Mackenzie House, Toronto, Ontario

William Lyon Mackenzie was elected Toronto’s first mayor in 1834, after the Toronto City Council was established – a role he held for just under a year. Mackenzie moved into the Bond Street home in 1859; after a failed rebellion in 1837 to overthrow British rule, Mackenzie was forced into exile in the US, where he lived until 1850. When he returned to Canada, he had no money or belongings to his name; in 1859, his friends and supporters came together to purchase Mackenzie House for William and his family. Mackenzie lived there until his death in 1861. His wife and daughters lived in the house for a further 10 years.

The ghost stories started back in the 1940s, when the house was being renovated to become a museum. Hearing footsteps creaking on the stairs, playing of the piano, and spirits standing over those who were sleeping are just a few of the tales. Although he was buried at Toronto Necropolis, many believe Mackenzie’s spirit returns to the house.

Bruce Beaton, a historical interpreter at Mackenzie House, adds that Mackenzie was also a journalist who owned and operated a newspaper called Colonial Advocate, and that the printing press has been known to start up by itself at night. He adds that in 1960, an Archdeacon was brought in to perform a blessing on the home in the hope of calming some of the restless energy. Beaton says the house was donated to the City of Toronto in 1960, and part of the bequest included a full inventory of everything in the house. At the bottom of the list were the words, “One ghost.”

Mackenzie House is open Tuesdays through Fridays between noon and 4pm, and noon to 5pm on weekends. To arrange a tour of this historic building, contact the Scotland Shop for available dates and times.

Have you visited the Mackenzie House? Did you have any unusual experiences while you were there? If so, drop us a line in the comments.

Case #018: Private Residence

Date: Sept. 9, 2017

Location: Private Residence

Investigators: Noelle, Shae, Holly

Claims: Items falling off furniture, pictures falling off walls, a fan in the living room goes on by itself, elevator goes to the wrong floor, tall male shadow figure, dog exhibiting unexplained tracking and other behaviors

Noted contaminants:  High EMF due to east-west power and phone lines junctioned by a north-south-running power line, all within 50 feet of the south-facing balcony; noise due to neighbours [thin walls and ceilings] and outside traffic [location is near a busy street].

Background

Mount Royal, in Calgary’s central southwest, has two neighbourhoods: Upper Mount Royal and Lower Mount Royal. The two neighbourhoods are divided by an escarpment that runs east to west along Cameron and Royal Avenues. In the early 1900’s, the Canadian Pacific Railroad promoted the area as exclusive neighborhoods for the city’s affluent citizens; when Americans began emigrating to and settling in the city, the area became known as “American Hill.” Later, the area was formally named “Mount Royal”, after a Montreal community which was home to CPR president William E. Van Horne.

The area developed rapidly between 1904 and 1914. Lower Mount Royal was annexed to the city in 1907, and was a part of the CPR’s subdivision of Mount Royal in 1909. Most of the homes in the area were built between 1910 and 1912.  Mount Royal was home to elite families such as Colonel James Macleod and the A.E. Cross family. Unlike the Mount Royal district, however, Lower Mount Royal was subdivided into fifty foot lots; wood and stucco were the predominant building materials as compared to the brick and sandstone in Mount Royal.

The building in which the client resides was built in 1981.  The client’s condo unit underwent several structural and cosmetic renovations before they moved in.

Investigation Tools

Due to malfunctioning EMF detectors, the only equipment used in the investigation were voice recorders, video and still cameras, and – as an experimental tool only – a “white noise” app on Shae’s cell phone that also functions like an Ovilus or a ghost box. Noelle and Holly used features on their cell phones that turned the phones into levels, so that measurements could be taken on the floors and around the doorways. Just as prolonged exposure to high levels of EMF has been proven to have effects ranging from headaches to hallucinations, it has also been proven that floors, doorways, and stairs just two milimeters out of square or off level can create sensations such as uneasiness, feeling disoriented, dizziness, and other similar effects.

The Investigation

Shae, Noelle, and Holly arrived at the location just after 7pm.  The client had a friend over, and, at our request, they went outside to the balcony, where they would remain for the duration of the investigation. All open windows were closed to minimize outside noise contamination. As requested during the preliminary meeting, the dog was not present. While Noelle and Holly began setting up their video cameras and placing the voice recorders, Shae had the white-noise app on his phone warming up.

The team began the investigation in the living room. Using one of the dog’s small toy balls, Noelle invited whatever entities may be present to indicate their presence by moving the ball. Holly’s camera was placed on a tripod and set to “video” to record the session.  While the ball did not move at all, the app on Shae’s phone began to repeat the following words and common names:

humus     spiritus     aqua     David     James     Mary     Elizabeth     Joseph

Several questions were then asked, all of which resulted in a “yes” or “no” response from the app. A few minutes into the team’s questioning, Holly’s camera began to act strangely. It appeared to be “tracking” Shae, despite there being no face-tracking feature. The camera itself remained stationary on the tripod, but the field of view continued to act as though it was tracking Shae.  Having some experience with digital cameras, Noelle was called over to observe this unusual behavior. She witnessed the tracking behavior and could not find an explanation for it.

