Remember back in the ' early 90s when it wasn't as easy to just pull out your phone and look something up? It took a little bit of work to get information on obscure subjects, or even common things that may not come up that much in your life. Sure, some people had computers and internet (really slow internet) by then, but hardly anyone I knew did. Because of this, you had to be creative about getting the answers to things you had questions about, or needed a bit more research into. My dad, for example, was a big fan of learning about ancient languages. Since my siblings and I weren't old enough to stay home, we would often end up going along to the local public library while he would spent a couple hours digging through whatever old books he could find on the subject.
The library itself must have been a hundred or more years old, and was one of the bigger buildings in the entire town. It had three stories, and was full of nothing but books of any and all subjects. They even had a pretty large section just for kids and teenagers. So we didn't mind much when we would have to go. They even had computer labs, with those old Apple computers that probably existed in every library back in those days. But sometimes, as I got a bit older, I would explore the rest of the building and see what kind of areas I could find. The place was big enough that I think you could go down certain nooks and aisles that people hadn't stepped foot in for months at a time.
On some random weekday during the summer one year, I was doing a bit of exploring and decided on a whim that I would hit the “B” button while in the elevator. There was nothing saying that patrons weren't allowed down there, even though I knew that all that was there was a bunch of old books. Every once in awhile, people would ask for a book and it would turn up in the basement, so a librarian would have to go down and find it. I thought that it might be kind of fun to have a look around down there. The building was old enough that I assumed it would be all dark and gloomy, and fun to explore. Boy, was I in for a shock.
I descended from the very top floor, in what was an old slow ride down. Let me ask you this, reader, when you're in an elevator, what do you think about? Usually almost nothing, right? You just stand there and stare at the numbers count down with a blank mind. That's exactly what I was doing that day. It seemed like an hour before the “B” light was finally completed filled, signaling that I had reached my stop. The bell went off to let me know I was there, and the door slid open. I was expecting a dark room filled with stacks of books in rows, lit up by just a few hanging light fixtures. But what I saw was something completely different. Something that didn't belong.
What I saw before me was a scene that looked to be some kind of hospital. Only, it was the kind of hospital you'd see in old pictures. There were rows of cots lined up with men in varying levels of pain, with busy nurses in white running about, and Doctors working their hardest to stop bleeding or revive a patient. I was stunned at what I was looking at, I simply stood with my hand on the door to keep it from closing. That's when I recognized that the injured men must have been Soldiers from long ago, Civil War perhaps. It was hard to make out at first, because the only light in the room that I could see came from lanterns, and there was a thick unnatural haze to the whole scene. And, as odd as it was, there seemed to be no sound at all. You would have expected there to be moaning and screams of agony, and bustling doctors yelling at nurses to hand them certain tools, but nope. There was no sound at all.
I pulled my hand back away from the door, and it closed back on itself. I pushed the button to go back up to the first floor, and seemed to be back in the library. I calmly found my dad, and told him what I had seen. He said that there must have been some kind of reenactment going on down there, and that I should have stayed out of there. When we went to the check-out desk, I asked about the Civil War Reenactment in the basement. The Librarian at the desk looked at me confused and said “Reenactment? I don't know anything about that. The only thing I know about the basement is that it was once used as a field hospital during the Civil War. But now we just keep all our old books down there."