Blue Ant Media is gearing up for T+E’s Creep Week, which is being touted as the Shark Week for ghosts.
Daily marathons of paranormal television shows will begin Oct. 10 and run to Oct. 17. During the week the premieres of “Paranormal Night Shift” and “My Paranormal Nightmare: Be Very Afraid”, and Blue Ant was sure to add some Canadian content to both shows.
Taking trips to Ontario centres like London, downtown Toronto and Cobalt, both shows uncover the experiences of those working the night shifts at a theatre, restaurant and hotel.
One such restaurant is the former home of the Looking Glass. Now the Storm Crow Manor, the house that sits at the northwest corner of Church and Dundonald, smack in the middle of Toronto’s Church and Wellesley Village is said to be the home of a ghost named Sarah.
Through the Looking Glass
Heather Mackenzie knows Sarah well. Her experiences with the distraught spectre started in 2005 when she was preparing the restaurant for its opening. The lead up was stressful, including a flood after the carbonation machine’s gasket exploded.
That’s not the only part of the haunting though. One time, while talking with her customers, she was banged quite hard. Outside of that, the haunting culminated in odd noises, breaking glass and corner-of-the-eye visions led Mackenzie to run into her own doppelganger.
It wasn’t just her that had a run-in with a phantom version of Mackenzie.
“A new contractor came in to rebuild so we could open and he didn’t believe in (Sarah),” the 66-year-old said in an October phone convesation. “So, one day when he was at home, hearing a noise in his closet. He and his wife were both listening to it. So, he got out of bed you went over with something in his hand, in case there was something in the closet and he opened the door and it was me in there with a red dress. That’s what he thought he saw.”
It is said that Valentine’s day is particularly hard for the ghost. Mackenzie admitted to hearing about the story of Sarah, who had allegedly hanged herself on the third floor where there are dormer windows, through the community.
“It just seems to be known in the Village there, about our Sarah,” she admitted. “There was a television show in the States and they knew about her.”
This time, though, Mackenzie was able to share her personal experiences on “Paranormal Night Shift”.
Our London has ghosts too
Travel down Highway 403 to London, and you’ll come across the 1884-built Aeolian Hall on Dundas St. Clark Bryan purchased the Victorian building in 2004. His husband would move in three years later, but during that time before, he had a run-in with a black form while he was living alone in the building.
It was 2 o’clock in the morning when the 57-year-old’s black lab, Mia, started growling at a large form that appeared to look like a man.
“It was the first and only time in my life where I had the chill down the spine experience, which I have a hard time describing to people,” he said, during a phone conversation, adding that the haunt happened for two weeks at the same time. Eventually, he asked some friends and they suggested that he give the apparition something to do.
“They told me to give it some direction, you know, ‘Go watch the back door’,” Bryan recalled. “I did that and I didn’t see it in my bedroom again.”
He’s not alone in his experiences. Canadian rockers Blackie and the Rodeo Kings performed at the venue and had a bizarre instance where they came to a grinding halt while one of the members was stage left of the Proscenium Arch.
“He was put into a bubble and they couldn’t hear him, and he couldn’t hear them,” Bryan admitted.
Bryan, previously a skeptic, suspects that former St. Paul’s Cemetery, which used to be on the east side of Rectory Street in London, could play a role in the alleged haunting. But it’s most likely the former owner of the building.
Those interred there were moved in 1852. However, construction on Dufferin Ave. in 1968 uncovered four unmarked graves within the area.
The activity has died down at the Aeolian Theatre, though Bryan is not sure about his husband Bryan Gloyd’s experiences. Some musical acts have placed a grand pause on performing there again.
But no worries, during the pandemic, the Aeolian will be hosting a virtual series called the Phoenix Sessions.
A ghost’s silver lining
Reverse course from Toronto and travel 500 kilometres north, and you’ll hit a town known for its silver lode.
Nina Chamaillard, née Chitaroni, owned the Silverland Inn and Motel in Cobalt, Ont. and shared her family’s story about the suspected guest that won’t check out. Hermie, which was short for Paul Hermiston, a former prospector, was said to pay guests a visit.
Nestled in the northeast corner of Silver St. and Prospect Ave., the hotel was taken by the 55-year-old and restored to its historic grandeur. Its construction began in 1906, and part of the hotel was once the Bank of Ottawa.
A fire gutted the building in 1913, but it was rebuilt. The bank merged with another, more well known one, the Bank of Nova Scotia, and eventually would leave after the silver veins began to dry up.
For Chamaillard, who works now in the corrections field, the haunting began when she first opened up the inn back in 2001. They were preparing for the holiday season and bells would ring on their own volition.
“It’s like, ‘What the heck?’ You know, it’s not like they’re battery-operated or plugged in bells, they were just freestanding,” she recalled. “It wasn’t just one ring.”
They had a beautiful staircase and they decorated the banisters with garland. That same garland would also float out into the air and then float back to the railing in slow motion.
“We looked around to see if there was any source of air that could justify this — same thing with the bells because the tree was in the rear, they were about 15 to 20 feet apart,” she recalled, adding a photo of a visiting hockey team had some inexplicable orbs in it.
Their resident spirit had a penchant for taking things and had a sweet tooth as well. Chamaillard recalled one time her daughter’s chocolate bar went missing.
“You’d be eating a chocolate bar and you’d turn around and the chocolate bar’s gone,” she said, adding her daughter would get flustered by the events.
The family began to learn to scold the ghost by saying, “That’s enough Hermie.” But on one occasion, the family pet Thunder got a little perturbed with the shenanigans.
“My two daughters were upstairs and we had a boxer and all of a sudden the boxer just started barking and barking at something. It freaked my kids out,” Chamaillard said. “They crawled underneath the covers and they just stayed there until mom came up the stairs. The hairs on the dog were up and they knew something was going on.”
Finally, the first full-bodied apparition experienced by Chamaillard occurred while she was asleep.
“I believe in the paranormal. I wouldn’t say I get freaked out easily,” she said. “Being a corrections officer, I’ve worked at Kingston Penitentiary, so I’ve seen a lot of shit. It takes a lot to scare me.
“I woke up, and looked at the foot of my bed and there was a man standing there. It felt like it was minutes and minutes, but it was just seconds,” she added. “There was nothing that could have nudged me to move.”
The revenant appeared to be dressed in prospector garb, and after some research, Chamaillard felt the spirit was a past pillar of the community, Paul Hermiston.
There are still many experiences in the town, given its history and the long line of miners that met their ends inside the earth.
All of the experiences shared by Mackenzie, Bryan and Chamaillard can be seen on the “Paranormal Night Shift” and “My Paranormal Nightmare” Saturday, Oct. 17 at 9 and 10 pm ET.