Shuttered library houses books…and spirits
I was in Parkersburg on a sun drenched spring day in 2005. I was exploring the inside of an old bookstore on Green Street when I stumbled on the wooden staircase and nearly fell flat on my face. “Don’t worry,” a voice behind the desk said softly. “The Ghost Girl occasionally trips someone on that step. She’s a bit of a mischief maker.” The look on my face was surely priceless. Sure, I had heard some of the tall tales and whispers of paranormal activity at this location, but did I really believe them? I was about to be proven wrong that day on my first visit to the Trans Allegheny Bookstore.
Mike was the manager of the library turned bookstore and he was more than willing to share the buildings unusual occurrences with me in regards to the Ghost Girl. Apparently, many psychics and sensitives had various encounters with the little girl but no one knew anything about her. No name was given and no explanation for her sitting on that certain step. Maybe she just liked books, I thought.
The manager was kind enough to give me a little history lesson on the building and information on the dusty pile of out of print books I had been eying by the front door. The library was built in 1904 with funds from a $34,000 grant from famed philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The bookstore contained more than 500,000 books and was one of the largest used bookstores in this area of the nation. The paranormal section was large and full of ghost and folklore books that would have any paranormal investigator drooling.
As I wandered about the various levels of the building, I admired beautiful stained glass windows, a brass spiral staircase, glass inserts on the floor and beautiful woodwork. While in the World History section, I stopped and looked at various volumes on the Civil War. It was at that moment when I sensed I was not alone. Looking around nonchalantly, I saw no one in the room. Just out of the corner of my vision, I caught a shadowy form of a man. He seemed to walk quickly behind the tall bookracks that soared to the ceiling. I walked a few steps and looked around the corner where his path would have taken him. An empty aisle greeted my stare. It began to dawn on me that no human was there where there should have been oneand then it happened again. Everyone knows what that feels likethe feeling of being stared at intently. As interesting as this was, I began my walk down the staircase to find the manager. As I got to the bottom step, I did a sideways scoot just in case Ghost Girl was still there. I whispered to the manager what had happened and he grinned again and told me I was having a good day. I had seen the second entity that the library claimed as part of their spirit population. Mike told me that many people had experienced seeing a shadow type man who walks around in the World History section upstairs. I guess I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of him as he made his eternal rounds that day.
My first visit to the old library ended that day in 2005. A couple of years later I rented the library out for a late night ghost hunt and brought a bus load of folks to share the adventure with me. It was an interesting night and I had hoped to go back many times. My last visit was in 2009. In 2010, the library closed its doors due to the passing of the owner. Until this very day, the building stands silent and locked. I wonder about all of the glorious old books that graced the shelves. I also wonder about the Ghost Girl and the Shadow Man. Several times, I have stopped and walked up the front steps to peer through the dirty glass doors and peek inside the bookstore. I hope the spirits are finally at rest in that grand old building. At least they will never lack for reading material.
Sherri Brake is a paranormal researcher, author and owner of Haunted Heartland Tours. Her website is www.HauntedHistory.net