|On Sunday December 20th, 1998, I was at Newstalk 610 CKTB radio station in St. Catharines participating in a live broadcast of the a now canceled radio program on the paranormal, a talk radio show focusing on the paranormal, I was in the studio with the radio program host of a show on CKTB, the show's host, and we were on the air taking calls from the public preparing for a phone interview with a hauntings organization. the radio program host had just finished telling a little about the ghosts that haunt the studio building when we heard a voice. I heard two syllables of a man's voice through my earphones. I assumed that something had gone wrong, and I was hearing the producer's voice from the other studio. As it turns out, it was not the producer, although he heard a voice in the studio as well. Additionally, the FM broadcaster in a third separate studio also heard a voice. Despite the fact that the radio program host and I both distinctly heard the voice through our earphones, the voice was not broadcast on the air. I could only discern that it was a male voice, but the radio program host is positive that the two words were "Bite me". Strangely, the witnesses in the other studios heard a woman's voice expressing the criticism of the show's host.
This was Matthew's first interview on the relatively young GHRS's behalf and was very excited that his first "experience" included the words "Bite Me". He was on the phone (on hold) and therefore monitoring the broadcast with a friend also monitoring and did not hear the phenomena... This lack of "experience" would be relatively short lived.
One of the radio program host's producers, Jennifer, when told of the station's reputation, said "I believe in ghosts. I'd just really like to see one."
As if opening a long sealed door, it started. First, she indeed saw a part of the figure of a man standing near one of the studio's doors who vanished while she watched. Next was a long series of mechanical and equipment problems.
Finally, Matthew's interview happened. On that Sunday night, the phones went haywire dropping all calls and also the phone lights acted oddly.
Also, an odd occurrence, over the air (and through the direct monitor on the telephones,) sounds were heard. First was a man laughing, then a bell and finally a "breathy" woman sighing and trying to speak. All these sounds were heard EVERYWHERE except the studio and this included the direct monitor on the phone. These sounds were recorded and will be available on this site shortly.
Another event was that on Sundays, there is a "web-cam" on the show. The web-cam picked up an odd mist hovering directly in front of the radio program host during the show. The technicians worked the lights and the camera to check if the anomaly was a "bug" but it did not dissipate no matter what was tried.
The radio program host wanted a full-scale investigation and a "seance" to see what was really going on. Matthew immediately contacted one of our staff members, the director of another paranormal group and rounded up a small crew of five extra souls (Frank, Melanie, David, Toni and Derek) and we set off for Merritt House. Armed with cameras, tape recorders and paper and pen, we ventured to St. Catharines for the investigation.
We were going to research the house at local libraries once we arrived but the libraries were closed so in we went, blind and open to just about anything. For Matthew, when he first found out about the home, he immediately realized one very odd thing. Not knowing it's history, he was now in the home of a man who he had actually admired to the point of telling his an ex-flame he wanted to name his first son after. It was then that we started our experiences...
| WAVE File of Answering
machine taped in emtpy
After all was said and done, we also had reports from Toni and Dave that there may have been cases of doors in the attic opening and closing without human intervention during the night. Pictured to the left is the stairway leading to the attic.
A paranormal investigator (not related to the GHRS) of another paranormal team had told Matthew about severe poltergeist activity including watching cables moving around and loud, strange noises. Other than the possible door issues, we never determined anything.
Of note, a maidservant in the home once took a header down the stairs pictured and died so it could very well be her causing the phenomena.
Not mentioned also are the experiences of those in the studio during the "contacting" of the spirits. This night too had odd voices (a woman's breathy voice again,) broadcast out over the airwaves and the mist made a return. one of our staff members and Matthew both saw the real-time web-cam image of a mist that looked like "custard in zero gravity" according to Matthew, hovering directly over the table that the radio program host, Dorothy, Pat (a trance medium) and David LeFort (another psychic) were sitting at.
Pat, Dorothy and David LeFort contacted Mrs. Merritt who complained of her husband's temper, a "Jeb" or "Jed" (could it be Jededhiah Pendergast Merritt?) who passed, he said, after drinking bad moonshine and a girl who'd attached herself to Jennifer, the new producer.
