Halloween is just around the corner, and while your plans for October 31st might include a haunted house, or even a haunted bookshop, you may want to visit a haunted library for some encounters with spirits among the stacks.
According to American Libraries Magazine, Deep River Public Library in Connecticut has experienced paranormal activities since the 1950s. This includes “early morning noises and voices that ask question after question in 20-second intervals—What is your name? What year is it? What am I doing here?—sometimes followed by flashes of light.” The Harford Courant reported that Susan Oehl, the library’s assistant director was eating her lunch alone when she heard something in the next room.
“I heard distinctly a woman clearing her throat,” Oehl recently recalled. When she went to check, no one was there.
Originally the residence of Richard Pratt Spencer‘s family, who built the home in 1881, the library was donated to the Saybrook Library Association in 1932 by a descendent and subsequently named Deep River Public Library. Although a few changes have been made, most of the details of the original house, including stained-glass windows, wood moldings, and fireplaces are still intact.
Ann Paietta, who is now director there, said that she allowed a ghost hunter named John Zaffis to tour the building in 2004, and he “felt the presence of two female spirits,” one of them a teenager, and on in her 50s. Once word got out that the place was haunted, lots of paranormal investigators wanted to visit, and more than 30 investigations have taken place. Paietta notes that while some have recorded voices (listen here for recordings of the ghosts being questions like What kind of car do you drive? and Are you married?) and photos, “most groups have said they felt nothing evil.”
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.