II.
One of those buildings, near the gas station on the garrison’s South Post, has been surrounded by rumors for years.
“I hate being here at night. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up just talking about it,” said Sgt. 1st Class Riviere Cools, 52nd Medical Battalion as he eyed the squat, red-brick building in the center of his unit’s complex of offices. “I don’t believe in that kind of stuff, but in the back of my mind, there are souls here.”
The entire compound, surrounded by a thick, crumbling, brick wall, was a prison during the occupation.
For years, said U.S. Army Garrison spokesman David McNally, soldiers working there have passed along stories claiming that the area, especially the small building in the center, was haunted.
McNally said the building was most likely the prison’s administrative office, but those working around it have a more sinister theory.
“Everybody that’s worked in that building right there has either seen something or heard something,” said Staff Sgt. Sae Kim, 52nd Medical Battalion. “Because that’s where they burned people.”
McNally was quick to point out there was no evidence to suggest that the building was a crematorium, but that doesn’t stop the stories from spreading.
“I haven’t seen any ghosts,” said Sgt. 1st Class Freeman Witherspoon. “But I definitely have heard the rumors. People say they see shadows when they have duty at night.”
The unexplained voice
Stories of strange happenings abound at the base chapel at Camp Zama in Japan.
Strange presences in rooms and doors that mysteriously open and close are part of chapel lore, employees say.
Some tell stories of strange figures passing by and then disappearing.
“My predecessor said that she used to hear footsteps through the halls late at night,” said Staff Sgt. Desmond West, the Unit Ministry Team noncommissioned officer in charge.
Last year, Spc. Jennifer Villagomez, a funds clerk, said she was working late when a voice emanated from her unplugged computer speakers.
It sounded like a Japanese man, “like a drill sergeant yelling at a private,” she said.
At first, Villagomez said she thought the sounds were a practical joke and called for a sergeant who was the only other person in the building at the time.
“And as I heard him come closer to my office, the voice on the speaker went lower and lower until it went away, just before he walked in the room,” Villagomez said.
She said that since that incident, she tries not to be the last person to in the office at night.
Sgt. Joshua Lee, who works at the chapel with Villagomez, said he didn’t hear the voice that night but has witnessed other strange occurrences.
Chapel lights switch on and doors open seemingly on their own, Lee said.
West, who has worked in the chapel for four years, said he has never seen or heard anything peculiar.
“But the day I start hearing things, I’m running out of here,” he said.