Ghostly Encounters: Haunted Hornbake

Hornbake Library at night

Over the past month we’ve been telling you about some of the haunted places on campus. But did we mention we have a ghost of our own? That’s right, a ghost in Hornbake Library. We know what you’re thinking, and no, she’s not a cranky librarian shushing people from beyond the grave (although that would be pretty scary!). She’s not some poor freshman forever studying for finals either (that would be even scarier!). We’re not sure exactly who she is – only that she likes to come out after most people have left for the night. But we’ll let you draw your own conclusions. Here are a few stories from those who were lucky (or unlucky?) enough to meet her.

Kenny, University Archives student assistant

It was the second week of the semester that I was working here as a student assistant in the University Archives. It was a Wednesday night, and I was re-shelving books and materials in the first floor stacks. It was really quiet and I was the only person in that area of the building at the time. I was almost finished and was pushing the cart along when I happened to turn my head and look down one of the stacks. When I turned my head, I saw something that caught my eye for just a second and then it was gone. At the end of the stack I saw what looked like a woman in a dark dress round the corner quickly. I didn’t stop to look or go back to see if someone was actually there. I knew I was alone. Instantly I thought my mind was playing tricks on me and I had just seen something that wasn’t actually there. That night the same image kept running through my mind and I was convinced that I knew what I saw. The next time I came into the archives to work I learned that I wasn’t the only one who has reported strange sightings and sounds in the archives. Whatever or whoever it was I saw, I would really like it if they would at least say hello next time.

Anne Turkos, University Archivist

Well, Kenny saw her, but I have only heard her–high heels tapping on the linoleum floor, moving papers around, shifting boxes in the stacks.  But I know she is here!

Jason Speck, Assistant University Archivist

I have had some strange experiences here as well.  One weekend I was in the building alone, to the point that I had to shut off the lobby alarm to leave.  As I got to the lobby doors, a loud creaking sound came from somewhere behind me, literally like an old wooden door.  I waited for several minutes, even looked for the source, but I found nothing.  All the lobby doors were locked.

Another night I went back into the far areas of the 2nd floor stacks, and as I rounded a corner I saw a woman leaning with her arms folded up against the shelves.  I actually walked a few steps past before I realized that there shouldn’t be anyone there.  I stopped and turned around, and the woman (or whatever it was) was gone.

So what do you think? Have you met the Dark Lady of Hornbake? Check back tomorrow for our final ghost post!


2 thoughts on “Ghostly Encounters: Haunted Hornbake

  1. Paul Wester

    As someone who shelved books in Hornbake over 20 years ago when it was the undergraduate library, I can attest to seeing and hearing all sorts of things throughout the building at all times of the day and night.

    Kenny’s description sounds like Fotini Nelson, who ran the circulation desk when I worked there, but I believe she is very much alive.

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