Area library spawns ghastly ghost tales

By Ludmila Mitula 


Senior Staff Writer 

For almost 30 years, the local library in Farmers Branch has been haunted by rumors of paranormal activity. Some websites say that the library was built on an old Indian burial ground, and it was even mentioned in Robert Wlodarski’s 2001 book, “A Texas Guide to Haunted Resturants, Taverns, and Inns.”

The rumors of spectres at Farmers Branch Manske Library, only two miles west of Brookhaven College, began in 1984, according to Wlodarski. It supposedly began when the library was being renovated and expanded. During the construction, one of the workers was killed. From that time, the library has been dealing with a ghost story like one from a Halloween movie.

Paul Marcum, supervisor and gallery coordinator at the Manske library, said he believes certain incidents in the past might be considered strange.

The elevator would start working on its own, going up and down without the button being pushed. The basement downstairs was always much colder than upstairs, especially in the evening. The books would shift from the shelves without anyone touching them, and mysterious noises reverberated from the lower levels.

“I hear lots of noises, but there are always kids laughing in the library, so it is difficult to say who makes t

hem,” Jaime Eastman, who started a new job at Manske Library a few weeks ago, said. “I always work in the evening with other people. I’m never alone, so I’m not scared.”

Eastman also said the elevator doors would jam with people inside and the fire department would have to come to get the doors open.

One library assistant, who works everywhere in the library, including downstairs, does not believe in ghosts, so the legend does not bother her. But when she first heard the story a couple of w

eeks ago, she started to look for more signs and began to have mixed feelings.

The atmosphere in the library is very special. The building is right by Rawhide Creek, and the big windows sometimes give the impression that somebody could easily come inside. Through the years, there have also been claims of other paranormal activity. One includes an apparition of a man with red eyes seen walking through cement walls in the basement section of the library, where the 1984 death occurred. “The floor upstairs is still very noisy, but I’m not very suspicious,” library supervisor, Ryann Dekat said.

Photo by Ludmila Mitula | One of the aisles in the basement of Farmers Branch Manske Library where much of the paranormal activity is said to have occurred.
Photo by Ludmila Mitula | One of the aisles in the basement of Farmers Branch Manske Library where much of the paranormal activity is said to have occurred.

In 2008, the City of Farmers Branch approved an investigation of the library and Credible Paranormal Investigators, a North-Texas-based ghost hunting team, came to the scene. Four men, decked out with infrared cameras and digital voice recorders, checked every corner of the building.

According to the website, the investigators found two cold spots, one in the basement and one in the children’s section. They didn’t hear any white noise in this area, which would have suggested potential ghosts in communication. The investigators explained the elevator issue, which was caused by a problem with the elevator’s door timer.

They also explained how someone walking down an aisle could quickly vanish down another aisle.  In the end, they found no evidence that the library was really haunted. “We are in the library with millions of books, and sometimes books fall off shelves,” Marcum said. Every explanation looks simple and logical, but the ghost story still persists in the library.

“It’s a very interesting tale, like from a movie. I have never heard it before. Sounds a bit like a marketing idea to me,” Scott Keller, who goes to the Manske library often, said.

When Halloween events are held, librarians know that ghost stories make their facilities popular and fun. “We all love ghost stories. It is part of our culture. We have a very active kids and youth department, and we like to keep the story alive,” Marcum said.