Why is it that some claim to have never experienced “ghostly” phenomena throughout their life spans, some have one time events solely, and yet there are others who are either “blessed” or “cursed” (depending on how one perceives the experience) with a life time of strange occurrences? This question has sparked much debate and opinions by various researchers over the years and we may never truly have a concrete answer. In fact only further questions can be sparked in regards
A friend of our organization has decided to share some of his own experiences and stories that have touched him on a personal level, occurring over a period of decades and throughout our province as well as Quebec with you our readers.
Only The Shadow Knows For Sure
We spend several weekends a year at the house of some close friends in a small town near Barrie, Ontario. A few years ago we were sleeping on the sofa-bed in the living room and I woke up about 3:30 in the morning feeling very thirsty. I headed off into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door causing the light to stream out behind me. I grabbed a can of pop and opened it and started to drink it when suddenly a shadow walked past me and disappeared behind the fridge. At first I thought someone had entered the kitchen but quickly realized that it would be impossible for anyone to cast a shadow since the light was coming from the open fridge in front of me. Not only that but the floorboards and stairs tend to creak and I should have heard the approach of anyone. I spun around to see what was going on and there was nobody behind me.
I looked over to the dog who was laying on the floor beside the back door and saw that he was looking back at me. The dog then jumped up and took off up the stairs on the run. So much for our great canine protector. This all happened in a split second, which means that I didn't really have much time to observe it. However, I did get the feeling that it was very large and male. Also the shadow seemed to be almost solid and three dimensional and wasn't against the wall as a normal shadow should have been. As a matter of fact if it had been any closer it would have brushed against me.
I went back to bed and mentioned the incident to everyone over breakfast the next morning. They all thought I was off my rocker and had imagined the whole thing.
A month or so later we returned to the house to spend another weekend and I mentioned the shadow. By now everybody in the house had seen it letting me off the hook. It was spotted mostly in the afternoon but showed up at other times too. Usually it was seen walking the opposite direction to which I had witnessed it. In other words, it came from behind the fridge and would walk towards the living room. All agreed that it appeared large and male. It would just sort of stroll from one place to another. I asked everyone if they felt that the shadow was aware of their presence and all seemed to think that it didn't seem aware of them. Everybody also agreed that it seemed to have some substance to it, that is, it was not just a shadow but more like a mist or vapor, sort of semi-transparent but with a very definite outline. They also had the feeling that it appears to be looking for something and was quite oblivious to it's surroundings since it would disappear into a wall or other solid object.
The sightings kept up with a regular frequency (several times per week) for a little over a year and then slowed down. However it still makes the occasional appearance to this day. Although I only saw it the one time, I really don't want to see it again.
As I stated, this all happened several years ago and the kitchen was renovated and all the major appliances are in different locations now. Nobody knows if this has anything to do with the apparition showing up with less frequency.
A Ghostly Apparition At The River Street Junk Yard
Hide-N-Seek, or Hango-Seek as we called it, was definitely our favorite outdoor summer game, and we had many great places to play it, but the best place was "The Junk Yard". It wasn't really a junk yard, it was a fenced in place on River Street with a couple of dilapidated old wooden buildings full of holes that housed giant bales of cloth that were soon to be turned into felt. It was a busy place and the bales were changed regularly creating an always changing maze of tunnels and holes to hide in. After the workers left it was our turn.
One day George, Gary, Jimmy, Ricky and me were playing there. George was a small kid with bright red hair and there was no mistaking him for anybody else. In hide-and-seek, if you spied someone and identified them wrongly it was called a false spy and you were "IT" again. We all spied George at least once when we were it and he'd pop up somewhere else yelling "false spy, you're it again". So after four or five false spies on George we decided something funny was going on. It was pretty dark in there except for a few beams of light coming through the holes in the walls. We now started to get a bit scared and decided to get out quick. We all scrambled for the exit hole trying to be the first one out.
Unfortunately, the hole was very small and we had to exit one at a time in single file. Gary was behind me and I heard him say "Come on George, hurry up". So I turned around and noticed that George was crawling along behind us but quite a bit back. However, when I got to the hole and looked out I saw George standing outside. Well let me tell you, I almost tore the skin right off my back getting out that hole. Gary popped out next and just about dropped dead when he saw George there. We took off like scared cats. Later at Gary's house we told his mother about this and she told us a young kid with red hair suffocated there years before.
Well, I leave it up to you. Was it a ghostly apparition or some kid that had a lot of moxie? If it was another kid, he was pretty slippery because after the first few false spies we'd all rush over to where the phony George was and he would simply not be there. Needless to say, we didn't go in there too much after that.
