Horror stories of a perpetual “Stalker in the Stacks” have circulated through the Richter Library since the library was built 35 years ago. The nine-story tower section of the library, where most of the books and reserves are stored, is considered by many to be a death trap.
“The Stacks are a place for a murder scene,” UM student Maria Cordero said. “It’s dark and there could be weirdos hiding in the corner.”
Cordero’s account was printed in the Nov. 3, 2000 issue of the Miami Hurricane, in an article in which a reporter investigated the reason behind the implementation of security guard in the Stacks to help students who studied up there feel more secure with the often-eerie surroundings.
The guard has since vanished.
For this article, the Hurricane interviewed a couple of girls who were skimming through photography books on the seventh floor of the Stacks in the middle of the night. They were informed of the urban legend of the wandering Stack-stalker.
“I’d pee my pants if I saw a stalker up here and I was all by myself,” junior Adrien Theuer said. “It’s real creepy up here at night – sometimes the lights turn out on you in the middle of the night when the library is about to close.”
“This is my first experience up in the Stacks,” junior Sandy Laing said. “I’m kind of excited by the whole thing – I love the thrill of the hunt.”
“Nothing exciting ever happens to us,” both Laing and Theuer said, almost in unison.
Other students are not taking the rumors lightly.
“The library was once my place of sanity, a place where I found concentration,” junior Natalie Gilinski said. “But now, that concentration has been lost to thoughts of the stalker that roams the Stacks in search of his next victim.”
“I never go up there by myself,” senior Lina Paredes said. “Even if someone screams, no one can hear you.”
One student is skeptical of the existence of the stalker in the Stacks.
“I haven’t seen a stalker up there, but I’m always up there,” said sophomore Alex Cardenas. “Some people say he hides in the cage up on the ninth floor, but he probably doesn’t because I’m always hanging out by the cage.”
“I’ll keep an eye out for him, though,” Cardenas said.
According to Henry Christensen, director of Public Safety, there have never been any actual reports of a stalker in the Stacks, but he says he can understand why students may feel uncomfortable up there.
“I was a student here about 30 years ago and I used to get nervous up in the Stacks, too,” Christensen said. “One of the basic rules of crime prevention is to be aware of your surroundings.”
Some students, however, would rather play it safe and choose a different place to study.
“I don’t care if there have been any reports of a stalker or not,” sophomore Jessica Gomez said. “How do I know that the stalker didn’t kill his victims before they had a chance to escape?”
“I’m doing my studying at home, thank you very much,” Gomez said.
The Hurricane will continue to investigate popular urban legends at UM through the month of February.
For suggestions of urban legends to be researched, please contact Jorge Arauz, News Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.