Sunnyvalle Toys 'R Us

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This retail store is said to be haunted by a ghost of a man named Johnson, John, or Johann. Psychics who have investigated say he was an 1880s ranch hand and preacher who died of axe wounds while working in an orchard. Employees report that objects jump off the shelves and they feel breezes as the ghost walks by. His apparition has been seen, and he likes to play pranks, like setting a teddy bear to appear in every aisle as staff walks by or bouncing a ball down the aisle. The unexplained smell of flowers is said to appear in one aisle, and the ghost also likes to turn on the faucets in the women’s restrooms. Reports say the spirit limits himself to playing tricks, and has never harmed anyone.

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    Geographic Information

    130 E El Camino Real
    Sunnyvale, CA 94087
    United States

    Get Directions »
    37.36739418143023, -122.03163407742977
    Santa Clara County, California
    Nearest Towns:
    Sunnyvale, CA (0.3 mi.)
    Cupertino, CA (3.1 mi.)
    Mountain View, CA (3.1 mi.)
    Loyola, CA (3.9 mi.)
    Santa Clara, CA (4.3 mi.)
    Los Altos, CA (4.7 mi.)
    Los Altos Hills, CA (5.9 mi.)
    Burbank, CA (6.3 mi.)
    Fruitdale, CA (6.7 mi.)
    Buena Vista, CA (7.1 mi.)


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    Comments (16)

    1. The Dino the Dinosaur (Flintstones) coin-operated Kiddie ride will occasionally say “Yabba Dabba Do!!!” when not in operation (while in operation, it plays the full TV show theme song). The ride is at the front of the store near the exit. I’ve spoken to a company that restores these rides, and they said that that particular ride does not have the capability of being set up to entice kids with a random audio snippet such as this ride does.

      • Ahem, that’s because it was reformatted with the Eletech soundboard. The Eletech version has “Yabba-dabba-doo!” as its attract mode.

    2. my aunt used to work here when i was a kid. she said that the ghost would always play with the bikes/tricycles and open the games and leave them out in the middle of the isles.

    3. I was standing in the preschool toy aisle when a whole bunch of things fell off the shelves, but not all at once. First one, then the next in another spot, then at the other end of the aisle. The hair on my arms stood up, but it just seemed really amusing 🙂

    4. I grew up going to this Toys R Us before Silicon Valley became SILICON VALLEY and this rumor has changed a bit. The store was always “known” to be haunted but, the story was a bit different. I had always heard that two children who had died in a barn fire haunted the store. The rest of the reports such as toys being moved, etc. are the same. I never seen anything move or seen any paranormal activity here but, the store has always given me the creeps. Just a weird, heavy chested feeling comes over me when I’m shopping. Also, the store never seems to be as busy as other Toys R Us retail stores. It seems to be really quite for a large toy store.

    5. The store isn’t haunted according to CSICOP. CSICOP is a highly reputable committee for scientifically investigating and debunking claims of the paranormal. Scientist Joe Nichols did a comprehensive analysis of the Toys R Us store in Sunnyvale, CA many years ago, and he concluded that the store does not possess anything out of the ordinary, merely rumors that make for spastic “haunted customers.” Also, when the late psychic fraud Sylvia Browne performed a “seance” in the store, before a camera crew from KTVU-2 in the early 1980’s, Browne claimed to have “made contact” with a love sick ranch hand Johnny Johnson. Browne always made sure she researched properties and people before she made appearances. It is true that there was indeed a Johnny Johnson who was a hired hand in one of the cherry orchards (the Olson property which is still family owned) who was madly in love with a young girl that he wanted to marry. She rejected Johnny’s proposals and wed her beau. Johnny was smitten over this and would not accept it. One day while chopping fire wood his axe slipped severing an artery in Johnny’s right leg. He died within minutes. Sylvia Browne got the story from the Sunnyvale Library. Then she put on a show with the KTVU-2 news crew tricking everyone in sight.A word of note: the late Sylvia Browne was a convicted felon. She and her third husband, “Dal,” were convicted on 13 counts of embezzlement and misrepresentation in a real estate/precious metals mine scheme in 1992. They both pleaded no contest and were fined heavily, placed on 5 years probation, and Sylvia later filed for bankruptcy. Being a lifelong smoker and social drinker, Sylvia Browne suffered a heart attack in 2010 while vacationing in Hawaii. She suffered another heart attack in 2012 claiming her life. You can read about Sylvia’s serious crimes and first hand experiences with disgruntled clients as they speak of how they were hoodwinked by this woman by visiting

    6. True or not I know what I experienced there in my teens was definitely not normal. I was in the women’s restroom completely alone when all of a sudden a faucet turned on. When I came out my stall no one was in sight yet the water was still running. I ended up turning the water off and leaving the restroom weirded out.

    7. My friends and I visited a couple weeks ago. We didn’t experience anything spooky, but we talked to one of the employees who told us that activity had diminished since the place had been remodeled. The areas in the store where he said he felt most freaked out were upstairs and in the games aisle.

