Thursday, October 9, 2014

The season for specter-spotting—Newsworthy Haunts 10/9/2014

With the Halloween season already in full swing, media has started pumping out news items profiling our spectral friends throughout the country. Here’s a sampling of recent paranormal news from the South.

Gainesville Public Library
127 Main Street, NW
Gainesville, Georgia

If anything, the Gainesville Public Library does not outwardly appear to be a classic haunted building. The red brick, Brutalist-style building resembles countless modern library buildings throughout the country, but it includes something that many of those libraries do not have: a few ghosts. One of those spirits made an appearance during an investigation last weekend.

The library has been known to be haunted for some time and Nancy Roberts wrote about it in her 1997 book, Georgia Ghosts. The primary spirit Roberts wrote about has been called “Miss Elizabeth” or the “Lady of the Library” by the library staff. One staff member encountered her one night as she was closing. A strange young lady stood near the elevator, “she was only a few feet from me! Her brown hair, which was soft around her face, fell to her shoulders. She was about medium height and wore a long, dark dress, either navy or black.” The staff member turned away momentarily and when she turned back, the strange woman had vanished.

Other staff members described Miss Elizabeth in a 2011 Gainesville Times article as “wearing a long, dark skirt with a white shirt and a dark shawl. Her dark hair is pulled away from her plain face; on her neck she wears a broach.” In addition to seeing this fleeting apparition, the spirit is blamed for turning lights off and on, moving books and possibly riding on the elevator.

While the library building is not old, the property upon which it sits has quite a bit of history. At times during the history of the town, the property was a homestead and also contained a family cemetery. In the 1920s, the graves were moved and a hotel built on the site. The hotel was torn down to build the library.

During the recent investigation, however, it wasn’t Miss Elizabeth who made an appearance; it was the spirit of a small child. During the library sponsored investigation lead up by members of the Southeastern Institute for Paranormal Research, investigators encountered a spirit in the children’s section named Emma. One group heard the giggle of a child, while someone in a different group was touched lightly on the arm and then later another participant had her hair lightly tugged. A sensitive in the group stated that the spirit was a little girl with curly blonde hair dressed in a style reminiscent of the 1950s.

The sensitive remarked that the child seemed to be happy, loved book and “was glad someone had come to play with her.”

Sources
Gunn, Jerry. “Ghost hunters seek spirits at Gainesville Library.” Access
     North Georgia. 20 September 2014.
Gunn, Jerry. “Paranormal investigators meet a girl named Emma.” Access
     North Georgia. 5 October 2014.
King, Savannah. “Local ghost hangouts: Gainesville Library.” Gainesville
     Times. 30 October 2011.
Roberts, Nancy. Georgia Ghosts. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, 1997.

Old Clay County Jail
21 Gratio Place
Green Cove Springs, Florida

The Florida Times-Union has recently deemed the Old Clay County Jail to be a place where it is always Halloween. Paranormal investigators have deemed the building to be one of the most active that many of them have seen.

Old Clay County Jail, 2010. Photo by Ebyabe, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Built by the Pauly Jail Company in 1894, the building saw its last inmate in 1972. The building now serves as home to the Clay County Archives. Like most corrections facilities, this building has seen the worst of society and a number of tragedies in its long history. Among the tragedies was the assassination of a sheriff, an inmate suicide, five executions and another suicide on the front lawn.

Reports of activity from the jail include voices, apparitions and hair-pulling. Activity has become so well known that the Clay County Historical Archives website features a page describing the haunted conditions of the building.

Sources
Buehn, Debra W. “Old Clay County Jail stars in Local Haunts’ TV show
     Sunday.” Florida Times-Union. 1 April 2010.
Clay County Historical Archives. Ghosts in the Old Jail. Accessed 9 October
     2014.
Hogencamp, Kevin. “It’s Halloween all year at old Clay County jail.”
     Florida Times-Union. 3 October 2014.

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