October 2018

Haunted Libraries

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Jackie Hemond

Some libraries have shelves of mysteries, and some are mysteriously haunted. In Connecticut, the most haunted library is in Deep River. This library was once the private residence of a local businessman and his wife, but after their deaths, their son sold the house. It opened as a library in 1933. No one knows why the library contains disembodied children’s laughter, unexplained noises, cigar smoke and two female apparitions, but being haunted is good for attendance. The staff have embraced the spirits and use them to promote the library.

The Bridgeport Public Library has a friendly ghost, her name is Lola, not Casper. She haunts the 6th & 7th floors and helps to find missing items. The Newtown public library has locked away its ghost, Mary Elizabeth Hawley. Before her death, she willed money to build the library in honor of her grandfather, Cyrenius H. Booth. She also established a trust fund which subsidized the library without tax support until the early 1980s. When the library was renovated in 1998, the room she haunted was locked and she has not been seen since.

A chilling story is the curse on the Peoria, Illinois Public Library. The library stands on land once owned by Mrs. Andrew Gray who cursed the property when she was evicted due to foreclosure. After the library was erected, the first three library directors died of unusual circumstances: from a streetcar accident, from a heart attack suffered after a heated debate at a library board meeting and from suicide. Staff reported strange sightings and whisperings which called their names. In 1966, the library was torn down and a new one was built in its place, but the hauntings continued and included the ghost of one of the dead directors. However, in a 2010 renovation, the library’s walls were stripped bare and there have been no further hauntings or dead directors.

The Kent Memorial has no ghosts to promote, but we do have visits by authors on mysterious subjects. Dr. Randi Hutter Epstein will reveal the mysteries of hormones when she discusses her book, Aroused, on Tuesday, October 16. In Trust Me, best-selling author, Hank Phillippe Ryan, grapples with who to trust in her newest suspense thriller on Wednesday, October 17. Ryan is a master of suspense, a gifted storyteller and the author of 10 best-selling mysteries. 

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