    8. Worked there in 1976 as a seasonal worker. I was doing custodial work and yes the place was haunted back then. I don’t know about now. I could not walk into the back warehouse more than 20 ft with out a force pushing and holding me back like hands on my chest. I used to test how far I could make it into the warehouse before almost peeing my pants. Also the women’s room water was on a lot when I would go in there to clean with all the tp rolls unwound on the floor. One late night a co-worker and I were straitening the game isle and turned around to see all our work shuffled. Place was scary at that time no doubt.

    9. In addition Scientist Joe Nichols mentioned above is a scientist and if he has no facts than something is not true to him. Either one is sensitive to these things or not. Also I was talking to a co-worker in later years while working at Westinghouse and he stated he is a descended relative of the family that lived on that land and that all the rumors and stories are incorrect that there was a horrific tractor accident.

    10. It’s really difficult in pathing a route that reveals matter of fact answers to what was really going on in that Toys R Us store. The only “evidence” gathered is from eyewitness accounts. The alleged psychics’ perception of “what she saw” during that so called seance so many years ago is invalid and irrelevant. Now, tracking the tales of those everyday people who claim they’ve witnessed something unexplainable occurring inside the store isn’t doubtful per say; but was it something actually paranormal occurring, or was it undetected natural phenomena in the store (high emf, materials used in the store’s construction, in the ground, etc, causing the disturbances). Whatever it is (was) they’re likely never be matter of fact answers to satisfy one’s curiosity.

    11. when I was a tweenie my mother asked me if I wanted to go to there toy drive I didn’t really want to go but mom talked me into it when I found all my items I picked up an extra idem got it for free then mom was talking for the longest time to the clerk I asked to go to the car but she told me no please stand next to the door while I was waiting for my mother to buy something she saw there I did what she asked all of a sudden I fell backwards and nocked the boxes on the floor and clerk asked me to stack em up and while I was trying to the 2 dolls which were in the boxes I was standing infront of them they grabbed me and was pulling me backwards the clerk yelled at me and said why didn’t you pick up the boxes like he asked I told him I got attacked by 2 dolls or at least one of them had the john spirit in it or both I got away finally and put all the boxes back up while I was placing the last box I got pulled backwards one of the dolls were pulling my hair the other one was pulling me by the neck or under my arms the clerk yelled at me again I told him what was happening he didn’t believe me when I finally got them all back up it happened again this time I yelled and the clerk finally believed me so he placed them all back up after he sealed the big hole in the boxes I think those dolls were chucky the nightmare doll and his wife or spirit john this time mom told me I could go to the car so this. But now days I think that toys r rus got closed never used the ladies bathroom so I have to se if it is there so I can go and check the bathroom

    12. It seems rather uncanny that the former “haunted” Toys R Us building is now temporarily home to Spirit Haloween. It’s a seasonal store that sells a bunch of tasteless, tacky Halloween decorations and novelties.

      But never fear. There are no real ghosts. The stories about a maimed 19th century farmhand’s spirit “taking up residence” in a great big toy store is just another ghost story. Bogus.

      Somebody in an earlier post mentioned the academic skeptic, paranormal investigator, Dr. Joe Nickell, from CSI, investigating the alleged haunting at Toys R Us, but I found absolutely no information that Dr. Nickell investigated the building.

      The only socalled investigation was involving the despicable paranormal fraud Sylvia Browne and a local news camera crew. Browne made up some story about Jonny Johnson a farmhand who died of a lover’s broken heart on the site.

      None of what Browne claimed “she saw” and “heard” in the seance made any sense whatsoever.

      It’s too bad that a scientific team that debunks the paranormal (like CSI) didn’t come out to perform a formal investigation on the Toys R Us property back when all the socalled claims of hauntings were occurring.

      I’m certain an organization like CSI would’ve found a living prankster(s) involved or some other natural explanation to the alleged haunting.

    13. I worked at Toys r Us during that time and I don’t care what anyone says things did happen. Sure Sylvia Brown was a fraud having said that I was there for the seance abd I can tell you something did happen. We were sitting in the game aisle on the floor. The air conditioning was off so it was hot in there. Then it got freezing cold. I wasn’t the only one who felt it. The air conditioning did not come on. When I worked there I was standing on the top of a ladder checking over stick in the seasonal section when I felt something or someone run their handvdiwn my hair. I had waist length hair at the time. And i heard my name being called. I was the only one there and there was nothing my hsir could have been caught on. I don’t know if it was this Johnny person or someone else but I heard and felt something. There were other times when I heard my name whispered when no one else was around. So take it for what its worth something or someone is haunting the store. When we were leaving at night we would hear noise in the upstairs so Jack Sweetland would send two employees one up each staircase hoping to catch who ever was trying to hide in the store there was never any human being there. It happened numerous times. As they used to say on the tv show Thats Incredible ” believe it or not”. They did a show on it also.

    14. I was shopping at the Safeway next to toys r us two years ago. I had parked my car near the toys r us. I walked back to my car with my groceries and a black bird with shiny eyes was sitting on the trunk of my sedan. I knew about the place being haunted so seeing a black bird made me think of the toys r us paranormal stuff. I let the bird sit there and it
      Made lots of noises,but did not move. I think it was a junco bird. It sat there for another five
      Minutes and then it moved to a bush by the front of my car. It was still making noises. I had not moved so then I got in my car and drove away. I do not shop at that Safe way much anymore and if I do, I park on the other side of the parking lot.

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    Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.