The Mississauga Spooky Thing
Gary and Linda decided to move out to Mississauga to be closer to their workplaces. They found a nice little townhouse near Dixie Road and Bloor and moved in. During the next couple of weeks they noticed strange things happening that seemed to centre around the kitchen area.
They would come downstairs in the morning to find the water taps running or the light left on. They didn't think much of it at first, after all, anyone can forget to turn things off.
But as time went by things got progressively worse. Sometimes the back door was found wide open even though they were very careful to lock everything up the night before. Other times they'd find the fridge or the cupboard doors open with various things ajar. Sometimes small appliances would be turned on.
But the one thing that scared the hell out of them was coming down to find all four burners on the electric range glowing red hot. Let's face it, something like that can kill you quick.
After talking to neighbors they discovered that some years earlier a five year old girl had perished in a fire in the house. She had died from smoke inhalation and the fire had started in the kitchen. They also found out that none of the previous residents had complained of strange goings-on there.
So was it the little girls spirit causing these things to happen? Was she just being mischievous or was she trying to drive our friends out? Perhaps she was trying to get rid of them in the hopes of having a family move in that had kids. Or even more sinister, did whatever thing or spirit cause the little girl's death with the same methods that it was displaying now?
Needless to say, they broke their lease and moved away. This happened in the early 1980's and they have never experienced any unusual phenomenon since.
The Ghost On Carlaw Avenue
My wife's company was rapidly expanding so they moved a little further down Carlaw Avenue to a larger building. Within days of the move some of the employees complained of seeing "The Lady In White" as she was soon to be named. It was a white, wispy and almost totally transparent figure of a woman in a long flowing nightgown or some such similar garment, very much resembling the classic Hollywood portrayal of a female ghost.
The lady was always spotted roaming the very large basement storage area or ascending the stairwell to the second floor. She was not a threatening presence, she just sort of wandered around the place as if she were looking for someone or something.
Although my wife never had the pleasure of meeting The Lady, many others were not so fortunate. A few people quit on the spot right after their encounter and still others refused flatly to enter the basement. The owner of the company, probably fearing a mass exodus, called in some American ghostbusters to try and exorcise The Lady. It seems that they were successful because the spirit has not been seen since.
A few years ago this and other Canadian hauntings were featured on a made in Canada T.V. special entitled "Bump In The Night." The show was filmed on location and narrated by none other than James Doohan, who of course was "Scotty" of the original Star Trek fame, and himself a Canadian. The story was altered a little bit but still followed the general idea.
Although I have more than a casual interest in this type of phenomenon, I am no expert in the subject. However, I would have to say that this has to be one of the most interesting cases that I have ever heard of. The Lady was seen often by many different people and in various parts of the building. This would tend to rule out hallucinations, tricks of the eye, reflections, dust in streaming sunlight or any of the other common things that cause people to think they've seen something they haven't.
Things That Go Bang In The Night
In 1974-75 we rented a large house with some relatives on a major street in downtown Toronto. We took the upstairs and the other couple and their two kids took the downstairs.
Right from the start we could hear all kinds of noises during the night in our part of the house. There was the usual creaking and things like that which happens in any older house, but the most disturbing was a light tapping at the foot of the bed. It would usually start a little after midnight and continue off and on throughout the entire night. Sometimes the noise didn't wake me so I can't verify that it happened every night. My wife is a very sound sleeper and missed a lot of the happenings.
The noises seemed to intensify and become louder on weekends, maybe because we always seemed to have a full house of friends and relatives either dropping by or staying the night. Also, many a roving party would land there on a Saturday night.
Very rarely would anyone downstairs ever hear anything. After one extremely loud Saturday night, I asked a couple that had spent the night downstairs if they had heard any noises during the night and they replied that they had heard little feet running back and forth upstairs all night long, they wondered if we had mice, we didn't.
The owner of the house sold the place and a few nights before we were to move out we had the worst night of all. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, there was a banging at the foot of the bed, not the usual tapping, it was so loud that it sounded like somebody was pounding a hammer down against the footboard. We both sat up kind of scared and I glanced over to our totally fearless half-shepperd dog who was walking around in circles as if chasing his tail. This was something he hadn't done before and would never repeat. At any rate, the noise stopped as suddenly as it had started and we never heard it again in our remaining time there. I haven't got a clue as to what this last outburst meant, if anything. Was it someone or something saying goodbye or maybe even good riddance.
Although we heard all kinds of noises in this house, we had never seen anything out of the ordinary. However, one of the kids from downstairs constantly complained of seeing some kind of weird looking person or thing just standing around in the kitchen down there. He is now grown up and still mentions it to this day whenever we speak of the goings on in that house.
