- THE HISTORY & HAUNTINGS OF ILLINOIS -
THE GHOST OF ANGIE MILNER
Located in the heart of the Illinois State University campus is a building called Williams Hall. The primary use of this building, constructed in the 1940's, is for the storage of extra books from Milner Library, which is the main library on campus. This quiet building, with its rows of old books, many of them out of circulation for years, would seem the last place where anything strange would happen.... and yet it does.
For Williams Hall is haunted by the ghosts of the university's past.
Illinois State University was founded more than 100 years ago and at the time, the library was located in the Old Main building and one of the most dedicated and attentive employees was a woman named Angie Milner. If there was ever a case of a person being a "typical" librarian, it was Ms. Milner. Her entire life was dedicated to her books. She never married and in time, became a spinster, quietly fading away with the library books until her death in 1928. A new library was eventually built and to show appreciation for Angie's years of service, the building was named after her and became Milner Library.
As time passed, and reading interests and necessary topics began to change, many of the old books that Angie Milner once cared for began to see less use. The library began to reach its capacity and some of the books had to go into storage. It was decided to move some of the books into a building called Williams Hall, where they could still be accessible if needed, but more room could be made for newer books. Over the years, few people saw these books. Occasionally, they would be brought out into circulation if needed, but mostly just the research librarians and the staff and janitorial people ever saw these books..... and they were the same people who witnessed the ghost!
It wasn't long before strange stories began to be told about the third
floor of Williams Hall, where the books from the old library were kept. In one of the
rows, where the books once filed by Angie Milner were stored, staff members started to
notice something odd. It was usually just a feeling of not being alone.... but sometimes it was something more.
In March of 1998, I spoke to Joan Winters, the head research librarian and the woman in charge of Williams Hall. "Sometimes you come up here, on a day when no one else is in the building, and you can feel a presence... you know you aren't here alone," she told me. "We just assume it's the ghost of Angie Milner.... she's never done anything harmful or frightening, although some students won't even come into the building anymore."
One of those students would be a man who came upstairs in the Fall of 1997
and experienced the bizarre sensations that have often been reported here. He came up the
narrow, stacked stairwell and walked out onto the third floor level. The floor was dark
and no one else was around. Suddenly, he felt the eerie presence of someone brush by him.
A chill shot through him and all of the hair on his body stood on end..... he ran out of
the building and never came back.
And he hasn't been the only one..... Other students and staff members have reported the same type of phenomena, usually feeling someone standing or walking close to them and extreme temperature drops and cold breezes that seem to come from nowhere.
But sometimes Angie Milner herself makes an appearance!
Joan Winters told me that many people have come up to the third floor to see a white figure walking in the aisle near the old books. Most often, the figure is spotted as a movement out of the corner of the eye, passing a bookshelf or rounding a corner. On other occasions, the apparition has been more direct. "I came around this corner and looked to my right, " Joan remembered, "and saw what looked like a white shape.... almost like someone took a drag on a cigarette and blew it out. It was there.... then it was gone."
But is it Williams Hall that is actually haunted by Angie Milner? It's
doubtful since the building was constructed more than a dozen years after she died. More
likely, it is the old books themselves which have captured a piece of Angie Milner and
continue to replay her energy over and over throughout the years.
Haunted books? It's certainly possible, especially since whenever the books are moved out of Williams Hall and taken to Milner Library... strange things start to happen there too. Has Angie Milner returned to the books that she loved so much in life?
Try visiting the library and find out for yourself............
Special thanks to Eric Burns and Jeff Felton at TV-10 in Normal for their assistance.
Williams Hall and Milner Library are both located on the Illinois State University campus in Bloomington-Normal Illinois.
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COPYRIGHT 2000 BY TROY TAYLOR. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.