1. Get a Whiff of the Grey Lady at The Willard Library, Evanston, Indiana
Home to volume upon volumes of the written word, The Willard, built and stocked in the 1800s, is Indiana’s oldest public library. And though the locale’s rules state that one must have a library card to check out a book, there is one avid reader who doesn’t: the Grey Lady. Spotted first in 1937 and more than 1,000 times since, the veiled apparition floats quietly through the stacks shifting tomes and leaving a musky aroma—and terrified patrons—in her wake.
2. Chill Out with the Ghosts at Peoria Public Library, Peoria, Illinois
Not even religious self-help books can save a library that’s built on cursed ground. Lore has it that a woman named Mrs. Andrew Gray lost her home to foreclosure in 1830, then doomed the property and all of its future owners. Years later, the library was built on/near those grounds, its first three directors all mysteriously died, and now the librarians all claim that when they are alone in the stacks, the temperature drops and they hear their names whispered from beyond.
3. See Red at Pattee Library, State College, Pennsylvania
Several nooks and crannies of Penn State University are said to be haunted: the Schwab Auditorium, Watts Hall, and, yes, Pattee Library. Students have reported seeing the red glow of what appears to be a set of eyes, transparent ghost girls bookmarking a few favorites, and book carts moving without someone to push them. The creepiest folklore, however, lies in truth: In 1969, grad student Betsy Aardsma was stabbed to death while studying at the library over Thanksgiving break. As the legend goes: She was wearing a crimson-colored dress, and every night students can hear her screams from the basement below and even glimpse her red orb.
4. Spot Eye Candy at Blanche Skiff Ross Memorial Library, Nevada, Missouri
Located on the Cottey College for Women’s campus, the library now stands over what used to be Amerman Sanitorium, the site of several deaths: one in particular is that of music student Vera Neitzert, who died there due to severe burns she incurred from a candy-making accident. She still roams the library and campus. Along with a few others including a man in a smoking jacket who prefers the balcony and a couple of Victorian girls who like to play on the stairs.
5. Find a Good Ghost Story at Parmly Billings Library, Billings Montana
Parmly’s paranormal guests have a playground that consists of six floors (and a basement, naturally). There’s a six-foot-tall entity who’s called dibs on the kitchen and lounge areas, a bespectacled brunette who floats around the third floor, and an intense woman who shares the basement with a gray blob of a ghost. No one really knows why the library is home to so many ghosts, other than the fact that even the deceased love to lose themselves in a good story.
6. The Saline County Library, Benton, Arkansas
Set up in the old Palace Theatre from 1967 to 2003, the Saline County Library inherited the theater’s ghostly inhabitants. Librarians have reported hearing phantom footsteps, seeing objects move by themselves, and recognizing the faint click of an old typewriter—even though there’s not a single archaic machine to be found on the grounds. The library has since moved on to another location, however, we have to wonder if it took any floating stowaways with it.
7. Take the Stairs at Murry and Leonie Guggenheim Memorial Library, West Long Branch, New Jersey
Designed by the same team behind the New York Public Library, this beaux-arts-style library lives on campus at Monmouth University. What used to be a summer home for Murry and his wife, Leonie, is now a studious haunt complete with a ghostly lady in white who waits until the clock strikes midnight every night to make her way down the staircase.
8. Hear the Music at Houston Public Library, Houston, Texas
Though the building is cuddled next to immaculate courtyards and boasts an impressive Spanish Renaissance-style architecture, there’s something spooky hidden within its walls: The ghost of a watchman who was found dead on-site in 1936, a man who would play his violin in what is now the Tudor Gallery, he still roams the halls of the Julia Ideson Building and plays his melodies when the mood strikes.