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The Haunted Library

"They want us to tell scary stories," chuckles Cassandra Jones, "so maybe I'll tell my version of how women got power. That always scares the guys." CJ, as the Fort Lauderdale native is known, is talking about Moonlight Tales, Jazz and Java, the adult storytelling event put on by the Broward County Main Library every year in conjunction with the two-day Children's Reading Festival.

For this third annual event, the five storytellers were presented with a theme: dark tales of ghosts, haunts, and assorted things that go bump in the night. CJ typically tells homespun stories flavored with ethnic humor. "I was the eldest of 6 siblings and 24 cousins, so I was always in charge of entertainment at family get-togethers. I started with stories I heard from my grandparents, stories I thought they made up. I had no idea they were my family history."

Two other Floridians will participate in the tall-tale telling: Windell Campbell, a teacher turned storyteller from Tampa who specializes in spellbinding ghost stories, and Ajamu Mutima of Gainesville, who uses his talents as a dramatist, poet, and drummer to "bring spirits back to life."

Colorado actor Bill Mooney, twice nominated for an Emmy for his work on the daytime soap All My Children, is known for his bone-chilling tales of suspense, and Michael "Badhair" Williams, in from the mountains of North Carolina, gets the adrenaline going with theatrical Appalachian ghost stories.

The evening event is held outdoors on the north patio of the main library. Come hungry -- the library's café, Charcuterie Too!, will be selling coffee, wraps, and desserts all evening. And if you're in a dancing mood, the group Mantra offers a live blend of easy jazz, African, and Latin music.

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Tomi Curtis

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