Samples of investigation work The Searcher Group has conducted.

Ghosts of Fort George – Definitive Proof (Part 2)

Buoyed by the success documenting proof of spectral presences inside the tunnel and Octagonal Blockhouse at Fort George the summer before (please see ), I was more eager than ever to return the following summer (2012) to try again.

Over the year leading up to my return, I figured, “If I can get that much proof within a thirteen-minute period, think of the possibilities within a threehour period..!” So I did just that, the night of August 17th. I entered the tunnel and left the same digital recorder on the overturned barrel for just over 2 ½ hours. Unfortunately the session was cut short and interrupted by some thrill-seeking teenage fort volunteers showing up en mass to inhabit the tunnel themselves, looking for a good scare, so I was unable to continue recording without the data being compromised.

Being fully aware I would not enjoy similar uninterrupted access the following night (Saturday), I decided to try something new – a recording of the tunnel environment early the following morning, instead.

Analyzing all the files later, I was bewildered that nothing but cricket song was recorded during the first night – no wooden thumps, no footfalls, no knocking. It was a valuable lesson on just how unpredictable the paranormal can truly be.

So you might imagine it was with very low expectations that I proceeded to listen to the recording made the next morning when some of the most frightening, intriguing sounds startled me to tears (literally) almost 45 minutes into it.

You see, my eyes tend to water in reaction to something truly frightening, so suddenly hearing a sound that reminded me of a spooky childhood noise jarred me, instantly.

(The sound I allude to from my childhood was the slow, death rattle-like deep “breathing” of an industrial-sized coffee percolator that operated whenever my parents hosted meetings of our local amateur theatre group. You may laugh, but to me, listening to that from my darkened bedroom at night, it easily conjured images of some unspeakable menacing creature lurking just outside my door.)

This recording, also made public for the first time, is also up for peer review and any suggestions regarding the source of these sounds are very welcome.

Whatever made them (and by what method) certainly raises more questions than the dime-a-dozen disembodied footfall-kind of recordings that are out there (including mine), but then, these too may never be truly answered adequately.

Ghosts of Fort George – Definitive Proof (Part 1)

For decades, staff and visitors to Fort George (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada) have encountered ghostly phenomena of varying degrees. Paranormally-speaking, this is quite understandable (given the purpose and bloody history of the once-active military fortification), but one particular location on the grounds piques the interest of The Searcher Group.

A 70-foot long tunnel of stone and wood stretches from inside the walls of the fort to a dual-level Octagonal Blockhouse erected outside the tall, spiked palisades, overlooking the Niagara River. While a similar lookout tower once stood where the present-day structure is, the tunnel itself did not exist until the 1960s, when someone decided the fort would benefit by having one connected to the base of the tower (“Historical accuracy be damned!”).

Due to numerous reports of unexplainable phenomena originating from inside this tunnel, the age-old theory that the movement of ghosts is limited to revisiting places they were familiar with during their physical lifetimes has been quietly shattered.

This revelation inspired Richard to formulate and publish his groundbreaking Memory Matrix/Bubble hypothesis in Journeys into the Unknown [Dundurn Press, 2006.

People from all walks of life have experienced visual, physical, auditory and olfactory paranormal phenomenon inside this claustrophobic passageway, both day (during open hours) and night (while partaking of the renowned Ghost Tours of Niagara), but no-one has successfully captured indisputable visual or audible proof that some sort of presence continues to frequent the tunnel and utilize the Octagonal Blockhouse at the end of it.

Until now.

After many years of sitting on this audio evidence (digitally recorded the night of Aug. 13, 2011), I decided to share it in a format designed to appeal to fellow paranormal evidence-seeking investigators and the curious public, alike.

Rather than extract highlights, the entire uncut, unenhanced 13-minute audio file is presented here, accompanied by photographs of the location and investigator commentary appearing as subtitles, for public consumption and peer review.

The inclusion of nighttime ambient sound is to aid the listener in differentiating between “natural” and “supernatural” sounds – noise I am confident constitutes evidence of paranormal activity.

