An Update From Jadewik

Dear Witching Hour Readers:

I feel like I owe our blog subscribers a little update as to why I haven’t written much in the last year or so. 2013 has been quite the eventful year– the details of which may seem like embellishments from a soap opera. The long of the short is that I had a really rough pregnancy. I suffered from what I like to call “baby poisoning”, and I spent the better part of 2 months (42 days) in the hospital. My son was born 5 weeks early, but he is healthy and is now terrorizing my cats as he learns to walk.

I also lost my job in August. I spent 6 months enjoying my full-time job as a mom before finding something in my field. Things are rough right now as my new job is a great distance from my family, but we’re putting a lot of time into relocating which is one of the main reasons I haven’t been writing for The Witching Hour of late. The other reason I haven’t been writing is that my work computer has abysmally stringent firewalls which make it impossible to write at work. Alas, the mighty pen has replaced the keyboard…. and I long for the wonder that is copy/paste.

I do have some exciting stories on the who-knows-how-distant-horizon. Around August, I had just finished doing a TON of research on zombies, which I had hoped to furnish last October for a “zombie week”. (Perhaps I’ll have it finished by this October?) I also have a few things in the works on some Arizona folklore, and some old half-written stories that I hope to complete. I’m constantly amassing lists and lists of new topics and things to write about– if only I had the time!

I love the comments we’ve been getting, and I still try to respond to those as quickly as possible. I try to put forth the most accurate information available, and I’m happy to see a readership who is like-mindedly focused on accuracy. Thank you for helping me keep my facts straight!

In the meantime, I hope you’ve been enjoying some of the material our other authors have been busy putting together. (I’m really enjoying Ysbryd’s haunted library series!)

Thank you for your readership,
~Jadewik

Paracon Australia 2014

For those of our followers who live in Australia, the 2014 Paracon Australia will be held May 10th and 11th at the Maitland Gaol. More information can be found on their official website Paracon Australia 2014.

If anyone goes, please write in and let us know how it went. You can either comment on this post or send in an email (thewitchinghour@mail.com) and we’ll post your story here on the blog.

Haunted Libraries: Andrew Bayne Memorial Library

Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, Bellevue, PA

Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, Bellevue, PA

3. Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, Bellevue, PA

History

Unlike most of the stories told so far, Bayne Memorial Library began life as the home of Amanda Bayne Balf, daughter of Andrew Bayne who was a member of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention and Sheriff of Allegheny County in 1838. Mrs Balf’s husband, James Madison Balf, was a prominent architect at the time and designed the Victorian home, placing marble fireplaces in each room and etching his name above the entrance to the house.

Upon the death of Mrs Balf and her sister Jane Bayne Teece, the house and surrounding property was bequeathed to the Borough of Bellvue. The sisters wanted the house to be used as a library and the rest of the property to be converted into a park.

In 1914, a library committee announced the opening of two rooms in the old home for use as a library. In the early 1920s, a group of women called the Bellevue Federation sought and received permission to use the home as a meeting place. They used the upstairs rooms for their meeting space.

It wasn’t until 1927 – thirteen years after the library committee first met to announce the opening of rooms for use as a library – that the library and park were formally dedicated to the citizens of Bellevue. At the time of the dedication, the library contained 3,000 volumes, most of which had come from the private libraries of Amanda and Jane.

In the 1960s, the library was renovated and with the renovation came the monumental task of updating texts that were in poor shape or no longer used. Some were discarded outright, some repaired, but all were finally cataloged.

Today, the park surrounding the library has playground equipment and a large field that is used for football and extreme frisbee. During the summer, the library offers movies and concerts on Wednesdays.

Haunting

Since the library began life as a home, it’s understandable that it was a beloved place for those who spent so much of their lives within its walls. One of the manifestations witnessed by staff and patrons alike is that of Amanda Bayne Balf herself, recognizable because a of her portraits hangs in one of the library rooms. She is often seen upstairs in what was once her bedroom. She is also known to be a mischievous entity, often turning lights off and on, randomly. Strange numbers have also appeared on computers, entered by unseen hands.

