AUBURN — If Howard Labbe’s observations are correct, our community is crawling with ghosts. They teem in vacant houses. They run rampant in downtown apartments and pretty much rule attics everywhere.

Ghosts are all over the place, according to Labbe’s research, and the Auburn Public Library is no exception.

The operator of Restless Spirits Investigations in Lewiston, Labbe says ghosts are running wild among the library stacks. He sees them in the form of photographic orbs, rampaging through the history room, moving through arched doorways and even hovering over a copy of Highlights Magazine in the children’s section.

Particularly troubling is the old balcony that overlooks the magazine stacks on the library’s main floor.

Paranormal investigator Howard Labbe of Restless Spirit Investigations of Lewiston uses an electromagnetic field meter and a voice recorder to detect spirit activity in the original section of the Auburn Public Library. Labbe detected spirit activity in the balcony overlooking the magazine reading room and other areas. Labbe gave a presentation at the Auburn Public Library on his paranormal investigative work. Sun Journal photo

“This,” Labbe told a group of roughly four dozen at the library Thursday night, “is where most of the action is.”

The balcony is haunted vigorously by the building’s very first librarian, he said. She’s a studious woman named Annie who used to walk the balcony to check the well-being of library patrons.

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Annie, Labbe insisted, is still roaming.

“We asked if she was here,” he said. “And she answered that she was.”

Labbe was at the Auburn Public Library with his brother, Michael, and several others who make up his team of investigators. They came with photographs — hundreds of photographs, each haunted by mystical orbs and distorted faces peering out of windows, mirrors and doorways.

Some would say those orbs were created by dust and light, but Labbe thinks not. There was no uncertainty as he pointed out each new ghostly face or serenely floating orb.

“This is the eye,” he said, using a computer cursor to point out a section of shadowy face staring from a window. “This is the nose and here is the mouth. That white thing there is his arm.”

Some of the photos were taken in the kinds of buildings normally associated with hauntings: a sprawling mansion dating back to the Civil War; a crumbling, vacant house in an overgrown lot; a vintage car tucked inside a dusty garage.

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But some were taken in apartments right in the heart of downtown Lewiston, Labbe said. People call him to report strange happenings and Labbe goes over with a variety of devices to measure electromagnetic fields, snap pictures and capture audio.

Oh, yes. There’s audio. Labbe shared with the group several clips he said where captured right there in the library. The hollow voice of a boy stating that his name is Mark. A group of children saying a variety of things, including, “Crystal,” and, “Mike,” and, “Get out.”

“We hear ‘get out’ a lot,” Labbe said.

But the audience barely chuckled. They were rapt. Most of them came to hear what Labbe had to say, but also to report their own hauntings. Several got to it before the presentation had even begun.

“There’s a rocking chair in my dead mother’s room and it rocks all by itself …”

“… spooky noises from upstairs every single night. I’m sure my apartment is haunted.”

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On and on they went, people with their own spooky tales and several others who were willing to believe, at least for the duration of the presentation.

Fern Cyr believes. She’s a retirement-age woman who lives near the library. She watched enthralled as Labbe pointed out the faces and orbs captured by his camera.

“You can really see them when he explains where they are,” Cyr said.

She believes that the spirit lives on after death, Cyr said, and that they find ways to continue communicating with the living. It doesn’t scare her. Cyr said she isn’t bothered at all by the fact that a spectral librarian might watch her as she roams the volumes or that ghost children might abound. In fact, Cyr has already started planning for her own afterlife.

“I tell my kids that I’m coming back,” she said. “So they better behave.”


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