Investigation on Vacation – Inside a Former Train Station

Chester Train Station, Nova Scotia, May 2015

Nova Scotia is a storied province – please do not say that I did not warn you.

“Ted” R. Hennigar, Scotian Spooks, Mystery and Violence (1978)


Aerial View of Chester Train Station in Nova Scotia

Chester Train Station, Nova Scotia
Photo credit to Peter Morrison

An opportunity to revisit the south shore of Nova Scotia presented itself this past May, so I packed up our daughter and the two of us went to visit Mom for an extended long weekend getaway.

In addition to quality family time, I had another agenda in mind.

A few years previous, I had been invited to conduct an investigation of the former Chester Train Station, now serving as a tourist facility and home to a Visitor Information Centre as well as the renowned Explore Oak Island display – likely the closest thing most people will get to experience a taste of the legendary local isle, free of charge.

The Searcher Group accomplishes some truly amazing feats, but the ability to stuff the team into a carry-on bag to help conduct the investigation was/is not one of them, so I contacted a local team four months in advance, requesting some field assistance.

The members of the Chester Area Paranormal Society (CAPS) were very friendly and accommodating and before long, plans to meet and spend the night exploring the former train station were arranged.

Best Laid Plans

Ongoing experience as a Case Manager (part of my duties as AD for our team) includes handling disappointment when even the most solid-seeming plans fall apart. Such was the case a few days before the investigation when CAPS wrote me saying no-one on their team was available, owing to unforeseen circumstances. C’est la vie.

Not to be discouraged, I deputized my closest allies – namely my daughter, Libby and mother, Linda – and decided to proceed with the investigation.

Have Equipment, Will Travel

Having winged our way from Toronto to Halifax, I was wary of the kind of equipment I could bring on board a domestic flight without any of it A) being damaged and B) being confiscated by airport security. Since I had counted on CAPS to provide camera systems, I opted to pack lightly and included a pair of digital recorders, a pendulum, a compass, a Spirit Box, a pair of mini LED flashlights, an external speaker and a laptop.
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Paranormal Evidence in Investigation of Childhood Home


In the early 1960s, as a young child, I lived in a house in an old part of Toronto. The strange disembodied whispers and the sound of walking in the halls at night frightened me, but also inspired me and set me on a live long quest to discover what these unexplained sights and sounds meant.

35 years later my brother and I had the opportunity to go back and conduct a proper paranormal investigation. It was a chance of a lifetime to go back to a place that started that inquisitive spark in me and hopefully find the answers that haunted my thoughts for all these years.

It was a two-storey semi-detached home, built around 1898 in the Bloor and Dufferin area of the city. The first thing we wanted to do was attempt some EVP recordings within the house, after a few days of recording odd sounds and voices were captured in the empty home. Upon analysis they were found to be very distinguishable and recognizable of those of our deceased Grandmother, Uncle and Cousin. It was at this point we decided to place a surveillance camera within the house.

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Casa Loma – One Evening Paranormal Investigation 

After an interesting albeit brief investigation at Casa Loma(three and a half hours) it was our conclusion that this wonderful landmark is haunted.

Our surveillance equipment captured several audio artifacts in the tunnel, Library, third floor and attic. Most were of low voices identified as male.

The most compelling phenomena event took place in the library and the hallway on the main floor.

Two (2) black shadows crossing the library floor in a Northerly direction towards the exit to Peacock Alley. At which point a male low voice at junction of Peacock Alley to hall leading to the elevator was heard saying “Get back.”

Photo of Hallway inside of Casa LomaPhoto of Loft at Casa LomaFloor Plan of Casa Loma Main Floor showing library where evps were detected


photo of Toronto Queens Park with scaffolding in front Under Construction

Toronto Queen’s Park Under Construction 1891


One of the perks of doing what we do as serious paranormal investigators is that we are often invited to visit places most people don’t normally get a chance to see for themselves. Though true enough in this case, on October 29, 2013, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario buildings of Queen’s Park, Toronto were treated to their first formal psychic reading by medium Amanda Keays of The Searcher Group.

