Ottawa Ghosts: Haunted Victorian Mansion

Ottawa true ghost stories Victorian


Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ghost report from Audrey on November 17, 2016:

“I lived in an old Victorian mansion (cliché, I know) on Powell Avenue in Ottawa. The very first night we moved in, my sisters and I felt something odd, as though we were being observed. The activity started slowly but surely, and increased incrementally every year we lived there. What we experienced daily in that house isn’t something I would have ever believed had I not lived through it.

While we never saw anything as dramatic as an apparition, we experienced just about everything else. Doors shutting and footsteps – always on the floor you weren’t on – were constant. Whenever someone was in the bath on the second floor, you’d hear a knock on the door but, of course, find no one when you opened it.

Many times I would walk into a room or hallway and feel like I was interrupting a conversation. The house had a sense of business about it, as though there were constantly people bustling around, even when it was empty. It was really freaky when the spirits started impersonating voices.

One time, my sister and father were in the kitchen. They heard my mother call my father’s name, as she often did when she wanted something, and without saying a word they migrated their conversation upstairs. I was sitting with my mom in the TV room, and we’d been talking the whole time, no one had called him.

One time in the deep winter, my sister and I were sitting in her room chatting, our parents were out of town and we were alone in the house. We heard footsteps upstairs, and suddenly they turned into LOUD dancing, as though someone was doing an incredibly forceful jig just above our heads. It went from one end of the house to the other, clear as day. It was almost like it was trying to upset us. We ended up running out into the street, we were so afraid.

Another time, I came home from school at lunch and was hurriedly trying to finish my homework before my next class. All of a sudden upstairs, although I was alone in the house, I heard doors slamming and someone running down the stairs. The noises were so loud and real that I freaked out and called my dad at work, who came home immediately to find me shaking on the front porch clutching my dog. He took a knife and searched the whole house for an intruder, but found nothing. A couple of months before we moved, he experienced the exact same thing when he was alone in the house.

It was odd that the spirits finally revealed themselves to him right before we moved, because he had never personally experienced anything in all the 10 years we lived there except in the final few months while we were packing up the house. I think they were upset that we were leaving.

We later found out that a family of women, a mother and two daughters, had lived in the house for decades and all of them died there. The wake for each was held in the living room. We don’t know if the spirits we encountered were them, but it makes sense that they would have been more timid to approach my father than they were approaching myself, my mother or my sisters.

A young family moved into the house after us, and I always wonder whether or not they’ve experienced similar events.

I am grateful that I never actually saw an apparition with my own eyes, but from what I experienced in that house, I can say categorically that ghosts are real and that there is something, whether an afterlife or maybe just another plane of energy, that lingers after death. I am not a religious person, so I find this knowledge oddly comforting.”

Editor’s Note: photo above is depiction only, not actual house.

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Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved.




Calgary Ghosts: Haunted Victorian Antique

Calgary Ghosts Haunted Victorian Antique

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Ghost report from Bonnie on February 24, 2016:

“In 1992 my daughter, who was 20, purchased an 1890 armoire from an antique dealer in Calgary. I did not feel comfortable with it from the day they brought it into the house.

About 2 months after the purchase I was home alone and thought maybe if I cleaned it up a bit and waxed it I might feel differently towards it. When I was finished I went to the basement and threw the clothes into the washer.

I then proceeded to clean the mirror in the bathroom in the basement. As I was wiping the foam off of the mirror I saw a woman walk behind me. She was looking straight ahead, not looking at me. She had on a white dress with a mandarin-type collar with lace. She had long, dark hair, tied back at the nape of her neck. I turned around quickly but there was no one there. I ran up the stairs and the rest of the day was on edge.

That night I tried to tell my husband what I saw. He has never believed in ghosts so was barely listening. A few minutes later the room we were in turned freezing cold. As it was not cold outside it was very strange.

The next evening I came home from work and the radio was playing in the kitchen. Very strange because that radio was seldom turned on. While I was cooking, the light burned out in the kitchen followed later in the evening by the light at the back entrance. The next night our TV turned off while we were watching it.

I told some of the people from work what was happening and they started calling her “Victoria” because she appeared to come from the Victorian Era.

During the next week or so we had several things happen:

1. I went out for supper with my daughter and her boyfriend. When we were seated, the waiter ask what happened to the lady that was with us. He swore another lady was with us when we came in.

2. I was out for lunch with a coworker and she ask about Victoria. When I proceed to tell her, a cream container in a bowl on the table popped it’s lid and sprayed us both with milk.

