Staff member Pam Ziobron was working by herself late one Saturday. She had shut off all the lights except for the one at the circulation desk, where she was standing, when she had a strong sense that she wasn't alone.
"It was just a feeling. ... It was just so light and airy, like a female coming down the stairs. It was very, very real," Ziobron said.
• Pictures: Hauntings In Connecticut
Since 2004, ghost hunters and mediums have spent time in the Main Street library to investigate these strange occurrences in what was the home of a prominent Deep River man 100 years ago. Another paranormal investigation agency will try to capture what library employees have been feeling and hearing for years. Full Spectrum Ghost Hunters of Plainville plans to conduct a paranormal investigation May 8.
Of the previous mediums and ghost hunters, some have concurred that they've also felt the presence of ghosts. Others have been able to capture more information.
Ghost hunter John Zaffis, nephew of famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, approached the Main Street library in 2004 about conducting an investigation. He felt the presence of two females, one in her teens and one in her 50s, in the library reference area that used to be the residence's kitchen. The original wood-burning stove that was manufactured in 1877 by Fuller, Warren & Co., in Troy, N.Y., is still there. According to the Valley Courier newspaper, Connecticut Paranormal Research & Investigators of East Haven captured a spirit in photos two years ago.
Susan Oehl, the library's assistant director, was eating her lunch and was the only person on the upper level when she heard a sound in the next room.
"I heard distinctly a woman clearing her throat," Oehl recently recalled. When she went to check, no one was there.
The possibility of ghosts has contributed to the lure of the library and of Deep River's quaint Main Street, said Ann Paietta, the library's director. The house was built in 1881 by Richard Pratt Spencer, who owned a manufacturing company that dealt with the ivory trade, served as treasurer and president of the Deep River National Bank and was a state senator.
He lived in the house, until his death in 1910, with his second wife and their three children. The house was built with the Deep River in its backyard and now faces the many shops, banks and restaurants that line the main road.
The library association bought the house in 1930 and, although a few additions have been made, the building is mainly an original, including the damp basement's exposed brick and fieldstone, stained-glass windows and wood moldings.
The ghosts have appeared only in the old parts of the building, Paietta said.
"This is the area where people love," she said, standing in the attic. "They feel, sense things."
Michael Dionne, founder of Full Spectrum Ghost Hunters, said that about 1 percent of the cases he investigates are paranormal. One way to detect ghosts is by gauging the electromagnetic fields in the room, but everyday items, such as electronic gadgets and rainstorms, can create electromagnetic fields, he said.
"If you're sensitive to the electromagnetic fields, you can get anything from skin irritations, nausea, paranoia, hallucinations," Dionne said.
He and his group of paranormal investigators will set up electromagnetic-field detectors throughout the library and — accounting for electrical boxes on the property, the weather and other factors — will read the detectors to determine if there are electromagnetic fields in the building.
"If I'm in the middle of a hallway and there's [a zero reading] on my walk through and later in the night it's at a 40 or 50 [reading] and there's nothing on, that basically tells you there's something that's just unexplainable," Dionne said.
After the walk-through, the group will listen to recordings and see if any inexplicable sounds were picked up.
Paietta said the library has more going for it than the rumors of a ghost, but, she added, "It's fun. It enhances the library."