Haunted Dwelling — Easton Area Public Library
515 Church Street
Easton, Pennsylvania 18042
Web Link * (610) 258-2917
The Easton Public Library can be found near the historic downtown area, on Church Street, between 5th and 6th Street.
The Easton Public Library is described as being "A handsome Carnegie building of blue stone from New Jersey, local bricks, and granite."
Tom and I visited the Easton Public Library, not knowing much about it. It is indeed a beautiful, well-done structure, in the style and quality found in many of the other Carnegie libraries the visitor can see all around the country. To enter the original building, the visitor climbs a stairway "flanked by white marble walls to a landing of tile inlaid with patterns in green, red and yellow. Inside the original building, there are "Faux green marble columns" support the 12 ft high ceilings. Each major room of the library has heavy oak and glass doors, with arched windows on the top of each door.
Looking at the park-like grounds, it looked a little odd; seeing things that one normally doesn't see on library grounds. We realized that this land once was a graveyard. We saw the sunken indentations where some graves were removed, and one or two iron railings that still protect what was the resting place of someone's beloved. Of course, we paid our respects to the two named graves.
One must admire the determination and teamwork of the people of Easton. In 1895, the people decided that they wanted to have a large, public library. So, they formed a Library Association, with the idea that the new library would be funded and maintained by the school board, supported by taxpayers. After setting their sites on the old graveyard land, and having it in stone that the library's operating costs would be paid by public funds via the school board, they applied to Andrew Carnegie himself for one of Carnegie's grants. Andrew Carnegie was so impressed on how the people of Easton had gotten all their ducks in a row, gave them a $50,000 grant! Their brand new library opened in 1903!
The Easton Public Library continued to grow throughout the years. Another Carnegie Grant was awarded in 1911, when the north addition was added. In 1941, a loft was added to this north addition, providing more book space. In 1963, the Easton Public Library received the honor of being named one of Pennsylvania's 28 District Library Centers. In 1968, the east addition was built.
Friends of the Library applied for and received a National Endowment for Humanities grant in 1985, so that the Library's historic materials could be properly preserved, some of which date back to the founding of Northampton County.
As of 2011, there are several branches of Easton Public Library, as well as up-to-date internet perks and connections and relationships with libraries in Allentown and Bethlehem Public Libraries and the library of Moravian College, who are all part of the Lehigh Valley Library System.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
Disturbing graves, being disrespectful of corpses often leads to confused, restless spirits. It's not good to dig up and move graves, damage headstones, build on top of graves or make a mass grave with all the extra bodies, body parts found while transforming a graveyard property into land to be used for another use.
( Cedar Grove Mansion * Cincinnati Music Hall * El Campo Santo Cemetery * Grant Humphreys Mansion * Topeka High School * The Rose Hill Cemetery )
It was determined that the best place to build the new library, Easton Public Library, was on the land where the biggest, oldest cemetery in Easton, The German Reformed Cemetery was located, being the resting place of 514 remains. It was determined that the cemetery was filled and not being "used". People moved their loved ones to other city graveyards, to make room for the new library. Uh Oh! Someone forgot about the spirits whose 30 bodies remained, unclaimed by the living, because their families had died out, or they just didn't care.
Two people who were buried there, were moved to different parts of the property. They were the lucky ones. Elizabeth Bell "Mammy" Morgan's grave was moved to the west lawn, and Easton city founder William Parson's' grave can be found on the front lawn. However, anywhere from eleven to twenty-eight other bodies of people whose relatives had originally paid money for them to spend their eternal rest in their own grave, were simply, irreverently dumped into a cement vault in the ground, along with other unclaimed body parts of corpses, creating an unmarked mass grave I guess they were unsentimental about earthly remains in 1903!
Side-note: (One source claims that only 11 remains were put in the vault, and that 17 other graves were just left where they originally were placed, perhaps, I theorize, because of the problem of corpses falling apart when moved. EW!)
Then to add insult to injury, the library paved over not only this vault, but some of the other graves still on the property with cement, to make parking lots, when the additions were added to the main building.
The rectangular vault can be easily seen at the northeast exit. The entrance of this vault is said to be in the immediate right corner of the children's room. This vault continues to be a problem, as the cement keeps sinking around it, making this spot a continuing trouble spot for repairs.
Trying to make up for disrespectful behavior by the living over the years, towards the bodies laid to rest, a cemetery map showing the location of all the graves is on display in the back of the reference room; The Marx Room, showing both marked and unmarked graves, perhaps hoping to appease the restless spirits. A similar effort was made at Cedar Grove Mansion b and b, as they put in a memorial burial plot, with a stone remembering each member of the original family.
It is no wonder that there is paranormal activity around and inside this beautiful library! The staff takes it all in stride, trying not to upset these unseen patrons.
The first eye witnesses to restless entities reported what they saw in an article, found in The Easton Daily Express, Thursday, July 16th, 1903, 3 months before the library was opened. They saw an apparition of a woman, float around the outside of the new building, go inside and stand by a window, where her head glowed.
Could this be an early sighting of the entity of Elizabeth Bell "Mammy" Morgan?
She has been restless, and likes to take strolls around the park and around the building, perhaps looking for her original grave site, or perhaps hurt that no one claimed her body?
People have seen her see-through apparition.
Inside the library:
Confused, restless spirits have moved into the beautiful library, perhaps to do some reading, while enjoying the beautiful decor, and have some chuckles at the living's expense, as they let them know that they are there, and perhaps a bit upset about the dis- respect shown to their remains.
Many personal experiences have been reported by both staff and library patrons, and of course the brave night maintenance personnel.
Doors slam shut and open suddenly all by themselves, with startling effect as if an unseen library patron is going through the door.
Books sometimes fly across the stacks, or thrown off the shelves.
Filing cabinet drawers have a mind of their own, and merrily, forcefully, swing open for no reason.
Patrons and staff have felt cold, unseen hands gently run through their hair, though sometimes these cold hands get carried away and play and poof up hair for chuckles!
Some staff members are touched on the shoulders.
In the basement, a full apparition has been seen.
On the second floor, items are moved around and left in odd places.
Plenty of folks have reported paranormal experiences throughout the years, but I couldn't find any published hard evidence, captured by investigators, probably because East- on Public Library doesn't want to take the chance of upsetting the unseen library patrons by having "GHOST HUNTS" at the library. They know who and why the spirits are there, so there is no need to find out more - yet! As long as nothing is damaged inside the library, staff is willing to put up with the entities, and share the library with them.
A huge PROBABLY SO! To insure restless spirits, it seems that unthinking people just have to desecrate, move, and/or show disrespect to buried remains. Paving over graves isn't a good idea either.
The Big Book of Pennsylvania Ghost Stories
by Mark Nesbitt and Patty A. Wilson
Stackpole Books, 2008
haunted-places.com/paranorm.htm * eastonpl.org/History.htm