Rochester's Rundel Library on Ghost Hunters: 'Due Date with Death'

Rochester's Rundel Library on Ghost Hunters: 'Due Date with Death'

This article was scraped from Rochester Subway. This is a blog about Rochester history and urbanism has not been published since 2017. The current owners are now publishing link spam which made me want to preserve this history.. The original article was published November 26, 2012 and can be found here.

Rundel Library will be featured on an episode of SyFy Channel's 'Ghost Hunters' on November 28th.

   This Wednesday night, SyFy Channel will air a new episode of     Ghost Hunters    featuring Rochester's Rundel Library (and possibly the subway tunnel). Sally Snow, Assistant Director at Monroe County Library, says the show approached them initially about the abandoned Rochester subway. "As scary as the subway is, the library is where the real haunting action is," Snow said. "All I can say is that they found stuff, for sure. I can't say what until the show airs."

The     Ghost Hunters    team spent two full nights investigating the tunnels and the Rundel building. Sally says she's never experienced paranormal activity in the library first hand, but she has seen security camera footage of a door opening and closing by itself. "This is a door that usually requires a really good tug to get it open. It's very strange."

Now personally, I'm not saying I believe in this stuff, but here's the story of one mysterious death which occurred on this very spot in 1902...

The Johnson Seymour mill race and the Erie Canal, c.1904. The towpath runs between them. In August of 1902, the body of Laura Young, 23, was found in the mill race. The cause of her death remains largely a mystery to this day. [PHOTO: Library of Congress]

   John Slattery worked nights at the Erie Canal weighlock near Court Street and the Johnson Seymour mill race. It was about 4:45 a.m. on Tuesday, August 12, 1902 when Mr. Slattery found a woman's hat, soiled with dirt, near the canal towpath a few feet from the iron staircase leading down to it from the Court Street Bridge. In the narrow strip of dirt between the canal and the mill race Slattery told police he could plainly distinguish the marks of a man's and a woman's shoes, and that the ground was scraped and marked as though there had been "a long and fierce struggle."

The night before, Mr. Andrew J. Young and his wife Laura Young, 23, returned to Rochester from an overnight trip to Niagara Falls and Buffalo with another couple, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Crouch. Upon their return to Rochester, the party of four went for drinks at O.W. Stanley Cafe (134 Monroe Avenue). They spent some time there, and according to Mr. Crouch, he and his wife left Young and his wife there by 11 p.m.

The headline in the Democrat and Chronicle (Sunday, August 17, 1902) the day after Laura Young's body was found in the Johnson Seymour mill race.

"She was trying to get him to go home," Crouch told the Democrat and Chronicle. "He was drunk and refused to go. She threw her arms around his neck and begged him to go home. He roughly threw her arms from him and abused her shamefully. After taking my wife home I went back to Stanley's. Mrs. Young was gone and I said to Young: 'Where's Laura?' and he replied: 'I don't give a --- --- where she is. Have a drink.' I begged him to go home and offered to get a hack (a horse-drawn cab) and take him home, but he was ugly, called me vile names, told me to get out of there, that he did not want to see me, and after doing my best I left him."

Crouch told police he was probably gone an hour when he went home with his wife. It was learned that Mrs. Young left her husband a few moments after Crouch and his wife left them. She would never make it home that night.

Mr. Young searched all week for his wife and several times went back to the establishment where he had last seen her. He made no report, however, to the police, as he said he thought she might have gone to a friend's house after their quarrel.

Meanwhile, the hat found by Mr. Slattery on the morning after Mrs. Young's disappearance was trimmed with black chiffon and a black bow in the back. This matched the description given to police by family members after the discovery of the woman's body on the following Saturday.

The Democrat and Chronicle     reported    that the current in the mill race would have easily been strong enough to carry a body from the Court Street Bridge, where that hat and the foot prints were found, to the aqueduct, where the body was discovered within a mass of driftwood--a distance of less than 1,000 feet. It was the sparkle of a diamond ring on the finger of the dead woman that caught the eye of the passerby who found the corpse. She was already in a state of decomposition by this point. The woman was well dressed and several diamond rings were still on her fingers. No marks of violence were found on her body.

Was Mrs. Young murdered--possibly by her drunken husband, or a street thug? Did she go for a walk along the towpath and accidentally slip into the mill race and drown? All of her relatives and friends vehemently denied the possibility that she could have ever committed suicide. Although, that is precisely what the coroner would eventually call it.

The Rundel Library was eventually built over the mill race and the scene of Laura Young's mysterious death. [PHOTO: Rick Harris, Flickr]

   Two decades later the Rochester Subway would be constructed through this location. And the Rundel Library building would be built over top of it.

Rochester's Rundel Library. [PHOTO: Ove Overmyer, Flickr]

   Fast forward to 2012... Recently the SyFy Channel's      Ghost Hunters

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team visited Rochester to investigate strange sightings inside the Rundel Library.

Whether you're a believer or not, you won't want to miss this episode, "Due Date with Death" on Wednesday, November 28th at 9 and 11pm.

Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd have a close encounter with a library ghost in the 1984 comedy, 'Ghostbusters'. [SOURCE: Columbia Pictures]
Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA