Tales from the Rare Books Room

By:  Sydney Vollmer

GhostWhat’s more chilling than a good book? Perhaps the ghost that guards them. It’s been awhile since my encounter…but I decided that the world needed to know about our much rumored ghost.

Whether it is a he or she, we cannot say. For the sake of time and space, let’s call it a “he.” He resides in our rare books room here in the Archives & Rare Books Library in Blegen—one level above the library space that is open to the public. Some background on the rare books room:  it’s cold (necessary for preservation), it’s dark, (again, necessary), and it’s spooky (necessary for Ghost and Internpreservation?).  When you get up the stairs and open the massively heavy door, all the lights are off. Each individual row of book shelves has its own light. Last year, one didn’t.

As I’ve said, the rare books room is always a little spooky. Call me superstitious or whatever you would like, but I always feel like the souls of the authors are there—within their books and around them, making sure their works are cared for properly.  Any who… I switch on the light of a bookshelf in the back right corner—don’t ask me why, but that is the creepiest part of the space—and only possiblyone of the lights comes on. Big deal. Lights go out all the time. I continue looking for a volume and I feel this cold wind at the back of my neck. Keep in mind that I’m alone up there. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see a black shadow pass by my left side. Did I psych myself out, or did I actually see a ghost?

He hasn’t been back since that incident. Then again, we fixed the lights. Maybe it was all timing. Maybe it was all made up. In any case, the mystery of our ghost(s) remains. My money is on something supernatural going on upstairs.