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Superstition is alive and well in Scottsdale Libraries

Oct 18, 2010

Arizona Republic Article

Scottsdale libraries investigated by ghost hunters

by Diana Balazs - Oct. 18, 2010 07:32 PM

The Arizona Republic

If there's something strange in your neighborhood library, who ya gonna call?

The Scottsdale Public Library called ghost hunters Sonoran Paranormal Investigations Inc. to check out its Arabian and Civic Center branches to see whether they are haunted.

"I've had books fly at me, so I've seen it. I mean, you're just standing there. You just say, 'OK, it's because I walked by.' You always justify what it is," librarian Colleen Gorman said.

At last weekend's public talk, SPI reported that at Arabian, 10215 E. McDowell Mountain Ranch Road, one of its secured infrared cameras fell over. SPI played audio of voices saying "hello," "it's a boy," "get out" and other things.

SPI will report its Civic Center findings Saturday at the branch, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

The science-based group looks for evidence. More often than not, nothing shows up, said SPI case manager Amy Millington of Surprise.

"I might have an experience where I feel cold or something like that, but I've never actually seen something move in front of me. That's like the holy grail," she said.

No public money was spent investigating the libraries. SPI does not charge. It ghost-hunts for the love of it.

"It really helps people, too, to know that maybe there's something going on and it's not their imagination," said SPI lead investigator Steve Gallion of Peoria.

Arabian librarian Sara Goulet was originally a skeptic, but now is more open to the possibility.

"Until you have an unexplainable situation, it's so easy to write it off and say, 'Oh, you're just making it up' or 'You're just imagining that,' " Goulet said. The library now is keeping a log of unusual experiences.

At the Sept. 25 Arabian investigation, Millington asked if she could read a story while in the children's room.

Goulet, who was present, said the light on Millington's K2 electromagnetic-field meter started flashing.

When a nursery rhyme - "Mary Had a Little Lamb" - was read, the detector again lit up. Later, when Millington asked if the group should leave, the device did not light up.

"When she asked, 'Do you want us to stay?' the lights went from green to red," Goulet said.

At the Civic Center investigation Oct. 2, a group toured reported hot spots: the children's room, staff offices and the Scottsdale room, where a kachina was found on its back. Kachina dolls, displayed in a locked glass case, keep falling down.

SPI's director, Lloyd Lewis of Phoenix, led one of three investigative teams. Librarian Michael Schor and The Republic went with him. Schor's past encounters include finding books he had just stacked rearranged and hearing footsteps.

Lewis' team asked a series of questions in the Scottsdale room. At one point, he asked, "Do you want people to know you're still around?"'

Several seconds passed.

"Did you hear that?" Schor asked.

"What? What do you hear?" Lewis replied.

"It sounds like someone's talking back there," Schor said.

Lewis investigated the book stacks, returned and asked another team member to go. Schor volunteered.

Seconds before Schor left, a Republic reporter asked for the temperature to drop to 66 degrees. It immediately fell from 66.6 to 66.1.

Schor returned and reported he felt a tingling sensation.

"Me, too," Lewis responded. "It's not evidence, but it's interesting."