Whatever or whoever it was seemed to be getting more aggressive with things falling, hot spots, cold spots and noises.

The final happening was in the evening. I was home alone trying to watch TV and knit. I was getting uncomfortable and it was getting dark so I took my dog upstairs and got ready for bed. I shut the bedroom door but had not locked it. I was reading a book in bed when my little dog got up and went to the end of the bed. His ears were standing up and he was growling. I started to get up to lock the door when the door banged, as if hit, and flew open. The room was immediately cold. Neither the dog nor I got much sleep that night.

The next morning when I got up, the house seemed at peace. I told my husband that whatever it was is gone.

Later that morning a friend of my son’s came over. His parents’ house was across the alley from our house. He said he was coming home the night before and he was late. He pulled up to their garage, the garage door opened and he had not pushed the button. He thought one of his parents must be waiting for him and was in the garage, so he pulled in. The door immediately shut. He said he was scared because there were no lights on and he couldn’t see anyone in the garage. He finally got up the nerve to run from the car into the house. His parents were in bed.

I think it was at that point that Victoria left our house and she was looking for another place to go.

My daughter still has the armoire. Her husband offered for me to take it last year when they moved out of Canada. I told him, “Not for a million dollars would it come back to my house.”

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Buckingham Ghosts: Half-Figure Visits Victorian Home

Half-Figure Visits Victorian Home

Location: Buckingham, Quebec, Canada

Ghost report from Susan on February 17, 2016:

“I was living in a beautiful old Victorian home with my 4-year-old daughter. The house is located on Church Street where it still stands to this day.

One night around 11:00 p.m., I had completed my usual routine of locking the doors and closing the windows in my old Victorian home before going to bed. As I was trying to sleep I heard a male voice coming from the right side of my bed say, “Hey! Get up!” As I lay there motionless under my covers looking around the empty room and telling myself I must have imagined it.

A few seconds later with much more urgency and directly into my right ear the voice BOOMED loudly, “YOU NEED TO GET UP RIGHT NOW! Go to the bathroom and look out the window! HURRY UP!”

I rocketed out of bed with my heart pounding wildly. Freaking out and unsure what to do next, I knew I had to go check it out – so I did.

I slowly opened my bedroom door feeling like I was going to have a heart attack. I silently stepped out into the inky darkness of my hallway as I carefully inched my way into the bathroom. I closed the bathroom door behind me before I cautiously raised the window blinds. As I looked through my bathroom window, which directly faced my neighbor Charlie’s kitchen window, I saw a man hunched down on all fours crawling on my neighbor’s kitchen floor. To my utter shock and horror, the intruder then turned on a flashlight and looked up to see me looking straight at him. I let out a loud shriek which caused the burglar to jump back and turn off his flashlight before he disappeared into the darkness of Charlie’s kitchen.

Completely panic-stricken and totally terrified, I slammed the blinds down and ran full speed into my kitchen. “Oh Sh*t! Oh Sh*t! Oh Sh*t!”, was all I managed to say as I grabbed the phone and started frantically dialing Charlie’s cell phone number.

Thankfully he picked up after about 2 rings as I screamed into the receiver, “CHARLIE SOMEONE BROKE INTO YOUR HOUSE AND IS ROBBING YOU! COME HOME QUICK!”

A few minutes later my neighbor’s car came peeling around the corner of our street. Charlie and two other men jumped out of his car and ran into Charlie’s house only to find the back door in his kitchen standing wide open and a grand total of zero valuables missing. A happy ending for Charlie and his family but not for me…

After his friends had left, Charlie came over to my house to thank me for keeping an eye out on his place. Still in shock, I turned to Charlie and said, “You are probably going to think I am completely crazy but I am going to tell you exactly what happened here tonight. Whether you believe me or not is entirely up to you”.
I described the disembodied male voice that I had heard in my bedroom which prompted me to get up and investigate.

“I just don’t get it Charlie!”, I added shaking my head in disbelief as I finished explaining everything to him.

Well, I kid you not folks, to my complete and utter amazement, Charlie looked at me with a huge grin on his face and responded, “I see you have met our resident ghost. He protects my house and my family so it must have been his voice you heard warning you about what was happening in my home”. (Insert Slack Jaw Here). Yeah, not your average text book answer, is it?

One day, in the fall of 2001, I was alone in my Victorian house, as my daughter was spending the day with her grandmother. Suddenly I heard the sound of the back door opening. Surprised and feeling a little irritated because the person didn’t knock before entering my house, I shouted out, “Just a minute! I’ll be right there.”

I peeked into the kitchen from where I was standing in the washroom. What I saw next will forever remain etched in my memory.

