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Ghosts are busy at the Connellsville Carnegie Free Library

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 7:15 p.m.
Karl Polacek | Daily Courier
Carnegie Free Library Librarian Casey Sirochman holds the photo that allegedly shows apparitions around the library's main desk.

As Halloween arrives, the ghosts reported to inhabit the Connellsville Carnegie Free Library have become more active.

According to librarian Casey Sirochman, the library may have more than its fair share of spirits because of its construction on a graveyard at the beginning of the 19th Century.

That graveyard, which included the family plots for the Connell family, including city founder Zechariah Connell, may not have been carefully moved.

“A lot of grave sites were moved at one time (when the library was built),” she said.

The father of one person she knows, who was a witness to the movement of the graves, told his son that many graves were opened and the skeletons dumped together into wagons before being hauled to the new burial site.

Not all of the tombstones were moved. Some remained in the library until the 1970s.

Those may not have been the only spirits left behind.

Sirochman said there was a newspaper report from 1910 that an infant was found abandoned on the lawn of the building in the winter. It was later reported the mother of the dead infant was a 14-year-old girl.

Lately, there have been more reports of footsteps being heard in parts of the building where there were no other living humans. The number of incidents where items have been knocked off shelves and similar happenings have continued.

There have also been apparitions from time to time. The library has a photo on display of what appears to be apparitions around the main desk. Sirochman said the staff had a very difficult time printing the photo. She felt it was possible the ghosts were trying to prevent the reproduction.

Sirochman said that while she does not know if there are ghosts, she will not stay in the building by herself at night. She wondered if a former librarian, who had an apartment on the top floor of the building where she continued to live after she retired in the 1950s, experienced any odd happenings at night. Some believe it is the spirit of that woman who causes problems when she gets upset with changes made to the library.

A video, “Haunted States of America: the Carnegie Free Library,” by Christopher Nicholson, was picked to receive two of the 34th annual Telly Awards. It won for Achievement in History/Biography Non-Broadcast Production and Achievement in Low Budget Documentary.

The videos are available for sale at the library for $15. Sirochman said there are still a few copies of the DVD available.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

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