On Thursday, September 10th, 2009, a twenty-nine year old woman tragically lost her life when she fell from the third-story roof of one of The University of Toronto's oldest buildings, #1 Spadina Crescent. Normally, this would not really have a place on a paranormal website, but the reports initially given were that the woman and a few other people had broken into the building in the wee hours to look for ghosts because, apparently, the building was reputed to be "haunted". There were also reports that this group had started the evening or possibly were still on a ghost tour. (Please note: According to the newspaper "The Globe and Mail", this was simply a rumour and media construct... it was actually a case of "urban exploration" gone horribly and tragically wrong. See: http://tinyurl.com/globeandmailghosthunting
When this news broke, media outlets all over the Canada and some from The United States and indeed, worldwide, contacted our sister site, Torontoghosts.Org for details.
This was not because Torontoghosts' had any information... this is because when you "Google" Toronto and Ghosts, it tends to come up first... and because of that, requests for information came pounding in starting at 6:30 in the morning and lasted until Tueday, September 15th...
Despite two press releases (one at 7am and one at 9am on the Friday,) being released that made it clear that Torontoghosts/PSICAN/ParaResearchers did not and do not offer tours or public "ghost hunts" and also re-iterating that we have always been advocates against unethical and illegal efforts in the name of studying ghosts and hauntings, (including trespassing,) the media onslaught continued as they seemed to be almost hoping that "we" could shed some light on the situation... which we honestly couldn't. Moreso, we don't have any notes or entries on this building (#1 Spadina Crescent,) and nothing to even have suggested the building to anyone to "investigate" for any reason. This is relatively important as, although there is no doubt that we are NOT the only place online that people can report haunted places and spaces to, after a dozen years (at the time of writing this,) of running the site, we usually do hear about things... and it's rare a place in Toronto that has a report doesn't come to our attention in some way.
In fact, the building had indeed attracted our attention... but not how you'd think.
We have always been a place where people write in to simply "ask" if a place is haunted... and #1 Spadina Crescent is a place we had been asked about. The building does have a "look" and it's positioning makes it difficult to miss, but no reports ever came in.
We did know about two "newsworthy" events... the tragic unsolved murder of a professor in the early part of this century and another violent incident (not leading to a death)... both unrelated... and neither turning up any ghostly reports that we knew of.
We did ask some of our friends (staff and faculty) of University of Toronto about possible reports from the building before the events of this year (2009) and were told that there was only a "tongue-in-cheek" curse that any department housed in the building was "doomed to failure" through normal means like general interest, staffing, or funding... but again, this was told to us as a "gag" moreso than a legitimate report.
So the question remains... *If* the woman and her companions were there on the concept of "ghost hunting", why were they there?
Regardless, it was an unfortunate situation... and our thoughts and prayers are still with this poor woman's friends and family. It was an entirely unnecessary death and could have been easily prevented with simple common sense.
We do now have an interesting situation though... A building with previously no known reports of any phenomena happening... has started collecting "rumours" of having things going on.
On one news site, in the comments section, someone said that for years, janitors and staff had seen things moving on their own "in the basement" of the building...
Interesting, because not only did no one ever write to us about these things... but no one ever spoke to us when we have been available at the university on several occasions about it.
We've talked to people and heard things from other sites (mentioned on The Torontoghosts' Website under University of Toronto,) but not that building... but this "commenter" has said it's true.
...granted, she was, at the time, the only one that anyone knew of.
Even if this report was the case, why would people "ghost hunting" for something that was supposed to be in a basement, be on the roof?
This wasn't all though...
We also saw reports suddenly appear out of nowhere about the stairwells, the lights on the second floor, an office with the number "13" somehow involved with it.
Truth to tell, a place that had ZERO known reports suddenly became a building with TONNES of reported phenomena.
We ask you, the reader... Logically, is it because this site was indeed "under-reported" and this just came out because of the tragedy...
...or are people beginning to knit things together to create a mythos about a place that didn't have a history of ghosts and hauntings to justify an interest and add some spice(?) to a tragic event?
I won't lie to you... Our gut says it's the latter.
None the less, what do you now do with a site like #1 Spadina Crescent when you have a situation like this?
There's no doubt you have to look into things from the concept that people, by design or by wishful thinking (but no ill-intent) have "corrupted" the possibility of things at the site... meaning that now there are these "rumours" out there, people will find ways of making them either come true or seem true...
...but can you discount everything?
As stated, we would have to say, "Yes"... the previous evidence really shows no reports of anything happening there... and it's FAR too soon to even entertain the possibility of anything (from an ethical standpoint,) that may be "recent" about the site.
As such, we will only file reports and information about this site for many years to come... and put caveats for our people who may access them in the future that we do need to understand that there is possible "corruption" of witnesses and testimony for the next little while.
This rather "non-committal" report/editorial is about all you'll ever see from #1 Spadina Crescent on any of our websites... barring some very spectacular and unforeseen event... and we do hope you'll understand our stance on this.
Realistically, it's going to be a balancing act... in which reports that come in now will have to be viewed with an extra-thought towards things being "urban legend", or coming from "corrupt witnesses", and anything that may have a hint of genuine possibility behind it.
The latter being so unlikely as of right now that if it did come in, it will not be published or made public for a very long time and not without some fairly strict inspection in advance.
Again, thanks for everyone who read our thoughts and notes through this entire situation... and our thoughts and prayers are with EVERYONE involved with this tragic events at a building that, really, doesn't deserve the reputation that's being forced upon it.