Glendale library haunted by Leslie Coombs Brand

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Did you know that the Brand Library in Glendale is haunted? The building -- pictured above in a vintage postcard -- was completed in 1904 as the home of developer Leslie Coombs Brand, who lived -- and, on April 10, 1925, died -- there. Twenty-one years later it became a library, as his will had stipulated.

But something wasn’t right with Brand; according to legend, it’s his ghost that haunts the premises. Stories are passed on of a voice saying, ‘Joe’ (or ‘Go!’), of a shadowy male figure ascending the stairs, of a presence in the tower, of the feeling, when standing near his portrait, of being watched.


‘You’ve got the outline of a classic haunting here,’ Richard Senate, author of ‘The Haunted Southland,’ told the Glendale News Press in 1993. ‘You’ve got drafts of cold air, the feeling of being watched, the voices and a very loose apparition. All these are indicative of a true haunting. And the fact that you’ve got multiple people having different experiences is substantiating.’

In 1993, one employee spoke warmly of Brand’s haunting, saying they all found the place so wonderful that they could understand why he wouldn’t want to leave. Not all library ghosts are so welcome; the Britannica Blog’s catalog of the Library Ghosts of the West includes one that pushes books off shelves (in Long Beach), one that shoves people who enter the basement (in Denver) and one that has a bloodcurdling scream (a high school library in Wyoming).

Whether the ghosts are tame or scary, they’re library ghosts -- so they’re always free. Just don’t incur any late fees...

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Thanks to CAAF and Maud Newton, who each found the East Coast list.