Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Capitol Ghost Stories - The Walking Books

Happy Halloween from the House Blog Team!

The following story, submitted by Laura Figueira, is my favorite in the Capitol Ghost Stories series. There is something a little more chilling about a story when it happened to someone you know in current time. Laura is from Senator Robert Bunda's office and was his chief of staff when Bunda was Senate President. He once told me the mysterious story about Laura's bookshelf and how the volumes of the Hawaii Revised Statutes would be moved out every morning, even though they were pushed back every day. A few weeks ago, I asked Laura if it was true. She writes:
True story. When Senator Bunda became Senate President in 2000, we decided to utilize the basement storage room behind the outer office reception desk. It had the advantage of being accessible from the President's office, the Senate Chamber and the Clerk's office. There were several file cabinets along the back wall on the left side of the curved hallway leading to the Senate Clerk's office. I used the tops of the cabinets as a book shelf where I placed a row of the latest HRS books and Supplements. Several books simply refused to stay put along the wall. We would push them all in at night and find them out an inch or two again in the morning. One book would even "walk out" farther than the rest.
After a few episodes of this, I checked with the former occupant of the front office who told me she used the back office only during session. There had been no bookshelf back there previously, but other strange things had happened, the spookiest of which was her computer keyboard typing without being touched. Other people in the basement have reported hearing children's voices laughing or crying. Staff in the clerk's office claimed they had found things misplaced on some mornings such as certain items falling off the shelves at night.

Although totally unsubstantiated, some sources say there are sites close by that were used as mass graves following the 1848 measles epidemic, and the site closest to the Capitol was used for children who died from the disease. We could never find a logical cause for the walking books, but interestingly enough, the volume that would stand out every morning was #6, Title 19, dealing with Health.
Photo: Queen's Hospital, located near the site of the future state capitol, during the time period of the 1848 measles epidemic. Approximately 10,000 residents died in the outbreak.

Editor's Footnote: The office is now back to being a storage room, and the current occupant of the outer reception office, claims he hasn't seen or heard anything unusual...yet.

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