Putting the ‘boo’ in book

Inside Troy’s haunted bookstore

By Matt Bayman

Photo: Around About Books is located at 8 W. Main St. in Troy

I had just finished an interview with Around About Books owner Sue Cantrell regarding her store being haunted when I asked if I could take a look around myself and maybe take a few pictures, possibly catching an image of the store’s famous ghost named William.

I wasn’t the first person to attempt to capture William and other apparitions in the bookstore. Ghost hunters from Dayton and Cleveland had spent time in the store and Cantrell said they had been successful in capturing not only sounds, but images of the spirits.

I was pointed to a long set of stairs that led to the second floor where rooms full of horror, mystery and science fiction books could be found.

The science fiction room was known for its strange occurrences and I was able to have one of my own. As I snapped photographs and encircled shelves of books, the hair suddenly stood up on my left arm, but not my right, almost as if I had been brushed by something cold.

When I got back downstairs, I learned this was probably because William had brushed my left side.

“We only recently figured out his name and his name is William,” Cantrell told me.

Cantrell and the store’s other owners have experienced strange occurrences since the store’s opening four years ago. For a long time, they couldn’t put a face to the ghost … literally.

“I can see him very clearly, except his face, and apparently my customers have too,” Cantrell said. “He’s tall, thin and wears a long black cloak and a green hat.”

I asked Cantrell if she had any historical information on William and she informed me the building she currently occupies had been a doctor’s office in the 1800s.

“We believe he was a patient because he has a bad arm,” Cantrell said.

William is not known to be a terrifying ghost, but he does show displeasure to the owners and some customers. According to Cantrell, in April of this year, a mother and her small child were in the store browsing through books when the child began misbehaving and using bad language.

“William didn’t like the way the child was treating his mother and decided to throw books on the floor,” she said. “The child stopped misbehaving after that.”

Another child who had heard about the store being haunted also recently visited and had her own experience.

“The girl was telling her mother all about how haunted the store was and how she wished she could see something,” Cantrell recalled. “All of a sudden a gum machine we had in the front began turning in circles, round and round. There was no wind or anything that could have done that and the girl immediately said, ‘OK, that’s enough.’”

Cantrell said William often responds to requests and there are very few lapses in time when something out of the ordinary doesn’t occur. In order to avoid upsetting William, Cantrell and her business associates have learned to open and close the store in the exact same fashion.

“There’s a system we have each morning and evening,” Cantrell explained. “If William doesn’t like it, he’ll move something around or turn on a light. I’ve even had friends call me and say they’d been walking in the downtown at night and saw lights I had left on. I told them it wasn’t me; it was William.”

William has been known to move chairs, hold down chairs when employees try to move them and walk around the upper level, where it is believed that the doctor’s office was located.

Cantrell said there have been many customers who have witnessed strange events at the store, most of whom knew nothing about the haunted history of the building.

“I’ve had a lot of customers claim to have seen him sitting in a chair,” Cantrell said.

Another apparition, often seen in the literature room, is that of a woman wearing a long white dress.

“We think she likes reading the books,” Cantrell said.

To discover William’s name, Cantrell invited a friend to the store after it had closed.

“We simply asked different names and told him to give us a sign when we were right,” Cantrell remembered. “We went through a bunch of names and then said ‘William.’ At that point, the lights went out. We repeated this and when we said William again, the lights went out again.”

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, Around About Books is an awesome store. You can spend hours browsing through and shopping for new or used books, video games, music CDs, DVDs and much more.

Around About Books is located at 8 W. Main St. in Troy and is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information, please call 937.339.1707 or visit aroundaboutbooks.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Bayman at MattBayman@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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