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CoverStory Thunder Bay Paranormal Society If There’s Something Strange in Your Neighbourhood... By Kris Ketonen A spectral peeping tom at Trowbridge Falls. A white-garbed phantom said to prowl Silver Islet. A for- mer manager who still roams the halls of the historic Prince Arthur Hotel, accompanied by the smell of his favourite cigar. The Thunder Bay area has its share of ghost stories and leg- ends. They haunt private resi- dences and public areas alike. And there’s a growing interest in the community in uncover- ing the spooky side of the city. “It’s fascinating when you find something,” says Tyler Gingras of the Thunder Bay Paranormal Society, which investigates reports of haunt- ings in the city. “Finding out something that is supposed to not be true, and when you see it yourself, that’s a huge rush.” “People are passionate about it,” says Tony Silvestri, another member. “People want to know what they don’t know.” The group’s investigations take place overnight with the help of tools like video camer- as, digital recorders, and EMF detectors, and they try to find rational explanations for every- thing. “There are things you check,” Gingras says. “Doors open. Drafts. Anything.” But not everything can be easily 12 The Walleye debunked. For example, dur- ing an investigation at the Founders’ Museum, the group watched a hook swing back and forth, seemingly of its own accord. “It just kept going, and then it would slow down, and speed up,” Silvestri says. The group couldn’t find a ratio- nal explanation. The hook can be seen on YouTube—some investigations were captured on video and broadcast on Shaw TV, and the Founders’ Museum investigation is epi- sode one. The Founders’ museum, Gingras says, is reported- ly quite haunted—there are claims of footsteps, voices, and appearances by the deceased former owner. Trowbridge is another place of interest, but a formal investigation hasn't happened yet (Gingras has done interviews with local media about reported phenom- ena in the area, however). That area, too, is reportedly home to a few ghosts—the aforemen- tioned peeping tom is called the Undertaker. Elsewhere in the park, a woman in white is seen gliding across the grass, and ghostly figures are spot- ted in the woods near Soldier’s Hole. High on the list of in- vestigations they haven’t been able to conduct yet, Gingras (L-R) Tony Silvestri and Tyler Gingras of the Thunder Bay Paranormal Society. Tyler Gingras during a paranormal investigation at the Founders' Museum. says, include the Prince Arthur Hotel and the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital. Another effort to research local ghost stories and leg- ends is happening through Facebook. Carroll Merritt’s Ghost Stories of Thunder Bay group is encouraging residents to share their stories there. “The question of why is there a haunting here is the question I want to answer,” Merritt says. “So to answer the question you have to look to the history of the place. When we witness the activity we are likely wit- nessing the past as it happened for the spirit. It fascinates me to literally walk alongside his- tory in that way.” Merritt is working to build interest in the group. “I do hope that people will begin to share,” she says, adding, “Although people enjoy a good ghost story, if you tell them you have seen a ghost they as- sume you are crazy or mak- ing it up. We want to believe in ghosts and we don't at the same time.” For more information, search the Thunder Bay Paranormal Society and Ghost Stories of Thunder Bay on Facebook.