One of our readers has sent us an interesting lead to a possible ghost or something at the Ryerson University campus.
Just wanted to add a bit more about the Ryerson Theatre School ghost(s) and to let you know that I have contacted a few Ryerson students I know and asked them to contact you with any information they had heard while attending the school.
- Cold spot in north east corner of McAllister Studio on 3rd floor-myself and many have felt it
- Repeated sightings of what appears to be a white female figure in the hallway located behind the McAllister Studio and the attic above the studio
- I have heard several people say they have heard their name whispered when they have been alone in the school
- The lights in McAllister studio come on and off at whim, even during performance-I have seen this-the program for my first year production asks the audience to pardon the possible light fluctuations due to the resident ghost!!
- A vocal music teacher in first year told of how she saw the same white female figure singing in the 3rd floor hallway, and that at same time another member of faculty felt spooked at the other end of the hallway
- Gusts of wind and scattering of papers when windows were closed in a 3rd floor classroom
- When I was in first year, a member of my class and our instructor claimed to have sighted a figure on the same evening within minutes of each other, in McAllister studio
The bottom line is if sit alone in the McAllister studio, I guarantee you will feel watched.
That is what I remember hearing while I attended the theatre school. As I mentioned before the building was originally a pharmacy school. I have heard rumours of a "body shoot" located in the back of the building, because cadavers were used in autopsy studies.
I wanted to add a bit of speculation to this story as well. I am a first year student there this year and lately the "theatre school ghost" story has been making it's appearances all over the campus' papers....and we also received this from a student looking for more information herself and was even involved in her own investigation...
What I've read, learned and heard is that there is also a piano on the third floor, in the hallway between McAllister studio and the attic that has been heard playing by itself and a security guard apparently quit upon hearing this late one night. The costuming room on the first floor used to be a morgue and it is quite evident with the wider doorways (for the gurneys to go through) and the thick doors at the back which lead to the boiler room and, i guess, cold storage (which is a teacher's office now) The Abrams studio and McAllister studio were speculated to be where the pharmacy students autopsied bodies which explains the drains on the floor of the studio and the costuming room as well.
I found myself drawn to the basement, I turned right into a large room (fortunately vacant at the time) and again right. I walked straight to a corner by a door and was immediately overwhelmed by the smell of formaldehyde. The others in the room (about five of us) also smelled it. I surmised that the chemical must have been slopped on the floor by the previous students.
There was a "hot" spot at waist level by this same area.I've only run across cold spots before and found this rather odd. I would appreciate feedback if anyone has ever encountered "hot" rather than cold spots.
We had the boiler room unlocked and proceeded to request a presence in the "cold" spot by the boiler. What resulted was "icy fingers" across the neck of one participant and a cold breeze across my right hand. The smell of formaldehyde was overwhelming.
Upstairs on the third floor, we found ourselves being told by a student that if you stayed alone at night in the MacAllister studio you will hear your name being called.
We walked around and found an attic opening with a sturdy metal ladder leading up. The first two participants went into the attic without incident, the third got stuck halfway up. The feeling was described as a paralyzing and predatory nastiness present. The other two unaware of anything also tried to go up and found it too uncomfortable to continue.
Being a 'skeptical believer', I took two other people there on separate occasions and told them how interesting the attic was and asked them to climb up. Both people stopped at the same spot and described the same horrific feeling while refusing to climb further.
One of the school papers reported that a security guard in the 80's smelled formaldehyde and heard a piano playing without anyone in the building. The next morning she resigned.
Although reports of the haunting have been a "female" entity. I had the distinct impression it was a male. This was confirmed by others present.
Just to fill in a bit of history on the building. It was the first College of Pharmacy in Canada and was built between 1885 and 1887. Several labour disputes slowed down the process. The founder of the College, E.B. Shuttleworth, had participated in the civil war. He was a chemist whose "pharmaceutical" degree and background was surrounded by controversy.Several people thought it was an "honorary" degree. I have found rough floor plans from archive sources and found that where we had gone in the basement was a 'recreation' area, however, there was also a hoist indicated on the drawing, this would have been used to deliver chemicals (source of formaldehyde smell?) and other things to the third floor. This was the 'hot' spot we were standing on. Also, MacAllister studio was the "oral" examination room for the college. It is a fairly safe assumption that cadavers were worked on and carried to the third floor via the hoist. This could also explain the "morgue" rumours on campus.
In January 2007, Chris Laursen led an overnight investigation of the Ryerson Theatre School. The investigators were invited to the school by a Ryerson University student who was writing a paper on paranormal investigation.
The investigators noted that the building had a life of its own in the form of one of the noisiest heating and ventilation systems imaginable. Through the myriad of pipes and vents were regular rattlings, banging, hissing, knocking and so forth. Being in the empty building overnight also brought with it an intriguing atmosphere. These elements together could easily unnerve someone, especially if they were alone in the building. Furthermore, several of the studios, including the noted McAllister Studio, had mirrors on all four walls, creating reflections. It would be possible to see directly or out of the corner of one's eye reflections of movement from other parts of the studios or in the hallway, not to mention your own movement captured by a mirror in another part of the room. This is not to discount what witnesses have reported, but rather to accentuate the unusual setting and potential for optical illusions.
The investigators enjoyed exploring the various rooms and floors of the school. Early in the evening, in the east stairwell, the investigators were ascending the stairs when they stopped dead in their tracks. The sound of a muffled male voice or voices in conversation could be heard. The voice or voices seemed to emanate from upstairs, but it was not clear. It was possible the voices were from outside, and that the sound bounced through the stairwell creating the audible sensation that they originated from upstairs, but the investigators remained uncertain of the source. There were no voices heard otherwise during the course of the evening.
