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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Haunted Libraries: University of Illinois Library Hauntings

Use this guide to learn more about haunted library lore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in Illinois, the United States, and the World.

University of Illinois Hauntings

Main Library Urban Legends

There are many urban legends associated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  The most popular and widely shared legends are associated with the English Building, Lincoln Building, Psychology Building, and monuments on campus, but there are also a few stories associated with the Library.  The Library was founded in 1867, opened in 1868, and moved to its current location in 1928.  Since then, stories have circulated about:

  • Unexplained hauntings
  • Students getting so lost in the Main Stacks that they died there.
  • Over exhausted Graduate Students falling asleep in the Main Stacks.
  • A ghost appearing on a certain level of the Main Stacks at a certain time.

The details of these stories vary depending on the source.

Some also believe that the Main Stacks are sinking because the architect forgot to factor in the weight of the books when designing the building.  However, this legend is not true, and the Main Stacks are perfectly stable.

Visit Urban Legends at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for more information about the Library's urban legends and other odd happenings on campus.

The Merten J. Mandeville Collection in Parapsychology and the Occult Sciences

The Merten J. Mandville collection contains approximately 16,000 volumes and is supported by an endowment established by the late Merten J. Mandeville, a Professor of Management at the University of Illinois. Under the terms of the endowment, works of a serious nature, and those which emphasize the positive aspects of the occult are acquired. The primary subject areas for which materials are purchased are astrology; the divinatory arts and palmistry; esoteric religion and mysticism; occult techniques for health, happiness and success; psychical phenomena and research, including clairvoyance, ESP, and out-of-body experiences; spiritualism, including apparitions, mediumship, and reincarnation; unidentified flying objects; and witchcraft and magic. For more information about the collection, visit the links below: