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Paranormally Investigating @ Your Library

I guess it was in the spirit of Halloween that last week’s AL Direct linked to not just one but two stories about haunted libraries.

According to “paranormal investigators,” a library in Pittsburgh and another library in California are haunted because they both sit atop old graveyards, and you know that’s really a problem if you’ve ever seen one of the Poltergeist movies, because those are based on true stories, at least in the sense that people have built houses on top of old graveyards before.

My favorite quote is from the Pittsburgh article, where a person “who has been involved as a paranormal investigator for 20 years…explained the three reasons why a spirit would stay on Earth.” (Is “being involved” as an investigator different than just being an investigator?)

The first is unfinished business, if those spirits were victims of a murder or sudden death; second, they want to stay because their loved ones are mourning; and the third – what Kelly believes is the number-one reason – is that many spirits are afraid to pass over to the other side because they don’t know if their mortal sins would take them to heaven or to hell.

Oh my, there are a lot of unprovable, culture bound assumptions you have to accept to believe that.

And they know the library is haunted, because they found “evidence,” including “thermal imaging of a buttocks print in a chair, getting a response of energy from the spirit of a young boy, photos of various orbs and even a woman’s voice on a digital voice recorder answering after a series of questions including “how old are you?” and “do you know it’s 2012?” The woman’s voice answered, “we’re older than this…””

Apparently, butt prints and voice recordings are proof of ghosts, because, to paraphrase Dr. Peter Venkman – the renowned expert on ghosts in libraries – no human could possibly answer questions into a digital recorder.

The “paranormal investigators” in California had even poorer evidence.

NOPS asked the spirits continually to show us a sign. Before we started, NOPS members walked through the entire library and videotaped it. All the books were on shelves.

At the end of the night, one book was on the ground.

And again, no human could have put that book on the ground. It’s painful to think of that much gullibility in a library.

All this credulousness has an upside, I guess, in that the Pittsburgh library is selling DVDs with the “evidence” to raise money, and the library in California was doing the ghost hunting at night with a bunch of teenagers, who probably enjoyed an excuse to sit in the dark in the library. That makes it a lot easier for them to make out than when the lights are on and librarians are moving about.

Maybe other libraries should start thinking of other dubious news stories to bring attention to themselves. Libraries in New Mexico could claim to have been visited by space aliens. In the Northwest, they could hold Bigfoot parties for the teens and the librarians could dress up in ape suits. We could have libraries infested with wendigos and Jersey devils and all sorts of other things that used to show up on The X-files.

Oh, and don’t forget zombies and vampires, because I hear those are pretty popular right now. And, like ghosts, they really exist. Dracula was even a big reader.


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  1. AL, you forget that those librarians were present at an undersea, unexplained mass sponge migration.

  2. The Librarian With No Name says:

    Of course libraries are haunted. You know who wrote a bunch of the books on those shelves? Dead people.

    So what we’ve got here is a bunch of people spending all their time in dusty, poorly-lit buildings, wearing shapeless clothing and facilitating the transfer of messages from the dead to the living. That describes exactly two groups of people: librarians and necromancers.

    If your library isn’t just crawling with ghosts, it’s because you threw out all your classics to make more room for 50 Shades of Grey.

  3. Though incidentally the rates of unexplained moans and groans in the stacks increases exponentially when you add all those copies of 50 Shades.

  4. DevelopmentArrested says:

    The library I used to work at was supposedly haunted. There was always a cold spot near the computers. Musta been the ghosts trying to read Internet porn. Or maybe the fact that there was air vent there.

  5. PKE readings or GTFO

  6. Sarah Last says:

    This story proves what P.T. Barnum said. “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

  7. elena librarian says:

    (scribbling wildly down all the cool PR ideas AL came up with for destitute libraries everywhere.) Now on to get approval to create some creepy movie, and heat butt prints in our library’s chairs.

    p.s. I won’t be in violation of any copyright for stealing these ideas, will I?

  8. Amused Observer says:

    I’ve always said the gremlins hopped in the boxes and came with the books when we moved from our temporary location in a mental insitution.They’ve settled down over the years but after a recent shelving move they’ve acted up again.

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