Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bin #37

Asia on guard, Alexander Hamilton Custom House.  Sculptor: Daniel Chester French.  In the public domain; courtesy of www.wikipedia.com

Bin 37 does not have a ghost.  When I last went to the National Archives, bin #40 was taken.  So I put my things into the bin directly to its left, locked the door, and put the key into my pocket with my ID card, a pencil, and a folded-up piece of paper.

Nothing rustled.  Nothing chirped, glowed, flashed, made music out of static, or quivered in my bin.   The researcher using bin #40 was single-mindedly trolling through microfilm; the ghost probably got bored and fell asleep.

I ordered a document from off-site storage.  I would have to wait a week to retrieve it.  However, the Archives kindly emailed my document to me.  If bins 40 and 37 are taken on my next trip, perhaps the senior ghosts will convene in my bin after an intern fetches coffee. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bin #40

View of the upper facade with architectural sculptures — of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House — from an adjacent building, in Manhattan. Photo by Mimar 77.  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The Alexander Hamilton Custom House is haunted.  In the National Museum of the American Indian, which occupies the bottom two floors, Yupik masks trembled on the walls where they hung.  The first-floor women's room was full of singing, whooshing noises.  And now I've learned that the third floor, the National Archives, has its own ghost.

I put my belongings into bin #40 when I visited last week and locked the door.  I put the key into my pocket and carried my papers and pencil over to the microfilm reader.  I didn't stay long that morning.  On my way back to get my belongings, I heard a loud crackling sound, like the wind rattling through a deserted can on the street. 

There were three people in the Archives:  the desk attendant, a volunteer, and I.  And there was a spirit in bin #40 desperate to communicate.  It turned on my cell phone -- set to "Outside" -- from inside the bin. 

I opened the bin, took out my shoulder bag and checked inside for the phone.  There it was, glowing at me, ready to go.  Laughing.  What did you want to say, spirit?

It hasn't happened since.  But I am going back on Thursday.