Allegedly spotted by staff and paranormal investigators, the Lady of the Library has earned quite the reputation at the Hall County Library on 127 Main St. in downtown Gainesville.
Denise Roffe, founder of the Southeastern Institute of Paranormal Research, said she has been investigating ghosts for over 22 years and has visited the library with her research team — which is mostly made of Hall residents — since 2009.
“She has made herself known every single time,” Roffe said. “She would always gravitate toward the window that faced the little tiny parking lot in the front.”
Roffe, who lives in Cumming, said she hasn’t looked for the Lady of the Library since the facility was rebuilt and is unsure if the ghost remains.
She suspects what she has seen is the ghost is Teriza Elizabeth Brown, who used to reside on the library’s property in the 1800s. Roffe said Brown died in 1855 and was buried in the Alta Vista Cemetery.
“At one point there was some kind of fire in Gainesville,” Roffe said. “The theory was she was very worried because her husband was battling fires. She goes to the window to look for him.”
Roffe classifies the Lady of the Library as a “residual haunting” because the image of the ghost follows a set path like a video tape playing on an endless loop and doesn’t interact with people, she said.
“I know a lot of people inside the library have seen her,” Roffe said. “She’s wearing a long skirt and blouse with slightly puffy long sleeves. She looks like she popped out of the 1800s.”
Don’t let the Lady of the Library’s legend detract from the other speculated hauntings at the Hall County Library.
Roffe said her investigative team has noted the presence of a male ghost who can be heard whistling from time to time; a grumpy old entity who likes to hang out in the genealogy section; and a little girl who spends time near the children’s books.
“You can tell he’s a grump in death, not just life,” Roffe said when referring to the older entity. “He’s very hostile and in your face. He’ll say, ‘Get out of here’ or ‘I don’t want you here.’”
In February 2016, Roffe said she had an experience at the library she will never forget. During an investigation, she excused herself to find the nearest restroom. Roffe said she walked through a door to go down a staircase, and when she came back up, the door was locked.
“I had to bang on the door and get the attention of a staff member who was with us,” she recounted. “They tried to open it, and it wouldn’t open. They said, ‘Denise, it’s not locked.’ I was trapped there for a minute, and then the door just opened.”