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Paranormal investigators coming to Ford City library

A Westmoreland County paranormal group is going to check out more than the books at the Ford City Public Library.

Alko Psi Paranormal Investigators will hunt for ghosts there at the end of the month. The ghostbusters are coming because of years of unexplainable occurrences experienced by staff and patrons over the years, said library Director Anita Bowser.

Stuff like books heard flying off shelves. Or finding books that were shelved the day before in piles on the floor when workers arrive in the morning.

“We always joked and said we had a ghost, but after a while, we really started to wonder,” said Bowser, who has worked at the library for eight years.

Although she hasn’t seen a ghost, Bowser said she has had the feeling she was being watched when she knew she was alone in the building. Several times, Bowser said, she’s heard faint whispering in an empty library.

“It’s a really uneasy feeling that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up,” Bowser said. “I’ve actually left because of that feeling — it’s creepy.”

Washington Township’s Cheryl Alsippi, co-founder of Alko Psi Paranormal Investigators, learned about the suspected paranormal activity at the library while moderating a public discussion on ghost hunting. She became interested in visiting the library after hearing stories about what the staff and several patrons say they experienced.

Alsippi declined to identify the date of the after-hours investigation, since it is not open to the public. But she said she’ll be using audio recorders and digital and advanced thermal imaging cameras to track the spirits.

“You never know exactly what you’re dealing with when it comes to the paranormal, unless you see a full-bodied apparition, which hasn’t happened there,” Alsippi said. “We’re going to set up surveillance to see if we can catch clues about what’s making the books come off the shelves.”

Bowser said before Ford City officials built the library in 1975, the property was home to the First Baptist Church, which burned down in the early 1970s.

“With the church disappearing in such a tragic way, combined with the commitment the library and church required of people, there could be spirits tied to each place still coming around,” Alsippi said. “They may have a resident spirit here, since people are experiencing things regularly.”

Along with falling books and uneasy feelings, library assistant Tiffany Harkleroad has had several unusual experiences in the children’s area of the building. In November, as she was closing the library, a musical toy started playing each night around the same time, she said.

“It’s something that wouldn’t make noise unless you actually pushed on it,” Harkleroad said. “Whenever it started to play music, I just got out of there as quickly as I could.”

Harkleroad said she is unsure whether the library is actually haunted but is excited to see what Alsippi and her group find.

Alsippi said she expects to finish reviewing hours of audio and video recordings by the middle of February. She will review the recordings with Bowser. If the group finds strong evidence of a haunting, they may schedule a public presentation.

“Sometimes a place is very active, but sometimes we get nothing. So it all depends on what we find,” Alsippi said.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or [email protected].


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