In our neck of the woods Debra Munn is a very well recognized name. She is in fact the author of the book Ghosts on the Range: Eerie True Tales of Wyoming. Included in Ms. Munn’s book is a chapter dedicated to the Sweetwater County Library titled The Library Built Over a Cemetery. The book was released in 1989. In 2008 an updated and revamp telling of most of the original tales was released as Wyoming Ghost Stories: Eerie True Tales and the chapter about the library is now called A Grave Library.
From original her book:
About the Author: When she isn’t collecting ghost stories, Debra D. Munn enjoys writing fiction, essays, and articles on a variety of subjects, including Great Britain and travel. She received a Ph. D. in American literature in 1982 and now teaches college creative writing classes. Also a freelance editor, she resides in Powell, Wyoming, with her husband, Scott Foll.
*2013-Ms. Munn currently lives in England with occasional trips back to the U. S.
Ms. Munn has also written other books and they are Big Sky Ghosts, Montana Ghost Stories, and Sussex Haunted Heritage: Historic Properties Open to the Public.
A Library Built Over a Cemetery (an excerpt)
If you think that ghosts inhabit only old, run-down buildings, think again. The Sweetwater County Library in Green River was opened as recently as 1980, yet it appears to be one of the most haunted spots in Wyoming. And no wonder, when you consider that it was constructed on top of the city’s oldest cemetery.
Many of Green River’s earliest citizens rested peacefully but anonymously in unmarked graves until 1926. When the grounds were needed for town expansion, however, the bodies were all supposed to be exhumed and moved up the hill to the current cemetery.
Marna Grubb, now the mayor/secretary of Green River, was one of the many curious children who came to watch the gruesome procedure. “Some of the kids on their way to school actually took rings and other things right off the corpses!” she said and shuddered. “I saw only one of the bodies myself, but that was enough. He was just a skeleton, wearing an old western-style, fringed leather jacket. And what was strange was that he still had a red beard.”
When housing for veterans was constructed in the area during World War II, it soon became obvious that not all the bodies had been exhumed in 1926. As more remains were discovered, they, too, were reinterred in the new cemetery. After the veterans’ residences were no longer needed, the old cemetery grounds were left alone until 1978, when the library purchased them for the site of its new building. As soon as the groundbreaking began, however, workers made yet another grisly discovery: according to architect Neal Stowe of Salt Lake City, from eight to twelve more bodies were found in unmarked graves!
“A heavy Caterpillar was going back and forth, loosening and moving the soil,” he explained. “I walked right through the middle of the site, where something that looked like a deteriorated coconut was sitting on top of some freshly churned dirt. I picked the thing up, turned it around, and recognized it as part of a skull. Little tufts of dark brown hair were still clinging to it.
If you would like to read more go to your local library and request Debra D. Munn’s Ghosts on the Range.
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