The Ghost of Hazel McGrew of Cedar Rapids
It's the perfect time for a Cedar Rapids Ghost Story and here's a real freaky one that I had not yet heard until I saw this article in the Gazette.
It's the story of Hazel McGrew of Cedar Rapids, a 66-year-old woman who made an afterlife appearance just one day after her horrifying death back in 1962. It's the kind of story that makes you truly wonder if ghosts aren't real.
According to the Gazette, the story began on October 9, just a week before the US/Russian Cuban Missile Crisis would scare the world into thinking that nuclear war was imminent. Four days earlier on October 5, 1962, the Beatles had just released their first single "Love Me Do" in England.
But in Cedar Rapids on October 9, 1962, an apartment building at 511 A Ave. NE would catch fire after someone recklessly threw a smoldering cigarette butt into a trash can.
The Cedar Rapids Fire Department quickly arrived on the scene, but the flames were already so hot firefighters could not enter the building. The Gazette said residents were reportedly climbing out of windows to escape the flames.
The flames never reached Hazel, but she died in the blaze due to smoke inhalation. Here's where it gets even scarier.
The following morning Hazel was seen by three people at the Cedar Rapids Public Library. At the time they weren't all that surprised to see her, because she was a library "regular."
What they didn't know (until the afternoon edition of the newspaper was published and delivered) was that Hazel had died the night before in the apartment fire.
It was the one and only time that the ghost of Hazel McGrew was ever seen.
Did she return to the library because it was a place that gave her comfort?
Was it an attempt to communicate one last time with friends?
Or was there some unfinished business that she needed to complete?
Many other questions remain unanswered, but one thing is certain. If she had any overdue library books, the fines today would be astronomical.