A haunted house turned into a library in Irkutsk

Oksana Vasilieva | Live the World

November 23, 2022

There are many libraries in Irkutsk. They are scattered around the city. The most peculiar building, hiding a library,  is located in a magnificent 19-century mansion. This mansion belonged to a Siberian merchant called Isaiah  Fainberg. His family used this mansion as a tenement house, but the rumor has it that the house became haunted. However, nowadays, it has been turned into a library! It is very exciting to visit it, and I invite you on this possibly spooky and mysterious journey!

History of the Fainberg mansion

Isaiah Fainberg belonged to the famous merchant family of Siberia. He and his numerous relatives did many things for the city's development. When in 1902 the building construction was over, the Circum-Baikal Railway administration was located in it.

©wikipedia/unknown author

Later, the mansion was used to locate war garrisons. After the USSR collapsed, the estate was used as a library. When you happen to be in Irkutsk, you will not have any chances to miss this mansion – it looks like a frigate, and the architecture of the building is stunning. But, locals believe that the villa is haunted.

© wikipedia/Elena Krotova

Fainberg personal history and the appearance of ghosts

Isaiah Fainberg had a rather tragic life. His first wife died under unclear circumstances; as did his younger daughter and one of his sons. In the 90s, when the cellar of the mansion was opened for the public, the researches found several skeletons there. It is still unknown who they belonged to. Historians state that during 1918-1920 there was a civil war in Irkutsk between Tsarist Russians and White Guard Guerillas. It's speculated that the White Guard Officers used this cellar to keep the killed enemies. Nowadays, a local library uses this building as one of its branches. But, the patrons and especially the librarians have lots of creepy stories proving that ghosts have unfinished business in this mansion.

Don't visit after dark

Ghosts stories usually state that spirits materialize inside the building at night. Some librarians recall that when they worked long hours and the dusk settled, weird things started to happen. Once a book started to turn its pages all by itself.


The librarian who saw it then noticed a strange silhouette reflecting in one of the glassed doors of the rack. The silhouette seemed to be of a young long-haired woman dressed in an ancient robe. The librarian got scared and rushed home. The next morning she paid attention to one of the portraits of Isaiah Fainberg's daughters. The picture looked strangely familiar - it was the ghost that the librarian saw the night before... It's just one of the reoccurring stories that have been told about the Fainberg mansion. More stories were revealed to the local journalists by the night guards. They claimed that during their night shifts, books would start to fall from their shelves and weird noises were heard sometimes. The scariest testimonies describe even the strange white silhouettes being seen at the staircase... If you are looking for a bit of a shrill during your travels, I recommend you to visit the Fainberg mansion, the haunted house turned into a library in Irkutsk!

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