On August 22nd, 1999, One month to the day from this first visit, we returned to "Oak Hill" or Merritt House and now here's a brief bit on our findings...
We arrived early on Sunday. The crew consisted of one of our staff members Tamara Zyganiuk, Ingrid, Rick, Derek, Melissa, Frank, Another Derek and myself.
This time, we would document doors that were open or closed as well as if lights were on or off as well as take LOT'S of pictures, video and tape recordings.
We noted right away that this night seemed (I guess the word "felt" would be better here) MUCH quieter than the previous investigation (which was not necessarily a bad thing,) and away we went.
I guess for now, until we finalize ALL our notes, I will give you what we already have documented and had happen...
Tamara Zyganiuk and Matthew were the first "victims" if you will... They were outside commenting on how quiet the evening had been and Tamara suggested "riling up" the ghosts as we did the first time... Matthew and her walked towards the mini studio and all of a sudden heard a THUD! They casually looked back and noticed a four-foot piece of wood had landed on the floor behind them. One of the studio engineers came running forward due to the noise and asked, "Who did this?"
Matthew and Tamara giggled slightly and shrugged... The engineer then replaced the wood and said "Y'know, this HAS happened this before."
The effort was minimal and the wood not-so-big. one of our staff members said it best when she said the thought going through her mind was "Is that the BEST you can do?"
Of note, later on in the evening, Matthew was warned to be careful by one of the Psychics from the seance that William Merritt really did not like him and could/would hurt him. The warning was semi-heeded but not taken too seriously... Had Mr. Merritt wished to do harm, he had had ample opportunity and so far had been kind.
Next event was up at the "Crying Baby Room" or CKTB's boardroom. Matthew was about to enter the room when once again, he felt the same presence he had noted from last visit at the top of the stairs. He could not see anything but felt the "charge" of the room.
Not wanting to "miss the opportunity", he called on one of our staff members and asked her to enter the room without giving her details on what to expect. As a matter of fact, he slightly mislead her by saying "See if anything's changed in there or if it's my imagination."
Tamara managed to just BARELY cross the threshold, stopped, noted the same feeling then got a small static like shock on her ear. Both Matthew and Tamara backed out of the room.
Again, to ensure a "good documentation", Matthew called up to the Derek who had not experienced anything the first time during the investigation and one of our staff members and Matthew sent Derek into the room to check it out again without prompting him to look for anything in particular.
Derek made it just past the threshold of the room, stopped dead, turned and looked very perturbed. He then slowly and methodically backed out of the room (much to the amusement of one of our staff members and Matthew).
Derek, who the first investigation at Merritt House, had managed to not feel or experience anything apparently ventured further into the room than one of our staff members and Matthew did and for his trouble had the same "panic attack/thump in the chest/winded" feeling that Toni, David, Allan, a now cancelled radio program on the paranormal's Webmaster, one of our staff members and Matthew had had the last investigation.
In an e-mail after reading this section, Derek wrote to Matthew...I'd like to emphasize how strong of a "punch" I felt in the boardroom.. I had indeed felt "spooky feelings" at the top of the stairs and some other places, but nothing near as strong as the boardroom one. I say this because you mention my experience as being the same as some other top-of-the-stairs incidents, but the people feeling those seemed a bit happy-go-lucky in relation to what I experienced. Maybe you guys are just more used to it. :)
The next instance of phenomena was experienced by Rick and a couple from Toronto that had visited the studio to watch the seance.
They were at the bottom of the stairs when all of a sudden; a very clear, very real child's voice said "Mamma! Mamma!"
Poor Rick, who also had not experienced a "ghost" before slowly made a move towards the staircase to see the couple. All three were almost slightly paralyzed. "Did you hear that?" was the first words uttered.
All three were standing at the foot of the stairs and had noticed a discernible chill in the air. Matthew, one of our staff members, Dorothy and the radio program host had moved into the lobby where the three were standing. Matthew put himself in the centre of the cold spot that had developed and goosebumps did break out.
Note: Upon leaving, Rick said he was going home to a BIG shot of gin before bed.
