I worked in the basement of a Caltech campus building that had been periodically haunted by the specter of the upper half of a roofer who had fallen from the six story roof twenty years earlier.
On the day of the 6.0 Whittier earthquakes of 1987 I arrived at the building an hour earlier than usual and took the elevator to the top floor where the snack bar was located. After buying a cup of coffee from the dispenser I strolled out of the snack room onto the penthouse balcony to gaze over the lovely campus. Just as I was about to take a sip of coffee the whole building jolted upwards and nearly knocked me off balance. Thinking the short earthquake could be a precursor to an even bigger earthquake, I turned to find my way to the stairwell. However, as I turned I was slammed to the tarmac so violently and swiftly that I had no time to break my fall with my hands.
As I struggled to crawl towards the stairwell I felt a sharp jabbing pain of my left ankle. I descended the stairs to the lobby and observed huge cracks in the corners and stumbled over chucks of plaster that had fallen onto the stairs. As I stumbled and limped through the lobby I encountered marble wall panels that had fallen and broken.