Standing at the back door, I saw a half-figure of a white man who was bare foot and wearing a red bathing suit. He was only visible from the waist down and he was soaking wet.

As he walked across the room, I could hear the sound of his wet feet squeaking on the kitchen floor and the sound of water dripping off him. Stunned, I stared slack-jawed as my mind tried to grasp what I was actually seeing.

He walked to the opposite end of the kitchen, stopped for a moment in front of my cupboards, then he turned to face me. I could see the bottom half of him clearly but I could also see the cupboards through him.

Shocked and rooted to the spot, I said out loud, “Oh my God! You’re a ghost!” He turned away from me and continued to walk down the hallway that led to my living room. Squeak, squeak, squeak, I just stood there in disbelief and watched him walk about half-way down the corridor before he disappeared into thin air, without leaving a trace. Or did he?

Completely freaked out, I ran through every room in the house looking for the half-figure I had just seen but he was nowhere to be found.

Questioning my own sanity at this point, I searched for water on my kitchen floor; surely it must be wet, before I checked the lock on the back door. The kitchen floor was bone-dry and the door was securely locked with a dead bolt.

Needless to say, I packed up all our worldly belongings and moved out of that house a few days later.

It would be interesting to see if the current tenants have experienced anything paranormal in the beautiful old Victorian home.”

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New York City Ghosts: Lefferts-Laidlaw House

NYC New York City ghosts Lefferts-Laidlaw haunted paranormal

Location: New York City, New York, USA
Type: registered historical house
Built: circa. 1840

Article by: Michelle McKay
Original photo (edited): By Onorland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

This is an interesting poltergeist case that involved a brick being thrown through the window while the home was surrounded by police.

Located at 136 Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn, NYC, this Christmas haunting occurred during the Victorian era in 1878. The source of the reports can be traced back to a New York Times article published December 20, 1878. Kudos goes out to Nick Carr, a movie location scout in NYC, who came across this gem in the archives.

The headline for the article read:

“Door-bells rung, doors rattled, and a brick thrown through a window — a vain search for small boys”

The bit about searching for small boys doesn’t surprise me. Victorian era ghost hunting often entailed the search for “small boys” to rule out trickery. Even the great ghost hunter, Harry Price, made note of it.

During the time of the incidents, the house was owned by a gentleman named Edward F. Smith.

One evening, Mr. Smith heard his doorbell ring. He got up to answer the door, but nobody was there.

He returned to the sitting room, and the doorbell rang again. Just as the first time, no one was at the door.

This carried on throughout the evening, accompanied by the sounds of rattling, banging, and kicking from the two rear doors, which were said to have occurred “with great vigor”.

He concluded that the incidents were likely caused by wind, and he retired for the night.

The next evening, the rappings and doorbell ringing returned. They continued to plague the home every evening for two to three weeks.

“A watch was placed at each door and a guard placed in the yard. It was of no use, for the doors rattled and pounded just as violently, and the bell rang with all its accustomed loudness.”

Mr. Smith sprinkled flour and ashes along the approach to the front door in hopes of tracking the intruder’s footprints. But, alas, the doorbell was rung and no footprints were discovered.

Wanting to put an end to the unearthly harassment, he contacted local police.

On the eve of Monday, December 16, 1878, Captain McLaughlin and Detective Prieo of Brooklyn’s Fourth Precinct paid a visit to the house with the goal of discovering the source of the ghostly shenanigans.

Almost immediately upon arriving, the officers were greeted with the hellish pounding and bell ringing that claimed the home as its own. This carried on until 10:00 p.m. that evening.

Unable to determine the cause, or make any arrests, the police left and returned the following evening. However, once again, no cause was found and the talented spook was free to continue its eerie rappings and otherworldly bell ringing.

The next evening, on Wednesday, December 18, the police Captain stationed officers around the perimeter of the damned house, while he and the detective stood inside the house by the door. With everybody in position, they waited.

“In a moment or two the bell rang violently and several heavy blows were struck upon the door in quick succession.”

This was quickly followed by a large brick smashing through the dining-room window.

Although the house was surrounded by the keen eyes of police officers on alert, no culprit was seen.

Word of the haunted house spread quickly. Hundreds of people were found standing outside of the home when the New York Times reporter arrived on the Friday evening.

The reporter dodged his way through the crowd and knocked on the front door.

A boarder at the house, Mr. R. B. Thomas, answered the door and informed the reporter that Mr. Smith was “prostrated with nervousness” and could not be interviewed.

