Ghost Reports in the Edmon Low Librart
Legends of strange sounds in the basement, taps on the shoulder and items moving when no one is there have become part of the lore and traditions surrounding this landmark building. There must be something about the classical architecture, the quiet nooks, and long labyrinth of aisles that sets your imagination loose.
The basement is one of the most notorious spots in the building for strange sounds and sightings. Skeptics will tell you this is due to the boiler in the sub-basement, much of our heating and cooling system originates down here, and that is the source of the groans, pops and rumbles.
We do, however, have reports of things that could not be explained by the building’s infrastructure. One janitor even swears someone tapped him on the shoulder, but when he turned around no one was there.
Some say you will find a young lady in the basement. She is in her early 20s with wavy red hair about mid-back. You will see her in the stacks or sitting in a chair reading in various places. Belivers say many people are probably too busy when they pass her to notice she is different, however if you bother to look she will be gone or you may even see her disappear
Reported by a Library staffer:
Many people are thoroughly creeped out by our basement. One of the duties of our closing crew is to turn out the lights in the building. I can tell you from personal experience if you let yourself get spooked, the dark basement can be quite unnerving.
My basement story occurred about 10 years ago. The recording had played announcing 20 minutes till closing. The recording had played announcing closing, and I was now in basement shutting out the lights.
There was one bank of safety lights in the center of the floor. These were the only lights left on when the switches are turned off. The trick to not trapping yourself in the pitch dark was to start at the far end work your way to the middle. Then start the other end and work to the middle.
Half the basement was complete. I was shutting off the second half, and noticed I could hear my own footsteps echoing on the tile. Then I notice it sounded like 2 sets of footsteps.
I stopped. But the other footsteps continued for several beats, then they stopped. I started walking, one set of steps, then again, 2 sets of steps. I stopped, and the other steps continued for a few beats.
The other footsteps were coming from the pitch black portion of the basement. I hadn’t seen any patrons. And no one had called out as I turned out the lights, But someone was there, I heard them back in the dark stacks.
Ghost or no ghost, I decided right then I didn’t want to be alone in the basement with whoever or whatever was skulking around. I did not finish turning out the lights. I went up stairs and reported it to security. But they never found anyone downstairs that night.
Also reported by a staffer:
This occurred just a few years ago. This time when a student worker was turning on the basement lights in the morning. As she worked her way down the floor, she discovered a knee-high stack of books at the end of each aisle.
She thought this was pretty weird and she asked a co-worker from the closing crew, “Where the books there when the lights went out at 2 am?” No, there was nothing out of the ordinary. So, she ask one of the janitors who cleaned the basement around 3 am. “Where the books there when you in the basement?” Yes.
At some point, between 2 am and 3 am when the building was closed, and supposedly vacant, someone unshelved dozens of books and placed them in stacks at the end of each basement row. Now, if this wasn’t strange enough, when they went to replace the books they found these were not books from the basement. The stacks were a mix of books from throughout the entire building.
Having the building dark and quiet is certainly one of the spookiest times to be ghost hunting. On occasion staff will come in during holidays or late evening to get some work done. A few of them have become inadvertent ghost hunters.
One employee reported visiting her office on a holiday to complete some work undisturbed. She’d been at her desk for a while when she looked up and saw her cell phone, on her desk, balancing upright on its end. She was so startled, she snatched up her things and left the building for the day.
She claims her phone could not have accidently landed this way when she set it down, in fact, she tried several times to replicate this balancing trick. But the phone can’t stand up on one end, at least not without a little help.
The earliest documentation we’ve found of ghostly activity on this floor was reported in a 1993 O’Colly. The night cleaning crew claimed that each floor’s spirits had a different personality. On the 3rd floor, they claimed to see floating lights.
a 2010 O’Colly reporter claimed he had collected reports of the red-haired woman, throwing books on the 3rd floor.
The 3rd floor does house our remaining paper collection of theses and dissertations. You’d be hard pressed to find a set of books anywhere else in the building that have been the source of more emotion, anxiety, and distress. Perhaps the books themselves are haunted.
4th & 5th Floors
According to a 2009 O'Colly article:
“A security staffer said he hears women whispering on the upper floors of the Edmon Low Library but see no one. Guards said they have followed a man in a baseball cap and a woman with bushy black hair more than once without success.
One library employee reported, "I've seen a lady on the fourth floor who just got out of sight,"
He said the woman had black "really crazy, curly messed-up hair," was about 5-foot-7-inches, 180 pounds and "probably in her 50s."
"I tried to locate her," he said. "She never did exit the building."
The employee said he and two police officers searched the building after closing that semester when he suspected people spending the night here.
He said one of the officers spotted the mysterious lady again - this time on the fifth floor near the west elevator, but she disappeared.”
The article goes on to say “The library is not the only possibly haunted building on campus. Old Central, Cordell Hall, the Bartlett Center and others are all said to have otherworldly residents. But with so many rumors, it's hard to discern fact from illusion.