In honour of Halloween, I thought I would stray from library stuff and offer up my personal supernatural experiences. The above photo is just for dramatic effect and is one of my favourite ghost photos…The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall taken in 1936. So, warm yourself at the fire below…or maybe the laptop on your lap will be more effective!
I’ve been a believer in the supernatural for as long as I can remember. I used to long for a ghostly experience to prove myself right. I was in my 20’s when a friend and I moved into an apartment that was situated above a store on Queen Street West in Toronto. Right in the area of the photo seen below.
Queen Street West
Funny things started happening after we lived there for a short time…just little things. Some of my roommate’s belongings occasionally went missing (never to be found again) but never mine (weird!). The one event that disturbed us the most involved the deadbolt on our front door, which was consistently found unlocked almost every morning. We had no explanation for this, particularly since I was a very light sleeper and always heard my roommate come home in the middle of the night and unlock that very door.
One day, we were hanging out in her room and we heard this enormous crash from the kitchen which sounded like someone taking the oven door and slamming it shut. When we ran to the kitchen, we could still hear the rungs inside the oven ringing. Even though we were both believers, we found ourselves making excuses for every unexplainable thing that happened (we must have left the oven door open and the wind came in the window and blew it shut – ha ha!).
One other experience I had occurred while visiting a couple’s apartment in Cabbagetown. I used to visit them every weekend and they had told me numerous times that the apartment was haunted. I went to the bathroom and shortly after I heard footsteps (I assumed one of my hosts was going into the bedroom next to the bathroom). When finished, I went to open the door but the doorknob wouldn’t turn. I thought that perhaps I had inadvertently locked the door and tried unlocking it but still the doorknob wouldn’t turn. I stood there for a few minutes trying to open the door, then lost my temper (enter appropriate expletive here) and immediately just opened the door! Of course I assumed one of my friends and been playing a trick on me but even when I quizzed one of them years later, his response was “that’s what they do. When you get angry, it’s not fun anymore”. And he finished by stating that it was most definitely the ghost that occasionally showed up in their apartment. Eep!
This was always difficult for me to accept as that experience was so physical (footsteps and something held the doorknob!) but I couldn’t find any other explanation. I have had more experiences than what I have described here but it would be far too tedious for you to read and for me to type (and much more fun to describe in person) :)
So, if anyone wants to share their own ghostly experiences, I would be thrilled to post it here! Listening to ghost stories is one of my favourite pastimes!
I will call this my lazy Halloween post. I thought it would be fun to find interesting facts on Halloween in honour of today and found this :)
Marsh’s Library in Dublin, Ireland originated in 1701 and was Ireland’s first public library. Built by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh and now haunted by him!
The story goes that Archbishop’s niece came to stay with him and promptly fell in love with a clergyman and eloped. The Archbishop was apparently heartbroken and a guilt-stricken niece put a letter of apology in one of his books in the library (why, oh why!). So, his ghost shows up to search the books for the missing note.
Below is a video about the library…worth a watch if you like Irish accents. Oh, and Irish history, of course! :)
If I ever have the opportunity to go back to Ireland, I will most certainly have a look at this beautiful…and haunted…library!
Part III is the final post in the European Libraries series. Although, as I said in Part I, there are many, many more!
The Rijksmuseum Research Library is the largest public art history research library in the Netherlands and has been around since 1885.
Salle de lecture de la Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons - CC-BY-2.0-fr)
Salle de Lecture Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve is located in Paris. This library inherited the writings and collections of one of the largest and oldest abbeys in Paris and was founded in the sixth century. An interesting fact, the names of 810 scholars are inscribed on the exterior of the library. The second picture (click on it for a larger picture), highlights the inscriptions.
The Strahov Monastery Library is located in Prague and is part of a monastery built in 1143. A fresco adorns the ceiling painted in 1794 and the library contains ancient printing presses found downstairs.
This is the National Library of Finland located in Helsinki. It is the oldest and largest scholarly library in Finland.
This is the end! I will be happy to do more in the series if there’s a really large clamour for it! :)
On to Part II!
Here is Herzog August Bibliothek, located in Wolfenbüttel Germany and established in 1572. In 1666, it was one of the most famous baronial book collections and the collection of medieval manuscripts was one of the most important collections in Europe.
This next library is the El Escorial Library located in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain built in 1584. It contains approximately 5000 manuscripts, many of which are illuminated. Look at that ceiling!
The next is the National Library of St Mark’s or Biblioteca Marciana, located in Venice Italy. Built between 1537-1588, it houses at least a million books and 13000 manuscripts (and includes original scores of operas by Cavalli and Scarlatti). Just for fun, if you click on the second picture, it will take you to a Youtube video of a couple dancing the tango in that very room.
Lastly, there is the National Library of France, or La Bibliothèque nationale de France, located in Paris. It originated as a part of the private Royal Library at The Louvre in 1368. It currently has 30 million items housed in its walls.
Part 3 wil be the final post on the European Library series. Thanks for reading it so far!
I thought I would take a short break from my supernatural-based posts and continue with the Beautiful Libraries series. There are so many beautiful libraries in Europe that the ones I’m featuring are just a drop in the bucket! So naturally, I’ve left some out. So, in no particular order…
This is an exterior and interior shot of the Austrian National Library or Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. It is located in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna and is the largest library in Austria. The oldest book in its collection is from the Middle Ages and is about 640 years old! If you click on the first photo it will take you to the official library website and the second photo will take you to a panoramic tour of the inside of this amazing building!
This next library is the St. Gallen Abbey Library in Switzerland. The library was established by the monks in 717 who considered books as medicine for the spirit. So true! It is currently a Unesco World Heritage site.
The Bibliotecha Casanatense is located in Rome, Italy and was established in 1701. It contains medieval manuscripts, books, and incunabula as well as two globes (one of the world and one of constellations) hand-painted in 1716.
The Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer Der Staten-Generaal Den Haag is located at The Hague in The Netherlands. The official reporters of the Parliamentary Reporting Office record all proceedings and debates. These reports (Handelingen) are stored in the library. It was built in the 18th century with a glass dome for a ceiling to allow in natural light.
I will continue this in 2 more parts. My preference is to give information in small pieces at a time :)
My next book review is on a book that has scared me like no other! Gerald’s Game by Stephen King
The plot is relatively simple…Jessie and her husband Gerald have started a little sex game in their cabin (in which no one knows they have gone to…of course!) when Gerald dies quite suddenly. Unfortunately, Jessie is handcuffed to the headboard on the bed. Some aspects of the story are quite gruesome (which should come as no surprise given the author), but King does an amazing job of getting inside a woman’s head.
Now, the reason this was the scariest book I’ve read is that it contains a small section (just a few pages) that had the most terrifying scene I have ever read! I actually had to put the book down and walk away as I couldn’t handle the fear and tension any longer! Never has a book had that effect on me…most books don’t really scare me at all! My library has the subject heading of “terror” for this one…appropriate much!?
This book is definitely not for all tastes and I’m sure not everyone will be as affected as I was but I will never be able to listen to The Joker by Steve Miller the same way again!
P.S. My apologies for the overuse of exclamation marks. However they were needed for this particular book!