In the late 1980s I moved with my family to Ajax Ontario. We lived in the area just north of the 401 & Harwood Avenue in a two story townhouse on Cedar Street. The townhouse had three bedrooms, and my younger sister who was then in college moved in with us. At the time I was married to my ex, and my kids were all very small.
The first 6 months in the townhouse were uneventful until one day my sister, and a family friend were getting ready to attend a funeral for an elderly lady who was the grandmother of another close friend. I came up the stairs and immediately was overwhelmed with the smell of roses. I asked my sister, and her friend if they had broken a perfume bottle or had gone spray happy? They answered no, and both were as puzzled as I as to where the smell was coming from. It seemed to be heavily concentrated in my sister's bedroom. After a few minutes the intensity of the smell started to dissipate, and soon was forgotten.....until a few days later.
This time I was in the living room area of the house when the air began to fill with the smell of roses. Again it was very strong and this time I decided I was going to find out what was causing it. I asked both sets of neighbours that our unit was attached to if they used rose scented perfume or possibly fabric softener (figuring the smell could be coming in the window from a dryer vent) and both answered in the negative. They also both said they had not experienced anything similar. I then looked around outside for a possible source. The only rosebush I could find at the time was by a church (I later found out it was originally a dance hall in the war days) but even I had to admit that this was quite a stretch, and in fact impossible.
The smell of roses continued to plague us. Many people witnessed it from family to friends, to the kids friends. It would happen at anytime of day in all of the rooms. Sometimes it was so bad I would open the doors and windows....even in winter!!!!
Other things began to happen. Little things at first. Items would go missing, keys, jewelry, little things, only to reappear where the kids had no access, and where the other adults swore they never put them. I soon realized that these were places that I knew I had already checked. Some days I still felt like I was losing my mind.
One day my mother who was babysitting nearly had a heart attack (her words) when she heard my oldest child screaming her head off. My Mom (already an older lady at the time) ran up the stairs to where the terror filled screams were coming from. My oldest was pointing to a large mirror that we had and staring as if transfixed. Her screams subsided as soon as she saw her grandmother, but I was told she was sobbing about the lady who she saw in the mirror. The lady had a cut on her head, and she was bleeding. My mother saw no one. To say she was unnerved would be putting it mildly.
Soon afterwards my two older children complained of feeling as if they were being watched especially in the upstairs area. My ex, my sister, and I all tried to rationalize their fears away, and make them feel better, but I too felt as if someone were always watching.
A few times I thought I heard a woman singing.....when no one else was home nor was there any rational way I could explain it away.
One day as I washed the dinner dishes, and watched the older kids playing outside through the kitchen window the smell of roses started up again. Very strong and very close. I was alone yet I could feel someone standing behind me. I felt as if I could put my arm back I would touch a solid person. And I started to cry. Out loud I said the words (and I'm not even sure why) "please stop you are scaring me." And it was as if everything shifted. The entire atmosphere of the room changed. The sensation of someone standing behind me was gone, and the very heavy smell of roses started to dissipate.
This was the first time I acknowledged to my self that I encountered a ghost. To this day I believe it was trying to make contact, and had I turned I would have seen it.
After this incident things quieted down for about a year. My sister moved out, and my youngest was moved into her room. It was at this point that she started talking about the lady on the ceiling or would wave to the lady who would be either walking up or down the stairs. We never saw this lady.....but the rose smell became a problem again, and so did things going missing.
When my favourite ring (a present from my sister) disappeared from the kitchen counter (I had been preparing burgers, and took my rings off just minutes before) I yelled out to "give it back." I searched everywhere, and never found it. The creepy thing was that it was a pinky ring, and I had put it inside a larger ring....yet poof!
I decided to investigate a bit. I was convinced I was going to find out we lived in some murder house etc. This is what I found out. The people who had lived in the unit before us were there for 10 years (so I assume were not too troubled if they even were) and then I found the original tenants! They were alive, and well living in an Ajax senior citizen residence. I hit a dead end.
Just before we moved my ex and I were already having some serious problems and he usually slept on the couch in the downstairs living room area. One morning I came down the stairs to find him white as a sheet smoking a cigarette. He said he had been woken up by some calling his name, telling him to get up, and was shaking him rather violently on the shoulder. The voice was female so he thought it was me. When he got up he was shocked to see he was alone. He told me he could feel the fingers on his shoulder. It was the shaking that initially woke him up. When he checked upstairs and saw that the kids and I were all fast asleep he got very freaked out. He never believed in ghosts nor haunting before this incident despite everything that had gone on before. He always had a good excuse for what was going on until that night..........
Before closing off I do want to say other then our nerves none of us were ever harmed by this lady. That is why we stayed for nine years. Most of the time nothing was happening. I am still peeved about the ring that I never found. And I often wonder who she was, and what was her story. I'll probably never know.
Update November 2008
One of our readers writes:I lived at the townhouses on Cedar St. from the mid 1980's to the mid 1990's I am not a huge believer in ghosts, but something was not right. I woke up one night to the sound of the chiming of a grandfather clock. We didn't have one, also no one else could hear it, but me. It was very strange and loud. My sister woke up several times screaming claiming to see or hear dogs barking. Once I saw a woman walk up the stairs in the house, go to turn on the washroom light and she disappeared. She was wearing a green robe. Those houses freak me out."