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Shocktober: Stacks and Spooks

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There is a beautiful, stately white mansion nestled in the hills above Glendale. Built in 1904 by Leslie C. Brand, El Miradero was the Brand family home for forty years. Noteworthy not only because of its stark whiteness against the rolling green of the hills, architect Nathaniel Dryden employed Saracenic architecture styles, incorporating the crenellated arches, bulbous domes and minars associated with Spanish, Moorish and Indian architecture to mimic the East Indian Pavilion from the 1893 Columbian World Exposition. Inside, the home is classically Victorian, outfitted with silk damask wall coverings, woodwork and Tiffany leaded glass windows.

The house itself consisted of five bedrooms, a solarium, parlor, living room, drawing room, dining room and music salon; the grounds featured a clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pool, airstrip and hangar, kennels, pet graveyard and a family cemetery.

L.C. Brand died in the house in 1925; in his will, he bequeathed El Miradero to the city with the understanding that the house and land would be used exclusively for a public park and library. Mrs. Brand lived in the house until 1945, when she passed away, and the house was handed over to the city. By 1956, the Brand Library was open. Additions were made over the years, and now the Brand Library and Art Center has facilities that host artist studios, lectures and other projects for public benefit.

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A public benefit, that is, unless you happen to be one of the people who knows first hand that the Brand Library is haunted.

More than one library employee has reported strange events afoot within the walls of the former El Miradero. Joseph Fuchs was at his desk in the library tower, high above the main stacks and off-limits to library patrons, around 8:00 PM one lonely evening. Finishing his work, he gathered his things and began down the narrow, winding staircase that leads to the main floor when a low voice moaned "Joe" from somewhere farther down the staircase—or at least that's where it seemed to come from, as Joe had a full view of the deserted stairwell. Assuming another employee had re-entered the building, he called out, but received no answer.

And then came the realization: he had assumed the voice said "Joe," but the word actually sounded more like "go."

Needless to say, Joe left.

And this is just one of many strange happenings in the library:

Keep reading after the jump for more on the Brand Library haunting.

• Lisa Blessing, another employee, was working one afternoon when she saw a male figure climbing the stairs to the tower. She turned to tell the man that the upper floor was not open to the public, but no one was there.

• Other employees have heard footsteps coming from the rooms overhead—rooms which are generally empty. In other instances, books have suddenly toppled over, and shadows have appeared on the stairs. Each time, there was no one there.

• Years ago there was a cat that lived in the library. Each time the cat entered certain parts of the building, its hair would stand on end.

• The tower itself—the location of Joseph Fuchs' strange experience—was originally used as a storage room. Most employees were unwilling to enter the room, as nearly all reported feeling some sort of presence in the room with them, accompanied by cold spots. This reluctance even included the nighttime custodial crew; the crew supervisor was forced the clean the tower room by himself, because the others were uneasy being up there.

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The Brand Library and Art Center is located 1601 West Mountain Street in Glendale. If you stop by, be sure to stop at the circulation desk on the way in and admire the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Brand that grace the entrance to the library.

And if you feel the eyes of L.C. Brand following you during your visit, it's probably just your imagination...

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