Friday, November 2, 2012
The Breathtaking, Haunted Beauty of The Linn-Henley Library
The Linn-Henley Research Library was built in 1927 and was the Birmingham Public Library until 1984. At this time the primary library was moved across the street into a modern building of glass and harsh angles. The two buildings are attached by a catwalk and the architectural differences between these two buildings that are connected like Siamese twins are so vast that they should be in different countries. But the two buildings are bound together by their common purpose.
In 1984 when the old building was partially abandoned it took on a new purpose and became the archives where the old books were stored and the history was kept. There are no stories of bizarre deaths here. There are no horror tales of Indian burial grounds or murdered children, but the ghosts that have been described in this building are so terrifying that some of the librarians have refused to go back into the stacks alone and without every light on. Many staff members know about the haunting in a general sort of way. They know that doors open and close on their own and phantom noises fill the building when it is empty, but a few report an even more active haunting. They describe seeing Fant in the shadows.
As I told my ghost stories on Halloween day, it was wicked fun to be able to share the tales of the ghost that haunted the very room we were standing in. Some of the staff believe many of the tales told of Fant are fancy, but even the skeptics believe that there has been to much activity in the library to be able to explain it all away. Fant still wanders the Linn-Henley building and I hope he was listening when I told my ghost stories. That would be a real honor!