Beyond 133 – Chattanooga Public Library

Chattanooga Public Library
1001 Broad Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee

N.B. This article was revised 20 February 2019.

Most libraries have ghosts, though usually these are confined to the 133 section of the Dewey Decimal System: the section for ghosts and the paranormal. The Chattanooga Public Library in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee has a ghost (or possibly more than one) whose range lies far beyond its Dewey Decimal classification. Over the years, patrons and staff have had a variety of experiences ranging from hearing footsteps and voices to seeing apparitions. According to two recent articles from the Times Free Press, books have been thrown off shelves, and chairs have been moved about.

There has been enough activity to warrant the Young Adult Librarian to bring in a paranormal investigation group, the Global Paranormal Society, to investigate. The group spent six hours investigating the library on March 17. The results were publicized recently.

Chattanooga Public Library Tennessee
Chattanooga Public Library in 2019, by Ɱ.

The staff has named the resident spirit “Eugene,” though the spirit’s actual identity is unknown. The building itself is only 36 years old, and neither article mentions any deaths associated with the building, though the land upon which it was constructed, does have quite a history. It was on here that the city of Chattanooga was originally settled.

Evidence shows that Native Americans lived in the area for a few thousand years prior to the Historic Era: that period following European expansion into the Americas. It was here that the powerful Cherokee chief, Tsiyu Gansini or Dragging Canoe, settled with his followers in 1777. The chief’s father, Chief Attakullakulla, and other chiefs including Oconostota, made the decision to ally themselves with the Patriot cause following General Griffith Rutherford’s destruction of many Cherokee towns the previous year. Dragging Canoe set up a series of towns around the Tennessee River and Chickamauga Creek, with the settlers uniting under the name Chickamauga.

Later, another influential Cherokee, John Ross, settled in the same area and named this stop on the Tennessee River “Ross’ Landing.” The natives living here were forced on the Trail of Tears during the Removals in the 1830s. The name was changed in 1838 by the US Post Office to Chattanooga.

Where the library now stands, one of Dragging Canoe’s villages as well as being near to the actual site of Ross’ Landing. So, it’s possible that the library spirit may be from this period. Indeed, the investigators did find some evidence of activity, though they did not conclusively pronounce the library as being “haunted.” Still, Eugene continues to roam I can imagine the public library is pretty interesting place to haunt.