Ghost walk benefits Munhall library
By Michael DiVittorio
Published: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, 1:31 a.m.
Unexplained noises, random changes in temperature, orbs and alleged ghost legs were among the eerie phenomena found during Friday night's Paranormal Ghost Walk at Carnegie Library of Homestead.
The library at 510 E. Tenth Ave. in Munhall was investigated by multiple paranormal societies and ghost-related organizations throughout its history, the most known group being Syfy Channel's “Ghost Hunters.”
Film crews explored the library and the former Homestead police station along Ninth Avenue for an episode called “Ghost of Carnegie,” which aired last September.
Investigators from Oakmont and Venango County paranormal societies referenced that show frequently while teaming up Friday for the tour to help raise money for the library's youth programs. They conducted an investigation later that night.
“We've known about the Carnegie Library for a long time,” said VCPS founder and lead investigator Jodi Focht. “They were wonderfully receptive ... You get money for the library and we get an already (energy)-charged building, so it works out great.”
Equipment used included thermal imaging cameras, voice and video recorders, K2 meters, laser grids and psychic mediums.
Investigators and tour participants went to the hot spots identified by the Syfy team. Those spots were the pool, locker room, boiler room, former bowling alley turned batting cages, music hall and the adult reading room, where the ghost of Andrew Carnegie is said to frequent.
Oakmont research historian Michael Bickel conducted an electronic voice phenomena session in the music hall. He and other tour participants would ask questions and try to get a response from spirits. Attendees of the tour became interested in the balcony after checking out a Daily News photo of what appeared to be feminine legs in the control room. Bickel went to the room to investigate and could not explain the image.
Munhall resident Chrissy Hunter took photos in the pool area of what appeared to be orbs or spirits.
A mysterious death in the pool was reported by the old Homestead News Messenger in November 1899.
According to that report, Robert E. Peebles, 25, died Nov. 28 around 10 p.m. “under mysterious circumstances” and “was found dead in 8 feet of water.” Hunter said she saw a tour posting on Facebook and wanted to bring her friends to check it out.
“I got to see parts of the library that I've never seen before,” Hunter said. “If I felt anything anywhere, it was the locker room. I kind of felt not scared but eerie. I don't know if it was the start of the tour and I didn't know what to expect, but it just felt weird down there.”
North Versailles Township resident Adrienne Irwin said she grew up in Munhall and learned how to swim in the building in 1959.
“I had heard stories about the hauntings,” Irwin said. “It was just really neat to see it first hand after so many years. It was really interesting. It makes you think of things that you normally don't think about. It makes you question things.”
Oakmont Paranormal first visited the library in December.
“Somebody or something was following me through the entire building and just kept saying, ‘Drake, look over here, look over here,'” Oakmont Paranormal's director and co-founder Drake Bowan said.“I did get several very good pictures ... Tonight it's a little calmer. I can focus a little more, but every so often I'm getting a tugging on my left arm that says there's something nearby. A few seconds ago it was very chilly. This has to be one of the most active sites in Pittsburgh.”
More than 150 people in 12 groups toured the haunted facility.
“It's something cool and it's something that no other library can match,” said library director Carol Shrieve. “People in general love the Carnegie Library of Homestead. This is just another reason to come here and enjoy it, especially at this time of the year, Halloween. Ever since ‘Ghost Hunters' was publicized, we've been getting calls almost weekly with different paranormal societies that want to come in and do some type of ghost tour or some kind of reading.”
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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