CAMPUS AND CULTURE
Going on a Ghost Hunt
Your guide to spooks and ghouls in the London region
The Hunter and the Haunted
The Hunter and the Haunted
By Chris Lackner and Grant Donaldson
Whether you have a Casper or a Freddy Krueger on your hands, you are not alone if you believe or have experienced in the spirit world.
Patrick Cross, a Canadian ghostbuster and paranormal researcher, said he has witnessed ghostly phenomenon since childhood.
"My house was the site of a murder and the bodies were chopped up and laid in the foundation," he said, noting as a child, he heard scratching on the walls, witnessed apparitions, dealt with household items disappearing and saw blood often appear and then vanish on the floor of his family home.
"We all have energy," Cross explained. "When we die, we pass it on into something else. Ghosts are people without bodies in their spirit form. A lot of them don't even know that they're dead.
People who fall prey to the manifestation of spirits were often the victims of crime or abuse in the past or suffer from psychological problems, he explained.
All people possess the psychic instinct to see into the spirit world, but most do not allow themselves to be tapped into it, Cross added. "When we get a gut instinct, that's our psychic ability," he said.
Sometimes what appears to be supernatural phenomenon is simply a psychological manifestation of our own energy and emotions, but sometimes real spirits can be attracted to negative energy such as deep anger or sadness, he explained.
"[In order to investigate paranormal activity], you have to have a strong personality," he said, noting the benefit of a strong education in the areas of psychiatry and parapsychology for such an occupation.
There are many old student houses in the Western vicinity that could be host to things which go bump in the night.
Rumour has it an old provincial magistrate used to keep drunks and vagrants in a jail cell in the basement of 565 Ridout St. and one cold winter night, two prisoners froze to death, explained Lindsay Robles, a fourth-year economics student at Western and one of the home's current residents.
He said he and some of the other residents often feel a strange presence and experience cold areas within the house.
Unexplained noises and voices have also been heard throughout the house and books randomly fall off the shelves, he added.
Another resident of the house claimed to see a message requesting "Help" written on a steamed-up bathroom mirror, when the room's door had been locked the whole time, Robles said.
Eleanor Davis experienced heavy paranormal phenomenon when she and her family moved into a London home on Colborne Street in 1967.
She said the family dog used to growl at something unseen at the top of the home's double staircase each night, adding the dog eventually disappeared one Halloween night and never returned.
She has heard disembodied voices and footsteps on the staircase, as well as doors opening and closing, she explained.
Chris Doty, a local historian and filmmaker, said the spirit may have been that of a previous owner named Beatrice Sims, who was forced to leave the house, but vowed one day to return.
Davis said documents associated with the Sims family were uncovered from the house's attic during the time she resided within the home.
She said she eventually got used to the spirit of Eleanor Sims, considering it benevolent. She even admitted to talking to the invisible presence.
But the ghostly occurrences came to a halt in 1968.
"One day I said 'What are you doing here? Why don't you just leave?' and she was gone," Davis explained.