Read All About It: Mahon Library celebrates haunted history
Officially 50 years old, The Mahon Public Library building has a rich history and to honor that history, the library is holding its third annual ghost tour.
Library staff look forward to the tour every year, not only as a fun Halloween event but as an exploration of the building’s past and the oral folklore surrounding it, said Director of Libraries Hannah Stewart and Librarian Yadriel DeHoyos.
The journey begins in the building’s basement.
The Mahon library basement is expansive, hosting more storage than the main floor. It is home to material for the Friends of the Library book sale, book club books, records, archives and employee offices.
Without any windows, Stewart said the basement gets incredibly dark. Sometimes when she came to her office early, she heard whistling and footsteps, despite being the only one there.
DeHoyos and the library custodian have also heard disembodied noises when on the floor by themselves. According to Stewart, one staff member refuses to go into the basement alone.
Past stacks of boxes and rows of shopping carts, is a boarded up wall, with rectangles spray painted like door panels and a hole with a chain coming out where one might expect to see a handle.
“We don’t know what’s behind there,” Dehoyos said. “But apparently it’s the boiler room.”
Accompanying its foreboding name and appearance, volunteers report hearing odd sounds, footsteps, and a male voice emanating from the boiler room– but only when they’re alone.
There is supposedly another door with a key, but the librarians do not know where either of those things are. If they wanted to get in, they would have to reach into the hole to find the lock.
“We weren’t the ones that boarded it up,” Stewart whispered. “We don’t know if it was the friends, we don’t know if it was facilities. We don’t even know why there was a hole in the wall.”
The librarians have no idea what’s inside the boiler room.
Along with unexplained sounds, the Mahon basement has purported ghost sightings as well. Namely, a former library volunteer who passed away. Though DeHoyos stressed that he did not die in the library.
DeHoyos explained: “Newer volunteers sometimes will be down here, asking who this gentleman is because they’ll see an apparition and they’re able to describe him. And he was this old volunteer, I guess he just loved the library so much, he still exists here.”
The apparition is reportedly seen hanging around the horror books, which was the section that particular volunteer was in charge of in life.
“There are worse ways to spend the afterlife, I suppose,” Stewart said.
In addition to a cold spot in front of the library’s only occult section, staff and volunteers tend to avoid a section of the basement known as ‘The Forbidden Corner.' Where towering bookcases and light that doesn’t quite reach the edge creates a feeling of claustrophobia, as well as reports of scratching coming from the concrete wall.
The library does not have any pests.
Occasionally when staff and volunteers are in the library alone, they hear a thud and find a book open on the floor, as if someone was perusing it. This happens in the basement and the main floor, mainly with the genealogy books, family trees, yearbooks and Bibles.
This also apparently occurs overnight, when nobody is at the library. Staff members find the books open on the ground the next morning.
One sighting for which the librarians still don’t have an explanation, took place on a fall night, 11 years ago, at about 9 P.M.
The librarians were preparing to leave, having already walked the building to make sure there were no lingering guests before they locked the doors, when one of them saw a dark-haired woman in a red dress, walking along the back wall.
Thinking she was a patron they had missed, one of the librarians went to talk to the woman, but by the time they got there– she was gone.
Despite having no exits on the side of the building where the lady in red was walking, Stewart said she was never seen again.
Mysterious sightings have also been known to happen on the tours themselves.
After the haunted tour in 2021, library staff was sent a tour photo from a couple who attended.
Stewart described the photo as containing what is both a small glowing orb and a child. Children are not allowed in the ghost tour and there were none at the library that night.
Beyond what goes on within the walls of the Mahon library, the tour will cover true crime stories in Lubbock, the Pioneer Hotel, Hell’s Gates, Lubbock Cemetery and Buddy Holly’s grave, the urban legends of Lubbock High School, the Lubbock tornado and other historical sights of the downtown area.
Stewart hopes to grow the tour in the future, incorporating city buses to visit other ‘haunted’ locations, exploring and honoring the city’s history.
The three ghost tours are fully booked, but those interested in hearing about paranormal sightings and true crime tales around the city can come to the Mahon Library for the Haunted Lubbock lecture, on October 27 at 6 P.M.
Due to the grim and ghostly nature, the lecture is 18+. But for an all-ages program, check out the Library Nightmares escape room from 5 to 7 P.M. at the Patterson Branch Library on October 30.
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