This story was originally published October 27, 2020.
At first, I was skeptical.
A haunted library in Sweetwater County?
I’m as big of a fan as anyone else when it comes to the paranormal — especially during Halloween. There’s a thrill that works in tandem with my curiosity for the unknown. Throw in a few eerie stories, lower the lights and I’m in.
But for me, all of that has served as entertainment over the years. The various ghost hunting shows, unexplainable stories and so called “evidence” captured by those who attempt to communicate with the other side is just for show.
Or so I thought.
Earlier this month, I was invited to join the Ghost Walk Crew for one of this year’s ghost walk events at the Sweetwater County Library in Green River. As I discovered, the experience left me with more questions than answers.
A Brief History
Long before the Sweetwater County Library was built, the land where the library now stands on served as the first official cemetery of Green River.
Established in 1892, the cemetery was located at 300 North 1st East Street. After a few short years, the cemetery ran out of space. The City of Green River purchased 80 acres of land from the United States Government, with the intent to move the cemetery, which is now the Riverview Cemetery.
Once the Riverview Cemetery was prepared and ready for use, graves and tombstones in the original cemetery were excavated and reburied in the new cemetery. The City of Green River passed an ordinance that required all of the bodies to be removed.
Due to a natural spring that runs through the area down into the Green River, the land is soft and constantly moving. Because of the constant movement, a lot of the graves shifted and those people were never removed from the original cemetery. It is also believed that there are some bodies which were never recovered because of fear of smallpox disease.
As the years progressed, the land was used as a park, until temporary housing was built in 1944 with the return of World War II veterans. The housing was then torn down in 1956. During the building and demolition of the housing, human remains were found and buried at the Riverview Cemetery.
The lot then sat vacant for many years, and had a swing set that local children would play on. In 1979, the Sweetwater County Library was built on the lot. During the excavation, crews working on the project discovered more human remains, including a skull with red hair.
There are still instances where remains surface due to the shifting land. In 1996 they did find more remains while doing pipeline work. Today, there are still people buried in the back corner of the library.
Ever since the library has gone up there has been reported paranormal activity by staff members and patrons throughout the years.
A Bizarre Experience
After receiving a brief history of the library and the land it rests upon, the Ghost Walk Crew explained a few of the different pieces of equipment they use to connect with the spirits who haunt the library. Each person in our group was given a K2 EMF meter, which detects electromagnetic signals. The theory is that spirits will trigger the meter, causing it to light up.
As the group moved to the back corner of the library where some bodies laid beneath our feet, I couldn’t help but wonder if we were going to catch some kind of crazy evidence.
While in this back corner, not much happened as crew members asked questions to the spirits, some of which are believed to be children. However, the word “camera” popped up on a crew member’s ovilus device, which is a device that contains a database of words and syllables. Changes in temperature or magnetic fields caused by spirits can draw a response from the device.
In my hand was a DSLR camera that I was taking pictures with. Was something in the room with us? Why would that word pop up?
As soon as we were getting ready to move to another room, another crew member pulled me aside and told me that the words “journalist” and “accuracy” appeared on her ovilus device.
My interest peaked, and I didn’t really know how to explain the strangely specific words which seemed to identify me, the lone reporter in the group seeking to find answers to the haunted library.
Heading towards the children’s section of the library, a crew member using an SLS camera caught something eerie. The SLS camera uses an infrared light projector with a monochrome CMOS sensor that recognizes a human shape based on the body parts and joints. Spirits appear as stick figures on the screen. Above us in the lights, the crew member had caught a stick figure formation looking down upon us.
As we progressed to the men’s bathroom, group members began to find some interaction with the spirits on their K2 meters. Only a few of these meters were being triggered as questions were asked. Eventually we went upstairs to the staff lounge room, where things got a lot more interesting.
In the lounge room, there are apparent animal spirits of a cat and dog. Almost immediately, three group members’ K2 meters were lighting up near the ground. This went on for quite some time. Was this a friendly cat that ran out of lives? Who knows.
Perhaps the most unexplainable thing that happened in the lounge room came towards the end of our time upstairs. Sitting at the table was a man in our group. The spirits weren’t fond of male figures that night, and he asked if he should leave the table due to inactivity. He removed himself from the table and activity from the spirits resumed.
One crew member claimed to have a necklace that the spirits liked to play with. As she held the necklace still, I was keeping an eye on her hand to make sure I wasn’t being duped. After about five minutes of stillness, she asked the spirit to play with it. To my surprise, the necklace started swinging in a pendulum-like way. She kindly asked it to stop and it slowed until still again. I could not explain it, and still can’t. Her hand was steady and the motion of the necklace was smooth.
As we wrapped things up for the night, a crew member asked the spirit if they would like us to leave. Immediately the ovilus revealed two words: “about time”. Another crew member then negotiated with the spirit to light up all of our K2 meters at once, promising that we would leave for the night if the request was met. Everyone placed their meters on the table, and after a few minutes with no response, suddenly three meters lit up at the same time. The crew member politely asked for it to trigger all of the meters. Shortly after, nearly every meter on the table lit up at once. And we kept our end of the deal by ending our ghost walk.
As I went back to listen to the audio recordings I captured on my phone to write this story, I didn’t expect to hear any other voices other than the various crew members I was recording. I was wrong.
As I listened through my headphones, I heard this unexplainable voice talk over one of the crew members. A deep, robotic sounding voice said something that sounded like a threat to be quiet.
Take a listen for yourself.
I can’t explain everything that happened during my ghost walk at the Sweetwater County Library. Some of it was too strange.
Do I believe? Certainly a lot more than before my experience.
But that’s the beauty of the paranormal. It’s personal and the only one who truly knows what they have experienced is the individual themselves.
Source: Spirits in the Stacks: Tales from Sweetwater County’s Haunted Library, Micki Gilmore