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 Balph, daughter of Andrew Bayne who was a member of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention and Sheriff of Allegheny County in 1838. Mrs Balph’s husband, James Madison Balph, 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 Balph 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

Haunted Libraries: Scottsdale Public Library

When we think of hauntings, our minds tend to zero in on houses, theatres, hospitals, etc. Rarely do we think of libraries, being so benign as they are. I found a list of the top 10 haunted libraries and will explore each of their stories in detail in this short series.

Arabian Library, Scottsdale, Arizona

Arabian Library, Scottsdale, Arizona

10. Scottsdale Public Library – specifically the Civic Center branch and the Arabian Library branch.

History

The Scottsdale Public Library System serves the residents of Scottsdale, Arizona as well as the rest of Maricopa County and all visitors to the area. It is run by the City of Scottsdale. The first library for Scottsdale opened in 1955 in the Adobe House which was, at the time, also serving as the community center. It was open only 2 hours, 2 days a week and had a collection of 300 donated books. Four years later, the Friends of the Library non-profit was begun to raise additional funds for the library and offer additional support. In 1960, the town of Scottsdale assumed responsibility for the library and in 1968 a new 37,000 square foot main library was opened. Today there are five branches, including the main branch, Civic Center. Four of the five branches are named for horse breeds: Mustang, Palomino, Arabian and Appaloosa.

Haunting(s)

As stated above, the main branch and the Arabian branch are the two which are alleged to be haunted. It’s not easy to find any stories of what seems to go on at either location other than vague references to books flying off the shelf and unexplained voices being heard. Whoever or whatever haunts each of the two branches is not malevolent in any way, according to the investigation team Sonoran Paranormal Investigations, the team who has been to both branches to attempt to help the library gain some answers in 2010.

At the Arabian branch, voices were recorded, one of which was heard without the aid of a recording device. There were also responses on the team’s K-2 meter to verbal prompts in the children’s reading room, especially when one of the investigation team members read “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Also, a video camera which had been left on its own to record any ghostly activity was inexplicably knocked over when no one was around.

The Civic Center investigation found some moderate activity in the room containing historical documents. A photograph of the late Scottsdale Mayor Bud Tims hangs in the room and whenever it is moved, electronic devices start to “act funny.” A male voice was recorded three times saying the word “no” in response to various questions.

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If you find yourself passing through or visiting Scottsdale, Arizona for a little while, you can find each of the branch’s hours here:  Scottsdale Public Library Details of the investigation can be found on SPI’s website. Lastly, you can hear the recordings captured at each branch location and judge for yourself the validity of the captures.