Libraries are mysterious places. They are sites in which the past gets stacked on the present. They are home to ancient and obscure books that fill shelves from floor to ceiling, which eventually form into a collection of human history. Sometimes stories do not get left in the past, and instead continue to influence life today. The same can be said for dead people who refuse to be dead. Some of these people have chosen to set up ghost camp inside libraries, much to the dismay of people who are trying to work or read there, ghost-free.
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Paranormal researchers on the other hand, have rushed to these sites over and over again in order to investigate why and how these sightings have affected the lives of the living. Some of these chilling stories have been passed down through generations, or have been reported in more recent years. They include creepy tales of disembodied moans and cackles, moving cold spots, ghostly apparitions, and unexplained camera presences.
1. The Library at Combermere Abbey, Cheshire, England.
Lord Combermere was struck and killed by one of London’s first electrically powered motorcars in May of 1891. Soon after this, members of the Abbey staff began reporting possible ghost sightings and other paranormal activities in and around the premises, particularly in the Abbey’s library.
Image Via Combermere Abbey
The photo above was taken in 1891 by Sybell Arbet. The figure of a bearded man can be faintly seen sitting on the chair to the left, and people are pretty sure that this is Lord Combermere himself because that particular carved chair was his favourite to sit in. The scary thing about the photograph is that Lord Combermere was in fact being buried four miles away at the time. The photographer exposed the frame for over an hour and, although to our modern eyes this figure may just be a product of double exposure, this was certainly not the case in 1891. Others have criticised the authenticity of the photograph by claiming it could have been one of the Abbey’s servants who sat there momentarily during the exposure. However, each has testified to having been at the Lord’s funeral at the time. So unless some of those servants lied to cover their funeral-skipping asses, this is a photograph of a ghost. A pretty pissed-off-looking ghost.
2. The Willard Library, Evansville, Indiana, USA.
This Indiana library is haunted by a ghost known as ‘The Grey Lady.’ Every October the library runs a ghost tour in honor of her presence. In its first year during the 90s, 800 curious individuals attended. Yep. That’s how real this ghost is. The first recorded sightings of her occurred in the 1930s and since then, the Grey Lady has appeared to numerous people including policemen who arrive to the sound of the alarm in the middle of the night, to visiting lecturers from nearby universities. Both parties have described books and furniture being inexplicably moved around, noticing moving cold spots, hearing strange whimpers, feeling ghostly sensations on their skin, and, creepily enough, a moving smell of perfume. No one knows who she is, or was, but one thing is for sure: she is there to stay.
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3. Morelia Public Library, Michoacán, Mexico.
The “Nun in Blue” has reportedly been haunting the 16th-century Morelia Library for many years. The library’s director, Rigoberto Cornejo has said, “When I leave the building, I feel the sensation of someone following me. In fact, I can hear their footsteps.” Another library worker named Socorro Ledezma requested a transfer in 1996 because she was experiencing regular bouts of paralysis while sitting at her desk, caused by an unseen presence. The presence would move around her and blow into her ears.
Image Via Michoacan Travel
4. Houston Public Library, Texas, USA.
So, Houston has a basement-dwelling, tree-planting, violin-playing, dog-loving, butter-churning ghost. Only in Texas. Julius Frank Cramer lived where he worked his whole life, from his time at the Star Creamery churning butter to his job at the Milam Seafood Company, and finally onto his role as security guard, custodian, janitor, and, also, resident at Carnegie Library in Houston.
Those who encountered paranormal activity at this library have reported finding violin sheet music strewn across the basement floor where he lived. Cramer was a fan of playing uplifting Strauss waltzes. Aside from music, he was an avid gardener, and brought his German Shepard with him wherever he went.
People have reported hearing a scratching sound, as if a dog was digging at the marble floors of the library. Current employees have also noticed trees sprouting up around the building, despite the gardener insisting he had planted nothing. Talk about a ghost who knows how to entertain himself.
Image Via The Pecan Park Eagle
5. The National Library, Kolkata, India.
After India was freed in 1953, the Imperial Library in Kolkata was renamed as the National Library. It was then moved to Belvedore House, where it was opened to the public. Years later, in 2010, the library took the help of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for restoring the building, during which time a chamber of secrets (*wink wink*) was unearthed.
The room the archaeologists came across was nearly 1000 square feet in size and had no entrance to it except for a bricked-up archway that must have once served as an entryway. Many rumours spread immediately, along the lines of it being a torture chamber or treasure vault. Due to the colonisation of India by the English, many thought the chamber must have been similar to the punishment rooms many castles in England possessed, where people were systematically beaten and tortured. The ASI decided to drill a hole inside the wall, and to their dismay no treasure lay inside. Nothing but mud lay inside.
The chamber is now shrouded with secrecy and, since its opening, twelve labourers have lost their lives in freak accidents during restorations. Some eyewitnesses have reported hearing disembodied footsteps throughout the building. Not to mention the two students who died on site. *Shall not be visiting.*
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