The last instance happened well after the show. Everyone had left the building but the investigative team was sitting outside discussing future investigations and how to share information once we have plowed through the tapes.
Matthew seemed to have misplaced one of our staff members's keys and they managed to attract one of the two engineers left in the studio. They let the duo in and one of our staff members and Matthew quickly made their way through the darkened corridors in search of the keys.
Nothing (other than the creepy feeling of being in a known haunted site and alone on the upper floors of the building,) happened until directly at the front doors of CKTB, one of our staff members backed up to look across the desk in the lobby and let out a muffled shriek.
Matthew heard this and only was able to ask, "What? WHAT!?!"
one of our staff members described the feeling as touching a "live electrical wire". A sudden shock. She asked Matthew to assume the same space as she had just been occupying but he felt nothing. Still, in Matthew's own words, he knows one of our staff members well enough to know that she had quite a scare.
Matthew later on in the week sent one of our staff members a "joke e-mail" of one liners... one of them said "What if you got scared half to death twice?"
one of our staff members replied that the joke might give the Merritt house ideas as it was already halfway there.
Of Note: On one of our last visits in the year 2000, we met a young woman who said she was an amateur historian and professional actress... Sadly, her name is lost in our notes... She had with her a book on William Hamilton Merritt and his family and noted to us that both he and Mrs. Merritt both were subjected to a medical treatment at the end of their lives which (being the mid 1800's,) was considered a "cure all" for any ailment and not exclusively to psychological problems, electric shocks. Please remember, electricity was a "new" thing back then and some physicians reckoned that since electricity had an effect on the human body, it MUST be doing something good so they would electro shock almost anyone who even complained of heart burn. Could this be an "explanation" for one of our staff members's "shocking" experiences in the lobby and the boardroom?
This time, we went through hours of tape and dozens of photos but this time the yield was nothing.
Below is some extra information about Merritt and reported events from listeners to the a now cancelled radio program on the paranormal radio show while we were on... The links open in new windows so you can easily return to continue reading about our investigations...
William Hamilton Merritt was born in 1793, and died in Cornwall Ontario in 1862. During his life he was credited with several things, he was a successful merchant in the St. Catharines, Welland area. His father bought up most of the area, and owned a good deal of St. Catharines proper, which William inherited. Later he branched into mill management.
His most famous accomplishment in Canadian history was his promotion of the Welland canal. He supported such expansion in Canada passionately.
In his later life he became politically active, serving as a member of local government. He was known to have an allegiance with Tory and moderate Reform (this means he was not really a political radical for his time, he kept within popular belief) His chief concern in all his actions seem to be to benefit his family business.
Here's the interesting part: He was active in the Church of England, and the Grantham Academy (1829) I don't know a lot about this need more info, it may be relevant.
He was a member of Refugee Slaves Friends Society and helped escaped slaves in the 1840s and 50s. This leads me to believe that he was active in the Underground Railroad. However, it will take a little more time to find some supporting evidence of this theory.
I have help from the staff at the Underground Railroad museum looking into this for me.
As with the last few times, (and as you've seen in our earlier pages on the subject,) the GHRS and another paranormal group have been on the a now canceled radio program on the paranormal, odd noises and strange sounds are either monitored or broadcast out. This last night was no exception..
Here are some snippets of e-mails we received about this phenomena... Also included are some of the notes as to the mysteries of Merritt's house...
From GHRS Research Lynda Quirino
"Enchantra" from the alt.folklore.ghost.stories newsgroup...
Reminder from one of our staff members from another paranormal group...
We had opportunities to look around Merritt House two more times in the year 2000 but almost nothing happened. It had been theorized that perhaps the seances that were used to usher the spirits "into the light" might just be working. I wondered if maybe, because the first two "busy" investigations had happened in the summer and it was now fall, was the phenomena environmental in nature?
It should be also pointed out that the radio program host restricted our movements these two times and we were unable to venture into some of the areas we were at one time allowed to go. This was because of building/station management and we did obey the restrictions.
Still, reports had dwindled down, when we asked the staff, they all said that it had become much more quiet and even the anomalous technical glitches were becoming fewer and more far between.
