|Just one cluster of all the equipment!|
The Brooks Free Library was established in 1880 and was first free library in Harwich. It was founded by Col. Henry C. Brooks, and his sister, Tamesin, served as first librarian. She worked there as a volunteer from 1881 until her death in 1891. As she never married, she lived in the building, in the attic rooms.
In the beginning years, shop and apartment rentals throughout the large building helped fund the free library, which was originally on the second floor. Over the centuries, the building has been the home of many residents, businesses, and government spaces, including law offices, dressmakers, milliners, barber shops, a court house, a bank.
|Two of the Rogers Group Statues still at the library|
In 1976, burglars stole 56 Rogers Group Statues, some of which dated back to an 1881 donation of the period statues. Despite the ensuing FBI investigation, the stolen statues were never recovered.
The two pictured above (which I took photos of because of the spooky aesthetic...I didn't know anything about the robbery at the time) are entitled Uncle Ned's School and Parting Promise.
Now, on to the really spooky stuff. The librarians have reported many unsettling encounters over the years, especially when alone at night. Footsteps echoing across the floor. A presence lurking in the shadows. The swishing of a full skirt through the aisles. Scraping overhead, the sound of a chair being pulled across the floor...and a chair positioned differently when the sound was investigated. Giggling from the children's room. The soft slide of books being pushed back into place along the shelves. The tumble of a stack of books falling, when no patrons were in the building.
|One of the cameras|
Investigating paranormal activity is a long process, and my husband and I were not able to stay the whole night. In the following days, the team has to review all the recordings, both visually and audibly. I will say we seemed to have caught whispers on one recording, which I was able to hear on replay that night. We also had "conversations" using the response device, and I received a wild surge of bright lights when I asked the spirit "Do you like to read?" This certainly fits with the theory of who at least one of the ghosts is--Tamesin Brooks.
Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has stalled the remainder of the investigation, as the team usually visits a site multiple times to make an assessment of "haunted". But I certainly think a building with that type of history, and so many residents, has a good chance of earning the label.
And, just to be safe, on the way out, I did as the team suggested and said aloud, "Thank you, goodbye, you need to stay here, you can't come with me." A ghost following someone home is exactly what happens in my novel Haunted Souls. And while I enjoy all things spooky, I don't want a restless spirit in my home...even if it did give me new inspiration for a book!