Bismarck, ND

Beware of "the Stack Monster" Haunting the Liberty Memorial Building?

Evie M.
Liberty Memorial Building in Bismarck, NDCarrie Scarr on Wikimedia Commons

I always write about how much I love North Dakota and will continue to do so until I take my last breath. When I first moved there, I'll admit I laughed with my ex-husband and asked, "are you serious?" but it's a time I'll never forget. The only regret I have is not knowing how rich North Dakota's haunted history is. The legend we're talking about today is the "Stack Monster" that allegedly haunts the Liberty Memorial Building, but first, a little history.

Why is the Liberty Memorial Building considered to be so haunted?

Located right smack in the state's capitol and built in the 1920s (it's officially the "oldest part of the entire capitol), the Liberty Memorial Building was meant to serve as the home of several state offices, such as the Supreme Court, the Historical Society and State Library. Before its stint as a library, which is the memorial building's current gig, it served as the state museum, which visitors can now see at a different location.

The library, which derives its dim light from light bulbs on the ceiling and features multiple rooms and even a basement, is said to have a "spooky atmosphere". But according to former employees and other eyewitnesses, the spookiness doesn't stop with the general vibe of the place. Apparently, the Liberty Memorial Building is being haunted by an entity known by nothing more than the "Stack Monster".

Those who worked in the Liberty Memorial Building claimed to have had numerous paranormal experiences. The entity that allegedly exists in the library is often referred to as the “Stack Monster". Reports of the eerie disturbances started in 1970, when the History Society Superintendent James Sperry worked late into the night with his dog, shadow, as protection and company. It was a normal night until Mr. Sperry decided he needed a break and decided to have a chat with an archivist named Frank Vyzraiek, taking his dog with him. While the two had a conversation, Shadow started "acting strangely", growling and bristling before running away into the basement. James tried to follow Shadow, but his companion came back on his own soon, shivering and whimpering.

And this wasn't the first time Mr. Sperry seemed to run into the Stack Monster. One night while working late yet again, Mr. Sperry needed to use the elevator to head to the basement. Once his ride ended and he went to step off the elevator, Mr. Sperry noticed a man in a white shirt entering a storage room who he didn't know. When Mr. Sperry went to the storage room to investigate, no one was inside.

Aside from Mr. Sperry's stories, witnesses have reported "disembodied coughing", flickering lights and doors opening on their own. What's even stranger is there have been no one has had any run-ins with the stack Monster since the 1980s when the Historical Society moved to a new location. One employee, Gloria Engel, even claims to have seen the monster "walk out the door", before the move in 1981, suggesting he's no longer around.

Can you take a ghost tour of the ND State Library Memorial Building?

While there is no official ghost tour offered, guests are more than welcome to schedule a tour of the Capital Complex, which does of course include the State Library Memorial Building. Tours are offered year-round Mon-Fri. The complex does take walk-in guest who want to learn a little history, but if you're planning on coming in a big group, there is a from to fill out in advance. Who knows? Maybe you'll catch a glimpse of something along the way. If you're interested in visiting, the address is, well, the state capitol. Easy to find!

When I go back to North Dakota for a visit, I know where I'll be headed. My only question is: Who's coming with me?

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