The 10 Most Haunted Libraries In America

This Halloween, check out a book at one of these ten literary haunts.

1. The Willard Library

“The story of the gray lady began in 1937 when a janitor reported seeing a floating apparition of a woman in the boiler room…Over 1000 sightings have been recorded since 1937; mostly visual in nature. However, according to Maer MacKay of The Willard Library Ghost Chatters, they have also uncovered the existence of the spirit of a male child in the basement children’s reading room. The manifestations in this area range from levitating books, to orbs of light, to being touched and having one’s hair stroked.”

2. Parmly Billings Library

“Acquisitions Librarian Karen Stevens has written a book about Montana ghosts, in which she devotes an entire chapter to the library’s various haunts that she has investigated: the dark-haired woman in the basement; strange whistling and a male ghost wearing jeans and work boots on the second floor; a white shape that moves outside the windows on the fifth floor; and odd movements in the book stacks of the Montana Room. Construction crews in the fall of 2005 reported numerous paranormal incidents.”

3. Andrew Bayne Memorial Library

“Library Director Sharon Helfrich said in the October 25, 2005, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that she has seen some strange things since she took over in 1998. Lights and ceiling fans turn on and off, numbers appear randomly on computer screens, shadows move through the halls, and a woman dressed in Victorian clothing appears. Librarian Diane Roose said she has noted that books sometimes play hide-and-seek on the shelves. Paranormal activities seemed to increase in 1998 after Dutch elm disease claimed a 300-year-old tree on the grounds. The building was bequeathed to the borough of Bellevue in 1912 by Amanda Bayne Balph, who stipulated that no trees were to be removed from the parkland on the property.”

4. Blanche Skiff Ross Memorial Library

“Students report books falling from the shelves, book carts rolling around, and music on the back stairs. An old man in a smoking jacket and cap has allegedly been seen on the balcony. Other haunts at this 1963 building include two girls in Victorian dress who play on the stairs and a young woman in a long white gown who reads a book.”

5. The Saline County Library

“The library’s home from 1967 to 2003 was a converted theater building that frequently featured phenomena that made librarians suspect a ghost was afoot: phantom footsteps, paperback carousels rotating by themselves, books falling from the shelves, a self-operating photocopier, and a slamming book-return door. Once, late at night, Director Julie Hart heard the distinctive sound of a manual typewriter—but the library had long ago discarded theirs.”

6. Peoria Public Library

“According to legend, the Peoria Public Library is built on cursed ground and is occupied by as many as a dozen different ghosts…the first three library directors all died under unusual circumstances. In 1966, the original library was torn down and a new one built in its place, but the ghosts remained. Employees have reportedly heard their names being called while alone in the stacks, felt cold drafts, and even claimed to have seen the face of a former library director in the basement doorway.”

7. Pattee Library

“According to the Shadowlands website, ‘Workers and students report that there have been strange screams echoing up from the basement levels, transparent girls thumbing through books, disembodied glowing red eyes, book carts being moved without anyone present, and all sorts of other phenomena.’”

8. Houston Public Library

“Ghostly music can be heard in the Julia Ideson Building of the Houston Public Library. It it said to be the ghost of Julius Frank Cramer, a night janitor who practiced playing a violin in through the library after it was closed. He lived in a basement apartment in the building until he died in 1936.”

9. The Phoenixville Public Library

“Three different ghosts are said to inhabit this recently renovated 1902 building. ‘One of them is a lady who is in the attic,’ said the library’s Executive Director John Kelley. ‘She’s wearing a bustle dress, a high hat, and having a grand old time.’ The Chester County Paranormal Research Society conducted an investigation there in 2006 and took photos of orbs and discolorations. A video shows a library book falling from the shelf.”

10. Scottsdale Public Library

“Two Scottsdale Public Library branches investigated by an organization of professional ghost hunters are indeed haunted, but there is nothing to fear, the investigators said.

“Members of Sonoran Paranormal Investigations Inc. said while there may be things that go bump in the book stacks at the Arabian and Civic Center libraries, they do not appear to be malevolent, but are simply seeking attention.”

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