From 1883 to 1929, Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish businessman and philanthropist, gifted 2509 public and university libraries to cities around the world. In the US, the third oldest of these libraries that’s still in operation today is the Carnegie Library at Homestead in Pennsylvania. Opening in 1898, the Carnegie of Homestead features a library, a music hall, and an athletic centre. Many have already heard of Andrew Carnegie’s infamous generosity, but did you know that this generosity may have been fueled by guilt? Guilt that may have resulted in Andrew Carnegie choosing to haunt this library as a ghost? And it isn’t just claims of Andrew Carnegie haunting the Library at Homestead. There have been reports of many ghosts in this building, ghosts who just may be the spirits of those Andrew Carnegie indirectly killed.
Museums house artifacts of historical, artistic and cultural significance, providing visitors a unique opportunity to catch glimpses into the past. The Cleveland Museum of Art, however, allows you to catch a literal glimpse into the past. It stands to reason that a museum filled with treasured items would be haunted. But the Cleveland Museum of Art has taken this to an extreme. It is allegedly home to several spirits, and has been dubbed one of the US’s most haunted museums.
This week’s topic isn’t a library or a bookstore or directly related to books, but museums share many of the same values as libraries—primarily the preservation and sharing of information. This information doesn’t have to come in the form of books. Art, artifacts, memorabilia—all these items provide invaluable insights into the past, present, and even the future.
Now that I’ve justified talking about a museum, I can dive into the nitty gritty of the haunting. Or should I say, hauntings.
If you stand in front of an artwork that was beautifully painted by an Impressionist, you might feel captivated, at a loss for words, and have an overwhelming desire to escape into that world of pastel shades and blurred reality. But what if it were possible that the subjects of these paintings could come to life? No, I’m not describing The Night at the Museum, but what many visitors and employees claimed to have experienced while roaming the halls of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
An ironic ghost haunts the basement of Attic Books, an antiquarian and used bookstore in London, Ontario. I’ve decided to start BibliOccult with this story, because not only have I been to this bookstore, but I may have encountered its spirit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Built in the mid-to-late 1800s, the stunning red brick building on 240 Dundas Street was initially only one storey, with the first and second storeys being added during renovations in 1880. The gargoyle, which adds a Gothic look to the building, was only added in 1996 (1).
The building has housed many businesses over the last century and a half. The first inhabitant of note is Abraham Spry. He worked as a tailor in the building in 1875 (1). However, he only stayed there a year before moving on, transferring his business to another building on Dundas Street. It’s my understanding that he didn’t stay there long enough to grow attached to the building. He didn’t stay there long enough to die.
Welcome to BibliOccult, Library of the Odd, the Obscure, and the Occult. Other than the fact that I clearly love alliteration, what does that tell you about this blog? This will be a place where you can find a variety of posts to tickle your fancy and send chills down your spine. If you thrive on the bizarre, and you’re intrigued by the unknown, then you’ve come to the right place.
Updated weekly, this website will curate strange (but not always supernatural) stories from the news and from history, as well as the occasional book or film review. I’m fascinated by the supernatural, especially ghosts, so they’ll be a highlight of this blog. In addition to being a librarian, I’m a murderino with a forensics degree, so there will inevitably be some analyses of unexplained murders (and their subsequent hauntings) thrown into the mix.
If you’re interested, click follow. The first official post will be on Friday the 13th. I look forward to unnerving you soon…