Other than the noises, the only really strange thing that ever happened to me was once when I was home alone one weekday afternoon, I heard a rustling noise coming from our hall closet. This caused the dog to go over and start investigating and when I opened the door a black bird came shooting out towards me and just barely missed flying right into my face. I chased it around the house and the dog finally caught it. I opened the back door and the dog released it unharmed. Five minutes later the rustling began again and we went through the catch and release thing once more. And then five minutes later the whole process was repeated, thankfully for the last time.
There are a couple of interesting points that I should probably mention here. Within two years of our moving out the house was sold three times. I wasn't inquisitive enough to actually go up and knock on the door to find out if any of the residents had experienced anything out of the ordinary. Years later, after telling someone the story of the house and answering a few questions, they suddenly blurted out that they had the whole thing solved. It seems that our house having street number 664 and being attached to house number 666 made it receptive to all kinds of spooky things. Of course the latter number being the sign of the Devil. Well, I doubt that very much, but then again who knows, who cares? I'm just glad we've never experienced anything like this in any of the other places we've lived in.
These are from Pontiac County, Quebec:
1. The Showing Place
Right across the road from my mother-in-law's home there once stood a big creepy looking dilapidated old house. A family friend bought it but only used on the occasional weekend because he lived and worked in Ottawa.
According to him, sleeping there could be a hair raising experience. During the night he would be constantly awakened by noises coming from the attic that sounded like heavy furniture being dragged around even though there was nothing up there except a couple of boxes of unused items. Not only that but he would also sometimes hear voices or a moaning sound. I had also heard from other sources that the flicker of candle light was sometimes seen through the attic window in the middle of the night, even when the place was deserted.
Many years ago in the rural areas of Quebec, before funeral parlors popped up in every little town, some people with large houses would allow the locals to display their deceased relatives in these places for a small fee. These houses were known as ''Showing Places'' and this house had been used as one.
After a few years of going through this he decided to sell the house. It took a while to unload because the house's reputation was well known throughout the area.
The people that bought the house never moved in but rather tore it down and built another house at the other end of the lot. I had seen this house while the friend was living there and it was indeed a very spooky looking place.
2. The Phantom Car
I had heard these next two stories years ago, but finally got confirmation from one of the kids (now very much grown up) involved in the actual incidents.
A family of 3 kids and 2 adults moved into an old house in the area. Almost nightly, during the hours between 11:00 PM and 1:00 AM, a car could be heard coming up the rather long driveway. Big deal you say? Well although the car could be plainly heard, it could not be seen. The tires were heard crunching on the gravel and then the slight squeal of the brakes as the car came to a halt. The engine would idle for a few seconds before shutting off, then they would hear the opening and closing of a car door, and that's it. No headlights or tail-lights were ever seen nor did anybody ever see the person that had apparently exited the car.
Was it somebody that had died in a car wreck years before finishing off their drive home? Who knows. The mother was very superstitious and demanded that they move, which they did.
3. Magic Alarm Clock
The family now rented a fairly large house owned by a little old lady. She let them have the house on the terms that they never disturb one of the upstairs bedrooms that had been padlocked.
It was a nice peaceful place with the exception being that an alarm clock would go off every morning at about 5:00 AM in the forbidden bedroom. This didn't seem to bother anyone too much because it was rather muffled and they had to be awake to actually hear it.
One day when a young aunt was minding the kids, she convinced them that they should pick the lock and investigate the mysterious room. They entered the room and saw only that it was just an ordinary bedroom with all the bedroom type furniture and the bed was made up nice and tidy. The room was covered with years of accumulated dust and right beside the bed on a night table sat an old wind up alarm clock. They scooped up the clock and re-locked the door upon leaving. They brought the clock downstairs and put it on the fireplace mantle where it sat for years. Never again did anyone hear the ringing coming from the room and the clock never rang while it sat in it's new position. Nobody seems to remember what happened to the clock after they left that house.
How can a wind up clock keep working if it's never wound up?
4. Tea Time
Cathy and family rented a house on the outskirts of one of the small towns. There was a neighbour's house across the road with a man in his sixties living there. Cathy had spoken to this man several times and knew he lived alone. However, some afternoons she would see an elderly lady leave the house and walk down the road. When Cathy quizzed the man as to who the lady was, he asked her to describe the woman, which she did.
''My God'' He said ''You've just described my mother to a tee. She used to travel down the road several times a week in the afternoon to have tea with one of her friends. She's been dead for twenty some odd years and so has her friend.''
Cathy said she never saw the woman after discussing her with the man across the road.
5. The Wandering Lady In White
I can't substantiate this story because I've never met anyone that has actually seen this apparition. I only mention it because I've heard it many times from many people over the years.
Somewhere in Pontiac County, there is apparently a lady in white that pops up along a stretch of deserted back road. She can appear anywhere along the road which runs for several miles. She is harmless and just seems to be walking along minding her own business. If someone tries to approach her, she just disappears.