Reporters venture after library ghost

Herald staff

SNOHOMISH — It was a dark and Dewey night.

At 4:15 a.m., there came a crashing from somewhere inside the 90-year-old building. Was it the ghost who reputedly haunts the Snohomish Library?

Four Herald reporters set out Friday night to document the preternatural. Their equipment was crucial to their cause: three tape recorders, one Polaroid camera, two six-packs of animal crackers, a compass in case the poles reversed, one bag of Tostitos and cell phones.

As the legend has it, Miss Catharine McMurchy, who was a librarian in Snohomish’s Carnegie Building library from 1923 to 1939, often returns to visit her library and tidy the books, neatly arranged according to the Dewey Decimal System.

So news reporters Leslie Moriarty, Kate Reardon, Kathy Korengal and Janice Podsada opted to spend the night.

When they arrived at the library, the lights were on and the front door flung open. This phenomenon was due to two television stations, broadcasting inside. Until they left, Miss McMurchy stayed away.

Librarian Mike Malone prepared ghost-busting equipment, including a temperature gauge (the air turns cold when a spirit is present) and a stack of Ghost Experience reporting forms.

Before leaving, Malone gave reporters a tour of the emergency exits were, just in case.

Moriarty and Korengel plopped themselves in front of the computers. Podsada and Reardon, the frenetic loud sisters, soon found themselves starved for attention. So, they displayed a cell phone number for Webcam viewers to phone in.

The calls poured in.

One woman called to say that when reporters left the room, a "purplish haze" appeared in the room.

Could it have been Miss McMurchy?

Throughout the night, footsteps were heard coming from the loft. One reporter heard a heartbeat coming from inside a wall.

One reporter said she received signals from Miss McMurchy.

At one point, her chair began to shake. A gust of wind rattled a windowpane; the chair shook harder, "As if a heavy-footed person walked beside me," she said.

At 4:15 a.m. reporters were awakened by loud, male voices yelling that the sheriff was mad, followed by the sound of pseudo-gunfire.

Reporters decided it was a band of hooligans trying to scare them.

At 7 a.m., everyone heard a voice when the door to the lounge swung open, and a voice called out.

"I hope I didn’t scare you," said the first librarian in the door.

Reporters gathered up their gear, glad to have made it through the night.

One reporter saw the ghostly librarian check out for the night, a vision long overdue. She dreamt that Miss McMurchy, wearing a gray tweed coat, a hat and black shoes walked down the stairs and out the door.

Another reporter, whose press pass disappeared, speculated Miss McMurchy was considering becoming a correspondent for the other side.

A third reporter, celebrating daybreak, brewed coffee for everyone in the library kitchen. She poured one for the road, then headed toward home.

But traveling south on I-5, just past Lynnwood, she experienced the fright of her life. It was fitting, her colleagues would later say, since she was the biggest skeptic.

Raising her coffee cup in a toast to a successful night’s adventure, she took a sip. Something touched her lip.

There, inside the cup was a dead body, floating abdomen-up in the steaming brown brew.

A roach. Only the long, lonely highway heard her bug-curdling scream.

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