This tour was one of those last-minute situations: Three days before Hallowe’en, Amanda contacted me to say she was invited by CTV Toronto’s Queen’s Park Reporter Paul Bliss, to be the subject of a news article depicting a clairvoyant’s take on the haunted hallways of the Legislative Assembly. To make a long story short, I accepted the assignment to accompany her the following evening. While Amanda and her psychic impressions would be the focus of the film piece, I would be on-hand to make some impromptu audio recordings and answer questions about The Searcher Group.

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Crash Course in Awesome Podcast


Crash Course in Awesome accompanied The Searcher Group on a Paranormal Investigation at a House just outside of Toronto.

They have uploaded a two hour long podcast on their experience …. they may have become convinced of the existence of Spirits and Ghosts.  Visit their website at to hear the podcast.

One of the eeriest stories to come out of the investigations at the Canadian National Exhibition started off like most, as a mystery. We were working in the second floor archives when our audio surveillance kept recording strange and unusual sounds along with EVPs of a male.

The male would call someone named Dan or Danny always giving him instructions on what to do. This social interaction seemed at first one sided. The instructions were always clear and on the most part friendly but then there were times where the person giving the instructions seemed angry or even frustrated.

He would call for Danny and tell him, “Go see where they are”. Or to be quiet and to get back. Sometimes he would just yell “Danny”. Over and over again.

It was Paul who noticed the odd sounds, which seemed to interplay each time this person called for Danny. Like the ringing of bells, a horn, a whistle or the sounds of a baby rattle. Paul made it his mission to figure out the mystery of Danny.

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Understanding all the various dynamics of a haunting – call for help

When a family unit begins to experience strange occurrences in their residence various family members may in the onset keep those occurrences quiet for fear of sounding crazy. Several members may be experiencing happenings yet there may be no communications until

1. It becomes out of control and or extremely frightening or

2. Two members experience something together which opens up a dialog.

 In about 85% of hauntings in a residence the female is first to notice these strange events, this can cause stress and extreme frustration within the family unit as the male may not completely believe what the female is saying having not had an experience himself. This in some cases may be the ploy…divide and conquer.

dog looking down staircase In 100% of all cases where pets are involved in the home, the pet will be fully aware of the presence within the residence and may display changes in its behavior such as; looking at seemingly empty spaces, watching something you can’t see, growling, barking for no apparent reason nervousness and changes in eating habits.

 Where a presence may be malevolent the pet will become the first target, then the female in most cases.

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 Irish Pub – Mississauga

Paul and I were to meet up with Joe, the business manager, to discuss the investigation and to have a look around.  We arrived and checked the main floor.  The building had been a large private home in the 1850’s, after which it was converted into a business; it is now being used as a pub.  It consists of a large bar area, dining area and kitchen upstairs, bathrooms, office and storage down in the basement.  We met up with Joe.  Joe took us downstairs; next to the washrooms he told us how the workers and patrons reported extreme cold spots there and uneasy feelings.  Next to the phone in that area was a small closet.  When Joe opened it a high quantity of positively charged ions were detected briefly.  We moved on to a secret room, which was 15 degrees colder than the rest of the basement. Joe stopped to tell us about some of the incidents and I couldn’t help but notice a chalkboard near the washroom.  Written on the board was, “Shhh, please do not disturb our resident ghost, Minerva!”  Joe said that a patron who claimed to be psychic told him that the ghost’s name was Minerva.

