The buildings that make up the Oshawa Museum sit on one of the city’s most historic sites, so it’s no surprise that museum staff have had a few strange experiences while on the job. Lisa Terech, the Oshawa Museum’s Community Engagement Co-ordinator, interviewed Museum staff about their paranormal experiences.
Read the stories, visit the museum, and judge for yourself.
Throughout my time at the Museum, I have had a few paranormal experiences.
The first occurred in the winter of 2004.
After the Guy House fire, part-time staff were working out of Henry House on the weekends, in the old Curator’s office. It was very quiet with barely anyone in Lakeview Park, and lots of snow on the ground.
I was waiting for the other staff member to arrive. The front door was already open; I left the summer kitchen door open as well, in case anyone came in. Then I opened the other back door to the porch to see if the other staff member had indeed arrived.
It was at that point that I clearly heard footsteps definitively walking through the hallway, as if someone had come through the front door and was coming into the kitchen. When I went to check and greet the visitor, no one was there.
My second experience was also in Henry House.
I was closing up at the end of the day; my second last room to close was the bedroom. I had been tidying the house as well, so I straightened the mirror on the dresser. After I pulled the south blind and turned around, the mirror was tipped again – it was only a matter of seconds!
Finally, on a separate occasion when closing up in the parlour, I turned towards the dining room and noticed the bottom back of a large skirt turning the corner.
Last Fall, Kathryn and I locked up Robinson House (RH) after an evening Scouts tour. We went together because it was dark.
On our way back to Guy House, we glanced back at RH and the light in the left, top, front room was really brightly on. We were puzzled because we just shut off the main control/breaker panel when we set the alarm and locked the house!
Secondly, when I was stationed in RH for the Accessioned event in May, I was standing in that same room by myself for a very brief snippet of time.
When I stood in the corner by the doorway into the hallway, next to the embalmer’s table/fluid jars, I heard a ticking sound, like that of a clock/watch.
There was nothing in that corner that would appear to tick! Someone came in downstairs, so I quickly left the area to greet them, got busy speaking with people, had no time to process it.
Then not too long afterward, a lady I had been talking with a lot told me that she had just experienced a ticking sound in that very same spot! I was so relieved that she heard it too, but we both agreed it was odd. We knew there was nothing there that resembled a watch/clock. When we stood still to try and hear it again, we couldn’t.
In my mind, I figured someone was trying to tell us that we might be looking at The Mourning After exhibit, but they wanted us to know they were not really gone, but right there with us, ticking along when others believed their time had passed.
The interesting thing is, that the 5 or 6 experiences I’ve had, have always been when I’ve been with others; never alone thankfully! I hope it stays that way!
Interesting things happen at the Oshawa Community Museum that cannot just be set aside on a shelf. These houses down here on Oshawa’s Lake Ontario are pretty unsettling at times.
Of course, things have happened to me when I have least expected it! Honestly, I have always been caught off guard and thought…. yikes, did I really see that!
My very first encounter with a “paranormal event” was when I was walking through Henry house from the back kitchen down the hall.
Something caught my eye to the left and I quickly focused and saw the sway of the bottom of a long, brown full skirt move from the dining room to the parlor. Several times over the years coming into work at the museum my eyes have been pulled to Henry House, the south window of the study and felt someone was watching me.
Also even weirder incident was when my colleague and I, on a cold blustery fall afternoon, had locked up Robinson House, which included turning off all the household lights.
We were chatting as we had left the building and for some reason I looked over my shoulder and saw the light on escaping from under the blind in the second floor south window.
We both were really spooked and decided that the house was locked up and neither of us wanted to go back into the house.
I have often felt uneasy in the Robinson House, particularly in that same room.
It feels as if there have been children there, the room at times almost feels playful. However, sometimes I just feel like I have to get out of there fast. It is confusing each time for me.
Another area in the Robinson House that I am certain has paranormal energy is the basement. I have only been down there once with a group of people and the visit was uneventful, nevertheless the area at the door leading down to the basement has certainly made me uneasy and actually I must admit frightened. I just feel like my skin is tingling and I have to move from that area instantly.
My last most recent experience was in the winter, a dark evening event in Guy House.
My colleague and I were returning with a group of Scouts from a tour of Henry House. The children were excited and lively.
As I opened the Guy House front door to let the children in I looked into the store and saw a male figure dressed in dark clothes scurry out the east window.
At the time I thought to myself “oh, someone is leaving the kitchen”. Horrified, I realized what had happened and tried to preoccupy myself with the children.
These houses are old; people lived and died here but gosh sometimes I just wish they would not startle me!
I personally cannot determine if there are ghosts in the houses or not: I have never met a ghost.
However when in the houses, especially in Robinson house, I do encounter a creepy ghost like feeling. Sometimes I hear the floor creeping yet no one else is in the house but me.
My own experiences are few but nonetheless interesting. Let me tell you about one in particular…
It was a Wednesday, which is a very important fact to the story, as I was locking up the houses for the day.
I started to Robinson house, which is an extremely creepy house to go into alone, especially with the Mourning After exhibit. I went through the house, lowering the blinds and after turning off the lights, and finally locked the door.
Heading to Henry House, I stopped to shut the drive shed doors.
That’s when I noticed the light in the Henry House dining room was on.
I told myself that the lights are motion sensor, which then made me stop and question what set off the sensor! My mind was running a mile a minute thinking about the possibilities, and then I came to the realization that someone must have left the light turned on instead of on auto.
So I put my jitters aside and calmly continued to the front door of Henry House. I put the key into the lock, turned the doorknob, and pushed the door open.
The door made a loud creaking noise when it opened and that’s when I heard it: a long deep “Hello”.
I freaked! First, I thought it was the ghost of Thomas Henry was talking to me. After all this time, Thomas wanted to communicate today!
However, I quickly began to think, “What if someone who was on a tour got locked inside the house? We locked someone inside the house alone? And now he’s out to get me!”
I was about to cry but gathered up the words to get out a little, “Hello, is someone here?”
That’s when I heard, “It’s just me, the cleaning guy.”
He came out of the back closet and I saw him, standing no more than five and a half feet with a broom in his hand.
This was my ghost.