Volume 92, Issue 32
Friday, October 30, 1998
The ghost that lives on Oxford St.
By Ciara "Casper" Rickard
Meet Serina's roommate Fred. Fred is the sixth roommate in a five bedroom house and is, like many roommates, a little annoying and everyone knows when he is around. However, unlike many roommates, Fred is a ghost.
Serina Manek, a very sane third-year film studies student at Western, shares a house on Oxford Street with four other students and Fred. Strange noises, occurrences and ghostly apparitions in the house have spooked these five students on many occasions. Manek has come to the conclusion that a spirit or ghost lives in their house and something sad or traumatic may have happened there.
"A series of weird things would happen and funny noises," says Manek, of the first clues that the house was haunted. "We rationalized it and we figured the noises were because it is just an old house. We would hear footsteps, a woman's screams, taps turning on and off. Little things would happen everyday but something big would happen just about every Wednesday," she says.
Most of the strange noises come from the upstairs portion of the house. There's even a room there where, upon entering, guests have gotten an uncomfortable, scared feeling.
"You hear screams a lot and voices. There are times when I think there's a radio upstairs. It sounds like a man and a woman having a conversation, but I go up to turn it off and it's all quiet when I get up there," Manek says.
Manek says she has had a vision of a man in a black trench coat and black hat standing at the top of her stairs and on another occasion, the same man looking in the living room window, which her other roommates also witnessed.
"Me and my roommate have both had a vision in a certain room of a man standing over a woman, strangling her. When we walk in the room, the vision just appears. One night we got talking about it and we both described the exact same details of the vision, down to what the woman was wearing," Manek says.
She describes a particularly eerie evening when she was sitting in her bedroom and suddenly water came through the ceiling. She tried to leave her room but said she couldn't as there was some unseen force preventing her. That same evening, as she and her roommate sat in her room talking, they watched as a CD on her desk levitated into the air and dropped to the floor.
"One time my roommate started screaming and we ran up to her room and she said 'Something's wrong, something happened in this room.' We said 'Let's get out of here,' but she couldn't leave, so I tried to pull her out by her arm but there was something holding her back," Manek says. "You could feel a presence."
Another evening, as the roommates sat watching television, they heard some banging noises, as though someone were trying to get into the house. They ignored it, but later discovered that the window of one of the upstairs rooms was covered in hand prints, which seemed larger than the average hand.
"It doesn't really bother me anymore," Manek says. "Except one night, over the Homecoming weekend, I was home alone in the living room on the phone to my mom. One of our doorways off that room has beads coming down from it and as I was watching, the beads moved as though someone had walked through it."
A couple of months ago, Manek had to sleep in one of the upstairs bedrooms one night and said as she tried to go to sleep, she had the feeling that someone was watching her and moving from corner to corner of the room. She spoke to the roommate who now sleeps in the room and he claimed to have the very same feeling in the room.
"I've tried to rationalize it, but I can't imagine a logical explanation for it," Manek says. "No one can convince me that Fred doesn't exist, not after the things I've been through and the things I've seen. I never believed in ghosts before I moved in here now I do."
Curious about the history of the house, Manek asked the next door neighbours who described a man named Fred who lived in the house many years ago and was very attached to it. He apparently died in the house and Manek believes this may have something to do with the presence there. Also, according to Manek, one of the previous tenants has attested to the ghostly presence.
"We don't know if he's just trying to make himself known or trying to torment us," she says. "Now everyone's afraid to mention him or say his name because every time we do, something happens."
Manek and her roommates have adjusted to Fred and no longer jump every time they hear footsteps or when the lights go out by themselves. They've learned to deal with it.
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