Library seeks public’s help to ID mystery guest
By Samantha Lyles
If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who are you going to call? Well, the Darlington County Library System has decided to break with pop culture tradition and forego the customary call to the Ghostbusters. Instead, they are asking for your help to identify a mysterious presence that keeps popping up at library branches all over Darlington County.
The first signs of unusual activity started showing up in late January. According to Jimmie Epling, director of the Darlington County Library System, several staff members reported odd happenings that had no clear explanation.
“Library staff began noticing upon opening in the mornings that some items were out of place, books were left open on tables as if someone had been reading them, furniture was moved about, and some snacks in the staff areas had disappeared,” Epling explains.
Even though they work every day surrounded by tomes of grand fiction, librarians have a reputation for logic-driven professionalism. Hoofbeats call to mind horses, not unicorns or zebras, so their first thoughts were not of fantastic beasts.
“We thought a patron or staff member was responsible,” says Epling.
But further investigation found that culprit responsible for the disarray and purloined snacks was not a patron…at least not of the sort library staff routinely serve.
“Upon reviewing surveillance footage at the libraries, we discovered there is a strange creature lurking about at night while the libraries are closed,” Epling reveals. “This creature is very good at concealing itself, so we only have glimpses of it in the photos. We believe it is very shy and quite good at hiding during the day as we have not found it.”
Surveillance photos time-stamped in the wee hours of February 15, 16, and 17 tell more of the story. Taken at branches in Darlington, Hartsville, Lamar, and Society Hill, the images appear to show a horned head peeking over bookshelves, a spiny tail vanishing around a corner, curious eyes peering at shelved volumes, and clawed feet resting on the floor. Evidently, the library’s mystery guest likes to lie down and relax with a good book.
Since the creature has caused no damage and seems to be a benevolent presence, Epling says the library system doesn’t plan to try and scare it away. In fact, they’d like to be formally introduced and see if the creature wants to make friends.
“We are making plans to lure it out of hiding after the libraries close on Saturday, February 29th,” says Epling. “Until that time, we are asking our patrons to help us discover who and what this creature is by reporting any sightings they may have had in the past or have in the next week.”
Stay tuned to the News & Press and www.darlington-lib.org for updates, news of new sightings, and a possible resolution to the strange case of the late-night library visitor.
For more information, call or visit the Library’s branches:
Darlington: 204 North Main Street, (843) 398-4940
Hartsville: 147 West College Avenue, (843) 332-5115
Lamar: 103 East Main Street, (843) 326-5524
Society Hill: 114 Carrigan Street, (843) 378-0026