We followed Joe up to the main floor where he told us that glasses and ashtrays would fly off the bar.  People would report their hair being pulled or touched and complain of feeling cold.  He then told us that he had been scratched on the back of his neck in one encounter. In another encounter, an employee was going out the back door off of the kitchen, to have a smoke outside, when they saw a female standing there looking at them.  He had to take us to show us because it was difficult to describe.  When I saw it I understood.  The outer door was the solid wood door, which opened out to the deck.  The inner door was actually the screen door, which opened into the kitchen.  When the screen door was open, it was against the kitchen wall.  When the employee saw the spirit she was between the wall and the screen door, which was fully open.  The space between this door and wall is less than three inches.  The incident was brief.  Another situation involved a different employee, who was fearful of changing in the locker rooms because of feelings of being watched and uneasiness.  He had decided to change into his work clothes in the hall outside the locker room.  It was on this occasion that he witnessed a transparent apparition of a girl walking down the hall towards him.  As she neared him she disappeared through a solid door into a storage area.

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The House Of Secrets – Bloor & Dufferin


It was a two-storey semi-detached home, built around 1898 in the Bloor and Dufferin area of the city.  It was rumoured that a small-time bank robber had owned the home in the 1920’s and upon his arrest none of the money was ever recovered.  People in the community speculated that the money was hidden somewhere in the house.  Although there were several historical searches we could not substantiate this claim.  However, starting in the mid thirties, right up to the mid 1960’s, there were constant break and enters at this house, nothing was ever taken.  The break and enters have been confirmed as fact.

The owner was an elderly lady who had become ill.  She was, at the time, living alone in the house and her nephew would drop by on a regular basis to help her and do her shopping for her.  She was brought to stay with family until she was feeling better.

The house was old and becoming run down and it was decided that it was the perfect time to do some renovation work.  All of her nephews (4) felt that they could do most of the work, however some of the more difficult jobs, such as plumbing and electrical would be left to the professionals, so contractors were hired for these jobs.

The contractors arrived and were met and let in by one of the boys.  They quickly went to work on the upstairs bathroom.  One of the jobs required them to run a new drainpipe from the upper floor to the basement.  As they worked, alone in the house, they started to notice odd sounds, which put the workers on edge.  When one had to go into the basement and the other had to remain on the upper floor it was the last straw for them, as their tools kept moving, doors kept closing, things started moving around and the sounds grew louder.  The workers abandoned the job and fled the house.

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Tips on preparing for an investigation:

  • Always get permission from the property owners/management before entering any property.
  • Do a preliminary walk-through before conducting the actual investigation, take preliminary base readings, make a map of the building, check for any safety hazards, check your electrical sources.
  • Make a plan for surveillance equipment setup based on your preliminary walk through information
  • Always make sure to work in team – never work alone
  • Test all equipment ahead of time and bring extra batteries/generator

Richard and John

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The Haunted School House, 1875 – Pickering

I met with Paul and John; we loaded the equipment into the car and began our journey to the site.  The location was an old schoolhouse built in 1875, which was now being used as a community centre near Pickering, Ontario.  The centre has had numerous reports of strange occurrences dating back to at least the 1960’s.  The Hauntings Research Group, who had invited us to join their continuing investigation, had previously investigated the site.  We were all to meet there by 16:00 hours.

The Hauntings Research Group is a group of dedicated professional (paranormal) investigators, who I found on my quest to discover associates with whom to share ideas and theories.  I was very impressed with them, as they take nothing for granted.  They make no claims and as the majority of their group are true believers, they face each new piece of information they have collected with a balanced skepticism.  Based in Peterborough County, I truly believe there isn’t anywhere they would not go to find the proof they, like so many of us, seek.  The Group was founded by Dee Freedman and Anita Perron, both of whom conduct investigations and are psychic sensitive.  Krystal Leigh, a field investigator, is psychic sensitive as well. 

We pulled into the parking area, the rest of the team was already unloading equipment near the front of the building. As I was exiting the car I noticed that John was showing interest in a storage shed.  I grabbed my 35mm camera and headed over to where he was standing.  As I was walking up to him, I checked the camera’s built in light meter and set the shutter speed and aperture.  As soon as I arrived to where John was standing, the camera’s batteries died.  These had all just recently been replaced with new batteries.  The interesting thing was that not only the meter and control battery, but also the flash and power winder batteries, were dead as well, a total of eight batteries in all.  At about the same time Krystal entered the building and was loading the film into her 35mm camera, when her batteries died as well.

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