The Spirits of Books and Crannies and the Iris Theatre


In the center of Terrell's historic downtown is Books and Crannies, one of the few remaining bookstores. In contrast to other huge stores, Books and Crannies was created for devoted readers who devour books left and right. It features chairs and cozy resting areas that are thoughtfully positioned to make it easy for a reading enthusiast to browse the selections. Gayle, the owner, talks about the times she feels an invisible hand affectionately stroking her hair or hears her name being spoken from the back of the store. She is quite protective of the local spirits and has no fear of them at all.


Gayle once related a story about a paranormal investigative team that was dissatisfied with the lack of ghostly communication while conducting an investigation at the bookstore after hours. Unsurprisingly, the search produced no findings, possibly because one investigator displayed a fair amount of arrogance. After a considerable amount of time, the investigator yelled into the room, "If you give us some indication you are here, we will pack up our stuff and leave." A few seconds later, a book suddenly flew off the shelf and hurled itself towards the investigator. The team began excitedly asking questions of the spirits. "You told them you would leave if they answered, and they complied.  You must follow through on your promise to depart," interjected Gayle. And leave they did. Gayle, like many of the small-business owners on Moore Avenue, serves as a living representative for spirits whose voices may not be as loudly heard. The paranormal activity in the bookstore is very active. Unexpectedly launching a book off the shelf is not unheard of in this store. In rare cases, it seems to fly abruptly at a 90° angle and be thrown down the aisle.


A rescue cat is frequently brought to Books and Crannies to spend its days amid the bookcases. Books & Crannies' former mascot was Satchemo, a black tortoiseshell. Sadly, Satchemo crossed the Rainbow Bridge and was replaced by Maddie, a cat rescued from Hurricane Katrina's aftermath. One day, a young child came to the store with her mother. The child informed Gayle that she tried to catch the black cat but that he escaped by running into the dark theater while they were playing. The black cat was nowhere to be found! The girl was convinced that there were two cats: Maddie and a cat that matched Satchemo's description, although Gayle explained she didn't have a black cat!

We recently lost Maddie, which makes me very sad. I can assure you that this cat was unique. She always entertained us by playing like a kitten. Her eyes tracked things we couldn't see. It was normal for Maddie to become frightened and leave a place quickly, as if something invisible had seized her tail. What did she perceive that we could not? When we conducted readings or classes in the theater, Maddie came and sat up front on the stage with her back to the audience and stared at the room's black wall, as if holding court for the attendees' spirits. Maddie is going to be sorely missed.

Come see us on the Terrell Ghost Walk and learn more about the spirits of the city.  Perhaps, you may get a chance to experience their presence for yourself! 

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