Haunted Libraries of PA
Did you know that Pennsylvania tops the list for most haunted libraries in the United States? Somehow, Martin Library in downtown York is never mentioned on these compilations, but who knows, that could someday change. Meanwhile, let’s check out some of the other haunted libraries in Pennsylvania.
The Gettysburg Borough Office Building housed the Adams County Public Library 70-80 years ago. The story goes that a ghost named “Gus” got up to all sorts of benign shenanigans, including riding the elevator and even cooking food! Can a ghost eat? Can a ghost smell? Or are these the actions of a spirit who still longs for the simple pleasures of the earthly realm? Maybe you should take a little trip west and ask him.
I would expect nothing less than the ghost of Benjamin Franklin, father of the American library movement, to appear in the city he called home. His ghost was, of course, said to be carrying an armload of books. Unfortunately the original Library Company of Philadelphia building was demolished in 1887—like so many of the libraries on these lists that were said to be haunted. Coincidence? Perhaps. The current building on the site, the Library Hall of the American Philosophical Society, is a replica. Old Ben is not fooled by this replacement and has not been seen since the original building’s destruction.
What’s a ghost to do when they love books and trees but can only have one? Amanda Bayne Balph bequeathed her home for use as a library and park after her death, stipulating that no elm trees on the property be cut down. Unfortunately, throughout the 1900s, all trees but one died from disease. The final tree was named The Lone Sentinel and was 400 years old… when it, too, was brought down in 1998 (by a storm). That is when Mrs. Balph’s spirit kicked into high gear. Like many ghosts, though, her pranks were harmless, featuring floating lights and hidden books. Perhaps this was because she understood that it was nature, not people, that killed her beloved trees.
Want to read more?
As we said before, Martin Library hasn’t been featured on any of these lists… yet. Even though our planned October 26 events with Psychic Medium Lucky Belcamino were canceled, you can still learn more about haunted libraries and Pennsylvania by following the links below!
Check out a book!
Endless hours of reading on haunted Pennsylvania abound in York County Libraries. Get a taste with this booklist: https://york.chilipac.com/booklist/haunted-PA
Read more online!
George Eberhart of the American Library Association compiled America’s haunted libraries into a series of Britannica blogs in 2008; while these blogs are unfortunately no longer available, these web sites have cited the original content, or provided content similar to it: