There’s a creak that echoes somewhere from the slightly crooked row of steps leading up to the third floor of the Miles-Humes House in Bellefonte.
Loud enough to notice but quiet enough to be just this side of creepy, it is by far the scariest part of the Centre County Library and Historical Museum — the massive piles of county records, family histories and tax assessments notwithstanding, obviously.
The truth is that a mansion built at some point in between 1814 and 1815 is supposed to be just a little bit scary. It’s part of the charm.
“There’s definitely fodder for there to be potential paranormal activity,” Robbin Zirkle, an information services librarian, said.
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If it’s true, then it’s about time the ghosts and ghouls start pulling their own weight.
Earlier this month, the gang from Spring Hill Paranormal Investigators guided a group of 25 rookies through the basics of a good old-fashioned hunt for the unexplained.
Proceeds from the crash course went directly to the library — and there’s already a wait list for the next lesson, tentatively scheduled for Feb. 18.
“The few hundred dollars they give us, that’s the difference in getting a book rebound,” Zirkle said.
In a way, it’s all just good karma. Books — and the library itself — have actually proved useful in a few of Spring Hill’s prior investigations, filling in the gaps surrounding a residence or property that they might be investigating.
Zirkle had never witnessed the team in action and had no idea what to expect. That was part of the fun.
Bill Benzie, Spring Hill’s founder and lead investigator, said the team has performed its services for a variety of clients.
“We work with folks from all walks of life. Business owners, entire families, individuals, professionals. Their station in life doesn’t matter to us. We just want to help whenever we can,” Benzie said.
Different jobs require different tools, some you’d probably find in the average home, others maybe not.
“We look for spikes in our thermometers, i.e. temperature changes within a specific area. We take a base reading with our EMF (electromagnetic field) detector, before we start, then look for increases during our investigation,” Benzie said.
Digital cameras played a big role in the investigation at the Centre County Library and Historical Museum. Participants took a grand total of 1,732 pictures of the scene — which in this case constituted the basement and the three floors above.
The investigators are still compiling their results, which they will present to the library confidentially.
“We can’t elaborate on our findings, just yet, as we need to do our ‘reveal’ to the staff first,” Benzie said. “We can say, it was very interesting, and again, lots of fun.”
Zirkle shared that sentiment and is excited to see what results the team has to share.
“What do we have to lose? It’s interesting. It’s different,” Zirkle said.