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Chilling stories at Rowan Public Library may give you goosebumps

By John Tucker

Rowan Public Library

Do you like tales of “things that go bump in the night”? What about investigations of historical people who appear to have a paranormal presence? With Halloween just around the corner, come and see what Rowan Public Library has in its non-fiction ghost story collection.

For starters, you will want to pick up the book “Dark World” by Zac Bagans. Bagans is the former lead investigator of the “Ghost Adventures” crew. His book includes behind-the-scene information on some of the most haunted places visited on the television show of the same name. In the name of time allocation, some of the film footage is left on the cutting room floor, so this story fills in the details.

Every good ghost story requires details. Bagans wants the reader to experience each haunting through his eyes, to feel what it’s like to be scared, pushed, cold, sluggish, whispered to, creeped out and more. Be sure to return it, because books like this might have more frights in store than just a late fee.

A personal favorite of ghostly haunting is the text “Ghosts and Their Haunts: The Legends and Lore of the Yadkin River Valley” by Frances H. Casstevens. The book traces the river valley county by county and shares several tales from each community. The chapter on Yadkin County reveals several tales that one might wish to investigate with his or her own camera and recording apps on a cell phone. There are things to see and electronic voices to record during the daylight hours.

On the local front, the book titled “The Wettest and Wickedest Town,” by Karen C. Lilly-Bowyer, presents a collection of legends and ghost stories from right here in Salisbury. The book is the result of historical research and paranormal investigations with groups from Charlotte, Greensboro and Lexington. Local haunted sites include the Wrenn House, Hall House, county administration building and many more. This collection of haunted tales makes up the Downtown Ghost Walk, which began in 2010.   

Should you prefer to travel to Asheville for your ghostly tales, check out the book “Haunted Asheville,” by Joshua P. Warren. Here you can read about the haunted past of the Grove Park Inn. Or Reed House, which is now the Biltmore Village Inn. Let’s not forget Zealandia Mansion featuring Helen’s Bridge. The stories are captivating, and the historic photos add to the eeriness of each tale. These phantoms and specters would be fun to investigate on site, but not for the weak of heart.

Whether your inspiration for ghost hunting stories is to supplement your television viewing, your need for scientific proof or a walk in the dark where ghost stories come to life, your next step should be directed to Rowan Public Library, where many spirited books can haunt your curiosity.

“Harpo Polo:” In 1271, 17-year-old Marco Polo traveled from Venice across Asia into China, later introducing his fellow Europeans to a culture very different from their own. As the character of “Harpo Polo” (a mix of Harpo Marx and Marco Polo), Stephen Sylvester introduces us to a new China, sharing his observations on China’s metamorphosis from an ancient culture to a modern one. Sylvester discusses the end of the dynasties, the nationalist period, the leadership of Chairman Mao through the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and the changes wrought by China joining the world as a modern economy. What does it all mean to China and to the West?  As China’s economy moves toward first place, will international competition or cooperation be the result? This interactive discussion will encourage participants to draw their own conclusions.

Sylvester was chief academic officer at Lassen College in California, the University of Hawaii West Oahu, and director of Matanuska/Susitna College in Alaska. He taught history at MSU-Northern for 11 years and now teaches history and international relations as a visiting professor each year at Shandong University in Jinan, China.

Please join us on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. at Rowan Public Library Headquarters to hear Sylvester present “Harpo Polo’s China Today.” For more information about this special event, please visit www.rowanpubliclibrary.org or call 704-216-8240.

Sylvester’s presentation is made possible through a Student Impact Grant from the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation and is presented in partnership with the department of humanities at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

Book Bites Club: South Regional (only), Oct. 28, 6:30 p.m., “Dracula,” by Bram Stoker. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-7841.

Friends of Rowan Public Library Annual Book Sale: Headquarters. Members only, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. Not a member yet? Buy a $10 annual Friends of RPL membership at the door and gain admission. Most items $2 or less. Call 704-216-8240 for more information. Open to public Nov. 1, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Nov. 2, 1-4 p.m.; Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Explorer club: Headquarters, Nov. 1, 11 a.m. Investigate different genres through fun activities based on books from our collection. This month’s theme is “Memory Lane.” Bring photos of your favorite family members for activities centered on the books of Patricia Polacco (photos will be returned). This program is open to children in grades 3 and up. Call 704-216-8234 for more details.

Displays for October: headquarters, NAMI by Peggy Mangold, Family Crisis/Domestic Violence, Bonnie Link; South, miniature doll houses by Donna Deal and Terri Correll; East, Alpha Beta.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

Children’s story time: Weekly through Nov. 26. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

• Baby Time — A loosely interactive program introducing simple stories and songs to babies 6–23 months old with a parent or caregiver. Program lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.

• Toddler Time — Focused on sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills for children ages 18–35 months with a parent or caregiver; lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.

• Tiny Tumblers — A loosely interactive program introducing simple stories, musical scarves and instruments for babies 6-23 months old with a parent or caregiver. The same program is offered two times per week; lasts 30 minutes. South, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

• Preschool Time — To encourage the exploration of books and build reading readiness skills for children ages 3-5 with a parent or caregiver; lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; South, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m.

• Noodlehead Story Time — For children ages 4-8 to enjoy listening to silly books and tales together; lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.

• Art programs — School-age children can learn different art terms and techniques and work on art projects. Program lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Emma’s Easel, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Art with Char, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

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