The Haunted Library – Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

The Haunted Library – Buffalo & Erie County Public Library


I worked extensively in the tiers when I was
a page, and there was always supernatural stories going back even like 30 years ago.
There was a corner in tier A which all this, you know, the paranormal books were. It was
right in the corner of tier A that nobody wanted to go to. Just had a really spooky
feel to it. I feel something right now. Feel weird vibesÖThis
area here. Itís badÖ Ok, when Nicole, a friend and I, we came down
to just shelve some stuff, the bookcases started shaking and stuff fell off of them. Like,
when I drop down discard trucks from like HSS, this one will be like, I wonít even
be anywhere near it, and itíll just start shaking.
And theyíre pretty solid. Theyíre solid, so you canít move it, I canít even touch
it. Did you walk there? Why would turn on all
the lights? Like, I didnít go there to turn on all the lights. So, I donít know what
happened. But um, I was somewhere like over here, on
this side, and like, I felt like someone was watching me from like through like, kind of
like through this area right here, and when I went down to like, I thought one of like,
a worker followed me here, he was like squatting down like right here. Like you could see like
dead on. He was like black and stuff. Like it was a shadow and at first I thought it
was like maybe I was seeing something, but like when I squatted down, like I can see
like a brim, like of a hat. Like I donít know like if that is weird, but he was right
there, and like watching like whatever I did. Like, it was freaking me out. I grabbed like
the book that I needed and like I ran likeÖ If you feel something youíve got a sense
for them. It feels light over here and it feels heavy over there.
But like when I came down, I walked over, like I was here and I heard something like
fall, and you could see like books like over there. Then I went to go pick them up, they
were gone, like they were like gone, they werenít even on the floor anymore. Gone.
And you heard it hit the ground. Thereís really no one down here and thereís
already a book on the floor. Sometimes the books like, theyíll fall for like no reason.
Theyíre pretty tight on. I donít think you can move it unless you like hit it. Right?
Like some of them donít, but usually pretty much throughout, theyíre usually like all
bookends. Basically I was going for my usual walk around
the tier. I do laps of the tier every day. Never see anything unusual. But the one time
I happened to be walking down this aisle past the Deweyís, which are some of the older
books in our collection. Um, and I usually walk down and I peek down the aisles as I
walk down, just because there are other people who walk here and I really donít want to
knock them over. Um, but the one time I was walking down, I happened to peek down an aisle
and I saw what appeared to be, um a grayish skirt, just out of the corner. Um, it was
enough to make me startle because I never have seen anything like that before, and I
am down here, as Kathy can attest to, 20, 30 times in a week. Um, so I came back around.
I walked around the corner. There was nothing here that would look anything like a gray
skirt, and I did, I got chills on my arm, which is highly unusual. Usually I feel very
comfortable down here, but just seeing that kind of spooked me a lot. And Iíve walked
around here ever since and Iíve never seen anything that resembles it. I watch Ghost
Hunters, so I try disprove it. I was walking down, seeing if there was any kind of weird
stuff hanging down, ëcause this is the tier and there are sheets and random things around.
There was nothing that would make it look like a skirt. So I have nothing to, no reason,
or anything to explain it, and umÖ Cara told me like right away. Cara actually
came up and said, ìI had the weirdest experience on the tier.î And it took me aback, because
she neverÖsheís a skeptic. And Iím here all the time. Mornings. I walk
down here when itís dark. I mean, Iím not usually scared of ghosts or anything and Iíve
never really think Iím going to see anything. I canít say it was a ghost, but it felt real
as I was walking around the corner. It looked real. It looked like a full skirt, an old-fashioned
full skirt, grayish. Buffalonians have been present on the site
of the downtown Central Library for over 200 years. So thatís a lot of time for unusual
or somewhat creepy events to have taken place. The old County Courthouse actually occupied
the same space as the Central Library today. It was built in 1816, and a crude jail was
added to it, in around 1833. The old jail was described as a gloomy, stone structure
and it was whitewashed on the outside. And the jail yard was where criminals were hanged.
And to keep crowds from hanging around, canvas sheets were hung up in the jail yard to prevent
people from being able to see anything, but crowds would still gather outside for the
gruesome events. Later the Courthouse and jail were replaced
by the Buffalo Public Library, which was our predecessor. It was a Romanesque, kind of
Gothic looking structure. A lot of people described it as an old castle. And that was
built in 1886, and it was torn down in 1963 for the construction of our current Central
Library building. In its 77 years, there sure had to be some
unusual events. One tragic story from 1909, a man who was in the crowded reading room
of the Buffalo Public Library was approached by a man who was armed with two revolvers,
who suddenly shot him. And the shooter then ran out of the library, his guns smoking and
he was eventually caught by a passing patrolman, after a bit of a gunfight, where the patrolman
was actually shot too, not fatally, thankfully. But unfortunately, the victim was also instantly
killed, and a newspaper report from the time describes the library breaking out into chaos
with women fainting. The shooterís motive may be lost to history, but a newspaper article
from the time also suggests in a rather sensational way that a love triangle was the cause.
And in that same year, 1909, there was another tragic incident. A night watchman who was
employed at the Buffalo Public Library was found dead in the periodical room, and even
though he was supposedly in perfectly good health, he likely died from a heart attack.
And then thereís something that took place in our current Central Library building. In
1968, the County Executive at the time, Edward A. Rath, passed away. Thankfully, not in the
library, but his casket was placed inside this library building, near the front entrance,
so that mourners could file past and pay their last respects. The construction of this building
just a few years before was considered a major successful project during his term. So, itís
possible that his fondness for or his connection to the library, that the site was chosen for
his countywide wake. And thousands of people did pay their respects from 10AM until midnight.
