Have you ever visited the North Providence Union Free Library just to see the famous bust of Salvatore Mancini? The cavernous nature of the building paired with some spooky lore led the library to reach out to the experts to find some answers.
This past September, the North Providence Union Free Library was filmed for 4 nights for the Discovery Plus/Travel Channel show "Kindred Spirits." For decades, staff at the library have experienced unexplainable phenomena, such as someone calling their name when they are working alone--especially upstairs in the Reference Department--the elevator going up to the second floor by itself, and the apparition of a tall man approaching the desk only to look up and no one is there. Staff and residents alike always joked that it is the ghost of former Mayor Salvatore Mancini, as the building bears his name, his likeness in an enclosed case, and his funeral was held in the library for 3 days after his passing in 1994. However, library staff wanted to get down to the bottom of why new unexplainable events were occurring, such as clocks flying off shelves and walls in the Administration Offices, among other items that at times projectile themselves with no logical reason. Surely, former Mayor Mancini would not have been as vested in the inner workings of the library, but perhaps a former employee or trustee would.
Enter Amy Bruni and Adam Berry, two native Rhode Islanders, and stars of the show "Kindred Spirits." Amy and Adam ventured away from the traditional paranormal shows meant to instill fear and the scare factor to approach situations with a "care factor." With the help of archives and other tools, they research the history of locations to see what might be going on, and a library was the perfect spot, as we take care in curating our own history.
To give credit where credit is due, they pinpointed at least one cause of unexplained activity in the RI History Room: former library Trustee Herbert Hopkins for whom the room is named. Mr. Hopkins searched for a new library location in the 1970s as their former building was becoming cramped, exchanging lots of correspondence with then Mayor Mancini. Mr. Hopkins unfortunately passed away in 1978 before he saw the former skating rink become the bigger library he so passionately lobbied for (though he didn't know the skating rink was a possibility). When the bust of Mayor Mancini was moved into the RI History Room (Herbert E. Hopkins History Room) in July of 2020, activity started to pick up even more than before.
The library is grateful to "Kindred Spirits" for respecting the library's history and for confirming suspicions that Mr. Hopkins feels more attention should be given to himself. The staff continues to add pictures and memorabilia in the room to match or detract from the foreboding bust that might have stirred up some negative energy.
Click here to read an article about the show's visit in the Valley Breeze.