The boarder also told the reporter that Mr. Smith was

“inclined to lay it all to some evil spirit which had a grudge against some occupant of the house.”


WARNING: Do not trespass! Permission from the location owner must be granted to investigate this location!

If you have experienced any activity at this building, or at any other location anywhere else in the world, please tell us about it here

Michelle McKay is a Canadian paranormal investigator of 20+ years. Former TV host: Destination America, Discovery, A&E. Founder of Her great-uncle was pioneer UFO investigator Henry McKay. This may all sound glamorous but in reality she spends her life holding a flashlight and talks to a lot of people. Foremost, she is willing to work for tacos and chocolate.



The History of Ghost Hunting – a timeline of the 1900s

Harry Price ghost hunting kit

Harry Price’s ghost hunting kit


By: Michelle McKay | UPDATED April 28, 2019 (originally published Oct 4, 2014)


I also did a timeline of ghost hunting in the 1800s located here. The Spiritualist Movement, which was a paranormal craze similar to what we are seeing today, is generally agreed to have begun in the 1840s and began winding down in the 1920s.


Ghost Hunting Timeline of the 1900s


Queen Victoria dies on January 22, 1901, hence the Victorian era starts to wind down (the Victorian era is generally agreed to have begun in 1837) and the Edwardian era begins.

Elliott O’Donnell, a fictional writer, releases his first non-fictional book on the paranormal titled “Some Haunted Houses of England & Wales” in 1908.

Some say O’Donnell was the first ghost hunter, but this certainly is not true (see my article on ghost hunting in the 1800s). Furthermore, some attribute O’Donnell as the one who coined the term “ghost hunter” citing his 1916 book titled “Twenty Years Experience as a Ghost Hunter” as the evidence. However, this too is incorrect. After much research, I have traced the term ‘ghost hunter’ back to 1809 where it is mentioned in a fictional romance book titled Osrick: Or, Modern Horrors by Richard Sickelmore on page 75 (see my article on ghost hunting in the 1800s). Some of O’Donnell’s books can be read online here.

H. Addington Bruce released his first book on the paranormal in 1908 titled “Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters”. Some of Bruce’s books can be read online here.

On April 15, 1912 the Titanic collided with an iceberg. It’s demise was predicted, albeit unknowingly (see 1891 and 1898).

The Edwardian era ends. The First World War (aka. the Great War) begins on July 28, 1914.

On Nov 11, 1918, the First World War ends. The “Interwarperiod begins.

The Spiritualist Movement begins to wind downHarry Price becomes a member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). Harry Price is 39 years old this year.

The book “Spiritualism: A Popular History From 1847” by Joseph McCabe (a skeptic) was published in 1920.

In the early 1920s, magician Harry Houdini began exposing fake psychics.

The infamous Mitchel-Hedges “Crystal Skull” was discovered in the 1920s in Belize.

Harry Price officially begins his paranormal investigations. Harry Price debunks the spirit photographer William Hope. Harry Price’s publication titled Revelations of a Spirit Medium was released this year. Harry Price becomes a member of the Magic Circle.

Harry Price is appointed Foreign Research Officer of the American Society for Psychical Research.

Harry Price founded The National Laboratory of Psychical Research. 

Admiral Byrd‘s infamous flight to hollow earth was May 9, 1926.

Harry investigated the Joanna Southcott box “in a blaze of publicity”. Harry Price joins the Ghost Club, and remains there until it temporarily shuts down in 1936.

Harry Price visits the Borley Rectory for the first time.

Harry Price becomes Vice-President of the Magician’s Club. Harry Price begins investigating Helen Duncan (psychic medium, declared guilty by British Witchcraft Act). The American Society for Psychical Research ends Harry Price’s appointment of Foreign Research Officer.

Harry Price conducted the Brocken Experiment in the Harz Mountains, this is the case that made him internationally renowned. Harry Price is 51 years old this year.

The University of London Council for Psychical Investigation replaced The National Laboratory of Psychical Research. 

Harry Price investigated the infamous “Talking Mongoose” (a type of weasel) on the Isle of Man (U.K) with Richard S. Lambert (a biographer and broadcaster) this year. Also this year Harry Price produces a talking film called Psychical Research for Movietone News Theatre.

Harry Price had two books published this year, one titled “Confessions of a Ghost Hunter”, and the other was titled “The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap”. On March 10, 1936, Harry Price broadcasted live on BBC Radio from a reportedly haunted manor house near Meopham, Kent. The program was the first broadcast ever to be made from a haunted house. The purpose of the broadcast was “to give listeners a perfect picture of the technique employed in investigating an alleged haunted house”, wrote Harry Price in his book titled “Fifty Years of Psychical Research”. In 1936, Harry Price’s library was transferred to the University of London, followed shortly by his laboratory and investigative equipment.

