It’s probably a safe bet that when Cargill sought a new location for its North American Protein headquarters, ghosts and paranormal activity were not among the criteria considered.

But just in case anybody was concerned that the site where Cargill intends to build is haunted, rest assured, experts were unable to come up with concrete proof that it was.

Cargill, in May 2016, announced that it had outgrown its current North American Protein headquarters in the downtown area of Wichita, Kansas, and that it sought to find a new site in Wichita. Several months later, it decided on a site in Wichita’s Old Town District, where the city’s newspaper, the Wichita Eagle, was located at the time.

The Eagle, after moving its press operations off-site, no longer was in need of such a large building. The Eagle building will be demolished as a new 170,000-square foot office building and 750-space parking garage for Cargill will be built on the site.

Searching for ghosts

While the Wichita Eagle building was still standing, the Eagle staff brought in crews to examine the building, just in case there were any ghosts present. Apparently, there had been rumors for decades that the building was haunted.

Several Eagle staff members had reported seeing a man in a fedora and trench coat appear and disappear under mysterious circumstances. One longtime journalist’s hunch was that the image was of Sam Keifner, a former assistant managing editor with the Wichita Beacon. Wichita once had two newspapers – the Eagle and the Beacon – the two papers would later consolidate and become the Wichita Eagle Beacon, but the word “Beacon” was eventually dropped from the name.

KS White Noise Paranormal, according to the Eagle, brought in a team equipped with digital recorders, flashlights, electromagnetic field detectors and video cameras -- devices apparently used in paranormal investigations – to see if the rumors were true. Their pre-investigation of the building turned up a few hints of paranormal activity, but the actual investigation did not.

Kim Sponsel, KS White Noise Paranormal, shared with the newspaper staff one hypothesis: There could be some spirits still haunting the Eagle, but they could have latched onto some newsroom equipment that has already been moved to the new Eagle office.

Do you believe in spooks?

For the sake of full disclosure, I will say I am of the persuasion that ghosts and paranormal activity are poppycock. But if I did believe in that sort of thing, I will tell you as a former assistant managing editor of another Kansas newspaper, when my time on Earth is over, my spirit wouldn’t likely be hanging out at the newspaper office, but rather at one of my favorite fishing holes, the baseball field, the rodeo arena or the antique tractor show. But perhaps Mr. Keifner was one of those people who was just too committed to his work and we should give some credence to this possibility of the paranormal.

Now, if it isn’t a bunch of bunk, let’s go with Sponsel’s theory that any ghosts around are more interested in having a presence in the Eagle’s new work space and will let Cargill without disturbance continue to provide animal protein to consumers around the world.