When was the last time you tried to do a search for information on our haunted library online? Because most of you can visit the Sweetwater County Library, you may not have tried. Several patrons have reported multiple online links about the many ghost stories at the library. So I decide to check it out. I had no idea there were so many online sources mentioning our little library. Who knew?
I began by doing a simple search on the search engine Ask.com. Here are the links I found.
PI Team of Utah: http://www.piteamofutah.com/
Haunted Places: http://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/sweetwater-county-library/
Haunted America Tours: http://www.hauntedamericatours.com/books/ghostbook/
The Shadowlands: Wyoming: http://www.theshadowlands.net/places/wyoming.htm
Encyclopedia Britannica blog: http://blogs.britannica.com/2007/10/haunted-libraries-in-the-us-utah-wyoming-and-canada
Green River, Sweetwater County Library. Lights have gone off and on mysteriously ever since the library opened in 1980. Flapping sounds reverberate through the building at night. Former Director Patricia LeFaivre said that her staff has seen dots of light dancing on the walls inside the closed art gallery room in such a way that ruled out an external light source like car headlights. Back when the library had electric typewriters instead of computers, at least two of the machines were seen to type on their own. There was no paper loaded at the time, so if these were messages, they were lost. The staff experimented by leaving paper in the typewriters overnight, but no phantom typing occurred. The most bizarre event occurred some years ago when the interlibrary loan librarian turned away briefly from her computer—it was a dedicated GEAC terminal—and when she looked back she saw her name spelled out on the screen. “I don’t think the system could have done that itself,” LeFaivre explained. “It had no word-processing capabilities, and at that time we didn’t have email. Her name appeared in quite large letters . . . with nothing else on the screen.” Since 1993, the staff has kept a record of all odd goings-on in a Ghost Log. The library was built on top of a cemetery dating from the 1860s. Most of the graves, primarily those of Asian railroad workers, were moved in the 1920s, but a coffin turned up as recently as 1985. Paranormal activity most often takes place when maintenance crews are working on the building or the grounds. LeFaivre added, “What’s interesting is that when we finally accepted the ghost’s existence, it seemed to quiet down—like it just wanted to be recognized.”
Documents Delivered: http://www.documentsdelivered.com/2015/11/
Angry Spirits at the Library
Hearing the story of the Sweetwater County Library will teach you a very important lesson. Never mess with graveyards or you will disrupt the spirits that linger there.
The Sweetwater County Library is without a doubt the scariest place in Wyoming. The library opened in 1980 and shortly after the opening, problems started to occur. Appliances and lights started to go on and off randomly and books flew off the shelves at night. It was almost immediately that these experiences started to occur. A few years’ later people started hearing strange voices and flapping noises throughout the library. That was when the people in the city realized that their local library was haunted.
If that wasn’t scary enough, soon balls of light were seen wandering around the halls. The people who witnessed these balls of light believe them to be supernatural orbs. Typewriters started typing on their own and gates began swinging uncontrollably. There was never any reason or rhyme for these things happening. Nothing could explain why these things were happening.
Sometimes the recorder in the library would record on its own. It would record the air and sometimes clicks and loud breathing would be heard on the recording. This was where people working at the library drew the line. They desperately wanted to know why this was happening to their library.
After extensive research, they found that the library was built directly on top of a cemetery from the 1800s. Supposedly graves were moves in the early 1920s, but bodies kept turning up. They thought they had moved all the graves, but there were always more bodies found. A slew of bodies were found in the 1940s and again in the 1980s and it’s likely that there are still bodies underneath the library today.
This serves as a great lesson about not disturbing cemeteries. Do not build on top of a cemetery or you are sure to hear from the spirits who are upset that you disturbed their peace.
American Association of Paranormal Investigators: http://ghostpi.com/PhotosMain.html
Lisa Writopia: http://lisaswritopia.com/haunted-libraries-in-the-u-s-a/
Community Treasures: http://repository.uwyo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=comm_treas_grrs…
Kou K. Nelson: http://www.kouknelson.com/2012_10_01_archive.html
Partial interview with Kristina Wojtaszek author
And, of course, have you ever had a ghostly encounter?
KW: I have had a few occasions in the past where I thought I might have seen a ghost, but nothing definite. However, I recently went on a ghost walk at the Sweetwater County Library in town and at the end of the tour, as the librarian told us how the area used to be a playground before it was a library, we heard the sound of children’s laughter resonating from the dark, abandoned hallway behind us. It was very real, loud enough to startle us, and several people heard it, including me. It was pretty cool, actually! You can read more about my experience on the ghost walk on my website http://authorkw.wordpress.com/.
Archives West: http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv63192
I hope you enjoy all the posts. As I wrote this I was surprised to see the article about the “angry spirits”. I have worked for the library for 23 years and have never found that to be the case. Our spirits here, seem to be just that “here”. We have only had a couple people ever state they felt anything other than friendly and it was more the spirit was angry about something in the past, not at us. I look forward to your comments about the many sites listed.
Many of these involved unexplained electrical disturbances. Women staff members on several occasions reported turning off the lights in the Multi-Purpose Room, only to find them on again ten minutes later, with the switch controlling them still in the “off”position. Maintenance men Marlin Dillard and Don Leasor experienced similar disturbances in the same room and on the stairwell, and each time they could determine only that nothing was causing a short.
Ed Johnson was no more successful in finding the cause of mysterious behavior in a vacuum cleaner. “One night after the library had closed, I was running the sweeper back and forth between the book stacks,” he said. “Once I moved too far and pulled the plug out of the wall. Naturally, the vacuum quit working, so I turned the switch off and went back down the stacks to plug in the fifty-foot cord. But before I had walked back to turn the switch on again, the vacuum started by itself!
