The word comes from the imaginative pen of an 8-year-old third-grader at Lansing Elementary School.

Colin Ryan used the word “dehauntinator” to describe a weapon used by a detective to rid the Lansing Community Library of ghosts and goblins.

It was all part of a writing project sponsored by the library, which asked participants to write to the following prompt:

“Strange things have been happening at Lansing Community Library after everyone has gone home. Books are falling from shelves, chairs are being moved around and lights are turning on and off on their own! Who or what has been causing these things to happen? And why?”

The top essays were recognized recently at the library in three categories – kindergarten through fifth grade, sixth through 12th grade and adults.

Ryan’s essay was chosen as the best in the kindergarten through fifth grade category. It was also chosen as the top overall essay.

“We have wanted to do a writing contest for some time at the library,” said Terri Wojtalewicz, director of the Lansing Community Library. “We enjoyed seeing the creativity in the stories and hearing the excitement as people talked about their ideas. All of them were fun to read and it was hard for the judges to decide.”

Each of the essays were assigned a number and had no identifying information so that judges could evaluate impartially.

The top two writers in each category received gift cards.

The writing contest attracted 47 entries.

“Because of the enthusiasm by the community, I am confident this is something we will do again,” said Wojtalewicz.

The top three writers in the kindergarten through fifth grade category were Ryan, Rachel Dowty and Carter Gaumond.

Elyse Redwine, Annie Vodarick and Reven Mendoza-Smith were the top three writers in the sixth through 12th grade category.

Amy Reinhold, Janice Langman and Tanya Jacobs were the top three writers in the adult category.

The contest was sponsored by the Friends of the Lansing Community Library.

As part of the contest, the Leavenworth Times agreed to publish the story of the grand champion.





Special to the Times

One morning a detective got a letter. It said, “Strange things are happening at the Lansing Community Library like books falling off shelves, words scrambled, chairs moving on their own, lights turning on and off on their own.”

The detective jumped in his car, drove to the library and ran into the building. As soon as he stepped through the door, a book flew right over his head. A librarian said, “This is the shelf that books are flying and falling off of. This is the table that the chairs race around all by themselves. All the shelves have scrambled writing.”

And then a book flew right behind the librarian! And then other books formed around it and made a giant book. And it nearly squished the librarian! And then the detective pulled out a dehauntinator. He aimed the dehauntinator at the giant book and fired it. The dehauntinator shoots bright orange slime onto the giant book. It then sucks the slime back in.

The slime has now trapped the ghosts that were haunting the books. He aims the dehauntinator at the shelves and turns the dial to monster setting and shoots purple slime at the shelves. He then pulls the return trigger and all the slime returns to the dehauntinator. The words are now correct on the shelves.

The lights start turning on and off very quickly. The librarian says “What’s happening?”

The detective says, “The haunters are mad that I am capturing the others.”

He points the dehauntinator at the lights, sets it to vampire mode, then shoots the yellow slime. The yellow slime covers the ceiling and all the lights around the library. After the return button is pressed, the lights return to normal. The chairs start to race away and hide under the tables. The detective turns the setting to goblins and shoots the chairs with electric green slime. When he hits the return button, the chairs race away to the corner of the library. He mutters, “I guess that wasn’t goblins. I wonder what is haunting the chairs if it’s not goblins? Maybe it is gargoyles.”

He turns the switch to gargoyles and fires again at the chairs. This time electric red slime shoots out and the chairs stop moving. When the return button is pushed the chairs are no longer haunted.

He says, “My job is done here.” He packs up and drives away.

Months later, he and the librarian run into each other at the movie theater buying tickets for the same movie, “The Strange Library.” They start talking to each other and find out that they have a lot in common. They go out for a nice dinner afterward. The detective receives a call while at dinner about a haunted museum. The librarian asks to come, but the detective says, “No it is too dangerous.”

The librarian follows the detective anyway to the museum. When they get to the museum they find that the art sculptures are coming to life under the full moon. The detective has to act quickly to turn the sculptures back into stone. The detective grabs his dehauntinator and sets the dial to goblins. When he shoots the sculptures they turn back into stone right away. The librarian thinks the detective is very smart and falls in love with him. Months later they go to Hawaii for the detective to investigate another haunting. While there they decide to get married. They now love to travel the world and entrap scary things in slime.