Rush Rhees isn’t the only haunted library in town. 

The Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, the Rundel Library, is believed to be haunted, with alleged paranormal occurrences occurring in its halls. The Rundel Library’s stacks are where most of the activity takes place according to an article in the Democrat and Chronicle

Shadowy figures lurk in the stacks, doors open and close by themselves, voices can be heard echoing through its halls, books are tossed, and motion alarms go off with no one (apparently) in the building. The supernatural activity supposedly comes from two deaths that happened on the library’s property, one of them under suspicious circumstances. 

In 1902, over a century ago, 26-year-old Laura Young’s body was found in the waterway underneath the library. Young was believed to have drowned, but the question of whether it was an accident or intentional death remains. 

According to the Rochester Subway, Laura Young’s death was ruled a suicide by the coroner, despite claims from her family and friends that suicide was unlikely. The second death was the passing of longtime librarian Frank due to a heart attack.  

The library itself was not constructed until 1934, over 30 years after the death of Laura Young. The library was built on top of the waterways where Laura Young’s body was found, the closest area being the library’s stacks, which are closed to the public. The Rundel Library was renovated in the 1990s.

The activity was noticed in the 1990s but was not revealed by the Rochester Public Library until the late 2000s. An investigation was first conducted by the popular series “Ghost Hunters” in an episode called “Due Date with Death.” 

Some of the activity was debunked by the “Ghost Hunters” show, such as the self-opening doors, but was not satisfactory according to a since-deleted 13WHAM report, where some quotes can be found on a Ghost Hunter fan website.  

“Ghost Hunters” did find evidence of paranormal activity, supporting claims of a shadowy figure that peeks out of the stacks, with a video capturing a possible shadow. 

The Rundel Public Library has since been investigated by Monroe County Paranormal Investigations and researched by the Rochester Public Library’s very own Anita Wahl. The library stands with two other suspected places of haunting in Rochester, the old Rochester Psychiatric Center and UR’s very own Rush Rhees. 

Could the Rundel Library truly be haunted? Video evidence and a variety of accounts about paranormal experiences point towards the supernatural taking place in Rundel’s doors. Rundel Library seems to be another haunted Rochester attraction, so if you hear an otherworldly sound in its rows of shelves, you might want to “book” it out of there. 



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