When Shae, Noelle, and Holly decided to move from the living room to the main hall and the bedrooms, the strange tracking behavior immediately stopped, and did not recur for the remainder of the investigation.

One of the claims made by the client was a feeling of unease around the laundry room and a strong resistance to going into it. Noelle and Holly turned on the “level” feature on their phones, and the entire area was checked for off-level areas.  The washer and dryer, the shelves above those appliances, and the ceiling were also checked for level. They found the appliances, shelves, and flooring were all off level by at least one degree. In some areas, level was off by two degrees.

The laundry room also contains the electrical panel. Due to the age of both the building and the electrical boxes, the team determined that the feelings of uneasiness experienced by the client were likely due to high EMF. The laundry room is very small – we guess it to be approximately 8 feet by 8 feet – and the combination of the appliances, as well as the electrical panel and the off-level flooring, ceiling, and shelves, are contributing to this sense of uneasiness.

Because the app on Shae’s phone continued to repeat the common names mentioned above, Holly went to the client to ask if any of those names were familiar. The client stated that James, Mary, and Joseph were deceased family members.

While the team prepared to investigate the spare bedroom, they heard what sounded like dishes being moved in the kitchen sink.  They checked the items in the sink but found nothing out of place. They could not explain the sound; they could only state that it was definitely not coming from outside.

Noelle experienced a couple of cold spots in the spare bedroom, but neither Shae nor Holly had that experience. In the master bedroom, based on direction from the app on Shae’s phone, a necklace was located that the client later stated came from Brazil. The words coming from the app were “gemstone” and “necklace”.

The final area of investigation was the elevator. The client stated that the elevator has a tendency to go to floors other than the one requested. The client also stated that none of the other residents seem to experience this. So, the team asked the client to join them.  The elevator was tested repeatedly, both with and without the client present. The elevator did not malfunction at any time or go to a floor that was not requested.

Conclusion

While we did have some interesting experiences that we are currently unable to explain, we cannot say conclusively that this location is haunted. The building is older; structural changes and general settling may be causing many of the sights and sounds being reported. We must also take into account the uneven flooring throughout the entire unit and the number of power lines and junctions so close to the home.

Having said this, we still do not have an explanation for the malfunctioning camera, the sound of the dishes being moved in the sink, or the coldness experienced by Noelle in the master bedroom.  However, we are not saying that these things are paranormal. We are saying only that, as yet, we have been unable to explain them. Because of this, we are deeming the status of this case as being inconclusive, and closing it.

On behalf of the entire team, we extend our gratitude and appreciation to our client for inviting us into their home, and for their patience and cooperation while we worked to find answers for them.

Case Status:  Closed

Location Status:  Inconclusive

Case #016: Results

Date:  Mar. 5, 2016

Location:  Private Residence, Forest Lawn area, Calgary

Investigators:  Holly, Christine, Shae, Paul, Megan, new investigator Noelle

Case Status:  Closed

Location Status:  not active

Investigation

The team arrived at the location at approximately 9pm.  As had been previously discussed with the clients, the two older children were out of the home, and the husband took the youngest child out. The wife remained behind. The team split up into groups of two and three and worked in relays of 20-30 minutes each to provide a thorough investigation of the entire home. While each team was inside, the rest of the team waited outside.  Each team had a walkie-talkie in case there was a need for communication with the group waiting outside.

Results

In the youngest child’s room, we did get some small spikes on our EMF detector near the corner of the bed that we could not replicate. However, we did not capture any audio or video to validate that. We did notice that the child plays video games – one of which is the newest Black Ops video game. This is an extremely violent and graphic game that is not suitable for children of his age. Christine, the team’s child behaviorist, suggested that such stimulation be curbed at least an hour before the child goes to bed. She also suggested doing this for a couple of weeks to see if the issues the child has been experiencing there might ease up.

In the oldest child’s room, which is in the basement, we discovered several stacks of horror movies and books. We discovered a similarity between the claims being made and the story lines in some of the books and movies.  We also discovered shadow-play occurring in the room directly opposite the bedroom, and we were able to determine that this is the cause for the claims of seeing shadows in the hallway.

In the middle child’s bedroom, we found what we can only describe as an expression of emotional conflict.  There were a variety of pictures expressing both positive and negative thought processes. For example, one picture had the quotation “Live, love, laugh” all around the frame, while a hand-drawn picture on the door showed the movie character Freddie appearing to smile as he was either killing or had already killed.  The only way we can describe this room is to say it was somewhat unsettling.  However, the middle child is a pre-teen and this type of internal conflict is normal.

At no time did we capture any kind of audio or video data to validate any of the clients’ claims.

Conclusion

The Forest Lawn district is one in which there have been many documented deaths. We did not capture any audio or video data to validate our clients’ experiences, but we were able to determine that most of the events being experienced by the clients can be attributed to sound traveling through the floors and walls, to the way light moves through the windows in the basement, and to the types of books and movies they are interested in.  Thus, we have deemed this case to be closed, and the location itself as “not active”.

We want to extend our thanks and appreciation to the family for inviting us into their home, for their hospitality, for their patience during our investigation, and for their very generous monetary gift.  We wish them the very best and we hope things settle down for them.