As construction workers continue to transform the Gainesville branch of the Hall County Library System, Gail Hogan finds her eyes naturally drifting up to a certain window that faces Main Street.
Hogan, the system’s outreach librarian, wonders how the Gainesville library’s ghost, Elizabeth, is holding up with all of the building’s commotion.
“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t look up to that window,” Hogan said. “I don’t see anything or feel anything.”
Rodney Lee, the construction site’s superintendent, said so far his staff members haven’t experienced any paranormal encounters at the library.
Now that the library is undergoing renovations, fans of Elizabeth, also known as the Lady of the Library, have asked the question, “What’s going to happen to the ghost?”
Hogan reassures everyone that “nothing has changed for her.”
For nearly 25 years Hogan has been drawn to the ghost. She said Elizabeth is known to walk back and forth from the corner window of the Gainesville library’s history section.
Hogan said the Southeastern Institute of Paranormal Research recently conducted an investigation on The Lady of the Library, determining that Elizabeth is a “residual ghost,” meaning that Elizabeth is the type of ghost that doesn’t interact with people or change location.
Hogan said a residual ghost keeps to a set path. She describes Elizabeth as the energy or impression of a traumatic experience.
“Ms. Elizabeth is not vengeful, she’s not delivering a message,” Hogan said. “She is just energy that is caught in a holding pattern.”
From what she has gathered in her years of research on the ghost, Hogan has connected The Lady of the Library to Teriza Elizabeth Duncan Brown, who died a couple of years after the tragic Gainesville fire of 1851.
When the fire spread through the city, Hogan believes that Elizabeth looked out the window of the storehouse, which is now the Gainesville library.
Hogan theorizes that Elizabeth periodically gazed out the window to see if her husband was successfully putting out the fire.
“It is my belief that it is that one incident that ties her there,” Hogan said. “She had her two children there. As a mother I’m thinking, ‘What would I do?’ I think that is where her energy has been.”
For years the library’s staff members have reported encounters with Elizabeth.
Hogan said in most cases the library employees have “felt the sensation that there’s something there watching them.”
For a few, their experiences with Elizabeth proved spookier.
“One of my coworkers said she felt like she had a light cold touch to her arm and another said she thought she heard the swishing of skirts walk that length of the library,” Hogan said.
The renovation workers have not had those experiences.
“I haven’t had anything crazy happen,” Lee said. “We’re out here during the day, and none of these guys have said anything about it.”
As for Hogan, she has only gotten her fair share of uneasy feelings when entering the ghost’s favorite spot.
Despite never seeing or hearing the ghost, Hogan won’t give up trying.
“I believe in the energy of her,” Hogan said. “I’ll be interested when we move back over just to make sure things have not changed, that she’s still there.”