Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Haunted Library Right Here in Oregon!

The spookiest time of year is upon us, and what could be spookier than a big, old building full of books? All those people long gone, whispering to us from the afterlife through the books they've written... no wonder that some libraries have stories of spirits wandering through the stacks. In fact, some of them are located right here in Oregon!

In my informal poking around on this subject, I started noticing that Multnomah County Library's North Portland branch was popping up over and over as a spot to possibly encounter one of these patrons-from-beyond-the-veil. So we reached out to see if anyone had heard any of these tales for themselves, and Patrick Provant had something strange happen to him there once...
The North Portland Library

Patrick Provant is now the supervisor at Midland Library in the Multnomah County Library system, but he used to work at North Portland back in the early 2000's. He had this to say:
"People said that things moved around now and then, and were sometimes found where they shouldn't be. I attributed that to humans. Another story alleged that the security cameras had captured an image when no one was in the building. Whatever. I scoff at ghost stories that never quite have actual proof. One thing I could not explain was the hand-dryer in the upstairs rest room.

What it did: randomly came on.
When it did it: Like, whenever. Sometimes when you were in there using the facilities. A bit disconcerting, to be sure.

We duly reported this malfunction. Although memory is inexact, I think I recall at least two different wiring experts 'fixing' it and the whole hand dryer unit being replaced at one point. Didn't matter.

I started playing games with 'the ghost'. When I was using the rest room, I'd say things like, 'Don't look, please,' mainly to amuse myself. Or, 'if you're here, could you turn the dryer on now?' Once in a while, the timing was interesting, and it actually would be convenient. I got into the habit of saying 'thank you', just in case.

On one particular day, I was encouraging the 'ghost' with no success. I was in the middle of my lunch hour (the staff break room is next door to the rest room in question) and had gone in to use the rest room, and had hoped for a fun coincidental moment. 'Aw, come on, turn it on!' Pause. 'Fine, I bet you a nickel you won't turn it on.' Pause. I sighed and dried my hands by myself. I went back to my lunch in the break room and found (I kid you not) a nickel sitting by my half-eaten lunch.

(Of course I took it! It was a fair bet.)"
A ghost with a sense of humor! I suppose libraries attract all kinds. And this isn't the only report he brought to us from North Portland.
"Some students from the Jefferson High School newspaper had heard tell of an NPO ghost. Somehow they got routed to me, so I escorted them upstairs, telling them about the hand dryer. One student was taking notes, the other had a videocamera and was filming. We got just outside the rest room and the camera person zoomed in as I opened the door. The one with the notepad stepped in with me as I said: 'And here is the hand dryer, the one that sometimes just goes on by itself.'

Whooooooo! The hand dryer, unassisted by a human and on camera, went off as if on cue. The young reporter with me hurtled back out of the room. They were pretty excited and took a moment or two to calm down, but decided that they had in fact got what they needed."
Clearly, someone likes to fool around with anyone curious enough to wonder about this haunting.

Have you ever experienced something ghostly in your library? Feel free to share your story in the comments!

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