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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lesson One - The Spirit of Jefferson Library


I met the Spirit of the Jefferson Library when I closed.  A sudden chill resulted in goose bumps on my arms, and I felt a waft of foul air pass in front of me.

The day started with a sudden storm, dumping almost an inch of cold rain.  The wind blew eddies around on the street, picking up fallen autumn leaves and creating little tornadoes that swirled around.  After the storm ended, the library smelled dank and sour.  Buckets sitting around on the floors began making music as rain drops, having soaked through the roof and ceiling fell into the buckets, strategically placed during prior storms.

The patrons didn’t make much fuss about the drips. After the first drop fell on them or the table, they calmly moved a few feet away and quietly resumed their reading or studying.  A few minutes before closing time, they closed their books, filled their book bags, and left for the evening.

I re-shelved the last book and started toward the desk to retrieve my purse.  I gasped as the lights suddenly went out.  I looked around toward the front door, believing it was a patron playing a trick on me.  It was dark, but still light enough that I could see that no one stood by the front door. 

“H-hello?,” I called out, looking around me in every direction.  “Is anyone there?”

Dead silence. 

“The library is closing,” I continued, while edging toward the desk and the phone.  “If you need a book, please come back tomorrow during regular library hours.”

A book slammed to the floor from the shelf directly behind me.  I screamed and whirled around.  The book lay opened, its pages parted in the middle.  I could see a passage in the book had been circled in red permanent marker.  I picked the book up and carried it to the desk.  Flipping a light switch to the on position, I was horrified to find it didn’t work. Maybe a bulb burned out.  

I grabbed a flashlight from under my desk.  A quick glance around with the light revealed no living person in the room with me.  I used the light to read the passage in the book.

“This place is not your home. You must leave at once.  Staying here may result in your death,” the passage read. 

Oh my goodness.  My heart was beating so fast and so hard, it felt like it was going to climb up my throat and jump out of my mouth.  My stomach felt queasy.  I was sweating profusely.

Suddenly, an apparition in old clothes, like someone from another century, appeared in front of me. The odor of death was all around me. The ghost didn’t say a word.  He just extended his long raggedy arm and pointed to the front door.

I obeyed.  I called the library the next day and resigned.  No one seemed surprised or argued.

The Spirit of Jefferson Library may still be there today. I know I won’t be.

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