The following report was sent to us in July 2013, however the events described began occurring more than a decade before:
I would like to relate to a series of strange occurrences that took place during my residence at a house on Scarboro Ave. in Scarborough, beginning in January of 2000. I should mention that some (but not all) of these experiences have already been shared with your organization by me while they were occurring, as I contacted your organization via email fairly early during the episode to seek your advice on dealing with the phenomenon. Your help was most appreciated. If you should choose to post this submission, please feel free to edit it at your discretion for the sake of brevity; I will try not to be too long-winded.
My wife (at the time) and I moved in to the house in January of 2000. The residence is a large, early 1950's era bungalow on a very large lot by today's suburban standards, three bedrooms plus two more in the finished basement with a large recreation room. The house was spacious and well lit with several large windows. Overall, it had a very bright, pleasant feel to it.
When we first went to look at the house, the tenants seemed, in retrospect, to be in a bit of a hurry to move out, so much so that they agreed with the landlords to show the house to all prospective tenants. I am not exactly sure, but I believe they may have wanted to leave before their lease expired. They said they had bought a new house of their own, and I have no reason to disbelieve them.
We fell in love with the place immediately and moved in shortly thereafter.
I had recently experienced the joys of corporate downsizing and was using my ample free time (and severance package) to search for career opportunities online. Three days after moving in, I was on the computer in the rec room in the basement. I was alone in the house, my wife was at work, our 3-year old daughter was at daycare and my step-son at school. We had a young student / babysitter boarding with us, he was also at school. (For privacy's sake, we'll call him Bill). As I was surfing the internet, I heard the front door open with an odd sort of clattering sound, then close loudly, and the sound of heavy boots walking across the floor in the direction of Bill's room. The footsteps carried on right over my head, as Bill's room was directly above rec room. I called up to him, but there was no answer. I suddenly realized that he must not have taken his winter boots off before walking to his room. Odd. I called up to him again, still no answer. After a while, I went upstairs and found no trace of Bill; his room was locked, as was the front door. I got a strange feeling, an odd sort of sense that something unnatural had occurred, but, in the absence of any tangible explanation for it, I shrugged it off. I went back downstairs to the computer.
It was shortly after that when I was struck by the realization that the odd feeling I'd had stemmed from the fact that the path the heavy footsteps had taken were in a diagonal line across the floor! The footsteps did not travel down the hall to Bill's bedroom, indeed, they would have had to walk through two solid walls!
Again, odd. Stranger still, Bill told me later that he had been at school all day.
I decided to keep the incident to myself. For now. A few days later, however, something even stranger happened. Again, I was alone in the house, on the computer, again, I heard the same strange rattle as the front door opened and slammed shut. I froze, and listened intently. The heavy boots were back, but this time, they were accompanied by the sound of something heavy, like a trunk or a crate being dragged across the floor. Again, in the same diagonal direction. This time, I ran as fast as I could up the stairs. I found...you guessed it. Nothing. "Why did the door make that clattering sound?", I thought to myself. Like an old-style wooden farmhouse door, with a latch instead of a doorknob. Our front door was a secure, metal door that made very little noise at all.
My wife had had several previous experiences that she considers paranormal; I considered myself an open-minded skeptic. I had in the past experienced some strange occurrences, but I considered them unexplained, not supernatural. For this reason, I decided to keep these two incidents to myself, as I saw no reason to alarm anyone. However, the strangeness continued. A few nights later, our boarder, a smoker, apparently left his bedroom window open when he went out for the evening. His door was locked, with a privacy deadbolt for which only he had a key, and the freezing cold January wind was blowing in under his door. I had to put a towel on the floor at the bottom of the door to stop the ice-cold draft. When he returned later, I began to lecture him before he got to his room about a) smoking in the house, and b) leaving his window open. He denied both, and proved his innocence when he unlocked his room and showed me his window, closed and latched.
Where the hell was that ice-cold draft coming from? True, it had been an extremely cold night, but the window was closed and locked.
It was time to sit down and talk. I asked my wife if she had noticed anything strange about the house since we moved in. Oh yes, she had indeed, and she had kept silent about it for the same reasons as I'd had. Strange noises that she couldn't explain, but found unsettling nevertheless.
Things were getting weird on Scarboro Avenue. Over the course of the next few months and years, they were going to get weirder. Much weirder.
I must point out that I genuinely did not want to believe that our house was haunted, but I could find no rational explanation for what was happening. Months went by, things were pretty normal for a while, other than a few incidents of small items going missing, then turning up in some ridiculous spot where we would never have placed them (my car keys, for example, lost then turning up on top of the fridge months later, perhaps attributable to having children in the home). Our boarder moved on, and my wife and I took over his former bedroom. Her son had one of the basement rooms, across the hall from the laundry room. I had noticed early on that there was a spot in the downstairs hallway right between these two rooms that was always uncomfortably cold and damp, no matter what time of year. There was no outside wall adjacent to it, no air vent or cold air return, nothing to account for this spot which we cleverly named, The Cold Spot. I found out later that cold spots are often part of a classic haunting situation. (The Cold Spot would figure prominently later, in the two most unsettling incidents I experienced in the house.)