An audio cassette recorder with microphone captured a subtle swishing noise when left to record in the east stairwell. The source of this noise was undetermined. No inexplicable voices were recorded on the tape.
The Ryerson University Theatre School – Investigation: October 26, 2008
On Sunday, October 26, 2008, a three hour investigation of the historic Ryerson Theatre School (originally the Ontario College of Pharmacy, built in 1887) was conducted by an investigator of the Ontario Ghosts & Hauntings Research Society, and three Ryerson students; a journalism student writing an article on paranormal investigations for the school newspaper, and two photography students.
The investigator writes: "I intentionally did not read any reports on the site prior to this investigation to avoid the risk of experiencing anything that could be associated with any preconception theories. I knew nothing of the building whatsoever."
Upon entering the building, we explored the ground floor with a cursory walk through, concluding in a large room at the end of the entrance hallway that is a sewing/costume making room. John was immediately intrigued with the room and described a feeling of sadness that came over him then. This room was, according to unconfirmed historical reports that I found online afterwards, a morgue in the early days of the Pharmaceutical College. We decided that we would make this room our home base for the evening and set up the EVP equipment there which included the use of a parabolic microphone and recording equipment. Once set up, John and I discussed our approach to paranormal investigations with the students and answered their questions on the subject.
We set out to walk through the entire building with a portable tape recorder and camera equipment. We requested access to the boiler room (the door was locked) which is off the sewing room. We asked the security guard that unlocked the door if he had ever experienced anything in the building that he would consider irregular or unusual, to which he said that he had not. The boiler room is representative of what you may imagine in a building of this age: old, discoloured brick walls, concrete floor and dilapidated concrete stairs leading up and out to the rear of the building. Multiple furnaces and water heaters with cobwebs and rattling pipes, and duct work. The temperature in the room was oppressively hot. I did not feel anything in this room that I would consider unusual, out of place, or paranormal.
We made our way through the second floor which is mainly smaller classrooms, and for the purpose of the investigation proved uneventful. The third floor is home to the McAllister Studio, a grand room with high ceilings and ornate cross-beam structures across the ceiling that seemed out of place for a studio rehearsal room. Surely this room served another function originally, and I later learned (again, an unconfirmed online report) that it was an oral examination room where cadavers were worked on. The studio was empty except for an electric piano in one corner. I found myself drawn to that corner and while I cannot precisely pinpoint why, my attention remained there almost entirely. I left the room numerous times to explore other areas of the floor, and each time I returned to the studio, I was drawn back to that area of the room. For some reason I was fixated on that corner. I do not consider myself psychic or even sensitive, and when I described this unusual feeling to John, he too described a similar feeling associated with this corner. Oddly, there are multiple reports posted online about the studio that describe a similar sensation and experience within the studio. I found the correlation to my own experiences curious, especially since I had no knowledge of these in advance of the investigation. Perhaps there is an atmospheric or scientific explanation. More research would need to be conducted to explore this possibility. For now, it is an incident that I experienced and cannot explain.
At 10:15pm John, the journalism student, and I returned to the sewing room on the first floor where we all experienced an event. We checked the recording equipment to see how much tape we had left and to ensure that it was running normally. While we stood there in complete silence, the monitoring needles on the equipment spiked to the maximum levels, something that should only happen if they were picking up significant audible sounds. We looked at each other and remained silent, while the needles continued to spike. There were no other obvious sounds, such as HVAC equipment for instance, in the room that may be immediately attributed to the cause of the spikes. This event remains under review.
Of significant interest, the same parabolic microphone and recording device recorded what sounds like a female voice, when there were no females in the room. At the time the recording was captured, earlier in the investigation, I was alone in the room with the two male photographers. While we carried on a normal conversation, I do not recall hearing a female voice say anything. This unusual and unexpected recording warrants further investigation and is also under review.
I am also adding to this article my findings I find Mike's report to be thorough and well written as well as accurate I have reviewed the audio recordings from the previous night and have found two different anomalous voices in the first recording the only female ( Chelsea) had travelled upstairs and was not in the room at the time the recording occurred just before I played back my own recordings. The phrase that was said was “Jesus Murphy” and again it was repeated directly after only softer and farther away, I have asked Chelsea to confirm whether anything like this was said and I waiting for a reply. I found it odd that anyone would use this phrase as it was more popular around the 1950’s to 60’s.
Then as the Security guard was looking for a light switch in the morgue / boiler room area, you can hear two people talking one is a man then a woman. The first phrase was ( are you working in the night?) and the response from the woman was (Sue me!) . As far as the needles pegging It occurred during the whole second half of my recording The problem is indigenous to a bad capacitor which could cause equipment failure in the form of an underlying white noise. Having said that I found it odd that this had never occurred before and it did not occur on the first half of the recording.
Strangely I had mentioned to Mike the day before that I was halving trouble with my recordings and that something always comes up to ruin them I have been having trouble with this for about a year now and this just furthers my suspicions. (Divine Intervention?) during the white noise problems there were two abnormal things that happened no one was in the room during the time of the recordings However you can hear something clang my microphone and then rub there finger on the rim as something was curious about it this isn’t the first time this has occurred and I mentioned it that night. Unfortunately the white noise makes it difficult to distinguish so it cannot be used as evidence (This may possibly be the first time a "ghost" has used white noise to ruin an investigation rather than help it ) and then also I came back to the sewing room in the dark and asked why it felt so sad I asked if something happened to make it feel this way and immediately the white noise peaked my meters. Unfortunately there is no tangible evidence except for the EVP’S everything else can be attributed to conjecture by myself.