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'History & Mystery Tour' set at Carnegie library and music hall

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:31 p.m.
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Library Director Erin Tipping points to where it is rumored that a ghost hangs out at Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall. Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
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Event Coordinator Lynne Cochran talks about ghost experiences she has heard about at Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall. Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item
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Librarian Nate Wyrick thinks back to the night when he heard foot steps in the basement teen room after the library was closed to the public. Randy Jarosz | For The Signal Item

Prior to an incident six months ago at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Nate Wyrick did not believe in ghosts.

Now, he's not so sure.

The 32-year-old, who works as head of adult services at the library, was at the building late one night. It was between midnight and 1 a.m.; the only other people there were at the music hall.

Suddenly, Wyrick said, he heard what he thought were footsteps coming from the wooden floor in what is referred to as the downstairs “teen room.” Years ago, the small room was a storage area before being converted to an area for teaching teenagers, he said.

“It sounded like two or three people, walking around. I just knew I was the only one in the library area, and no one else was here, except in the music hall. The walking was really loud, too. And I had never heard it before. After working here for several years, I had never heard anything like it,” Wyrick said.

As Wyrick opened the old, wired gate to descend the steep cement steps to the room, the Heidelberg resident didn't know what he would find.

Then, suddenly, the walking stopped. Wyrick went to the teen room to look around and found no one.

“I was down there one or two minutes. I went back upstairs. Then, (the walking) started again in the teen room,” Wyrick said.

At this point, Wyrick admits he “sort of panicked.” He set the library alarm, gathered his personal belongings and went to the music hall, to join others.

“Up until that point,” Wyrick said, “I discounted paranormal activity and ghosts in general. I wouldn't say I'm a believer, but I would say that incident really scared me.”

Then, there is the story of the Union soldier on the staircase.

Library director Erin Tipping said a small child reported seeing the soldier, dressed in Union blue, near the Civil War Room staircase. The child “was very scared,” Tipping said.

The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, at 300 Beechwood Ave. in Carnegie, is more than 100 years old. Rumors and stories of ghostly sightings and spiritual entities at the mammoth building on the hill have circulated over the years; none, to this point, have been proven — or discounted.

The public will be invited to hear several of these stories later this month when the library and music hall presents its “History & Mystery Tour.” The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28. The cost is $15 per person.

The event will include a half-hour tour of the entire historic landmark, including the music hall, downstairs dressing room, the upstairs Civil War Room and other areas. The tour will include stories of alleged ghostly sightings at the building.

“The thing is, you never know what may be,” said library event coordinator Lynne Cochran, who added she never has experienced any paranormal activity at the building during her five years there.

“But are there ghosts here? Maybe something happens to me during the course of a day and later on I say to myself, ‘What was that?' You never know.”

In January, under the direction of then-executive director Diane Klinefelter, paranormal investigators walked through the library and music hall, searching for any signs of ghostly activity. Some results were found, such as unknown voices.

The “History & Mystery Tour” will be a bit different than that, Cochran said. Free soft drinks and snacks will be offered after the tour.

“We like doing things like this. It is unique, because no one is doing anything like this,” Cochran said.

Jeff Widmer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or jwidmer@tribweb.com.

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