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Carnegie Library of Homestead - A Shadow of Pittsburgh's Past

Munhall, PA

The land this library and community center sits was home to the bloodiest conflict in Pittsburgh’s history. During the steel industry’s dominion, the city was essentially ruled with an iron fist by the wealthy dictators of Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick. While these men attempted to abolish the steel workers union in 1892, a bloody conflict broke out between a private security agency, known as the Pinkerton Agency, and the union workers. This conflict ended with 12 dead on the spot, 4 more died of wounds, and over two dozen others were injured.

After the fact, Andrew Carnegie appeared to change his outlook on their industry and the workers who made him worth millions. Carnegie dedicated over 2,500 libraries world wide, but did make a special attempt to help the community in Munhall which was devastated after the union strikes and violent clash.

The Past

In 1896, construction began on Carnegie’s special library project, a gift to the town and his employees. The library was much more than just a simple book depository. This library was also to act as a community center, an elaborate music hall, and an athletic center. The construction was complete and the facility was officially opened in 1898. This center became a meeting location for steel workers, their spouses, and even their children. The athletic center boasted a full Olympic size pool, track, and gymnasium. They hosted sports leagues and training seminars, which were always maxed out to capacity. The music hall was constantly packed, showing the support and love for the fine arts with 1,022 seats available to the public.

Like most older buildings in the city, the library has undertaken some light renovations but the original architecture and ornate woodwork has never once been altered. Over time, the libraries that were donated by Carnegie have been overturned to schools and communities, however, the Carnegie Library of Homestead is the only library remaining which still stands alone due to funds left to the facility by Andrew Carnegie. The borough of Munhall did accept responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the library in 1988 upon the sale of Carnegie’s business. It still remains in fully functional operation and has been well taken care of and looks as though it did when Carnegie was still alive.

Throughout its history, the library has been said to house relics of the past. Not physical artifacts mind you, but rather remnants and traces of the past that have taken solace in the library as their eternal homes.

Paranormal Experiences

Noises and shadow figures have been reported frequently, and it is even said that books will fly off shelves only to be replaced and reorganized. Much speculation has been made that these shadow figures could be the spirits of the deceased union workers from the union battle finally returning to enjoy the gift of the library that they were never able to in their former lives.

Andrew Carnegie himself has been sighted in the adult reading area where sudden drops of temperature occur quite often while the books on the shelves in that room are often reorganized randomly. There’s also the feeling of someone watching visitors as they venture into the room. A loud shouting noise has been reported coming out of this room as well.

In the swimming pool area, it is rumored that splashing noises have been heard as well as gargling cries of, “help,” coming from the pool. In 1899, Robert Peebles drowned in that pool in only 8 feet of water. Upon the police arrival it was reported that he was killed under mysterious circumstances. These noises have been linked to Peebles’ untimely and odd death.

Throughout the music hall, there has been documentation of laughter and disembodied voices echoing in the auditorium when no one is in the building. Appearing quite vividly in some photographs have been full bodied apparitions seen in the music hall. This apparition likes to follow women around the theater as they have been said to be cold and even see their breath during performances while no one else has any issues with the temperature. The main entry doors to the theater have also been recorded to open and close on their own as well as a shouting noise, almost as though someone is having a panic attack and trying to get help similar to that heard in the adult reading room.

Inside the locker room, connected to the gymnasium, a female’s laughter can be heard, sometimes explained as a cackle. The wooden benches have been seen shaking out of nowhere, and the benches can even be seen bowing in the middle almost as if someone is has taken a seat there.

The past evidence in the Carnegie Library is extremely compelling and we are hoping to investigate and learn more. The occurrences of paranormal experiences seem to run rampant here and appear to occur regularly.

Initial Investigation

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by numerous other paranormal investigative groups and given an in depth tour of the building before being let loose to investigate the library on our own. We arrived right around 11 PM, and the tour lasted about an hour and a half, allowing us to begin our own investigation right around 12:30 AM.

Included in our equipment that night was our EMF reader, K2 meter, recorder, night vision camera, a second (brand new!) 4K night vision camera, spirit box, laser grid, light up balloon, and an Ovilus simply downloaded to our phone.

There was not a large amount of consistent communication, however, we did manage to capture a few moments of communication throughout the night utilizing the spirit box, Ovilus, and our light up balloon. Aside from the boiler room in the basement, the atmosphere had more of an inviting feel to it. We also managed to record, via the spirit box, a residual communication in the library area, where it sounded as though two spirits were giving each other passing acknowledgements.

The building definitely has a dark history, ever since the land purchase, from right on top of Indian burial grounds up to the deaths inside the facility. We felt there was definitive communication showing the presence of intelligent hauntings and spirits being able to communicate if given the proper time and energy. There also seemed to be residual hauntings where some spirits are living parts of their lives over and over again, in particular in the library where we caught the pleasantries of Hello’s from one to the other. Carnegie Library of Homestead does not have the heavy feel of a thick air or a darker presence like that of a jail or asylum, but rather the overall feel of the old building is more inviting and welcoming. The only spot that we felt any differently was in the basement, where that man is said to be lurking.

In our opinion, we feel as though the complex is certainly filled with spirits, and even though we did not physically see any as they have been reported in the past, we felt and communicated with those from beyond the grave stuck at the library. Based on our judgment and experience, the Carnegie Library of Homestead is an active location for spirits.

Follow Up Investigation

This was our second evening in this building, and some of our prior experiences helped give credence. There are tales of the supernatural, which have been rumored and passed along ever since its inception.

