08 December 2011

the library // all the lonely people

a few days ago, i received a phone call from a local writer who began asking questions about the library's local history collection: did we have a list of schools and teachers from the late 1800s (when settlers first came to the area)? did we have any information on the individuals buried in our local cemetery?

as a good librarian should, i began asking questions to find out what the caller really needed. turns out, i didn't have to ask too many questions before the caller announced that she had recently visited the cemetery on a walk with her dog and that one of the spirits had followed her home to set up residence.


the spirit identified herself to the writer as maggie and, after a search on findagrave.com (a really excellent genealogy tool, by the way), our writer had a full name: margaret "maggie" jane ellis. the writer was certain that maggie was unable to cross over due to vandalism of her grave in 1969 (she died in 1936, so that's a long waiting game, but who am i to criticize?); however, she was unable to communicate further with the spirit because another malicious male spirit in the house was censoring maggie.

sounds like a full house, right? well, apparently, it is. the writer had had a paranormal activity group out to her house the previous weekend for K-2 readings, which verified the presence of several spirits. the writer was looking for any information she could on how to help poor maggie, who "smelled of rose perfume" and was "most certainly a teacher," get to the next world/life/level, etc.

after quite a bit of digging and calls to history committee members, i was able to scrape together a few details about the lonely soul. maggie was a spinster who lived with her parents before moving in with her brother, at the age of 47, to act as a housekeeper. according to her death certificate, maggie suffered from acute asthma and this is likely the reason she remained single, which seems such a sad fate to me.

we also uncovered a previously unseen photo of our early community (1890) featuring the ellis family, including maggie's grandparents on their 50th anniversary (seated), her parents (to the right of the couple) and her younger sister, rollie (far right). my genealogist contact is sure that one of the three unidentified girls on the left is our maggie. the writer, when she saw the photograph, felt certain that maggie is the girl in the dark dress, three from the left.

it's an interesting old world, to say the least.


  1. What a fascinating story. And interesting old world indeed...
    Kel xo

  2. Personally I don't believe in spirits so I think your "Ahem" was well in place but I do think it's kind of cool that you got to know a little about a person who's died a long time ago. I think that's pretty interesting. Makes for a good novel, or something.

  3. Sabrina - I'm skeptical about spirits, as well, but it was an unexpected learning experience for sure. Never a dull day!

  4. This is super interesting! My mother did some past life regressions for herself and came up with the name John Hicks, a boy that lived in Ohio in the 1800's. She did some genealogy research and came up with the actual person, where he lived and the small school he attended. From the death certificate, she learned he died of tuberculosis at a young age. I went on a trip with her to the county in which he lived, to find the graveyard & headstone of little John Hicks. The night before our visit to the grave yard, a terrible storm felled several trees in the grave yard and we weren't able to access the pauper's area of the graveyard where he would have been. I guess we will never know! Take it anyway you want, but I believe in spirits. I don't know how or why, but I think that they are out there!