One day i was walking through the upstairs hallway when I noticed the unmistakable smell of vomit. As we all know, nothing smells like vomit, but I could find no sign of it anywhere in the hall. I went to my daughter and asked her if she had been sick. She said no, she felt fine. My wife and went back to the hall, but we could find no cause for the horrible smell. Nothing. Then, a few minutes later, the stench disappeared. Vomit does not clean itself up.
Hopefully, I have not bored you to death yet. Read on, it gets better. Or worse, I suppose it's a matter of perspective.
I decided to contact your organization to see if I could get some professional insight on the matter. I spoke via email with a very helpful and informative woman (forgive me for forgetting her name) at TGHS who agreed that we appeared to be having some experiences consistent with paranormal activity and suggested I try speaking with the entity, or entities. I decided to try to get an EVP recording. My wife and I set up a cassette recorder (please remember, this was a while back), and both of us introduced ourselves and asked the spirit(s) if they would like to speak to us. We asked them who they were, where they came from, what they wanted, and several other commonplace questions. We used a brand new 90-minute tape fresh out of the wrapper, and left the machine running in the basement and left the house empty. When we listened to the tape, it was silent except for an odd moaning sound about halfway through the tape. Possibly tape noise.
Later that summer I paid a visit to the Ontario Archives in downtown Toronto. I searched the microfiche files available for the area around Scarboro Avenue and found that, as I expected, the area (originally called Ellesmere), had been the site of several large farms dating back to Pioneer days. I was unable to find the names of the people living near where our house now stood, but there were very few houses in the area at the time, and one of them was located very close indeed to the spot on which our house was now located.
A while after that, I had the first of three visual encounters I experienced at Scarboro Ave. I was standing in the Cold Spot in the downstairs hallway, outside the laundry room, while my wife was shouting down the stairs to me from the kitchen about something or other. The basement blinds were closed, but it was a bright summer day, so the basement could be considered to be semi-lit. As I looked down the hall, I suddenly saw a figure, roughly human-shaped, head, shoulders and body outline, nothing more, standing (if you can call it that) at the foot of the stairs. It seemed to be defined by the kind of effect a fire makes in the daytime, the way the light is distorted and rippled by the heat. I could see right through it, but I could clearly see the outline of its shape, but it had no facial features whatsoever. For about ten seconds I was transfixed by this thing, completely ignoring what my wife was saying. I began to experience a sense of humanity about the apparition, definitely male, along with a sense of curiosity, not menace. But nevertheless I was deeply disturbed when it began to move towards me, not in a walking motion, more like it was on rails. Smooth, steady, and with a palpable sense of purpose. Five or six feet away from me, thank God, it dissipated. Unfortunately, it would be back.
I told my wife about it, as well as describing the feeling I had gotten about the entity's lack of clearly menacing intent. She mentioned (as she had before) that none of her experiences had particularly frightened her, either. My next encounter with the figure would be the first time I could say I was actually scared at Scarboro Ave. I get goosebumps when I tell this part of the story. I have goosebumps right now.
The very next weekend, Saturday afternoon, I was doing laundry when I noticed my daughter's cat slowly retreating from the bedroom across the hall, with its fur standing on end, puffed up to the size of a football. I stepped out of the laundry room, into the Cold Spot. I foolishly asked the cat what the hell was wrong with her, then I looked down the hall in the same direction she was now facing, towards the foot of the stairway.
He (it?) was back. In exactly the same spot as the first time I'd seen him (for it was indeed a "him", I'm certain of it). Again, the same feeling of being in the presence of a sentient being, much older than me, but this time, accompanied by a sense of growing frustration, but thankfully again no real sense malicious intent. Suddenly I realized that this was probably "playback"; I'd had a bad experience a few short days ago in this very spot under identical circumstances. But what about the cat? What could have affected her to that degree? Still, I looked at the figure, blinked a few times, sure that my imagination was playing games with me. No such luck.
This is the part of the story where, I'm sure, some people doubt my sanity. Or at best, some believe I have a remarkably good imagination for a fifty-two year old man. I can assure you, I believe 100% in what happened next.
Once again the figure began to advance toward me. Make no mistake, I was absolutely horrified. The cat had gone, evacuated. The figure wasn't stopping this time. It kept coming. It went right through me.
I can't begin to describe the sensation. It's definitely not something I ever want to experience again. Thank God I haven't had to.
There were other, less disturbing incidents still to come, another visual encounter, this time with a figure of a very elderly woman. Strange tracks in the snow in the back yard, starting nowhere, and ending nowhere. But I'll stop here. Based on personal experience, in my opinion, number _ _ Scarboro Avenue is haunted. Not necessarily by anything evil, but haunted just the same.
There have indeed been times when I've tried to convince myself that it wasn't real, that none of it was real. But I can't. Too many other things were happening, and definitely not just to me.
We moved out of the house in early 2006, for reasons other than the strange occurrences in the house. I can't speak for my (now ex-) wife, but I personally have had no paranormal experiences whatsoever since. There are times when I wish I could, but I keep to the wise counsel that says, "Be careful what you wish for." But the experience has left me with a gift: A deep interest in the paranormal, and a belief in, well, ghosts, if you will, that seems at odds with my otherwise scientific view of life and what comes after.
Thanks for your patience, if you did in fact manage to make it all the way through my story.