Ed is positive that the switch was off when the machine came to life. “The next thing I did was to unplug it, wind up the cord, and say to whoever or whatever was there, “Okay, guys, the building’s yours. I’m going home! Lots of times I’d had feelings that I was being watched, but nothing like this had ever happened before.”
Nearly everyone I interviewed reported the same sensation of being watched, especially in the Multi-Purpose Room. A custodian was vacuming there one day when she happened to glance up at an adjoining stage. The curtains were open and the stage was set for some upcoming events. The woman thought to herself how nice it looked and went back to her sweeping. When she glanced up again a short while later, the drapes were closed. Because they were operated by an electric opening and closing mechanism, the woman reasoned that one of the control switches must be at the Circulation Desk, and that the staff there were playing tricks on her. Upon confronting them, however, she discovered that the only switch for the curtains was the one in the Multi-Purpose Room itself.
Maintenance man Don Leasor had another eerie experience while vacuuming, when he heard what sounded like someone “rattling the heck out of a key chain.”
“Whatever was making the noise was in the same room with me,” he explained. “And whenever I’d shut the vacuum off, the noise would stop, too.”
Don has probably experience more unnerving icident’s that anyone else. Several times since he began working in April 1986 he has seem mysterious glowing lights inside the building.
“The first time,” he said, “I was getting ready to walk out the door, so I turned off the lights in the front room. About five seconds later, I saw small glowing lights moving over the wall, right above the entry way, just as if someone were shining little flashlights with eight-inch diameters of illumination. The glowing would appear and disappear every three or four seconds.”
Don is certain that he was not seeing reflections from passing automobiles. “I’ve seen car lights shining from the street and into the library, but these looked nothing like that.”
Even more upsetting was the experience shared by Don and former custodian Marlin Dillard. “We were upstairs, in a different part of the library, but we could hear distinctly what sounded like somebody latching the doors to the Multi-Purpose Room,” said Marlin. “Then, when we went down to look, nobody else was anywhere in the building.” Strangest of all was the fact that the doors were not even pulled shut when the two men came to inspect them!
Another time Don heard strains of “something that sounded like Beethoven” coming from the piano in this same Multi-Purpore Room. “I heard just a little of it, but then it stopped. And there was absolutely no one else around,” he siad. “What made this even creepier was that it happened the same night that the gate swung back and forth by itself.”
Perhaps his scariest experience was hearing voices, however. “One night when I was carrying out the trash, I thought I heard people talking, “ He said. “So I set the trash outside and closed the door as if I’d already left. Apparently, whatever was in the building thought I had. But then I sneeaked back inside and heard the voices coming from the Multi-Purpose Room. It sounded like a man and a woman yelling and arguing, although the words were muffled so I couldn’t tell what they were saying. And since I had just come through that part of the library before taking out the trash, I knew no one was there.
“I even checked to make sure that the noise wasn’t coming from outdoors,” Don said. “but finally, I gathered up my nerve and opened the door to that room. As soon as I did, the voices immediately stopped!
Don Leasor was not the only staff member to hear the strange voices. A former maintenance assistant who was too terrified to be interviewed claimed that she often heard them when she worked alone from eight until ten at night.
Since so many frightening things were taking place late in the evening, library director Helen Higby rearranged schedules and made it a rule that no one worked alone.
“Even if it turns out that there’s nothing there,” she pointed out, “if someone were to get nervous and imagine something, then trip and fall down the stairs, we might not find them until the next day. And we’ve got enough ghosts already!”
Not long after the new policy took effect, the business manager came in to do some work on a holiday, and mindful of the new rule, she brought her Doberman pinscher along. “After she had been in the office for a while, “Helen said, “the dog suddenly went over to the door and cocked its head as if someone were outside. Then it came back and sat down in the middle of the room, but it continued to stare at the door, fully alert. That’s all that happened, but it gave everybody the creeps, because dogs, unlike people, don’t imagine things.
“At one of the staff meetings,” Helen continued, “I told everyone, “Listen, I know how to deal with budget cuts; I know how to deal with all kinds of normal problems. But I don’t know how to deal with spooks!” So we talked about the possibility of getting an exorcist, about having a priest come and bless the building, but some of the emplyees didn’t want that. In their minds, that gave credence to something they didn’t want to think about.
Apparently nothing out of the ordinary had been reported for a year or so at the time of my interviews in February 1988, but it is unknown whether the phenomena have stopped or are just not as noticeable now that workers are forbidden to be alone in the building. Skeptics might conclude that the new rule provides less opportunity for overactive imaginations to concoct spooky stories, but with so much evidence from so many people, it seems clear that something of an unusual nature was occurring. Even former librariian Grace Gasson, who attributes the disturbances to the building’s structural defects and the susceptible imaginations of the living, admits that she has no explanation for such things as the wildly oscillating security gate.
If the troublesome manifestations at the Sweetwater County Library were indeed of a paranormal nature, what caused them? Do the spirits of the dead really return to wreak havoc when their resting place is disturbed? No one I interviewed believed that the spirits were of a malicious nature. As Helen Higby observed, “Whatever is going on, if it’s some kind of being, apparently it’s benign, because it hasn’t done anything destructive or harmful. And in a a library, you could make a big mess in a hurry if you wanted to, by throwing the books on the floor or dumping the card catalogues.”
Whatever caused the strange events at the library, most of the staff are less inclined to scoff at the supernatural these days. And even without the new rule, the odds are that you’d have a hard time finding anyone willing to spend the night there alone!
To read more stories about haunted Wyoming, be sure to look for “Ghosts on the Range” by Debra D. Munn.
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