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Paranormal investigators: Connellsville's Carnegie Free Library is haunted

| Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, 8:49 p.m.

After two paranormal investigations of the Carnegie Free Library, a Pittsburgh paranormal research organization has deemed the historic Connellsville building haunted by spirits.

“This place is haunted. There's no doubt in my mind it's tremendously haunted,” said Shawn Kelly, the founder and the lead spiritual investigator of the Pittsburgh Paranormal Society, a group interested in both paranormal activity and helping those affected by it.

In the past year, Kelly and members of the PPS conducted nighttime investigations of the Carnegie Free Library.

The 109-year-old library was built over the site of the former Connell Graveyard and rumors persist that some bodies remain under the building and the library may be haunted.

The plans to build a library started in 1899 when a group of residents approached philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie approved the plan, provided the library was near the high school, which was then on Fairview Avenue. The Connellsville School Board purchased the Connell Graveyard to turn over to the Library Association.

The bodies had to be moved to a cemetery on Wills Road (Chestnut Hill Cemetery) at the expense of living relatives.

On Saturday, with approximately 50 people in attendance, library director Casey Sirochman told the audience that she has heard stories from the staff of hearing footsteps upstairs when nobody else was in the library, books going off the shelves, visions of apparitions of a man and a woman.

Kelly, who has been involved as a paranormal investigator for 20 years, explained the three reasons why a spirit would stay on Earth.

The first is unfinished business, if those spirits were victims of a murder or sudden death; second, they want to stay because their loved ones are mourning; and the third – what Kelly believes is the number-one reason – is that many spirits are afraid to pass over to the other side because they don't know if their mortal sins would take them to heaven or to hell.

With that knowledge, Kelly and his team look for evidence from photographs including orbs of light, images of mist, “squiggles” of light and apparitions of people. They also use thermal imaging devices, energy monitoring devices and voice recordings to find evidence of spirits.

Some of the evidence presented to the public on Saturday included thermal imaging of a buttocks print in a chair, getting a response of energy from the spirit of a young boy, photos of various orbs and even a woman's voice on a digital voice recorder answering after a series of questions including “how old are you?” and “do you know it's 2012?” The woman's voice answered, “we're older than this...”

All of the evidence is available for purchase on a DVD that will be sold at the library for $25 as a fundraiser for the library as it continues to go through funding difficulties.

Kelly said the DVD was produced by a college student as a thesis project and PPS is not making a profit from the sales.

Sirochman said the DVDs are not yet for sale at the library but people interested in purchasing the DVD can do so by visiting the library and putting their name on a waiting list.

For more information, contact the Carnegie Free Library at 724-628-1380.

To visit the website of the Pittsburgh Paranormal Society, go to http://pittsburghparanormalsociety.com/.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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