Browse Awhile Books boasts enough ghosts that they could start their own book club. And from the sound of it, they would be a rowdy, chatty, and somewhat vindictive group. So, it would be just like your typical book club.
Built in 1872, Browse Awhile Books is located in Tipp City, Ohio. It’s found nestled in the Historic District among fifty antique and arts shops. The bookstore is 4000 square feet and houses over 150,000 books (Browse Awhile Books). But you’re not here to learn about the quaint area or to get tips on where to go if you want to go antiquing next weekend. You’re here to learn about the spirits haunting this building, so I’m going to jump right in!
Numerous paranormal investigation groups have explored this bookstore for their TV shows and YouTube channels. Haunted Collector, Doorways Investigation Group (DIG), My Ghost Story, and Paranormal Answers Research Team (PART) have all had their piece of the pie. I would take a dig at the hilarious acronyms that these groups choose, but I won’t, because that’s not the part I wish to play in this story. Instead, I’m going to talk a little bit about their alleged findings.
There have been countless paranormal incidences in this building over the years, including people being literally punched in the face (is it “literally” if no fist is actually involved?), poked, scratched, and yelled at. One woman was slapped in the face, and it was later discovered that she’d been trying to steal a book (Doorways Investigation Group). Books often fly off the shelves. The toys that are left out for children move, and people often see “shadows playing peek-a-boo” (Leslie, 2014, p. 94). Upon reading this, I suspected that a child is haunting the bookstore. According to Leslie (2014) who cited a source that is not available online (get your shit together, Toronto Star), the child’s ghost is named “Caleb”. An article in Huffpost comments on video footage filmed by Haunted Collector, reporting that it captures the voice of a child saying “No”. The link to the video is dead (there’s a pun here, I’m sure of it)—but if you have a live link, please put it in the comments!
You’d think that would be the end of it. A child can cause a lot of havoc, and it would be perfectly reasonable to assume that one ghost was biting, scratching, and overall exasperating staff and customers. But apparently there are at least fifteen ghosts currently residing in Browse Awhile Books. And many of them have names. Charlie, Sam, Virgil, James, Erika, Becky, Sue, Mike, and Ellen.
Brian & Josh of DIG speak with the ghost of Erika https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkrDStF81aU
The fact that the ghosts have communicated their names to paranormal investigators gives me pause. I’ve read stories about a lot of ghosts, and it’s rare that the investigators can pinpoint a name for the spirit. But this many spirits? How likely is it that they were able to name 10 out of 15 ghosts? Something’s rotten in the state of Ohio. Either there is a very strong medium living in Tipp City, some of the facts have gotten misconstrued somewhere along the way and these names are actually pet names for the ghosts, not “real” names… or someone’s lying. I’ll let you decide which is your truth.
It has been suggested that Caleb, along with many of the other ghosts, came to the bookstore attached to a book. This is very interesting to me, because that was a theory I postulated when looking into the haunting of Rivendell Books.
That said, if all the ghosts came to the bookstore attached to haunted books, then would that explain why a lot of bookstores are allegedly “haunted”? Or is there something about the nature of bookstores that makes people think they’re haunted? Is it the fact that books are becoming less and less common, they’re artifacts of the past, which makes people feel nostalgic and spooky? Or do bookstores just attract the spirits of bookworms? Or is there something about the location of Browse Awhile Books that makes the spirits that are inevitably attached to many books more powerful, more able to interact with our realm? Or is it possible that something is inexplicably, malevolently, magically drawing these haunted items into the heart of Tipp City? Hey, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk–I have an idea for where you should set the next season of American Horror Story!
So what do you think? It seems to me that the stories surrounding this haunting are vague and lack details. If you want to compare this to the story of the Rivendell Books hauntings, where they provided the names of witnesses who wouldn’t benefit financially from the bookstore becoming an internet sensation. While the videos provided by paranormal investigators are intriguing, I wouldn’t say that they’re trustworthy, given their origins. Browse Awhile Books apparently holds bookable tours where they tell tourists about the ghosts. This financial incentive makes anything that employees at this bookstore have to say about the spirits less reliable. They have something to gain from keeping up the charade. Again, I find it irritating that while there are apparently so many ghosts haunting this bookstore, I cannot substantiate any of these claims from primary sources. The online resources claiming this place is haunted come from lists of haunted bookstores and paranormal investigations. I want to find a blog created by someone who isn’t, as I said, financially benefiting from their stories.
So, if you’re out there, and you see a ghost, please post about it online, whether you see the ghost in a bookstore or in your shower! I want to read what you have to say!
In the summer of 2016, the bakery in Browse Awhile Books suffered a devastating fire, during which they lost over 40% of their inventory. After this fire, I’m curious to find out if the building is still haunted. Are some of the souls gone because of what happened to the books they were attached to? Or, is it possible that one of these stronger-than-usual spirits lit the fire in hopes to escape an eternity trapped in an over-crowded, evil bookstore?
Sources of Images:
Browse Awhile Books Storefront image taken from https://www.shelf-awareness.com/issue.html?issue=2780#m32947
Browse Awhile Books sign image taken from https://www.daytonlocal.com/listings/browse-awhile-books.asp