And this was probably considered by some to be a little bit eerie or a little creepy,
seeing that it took place on October 31st, on Halloween night.
We are looking for apparitions, ghosts, any type of response we can get, if we set up
our cameras. To see if any of the employees here or the pages that work down here, that
claim this is a spooky room, and theyíve heard stuff, so the last time we were in here
had that book fall down, and we had some flashlight contact going with the spirit.
Buffaloís a great place to investigate just because thereís so much history here. So,
anyplace thatís old, has a lot of tortured history, especially between all the forts
being here and the Erie Canal obviously. And thatís a huge, huge thing.
So, weíll use our flashlights to try to contact someone.
Basically what you do is you turn it on, and then you start to turn it off, and then you
shake it. And as long as it doesnít turn back on then itís set. So, the theory is
that by doing that youíve basically opened up a circuit, so that something that has energy
can come near it and touch it, which would close the circuit, which would turn the light
on. They pull their energy back, the circuit goes off, the light goes out. So we can use
it to communicate. Usually when we come into a place for the
first time, weíll take a K2 and weíll have an actual EMF detector, and weíll do a walk
through. So, weíll walk the perimeter of each room and look for hotspots, because high
EMF can cause people to feel paranoia, or feel, you know, like nauseous. So, if a person
is sensitive to it, then thatís a logical explanation for why they feel what they feel.
If we took this over to the electrical box over here, see how much it spikes. So, if
you were sitting back in this area, maybe there was a show going on and you were working
the curtains or something, and you happen to be sensitive to it, you might get creepy
feelings back here. You might feel like thereís somebody around or you start getting a little
paranoid. It might just be that youíre sensitive to the EMF.
I saw the K2 move. Did ya?
Yeah. Cool.
If youíre willing to talk to us and you want to use that light to communicate, can you
turn it on again for us? Were you here in the 1800ís by chance when
this was a courthouse? Early 1900ís? Do you know the Reverend Tim Shaw?
Oh, that was weird. Thatís weird. Can you please turn that off?
Ryan, you got the thing going? Can you please back away from the mag light
so we can re-ask that question? Thank you. Do you know the Reverend Tim Shaw? Please
turn it on if you do. We understood, weíre just asking for confirmation.
Who was doing the hack? Cherylís got her hack.
[Unintelligible conversation] So is there a technician here available for
me? Yep.
Technician, do you have a name? If I have a technician here, can you please
clear up the clutter here and tell me your name?
Did it say ìBenî? Thatís what I thought too.
Yeah. Technician, is your name Ben?
I donít know what it is about libraries. We talk about it a lot. Weíre not sure if
maybe itís because thereís so many people in and out, thereí a lot of energy left.
Here, we think it has to do with all the archive stuff, ëcause thereís family Bibles from
the 1800ís here, things that obviously meant something to somebody. So, you know, all those
different things kind of add in, plus the fact that people have a real history of liking
it a lot here. You know, thereís some history of past employeesÖ
The city of Buffalo is probably one of the oldest cities in the country, so thereís
probably a lot that happened here before the library, probably said there was a courthouse
and public hangings. So there was a public gathering for a lot of things, for uh, to
commute sentences against crimes, judgments were handed out here, people came here for
entertainment long before it became a library, which even brought more people here.
People, like you were saying Steve, if thereís an attachment to like a book and they liked
it, itís the same thing that goes if thereís a recliner at your house that say your grandfather
owned and he liked that chair that much he would come to it and stay there. You got to
think about all the people that would come in here and read books and just work, and
also working here too, that love this place. They want to stay here.
I would think because of the books, maybe someone has a personal attachment to them.
Itís older too. The Deweyís are from 1800ís, early 1900ís, soÖ
Buffalo HistoryÖ So sheís probably used to this collection.
They used Dewey back in the day. They would have no idea what Library of Congress is.
So I think sheíd feel comfortable here. Itís quiet. Itís not, no, like not in the public
area where thereís high energy and everyoneís running around, itís really quiet. Years
ago, back in the day, libraries were quiet, I mean, you couldnít talk, you couldnít
whisper, so this is the environment sheís used to.
And it has been said that um ghosts tend to feed off electrical lines, and if thereís
any kind of current, and as you know the tier is full of electric, ëcause itís running
for the floor above us and the floor below us. So it could be that thereís some sort
of field thatís kind of generating in this corner. I have no idea, I donít know the
theories behind thatÖ I wonder if it has to do with, that itís
a place where they collect a lot of old materials. I wonder if those, thereís something about
the old books. Those have certain vibes to them of if those attract things. Or if itís
the building itself, the history. There are people who here who say they can
see the ghosts here, but we donít know how true that is. Like we can say itís haunted
but other people might not necessarily think that there, there could be a coincidence.
I donít know what else to like, what else could explain the things that happen here.
Like with the lights turning off, books falling on the floor, shakingÖ
I spend a lot of time in this building and I feel pretty comfortable here. Itís not,
I donít get the same feeling here as I do in a dark basement, on a dark street. I feel
pretty comfortable here and I think part of that is that I feel part of, part of the history
that has happened here too. I just feel like the work that we do here is just a continuation,
and if there are any spirits or ghosts here, I feel like theyíre friendly ones, and they
want us to keep doing what we are doing here. I think um, certainly I would think a lot
of staff are very attached to the building and I would like to think that people um,
that
the people that came before us were definitely attached to the old castle building, and I
can certainly see people who used to be patrons here having that same sort of connection.
We actually had more than a few people who come in who remember the old library, who
would talk about it, and just tell us how wonderful it really was, and how that building
just inspired them and they just love coming down here when they were kids.

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