15 Mostly-True Urban Legends

4. Killer in the Library

We’ve all heard stories about what goes on in the secluded areas of college libraries. And not all involve the study of reproductive organs. Some tell of sinister forces lurking between the shelves.

At least one is true: The 1969 murder of Betsy Aardsma.

College Magazine

College Magazine


Betsy was a pretty, smart, and well-liked student at Penn State University. During Thanksgiving break, when most college campuses are nearly deserted, she decided to visit the dimly-lit stacks section in the basement of Pattee Library.

The last chapter of her life (pun intended) came to a close there.

Betsy was stabbed in the chest with a hunting-style knife that broke through her breastbone, severed the pulmonary artery, and struck the heart.

She barely uttered a gasp before falling to the ground and pulling books on top of her. About nine people were 70 feet away from the crime scene, but none could see anything because of the intervening shelves of books that rose floor to ceiling.

Eventually, she was found by Mary Erdley who was led to the body by two men who shouted “Somebody better help that girl” before vanishing.

Mary stood beside the body trying to get passerbys to help for 15 to 20 minutes before the ambulance was called. Betsy was pronounced dead at the hospital.

About 40 state troopers investigated the case interviewing hundreds and following leads across the country.

They never found the killer.



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