Surprises at the Library!

I’ve always loved libraries. I think it is the element of surprise that fascinates me most. You just never know what clever story or forgotten interesting legend might be lurking here or there. With the wonders of modern technology, the possibilities have expanded exponentially because I’m no longer limited to just the library in my particular corner of Oklahoma.

Take for instance this tidbit I came across about the collection of a rare book dealer in Maine that recently ended up in the Key West Library.  An anonymous Key West couple purchased the inventory of more than 1,000 pieces documenting the history of Key West, beginning with the letter declaring United States possession in 1823. This story in itself is super cool and illustrates the connections in our society. The internet made it possible for Scott DeWolfe in Alfred, Maine to amass an impressive and historically important collection related to Key West, Florida, more than 1,700 miles away. The collection includes 559 photos that have been scanned and can be accessed on the Monroe County Library website at the  Scott DeWolfe Collection.

Although I wasn’t looking for a creepy Halloween story, I found one clicking through the photos. The sign reading “Dr. Von Cosel’s Laboratory” caught my attention. MM00037037

The building itself doesn’t quite match up with my expectations of a “laboratory,” but I’ve never been to Florida – maybe they do things differently there. Maybe Dr. Von Cosel was experimenting with fishing gear or something equally as unconventional. The caption for the photo intrigued me even more “


Count Carl Tanzler von Cosel” – a title of nobility? Ever curious, I Googled Count Carl Tanzler von Cosel. I was not disappointed. The information that emerged about this real-life doctor Frankenstein showed that he dug up his dead girlfriend and no doubt embarked upon numerous experiments to revive her definitely fit the definition of creepy.

Are there strange untold stories lurking in your library? Check it out, you never know what you might find. (I’d love to hear about it in the comments!)

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