Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Ghostly Collection at the Library of Congress

Collecting is a hobby that many of us enjoy, and amassing articles seems harmless enough...unless they happen to be haunted.

Unidentified Union Soldier, between 1861 and 1865.
The Library of Congress houses just such a grouping, the Liljenquist Collection of Civil War photography of soldiers in ambrotypes and tintypes. How compelling is the evidence that this collection came with ghosts? One of the scientists who does a variety of restoration work for the library refuses to be alone in the same room with the collection.

In fact, the people who processed this collection, when it was presented to LOC in 2010, KNOW that those images come with ghosts attached. The staff has talked among themselves about the interesting "happenings" in  the Conservation Division while the exhibit was being prepared -- photos cleaned, mounted, etc.

Furthermore, when 13-year-old Christian Liljenquist presented the family collection to the LOC, he referenced the strange sound of footsteps that accompanied the photos. When the Liljenquist family left the photos behind and friends occupied the Liljenquist home, the friends heard footsteps. When the photos accompanied the Liljenquists, the footsteps were heard in the Liljenquists' new home. In fact, you can hear Christian talk about the ghosts in this YouTube segment:


You can learn more about the Liljenquist family and their remarkable collection here:

A little research on the Internet pulled up several references to ghosts attaching themselves to articles. Here's one of the more interesting:

The more I think about this, the less surprising this is. I have a wonderful old quilt that I found in my grandmother's trunk. Whenever I feel particularly low, I wrap up in it. Somehow it soothes me. And all of us crafters know that every item we make, we imbue with love. So, aren't we imparting a bit of our own spirits? I think so. does make me wonder...the next time I'm tempted to add to my collection of old baskets...I'll certainly think twice!


Monica Ferris said...

I've had a few ghostly experiences in my life, and so have some of my family and even ancestors. I love real ghost stories, and I think many of them are true.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Here's an update about the haunted collection of Civil War photographs--seems that a curator, gave a strange yelp as if in pain, plucked a photo out of Union grouping, and quickly put it down on the Confederate side. When challenged, she couldn't say why this particular photo out of 700 in total so moved her. Later, when cleaned and examined carefully, it turned out that the solider was, indeed, a Confederate boy in gray. Perhaps he didn't want to be numbered among his enemies!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...
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Linda O. Johnston said...

I recently had an experience that was ghostly, when my dad passed away, so it doesn't surprise me that some items still have some attachment to their deceased owners.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

You know, Linda, when my mother died, the lights in the room where she was flickered on and off repeatedly.

Linda O. Johnston said...

An alarm went off in my father's house where we were sleeping at the time he died in the hospital, Joanna.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Ah, so we share a similar experience. The hospice nurse told us she'd never seen lights blink so rapidly or so long. After several minutes of it, enough to make everyone both a bit dizzy and frightened, she said in a loud voice, "That's ENOUGH." And the blinking stopped.

Betty Hechtman said...

There is a light in my place in Chicago that sometimes is on when I arrive. And sometimes it cycles on and off in the middle of the night. I'm sure it's my mother sinced she lived here so happily.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Hmmm. Seems like we have a theme here--ghosts who want us to know they're around.