Paranormal 101

Friday, November 11, 2005

Willard Library 2005

Willard Library Overnight Investigation 10
Date: October 29/30 2005
Researchers: Southern Indiana Paranormal Investigators, Willard Library Ghost Chatters,
Missouri Haunted Paranormal Investigators, MESA
By Timothy M. Harte, MA, LCPC

The Willard Library Ghost Chatters and Greg Hager, the Director of the Willard Library, invited us (MESA: Multi-Energy Sensor Array) to do an investigation with their team at the Willard Library, 21 First Avenue, Evansville, Indiana. We were accompanied by the Southern Indiana Paranormal Investigators, the Missouri Haunted Paranormal Investigators, Ghost Trackers, the Willard Library Ghost Chatters, members of the Evansville Courier and Press, and the WFIE television Channel 14 news team. Several researchers experienced phenomena that would be consistent with hauntings. A gallvanic skin response sensor was fitted to the MESA computer and functioned correctly.

The Willard Library has a long history of haunt phenomena. Many people and employees of the library have reported strange experiences. The Willard Library was built in 1885. it is the oldest public library in Indiana. It is located at 21 First Avenue, Evansville, IN, at the corner of First Avenue and the Lloyd xpressway. It was built by Willard Carpenter, a philanthropist from whence it received his name. It was designed by James and Merritt Reed, this glorious victorian gothic structure is nestled in the Southwestern Indiana city of 1500,000 people. It was inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. According to popular sources (Hauck,1996), the Willard Library was first considered to be haunted in 1937 when a custodian quit after encountering an apparition of a "grey lady " in the basement. Since then, staff and patrons have claimed to sense the apparition's presence as a cold spot or strong odor of perfume. The apparition has been reported near the restrooms, elevator, furnace room and the children's room in the basement. In the 1950's the children's librarian Margaret Maier claimed to have seen the apparition repeatedly (Maier died in 1989). Allegedly, the apparition was also observed on a security monitor near the restrooms in 1997.

In 1992, a child reported seeing two ghosts in the children's room. The child reported seeing whom is believed to be Maier sitting in a peacock chair, and standing behind her was the apparition of the "grey lady." The grey lady is reported to be wearing clothing from the late1880's. The identity of the apparition is still debated today. However, the majority of opinions suggest that apparition is that of Louise Carpenter, the daughter of the library's founder.

Louise Carpenter once sued the library's Board of Trustees, claiming that her father was "of unsound mind and unduly influenced in establishing the {Willard} library" ( She lost the suit, and as a result, her claim to any of the library's property. After her death, her spirit has allegedly returned to the library and will continue to haunt the grounds until the property and its holdings are returned back over to the living heirs of the Carpenter family.

The last sighting of the apparition was on August 7, 1997, in the basement of the library. Librarians that work in the basement have reported visual phenomena such as a grey form, strong perfume, tactile sensations on their neck and hair, and sensed presence. More recently, books have been moved out of shelves or off the shelves completely.

Method: The researchers set up MESA, the 2-camera digital magnetometer system, infrared and night shot video cameras in the Bayard Room of the third floor. The MESA system was set up for a one hour sampling period. MESA was also complemented with cameras provided by Chad and Elyssa Noonan, from Parahaunt Investigators of Indiana. A female subject, age 31 was placed in the Bayard Room and connected to a GSR unit. Another female subject, age 25 was placed in the room to observe.

Apparatus: The MESA computer system has been described elsewhere (Harte, Black, Hollinshead, 1999; Harte, Black, Hollinshead, and Mitchell, 2001) and this investigation will focus on anomalous results of the investigation. The researchers are primarily looking for a 7mG change in the graphs, or other anomalous information. A sampling rate of 40 times per second was programmed, as this is the usual rate. Sound and video systems were utilized at this site. An infrared camera (Clover Electronics, ) and a PZM (pressure zone microphone, Radio Shack) were connected to a video cassette recorder. A new galvanic sensor was utilized during this sampling period. A GSR sensor that can record changes in 0 to 5 V was placed in the sampling period.

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