Mystery x Lore: Haunted Toys to Hiking Boots: REI’s Spooky California Stomping Ground


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SUNNYVALE, Calif. — In 1970, as Toys “R” Us embarked on its California expansion, a store was constructed at 130 East El Camino in Sunnyvale. But this wasn’t just another toy store—it became the epicenter of numerous ghostly tales almost immediately after opening its doors.

Employees began witnessing eerie occurrences from toys taking unscheduled flights off shelves to the unsettling feeling of invisible hands. Phantom touches and faucets operating with no human intervention added to the store’s spooky reputation.

By the late ’70s, the location’s haunted fame peaked when renowned psychic, Sylvia Browne, conducted several seances, attracting attention from both curious onlookers and professional paranormal investigators.

However, time changes everything. The store that once housed mischievous toys and a spectral love-stricken farmhand named Johnny Johnson has since shuttered. Today, an REI Co-Op store occupies the space, catering to outdoor enthusiasts.

But one can’t help but wonder: Do REI customers ever feel a ghostly chill while browsing camping gear, or perhaps catch a fleeting scent of fresh flowers in the tent aisle? The legacy of Sunnyvale’s haunted Toys “R” Us continues to intrigue and mystify.


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