The Haunted LibraryPosted: 4 March 2011
Today, I worked at my city’s most haunted library. It’s located in the old Washington village some way out of town, in a house which was converted into a library quite a few years ago. It’s literally just a few yards from Washington Old Hall (see above), the ancestral home of the family of George Washington (yes, that George Washington), and also just over the road from a rather resplendent church.
I’ve heard so many stories about this tiny library before that it was not without a little amount of morbid curiosity that I went to work this morning. Last summer, someone swore to me that she had been on her own upstairs in the non-fiction section when she heard the floorboards creak; as if someone was walking over them. Then, she heard a loud metallic ring, as if someone was dragging something along the length of the cast iron radiator. Of course, there was no one there.
Apparently, a medium visited the building a while back and said that she had sensed an old man, sitting on a chair in the office. Another colleague even swears he was tapped on the shoulder from behind, and turned to see no one there. This phantom is allegedly the ghost of a man who worked in local studies, and which has also on occasion graced the local pub two doors up. Most of this was related to me by my co-worker, who happily told me that she herself had not seen a ghost, but admitted that ‘it does feel spooky up there sometimes’.
I personally don’t believe in ghosts. But as you’ve probably gathered by now, my interest in folklore was enough to encourage me into doing a bit of investigation of my own. I call it, Most Haunted in Broad Daylight, Or Perhaps Early Dusk At A Push When You Think About It.
The resident ghost is apparently averse to anyone entering the building this morning. We can’t get the door open.
I’m in an extension at the back of the library, in a small kitchen. It is very cold in here. Though whether this is a decided sign of paranormal activity or just that we haven’t switched the heater on yet remains to be seen.
I can’t resist it any longer. I must investigate the upper level. I find; a normal-looking room, the walls lined with non-fiction, a computer, and a small office from which emanates the rather earthly hum of a computer server. There is a packet of chocolate biscuits on the shelf. Funnily enough, this room is the warmest in the building, due to the heater on the floor.
Oh dear. A horse-drawn hearse just drew up outside and headed towards the church. A single bell has started to toll. The quiet morning is rent asunder by the mournful and fitting sound of bagpipes.
Lunchtime. After an unsatisfyingly un-spooky morning, I spend my lunch hour upstairs with ham carbonara and a very good book. The only ghosts up here are on the front covers of numerous volumes in the local history section. Nothing has tapped me on the shoulder yet, although I live in hope.
The library’s only been open again for 15 minutes and already something strange has happened. While attempting to scan books into the system, the computer freezes and up pops the help wizard. I wonder if this is some form of communication from beyond the grave? (If so, the ghost is very good with computers)
One of the books in the top row of the recommended reads display just fell off.
Our ghostly technician is at it again. The computer tells me a book which just arrived at the library is to be sent on to another library, then after another scan a moment later the book decides it wants to be reserved for a customer here. No, I swear it isn’t just me getting the books mixed up. Honest.
My co-worker sits down on a stool and exclaims that she’s sat on something (other than the stool). There’s nothing there. We agree that the only possible explanation, however undignifed, must be that she sat on the ghost.
Mystery over. It was a knot in her cardigan belt.
While walking towards the back of the library, a book in the children’s section flips off its shelf onto the floor right in front of me. The jury’s still out on the book-flipping.
The end of my shift. I head home, having found no conclusive evidence.
I hold up as a comparison to this case, the basement at the city library. Another colleague enthusiastically told me that it is haunted by the ghost of a man who was trapped in there during the bombing raid which completely levelled the building, one early morning during the Blitz. He was just as enthusiastic when informing me that several female members of staff will not now willingly go down there after hearing his tale. Hmmm.
My conclusion for this would be pretty similar. Not haunted. Though you can be sure I’m not going anywhere near at night!
I’d probably set the alarms off.
Photo credit: Washington Old Hall