Boone County Public Library’s Lents Branch is special for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the generous donation made by Ralph V Lents to construct it. Built in 1989 as BCPL’s second branch, Mr. Lents was very involved in the planning for the facility before his death in 1984. It was very important to him that the people of Boone County have the chance to explore their interests, learn and grow. His commitment to the project was fierce and unparalleled and seems to have continued even after his passing.
For years, staff and customers have reported strange activities inside the Lents Branch and on the property. There are lights that flicker on and off. Cell phones don’t always get great reception and electronics fail at a much higher rate than in other library branches. Some people report feeling like someone is behind them or in the building with them on quiet nights. Custodial staff have been touched or heard their names called when in the meeting room late at night. Still others claim to have seen ghosts or mists. Renowned ghost hunter Patti Starr claimed to have seen a little man in a brown suit standing in the corner of the meeting room.
These happenings have become so common that staff started to joke that it might be Mr. Lents. But could it really be him? Is he still checking on the library after all this time? The only way to find out is to investigate! On March 7th, a group of volunteers, PINK (Paranormal Investigators of Northern KY), worked with library staff to check the building for paranormal activity and the presence of spirits or ghosts. A full range of diagnostic equipment was brought in to analyze and research the premises.
Video cameras were set up all over the building along with audio equipment and various devices intended to capture any movement, sound or image that might indicate a spiritual presence. A medium came as well to try to make contact with any apparitions that might be lingering around the library.
In the meeting room, where much of the reported activity has occurred, the team had flashlights flicker in response to questions, cold spots and a spirit box would respond directly to questions. When the spirit was asked its name, the response was “Ralph”. When asked what road runs past the library, the box clearly said “North Bend”.
Later the team moved into the main portion of the library by the front desk. It was here that the medium felt the presence of a female who felt like she was “in charge”. Here too, flashlights would respond to questions and motion sensors would go on even though no one from the team was moving. Who could this be? Tillie Tanfani was the branch manager at Lents from 1989 to her death in 2004. Is Tillie watching over the library she so loved? Are Ralph Lents and Tillie Tanfani watching over the little branch in Hebron? If they are, they are most assuredly the library’s guardian angels.
PINK is currently analyzing the information they collected and will present a big reveal with their results when they are finished. Watch for a future blog post on this subject!
Bridget Striker, graduate of the University of Kentucky, has been with BCPL since 2001 where she uses her background in archaeology, historic preservation and GIS mapping to ferret out elusive bits of Boone County history as the Local History Coordinator. Bridget serves as Vice-Chair of the Boone County Historic Preservation Review Board and Executive Board Member of the Rabbit Hash Historical Society.