 

Sources

Haunted Libraries: The Saline County Library

Old Palace Theatre, Benton, Arkansas converted into a library for Saline County from 1967 - 2002

Old Palace Theatre, Benton, Arkansas converted into a library for Saline County from 1967 – 2002

5. The Saline County Library, AR

History

The Saline County Library has its beginnings like most other small libraries around the country: it was begun by a social organization which often took on civic projects to benefit the surrounding community. In this case, it was the Benton Junior Fortnightly Club of Benton, Arkansas that took on the task. The library was located on the second floor of the Walton building in downtown Benton and opened in 1931.

As with most libraries, the first location and many subsequent locations of the Saline County Library became too small to hold the library’s ever growing collection. Seven years after opening, the library was moved to a building next to City Hall. Ten years beyond that, it was relocated again to a former doctor’s office. There would be three more moves over the years before the library finally settled into its own building in 2002. A second location was dedicated in 2003.

Today there are only two branch locations that serve the entire county.

Hauntings

The interesting thing about this library’s haunted history is that it’s from a former location, not a current one and the alleged hauntings might not have anything to do with the library. From 1967 to 2003, the library was housed in an old theatre, the Old Palace Theatre. One reported story is that the director once heard the tick-tick-tick of a manual typewriter when the library had discarded theirs long ago.

Other librarians reported hearing phantom footsteps, seeing paperback carousels rotating on their own, and the typical books falling off the shelves.

As there are no stories to be found of former librarians who passed on yet couldn’t quite let go of their earthly duties to the patrons of the library, I’m more inclined to believe that whatever ghosts there might be are from the days when the Old Palace Theatre served its true purpose to the people of Saline County as an entertainment venue.

Sources

The Saline County Library site
Library Ghosts: Southern U.S.
10 Haunted U.S. Libraries

Historic Emmitt House destroyed by fire

Again with the lack of respect!!! I’m starting to hate people.

WAVERLY — A historic — and believed to be haunted — landmark in downtown Waverly was destroyed by fire Monday night.

The blaze at the Emmitt House restaurant at the corner of U.S. 23 and Market Street caught fire about 9 p.m. Monday. The Pike County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the building appeared to be a total loss.

U.S. 23 through Waverly was shut down to allow firefighters from several departments in Pike and Ross counties to battle the blaze. The conditions they worked under were far from ideal, with temperatures dropping from 0 degrees when the initial calls came in about 9 p.m. to 6 below at 11 p.m., with a wind chill factor of 31 below.

“It’s been an uphill battle since we got here,” said Waverly Fire Chief Randy Armbruster, who estimated there were about 60 firefighters from various departments on the scene. “It (the cold weather) has taken a toll in trying to get a handle on it.”

Full story

Gore residents devastated after rumoured ‘ghost church’ burns to ashes

This is appalling. People have no morals anymore. They think they can go anywhere and do anything without consequences. It’s truly a sad state of affairs.

Residents in a small town south of Morin Heights are devastated after their tiny, ancestral church was burnt to the ground.

For years, the community of Gore fought to preserve St. John’s Shrewsbury Anglican Church, built in the 1830s. Due to rumours the tiny church was haunted, it was vandalized repeatedly over the years, but no one imagined it would be destroyed by arson.

Once the heart of a vibrant community, the church was a powerful symbol, said local resident Jason Morrison, who serves as one of the town’s municipal inspectors.

Full story

Historic and haunted Jamaica Inn for sale

If you have a cool £2m just laying around begging to be used, where better to invest it than the famous smuggler’s inn made famous by the Daphne du Maurier book of the same name? There’s a pretty good guarantee on a very big return on the investment with the television adaptation of Ms du Maurier’s book coming out in a few months.

You can stay in cottages on the estate surrounding Chatsworth, probable model for Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice, or in the grounds of Menabilly, the house on which Daphne du Maurier based Manderley, the fictional estate in her novel Rebecca. Much more unusual, though, is the kind of opportunity that presented itself this week with the news that Jamaica Inn is up for sale – a chance to own a property that inspired a celebrated book, assuming you have £2m to spare. Du Maurier wrote her period tale of Cornish smugglers after staying at the former coaching inn on Bodmin Moor in 1930, and – unlike in Rebecca – used the place’s real name.

Full story