Of course, this didn't last too long. A least for us...
In January of 2001, the radio program host contacted us again to look around Merritt House and we enlisted the help of a serious group of investigators who have done an outstanding, and unequaled job with Ghost Road in Port Perry and off we went hearing that "business was picking up" from a psychic who was on the radio show and knowing that there had just been some modifications to the home to allow a third station to broadcast from there. (For some reason, renovations seem to bring out the phenomena...)
We arrived and thankfully, the only place we were told to avoid was the attic. Even this restriction was raised by one of the engineers who said we could have a look around as long as we were extremely careful.
There wasn't much to report (except for Sue Darroch reporting stronger than normal vertigo on the stairs and a mysterious light that Matthew saw that ended up being a small, white tag blowing around in the fan of a piece of equipment and casting a weird shadow,) until about 11:30pm... That's when, for us, business picked up... again.
During the evening, we did find that one of the "usually" locked offices in one of the original parts of the home was unlocked and being a bit nosey, we decided to poke our heads in to have a quick look around. Like the mini-studio, we found a high-back office chair jammed hard against the door making it difficult to open. There are two doors in to this office so it is possible someone placed the chair there and then exited through the other door but it seems odd that the person would walk across the house to exit from this other door which had a dead-bolt lock firmly in place.
Some of our group decided to monitor the "chair/door" possibilities and left the room with the chair back at it's desk(?) and closed the door. Fearing that the door would lock behind them, one of the crew checked to ensure that the door would open without problem. The door did indeed open and the small band left the area. On returning and with the knowledge that indeed no one had gone into the offices, they checked the door and this time, it had been securely locked. The office was now completely inaccessible.
First, Sue Darroch was standing on the top of the stairwell when suddenly she heard a distinct voice whisper "Yesssss!" into her ear. Thinking it was one of her team, she turned to respond to find she was quite alone.
Next, there was a subtle but busy "light show" (balls and rude shapes of light,) seem by a couple of people in the board room towards midnight.
After this (around midnight,) we were requested to leave post haste by the radio program host who wanted to clear the station for some engineers who wished to do some work.
We parted ways and went to review our video/audio tapes and our photos.
Here in lies the next odd phenomena from Merritt House and yes, it will be online for you...
A week after this last visit, the entire crew of the last investigation gathered to view videotapes taken during the last trip and hear an unusual audio recording...
The videotape showed, in the attic during our brief visit up there, several very bright fast moving balls of light. These lights almost seemed to be moving away from the lens of the video camera and moved very rapidly. There are many natural possibilities to this phenomena but even Matthew, being a blatant skeptic about "orb" and "ball light" phenomena was impressed by these lights.
The oddest thing was again, an audio recording taken in the boardroom (crying baby room,) when we were just taking the fifty-cent tour at the beginning of our investigation.
The tape recorder was placed and turned on to record with a fresh tape near the centre of the board table and after a short time, the group left the boardroom to congregate outside near the top of the stairwell. The videotape that was taken is testament to the fact that everyone was outside the boardroom and both the video audio and the recording match perfectly except for a small excerpt...
While Matthew was discussing the attic and finding Louis Merritt's calling card up there, a voice only on the audio tape can be (again,) clearly heard (without filters,) saying quietly "Shut up, Matthew." then a second later, a little louder "Shut Up!".
Matthew can attest that this was NOT spoken to him during the congregation outside the board room and none of the other investigators will admit to having said it (not to mention it would have been very difficult to do since we were all outside the room and the recording seems to have been made by someone close to the machine,) so the sound remains anomalous. Due to the sheer volume of witnesses, and video tape proving that the recording device was not tampered with it is the most superior EVP to come out of this location to date.
Later on, the tape also has some odd sound that is definitely a "human" voice that might either by described as doing eight prolonged moans or almost "singing" and holding a tone. Each "moan" lasts a number of seconds but we are not sure if there indeed was no one (staff or investigator,) in or around the room when this sound was recorded.
We're not sure when we will be back in to do another investigation of this very "lively" building but we will keep this page up to date.