� New Math | Main | Five unavailable movies from my queue �

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Haunted Springfield

I was just reading an interesting article about Springfield's most recent downtown walking tour:

A new "ghost walk" downtown offers participants more than just ghoulish stories about the past. The walking tour, which kicked off Friday night, takes people inside one of Springfield's old buildings and gives them an opportunity to be ghost hunters. (SJ-R: Guide takes patrons for walk on the scary side.)

And I was reminded of something inexplicable I once saw downtown. It happened in my office which occupied part of the second floor of what was sometimes referred to as the Old Paul Tick Warehouse. The building was a three-story red brick structure. A church stood on the site dating back to before 1860. Though the church was long gone, the church's basement remained as the basement for the east end of the building. At some point, the warehouse had been converted into office space.

That's where I worked from 1990 to 1997. One of my least favorite tasks was updating the Illinois annotated statutes. It was an annual job that involved removing old pocket parts and inserting new pocket parts into an [approximately] 80 volume set of books. And really, the only reason I hated it was because it was time consuming. And, menial. So, I always tried to put it off as long as I could, which basically meant until my boss hounded me into getting it done.

One particular year, instead doing the updates during the workday, I decided to get to the office at 7:00 a.m., figuring I could get the job done quicker without the usual daytime interruptions - phones ringing and clients stopping by. It was a bright, sunny morning. Since it was so early and I was the only one in the building, I locked myself in the building and my office.

I went into the library, moved the chairs away from between the table (really a desk that we used as a library table) and the book shelves, and stacked the new pocket parts on the table. The space between the desk and shelves was narrow enough that I could stand in one place, grab and open a book, rip out the old pocket part, turn, grab a new pocket part, put it in, turn back, and reshelve the book - all while barely moving my feet. The more books I did, the faster I got.

About halfway through this flurry of activity, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. Hello. Sitting in a chair on the other side of the desk was a lady. She was wearing a gray suit with a high-necked white blouse. The blouse had a little ruffly flounce over the buttons. The suit jacket was buttoned up. She was slim and fair skinned. She was staring right at me. While all of that registered, I can't say what her hair looked like because I blinked hard and she was gone.

Real or figment? I don't know. As I've stated before on here and in conversation, I don't really believe in these kinds of things.

We moved out of the Old Paul Tick Warehouse in '97. The building is gone now. They tore it down and filled in the old foundation. I drove by there several times when it was just mountain of rubble. One time I even put the car in park while I considered grabbing a brick for a souvenir. But, there was a chain link fence around the block and I couldn't figure out how to get in without climbing over and probably getting hurt.

On that site now stands the new parking ramp for the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum.

Posted by Marie at October 6, 2007 11:24 PM