For many years a rumor has gone around Wheaton College about a secret satanic library in the Billy Graham Center. When the fifth floor of the Billy Graham Center was used for storage and off-limits students would sneak onto the floor in search of the legendary occult library. Does or did such a library exist? Yes and no.
From 1974 to 2004 the Billy Graham Center operated a library as an extension of its mission. This library, like the museum and Graham Archives, collected materials related to missions and evangelism. In the course of its work it received a large donation of books on cults and the occult from a scholar. The Graham library placed the donation in boxes in a storage cage on the top floor of the Graham Center until they determined what to do with this gift. After several years other priorities took hold and the donation remained untouched and in 1997 due to funding shortfalls the staff of the Graham library was reduced significantly.
In 2004 further budgetary issues caused the remaining Graham library staff to be dismissed. At that time the staff of Buswell Memorial Library became responsible for the collections of the Billy Graham Center Library. Buswell Library's collection development librarian soon began going through the backlog of the Graham library including the languishing "secret" donation. The quality of the collection was inconsistent and some of volumes were not suitable for addition to the college's collection. Others were deemed outside of the curricular needs or research interests. Useful books were cataloged and added to Buswell Library's collections and shelves. And, others were deemed unsuitable for retention. It was some of this latter titles that were the most provocative and intriguing to the eyes of students as they sneaked around and peered into the storage cage. Some of these title were related to the occult and occult practices.
So, was there an "occult library?" Yes, sort of. Was it secret? No. Did it allow for really spooky fun? Just ask the dozens of students who made their way to the storage cage or who keep the story alive.
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