Friday, May 15, 2015

Old Bernardsville Public Library

This former library located in the center of Bernardsville, New Jersey has a resident ghost that use to help with public fundraisers.

When the library needed more books they would throw a ball to honor Phyllis Parker. This ghost even had her very own library card.
Building in 1907
Parker has a strong but sad connection to one room located in the library. The library building’s older sections date back to the Revolutionary War. The library used this wing as a Reading Room but at one time it was a lively pub called Vealtown Tavern--today the locals call it John Parker Tavern.

Phyllis was the daughter of Captain John Parker who owned this pub. Several rooms in the tavern were rented out to tenants. One lodger, a Dr. Byram became involved romantically with Phyllis.

What Phyllis did not know is Byram was spying for the British. During his time at Vealtown he stole important papers from General Anthony Wayne who was another guest at the tavern.

Once Dr. Byram had this information he left quickly. Phyllis finding herself abandoned was devastated. Byram not an experienced spy was caught and hanged. For some unknown reason, his body was placed in a crate and delivered back to the tavern.

Phyllis unaware of his death was the first to open this box when it arrived. At the sight of her lover’s body she started to scream. She became hysterical and suffered a nervous breakdown.

Eventually, the Vealtown Tavern was converted for use as a home. It was during this time in 1877 that the owner started to report hearing a woman screaming. Besides the screams, sounds of a box lid slamming down were heard shortly after.

In 1902, the library was housed in this building. The presence of Phyllis’ ghost was forgotten until one day in 1977. A volunteer page arrived at the library one morning early. As she waited in the parking lot she thought she saw Geri Burden a librarian who she works with-- moving around in the building.

Old Bernardsville Library
But Burden pulled up next to her in the parking lot. The two cautiously approached the building but they found nothing disturbed and no one was in the building. After this, Phyllis made several more appearances.

One expert called in told the library staff that the recent innovations in the older section of the library had stirred up the activity.

A ghost hunter, Norm Gauthier spent a night at the library with his group. They did an EVP session in the Reading Room one of the original rooms in the structure.

Four local reporters and a staff member Martha Hamill attended. Hamill was especially curious for she had heard disembodied voices in the library over the ten years she had worked there.

Gauthier asked Phyllis if she wanted to say something. * At first nothing was recorded but later he picked up the sounds of someone shuffling and the sounds of a door rattling and a window opening. No voices were picked up that night.

Ghosts rarely perform on demand--what is picked up is usually random.

 The new Bernardsville Library has this recording in their possession and it is available for checkout.

After the library moved to their new location another ghost hunting group headed by Christie Gucher went in to investigate when they heard items were moving around the building without explanation.

Gucher caught an image of a shadow figure with no features standing in front of one window. No one else was there at the time.

This old library building is up for sale.

* I conduct EVPs differently--when recording I always ask specific questions--that can be answered in a few words.

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