As we were the first to arrive, hours before our hosts (let alone the public), we set up in a private back room. Thanks, in large part to Emily of the Carnegie Library of Homestead, for joining in with Jon from Behind the Fiends podcast. We had a blast exchanging stories and answering questions submitted to us through our website. This all led to a sparked conversation as well as a perfect segway into our guest for the evening, and hopefully more future investigations, Jim. Following our time on the podcast, we met up with Drake and Oakmont Paranormal North as they set up the space to greet the public and gave a tour of the most recent hotspots around the building. The walk-through itself was slightly eventful as numerous members of different paranormal teams had the very same odd sensations all throughout the building, but most notably in the Mechanical Room and Music Room.

Since we planned on being on the move quite a bit and wanting to stay out of other groups and the public way, we packed light and mobile. Even though we left out most of our trail cameras, we took two with us to keep our tools nearby. Unfortunately, our SLS camera has taken one too many bumps and is awaiting repairs. However, we still managed to pack up the majority of our equipment, including: two recorders, two video cameras, two stationary trail cameras, our FLIR thermal imaging tool, one Rempod, one ParaLight, our new and intense Laser Grid, LED flashlights, an EMF pump, our Spirit Box, one Phasma Box, and our new EVP locator which was our first time testing it out. Post review and analysis, our most intriguing evidence and experiences occurred in the Pool / Locker Room, the Mechanical Room, and even the Music Room, thanks in no small part to Jim’s performance of some perfectly timed captivating musical numbers.

We are always very gracious when we hear your opinions and thoughts on our experiences and evidence. Another pair of eyes on both our videos and pictures are also another great help! After you can read through the tales, listen to the recordings, and watch the videos, please send us your thoughts which we would happily include in our analysis!

After time reviewing and cleaning up our recordings, video, and photographs, we have concluded that the stories and rumors of hauntings that have been said to occur throughout the Carnegie Library of Homestead have been mainly accurate. We can back up the majority of these tales with both our personal experiences here and the evidence we captured. We were able to place credence in the tales of lurking shadows throughout the building along with some residual haunts in the Music Hall.

To our amazement, we were able to help alter Franklin’s story of him being a nasty older man who despised people but rather just a very proud man who simply asks for respect. The Pool seems to hold more spirits than just Robert. Even though we didn’t encounter Robert, we captured his name repeatedly not once, not twice, but three times back to back to back. We’ve also heard numerous other names that may apply to this location or, more intriguing, possibly the person who pushed Robert and still feels guilty to this day.

During our time investigating, including those passing through the public, we accomplished and recorded quite a few moments of paranormal activity. Beginning with what we thought was minimal to no activity in the Pool, we attempted numerous devices and techniques. Nothing in this area wanted to use our light-up visual tools, so we attempted simple EVPs, our Phasma Box, and our Spirit Box. Eventually, following our review, we realized that we captured some voices as if greeting us along with warnings of, “Get back,” and, “Leave.” As our time wore on here, we didn’t think we received much communication while amid the sessions here. Ultimately we captured what appeared to be Robert’s name repeated, followed by a phrase of, “Not Robert,” then the name, “Beth,” captured in numerous rhetoric. Other names were recorded but did not have much significance as, “Adam,” and, “David,” until we recorded, “Dan,” back in the locker room. We took this as them requesting Dan to speak with them, so he attempted some communication back where we left our camera. Even though we set up numerous stationary trail cameras, there was only one true clip that raised our eyebrows and curiosity. A light was slowly lit across the pool area only to disappear as if dying out. There was no reflection or known cause of this incident.

The Mechanical Room led us to even more intelligent responses, where we used our flashlights to help guide us with yes/no questions and some verbal responses through EVP, Spirit Box, and Phasma Box. This communication ultimately led us to believe that Frank prefers to be known as Franklin and doesn’t actually mind people but rather just asks for respect. We managed to detect another more negative energy that may shield itself behind or pose as Frank to scare unwanted visitors off and even physically touch and mentally alter people’s states of being. This was no more evident than the pin missing on the purse and the sudden change of atmosphere as we directly asked who broke the purse and stole the pin.

Within the elaborately designed Music Room, tales of shadows and residual paranormal activity have been passed out and even identified in past investigations. With our experiences, we were able to add to this with intelligent responses and direct activity responses as Jim sang to an unseen crowd and had a conversation with a still unidentified male who still lingers here. Shadows were in fact seen appearing and disappearing during and in between Jim’s songbird moments.

Overall, our interactions were positive in nature, and communication was interactive and open. There were a few occasions where we felt negative energy, only minimally featured in the Mechanical Room, but this energy seemed to be able to manipulate certain surroundings, such as the girl’s purse and the entire atmosphere at times which leads us to believe that this uncertain entity may be the one responsible for giving Franklin such a bad name. Luckily, our positive interactions and communications helped lead us to some answers (and even more questions!) like the true intentions of Franklin, the male with three kids in the Music Hall, and even that there is another entity lasting in the Pool.

We were fortunate enough to take part in our second investigation here, this time as a volunteer group. We were extremely humbled when we were told that the event brought in over $4,000 of all proceeds attributed to the renovations and upkeep of the historic Carnegie Library of Homestead. It is our hope that some of these experiences and evidence can help other investigators lead to even more answers (probably more questions as well but hey, that’s all part of digging for the truth!) and more than anything help those spirits who are drawn to the community center a chance to share their stories and truly allow guests, employees, and volunteers alike to get to know these spirits who still reside here in the afterlife.

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