Harry Price rented the infamous Borley Rectory for one year to conduct investigations. This was also the year that Harry Price says he saw the spirit of a child named Rosalie during a séance at a house in London, England.

The Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast aired October 30, 1938. This is also the year that Harry Price re-established the Ghost Club, making himself Chairman. And Harry also drafted a Bill for the regulation of psychic practitioners this year.

The “Interwar” period ends. The Second World War begins on September 1, 1939. On Feb 27, 1939 the Borley Rectory is destroyed by fire. Also this year Harry Price produced a Draft Bill for the regulation of psychic practitioners. Harry is 58 years old this year.

Harry Price excavates the ruins of the Borley Rectory cellars and discovers human remains, which he takes to Coopers Studio in London, England to be photographed.

Harry Price testified and gave evidence at the Helen Duncan (psychic medium) trial. During this trial, Helen was the last person to be convicted under the British Witchcraft Act 1735. She was found guilty and served nine months in prison. The ruins of Borley Rectory is demolished.

Canadian ghost-hunter, Dr. Thomas L. Garrett, was written about in the March 5, 1944 issue of “The Milwaukee Sentinel” newspaper in regards to his investigations into a poltergeist in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Second World War ends on May 8, 1945.

Kenneth Arnold sees “flying saucers” on June 24, 1947 near Mount Rainier, Washington.

Harry Priced died on March 29, 1948, at the age of 67 years old.

Parapsychologist, Hans Holzer, publishes his first book Ghost Hunter, he ends up writing more than 140 books on the paranormal throughout his career. He also appeared on numerous television programs, radio shows, newspaper articles, and magazines. He also starred in a TV series titled “Ghost Hunter” which aired on Channel 2 in Boston (not related to the hit series “Ghost Hunters” which aired many years later).

Elliott O’Donnell died on May 8, 1965 (see the year “1908” located above for more about him).

Hans Holzer investigates the infamous Amityville house at 112 Ocean Avenue with spiritual medium, Ethel Johnson Meyers, in January 1977.


Michelle McKay is a Canadian paranormal investigator of 30+ years. Former TV host: Destination America, Discovery, A&E. Founder of Her great-uncle, Henry McKay, was a pioneer UFO investigator and the first director of MUFON Canada. 


Copyright © 2014 Michelle McKay. All Rights Reserved.

H. Addington Bruce – Early Psychical Researcher

H. Addington Bruce psychic research parapsychology ghosts haunted paranormal

H. Addington Bruce – Early Psychical Researcher
By: Michelle McKay (founder of
September 10, 2014.

I recently wrote an article titled “Harry Price – Was Harry Price The First Ghost Hunter?”. In that article, I posed the question: “did the term ‘ghost hunter’ appear anywhere before the publication of Harry’s book in 1936?“.

I was then informed by John E.L. Tenney that a fellow by the name of ‘H. Addington Bruce’ was using the term “ghost hunters” in the early 1900’s. So, I then went ahead and did a wee bit of research on H. Addington Bruce. This is what I discovered…

Henry Addington Bayley Bruce wrote a book titled “Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters“, which was published in 1908. This was twenty-eight years before Harry Price published his book “Confessions of a Ghost Hunter”. Therefore, Harry Price was definitely not the first person to use the term “ghost hunter”, neither was he the first ghost hunter. [As a side note, Tim Prasil later informed me that he did some digging and came across a fictional book titled, “The Ghost-Hunter and His Family”, published in 1833.]

Henry Addington Bruce was born 1874, and died 1959. He was an American journalist, author and psychologist. Although he lived in the USA, he was born in Toronto, Canada. He wrote books about American history, psychology and parapsychology.

According to the Department of Psychology at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, he is also credited with contributing to the history of psychology. Whereas it is said he “foreshadowed psychology’s shift in the 1920s towards a greater emphasis on the environment and interest in the unconscious”.

Bruce said on page 216 of “Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters” that psychical research is “an effort to determine by strictly scientific methods the nature and significance of apparitions, hauntings, spiritistic phenomena, and those other weird occurrences that would seem to confirm the idea that the spirits of the dead can and do communicate with the living”.



The Riddle of Personality” originally published 1908
Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters” published 1908
Scientific Mental Healing” published 1911 (the 2nd last chapter covers psychical research)
Adventurings in the Psychical” published 1914




Copyright © 2014 Michelle McKay. All Rights Reserved.