“I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”
The Historic SDG Jail is one of the oldest public structure in Ontario, dating back to 1844. There have been various episodes by the staff and visitors of foul smells, creepy sounds, and phones ringing that have been disconnected for years. This is a true story that happened to us when we visited the night of paranormal investigation and intrigue from 7 PM – 1 AM.
As many ghost stories begin, my day started out quite pleasant. I checked in to the Best Western in Cornwall with Lindsay, where we were greeted by lovely staff who checked us into our room for the night.
We entered an adorable room with rustic decor including a seating area fitted with a fireplace at the far end of the room. The two queen-sized beds were made to feel comforting and reminiscent of home with their warm colours and fuzzy blankets. The bathroom was impeccable and fully stocked with all the necessities including a hair-dryer and lovely scented soaps. I thoroughly enjoyed having this room to come back to at the end of my paranormal-filled evening.
Before we could enter the Historic SDG Jail, we needed the kind of courage you can only find when your belly is full of delicious food. We made our way to the quaint and stone-laded streets of downtown Cornwall to a local spot called Schnitzels European Flavours. Locals rave about their pub-style grub which includes wood fire pizza.
Let me tell you – we were not disappointed! We ordered a creamy beer and cheese dip (and subsequently gobbled it all down before getting a photo), Caesar salad topped with in-house dressing and shaved parmesan and a meat-lovers pizza which had the finest tomato sauce I have ever tasted. I would recommend Schnitzels to anyone who makes their way to Cornwall to give their meat-lovers pizza a try.
Stuffed to the gills, I rolled myself over to the famously-haunted Historic SDG Jail. The opulent staircase brings you into a lovely mahogany entrance with a spiral staircase. After making our way up the stairs, we entered a massive courtroom where pews lined the walls and an old prisoner box sat alongside the wall. The mood was already set, with a crew of serious-looking gentleman in matching black shirts and a table full of paranormal electronics awaiting our arrival.
We were introduced to the Paranormal Investigators, the ‘Phantoms of Yore’ -social workers by day, paranormal investigators at night! The crew of Phantoms of Yore consisted of three social workers who work within the prison system and have a love for paranormal activity. These events were created for locals and tourists to experience the (sometimes dark) history of historic sites. Our investigation was led by Elliot Luijkenaar, who has 11 years of experience working in corrections and refers to himself as “Big Boss Man” during the initial introduction to the ghost hunt. Elliot has seen what he refers to as “full-on shadow people” in the Historic SDG Jail, but does say that with the paranormal you never know if mind-games play a large part in what you see and hear.
Once we were introduced to the equipment (spirit box, EMF reader, infrared cameras, night vision cameras, and monitoring station) we were going to be using, we were then split up into teams of six to explore different sections of the jail. First up for my group, was the basement tunnel where the “Lady in Black” resides. Check out our video below which features a white orb coming from underneath the chair and up towards the camera! These are not the actions of a normal piece of dust or a bug. I also managed to get a photo that had a very strange line appearing above Lindsay’s head in the photo, something that I could not repeat when trying to retake the image.
We ventured up to the old warden’s quarters, where it is said that apparitions of children often appear. There were old toys including an Elmo and a light-up ball that was placed to entice the young spirits to communicate with us. On many occasions, the ball would light up on its own, which was creepy considering you needed to move the ball for it to turn on. While we were in this room, Phantoms of Yore had live streaming set up on their Facebook page for their fans to join in on the spooky encounters.
However, the most frightening (and talked about) experience of the entire night happened in the basement with another group. Renowned clairvoyant Marc Jade joined one of the ghost hunting teams to connect with the spirits using a Ouija board. One brave hunter was willing to place her fingers on the planchette with Marc to see who they could connect with. After a few questions, the most remarkable yet terrifying thing happened. The board itself, which was sitting on top of a felt-covered table, began slowly turning under the planchette. After feeling a little jealous abut missing this encounter, I was told that the entire experience was taped and on the Phantoms of Yore’s Facebook page. This was by far the most unbelievable thing I have ever seen, I suggest that you watch this for yourself!
I interviewed Marc after the event was over to learn a little more about his background. Marc Jade has been connected with the other side since he can remember, and can see into the future but is best known for being a medium and connecting with those who have passed away. Marc said that on this particular night at the SDG Historic Jail, he could sense many spirits including a man named Charles, who used to be a guard. When I asked him what he thought about the Ouija board moving under the planchette, Marc stated that he felt negative energy that was to the level of being a poltergeist. Spooky!
Who would have thought that chasing ghosts could be so exhausting? I felt as though I had spent all of my energy trying to communicate with those who have long been gone from this earth. Making our way back to the Best Western Hotel, Lindsay and I instantly crashed in our beds and had one of the best nights sleep we’ve had in a long time.
The next morning, we made our way downstairs for our complimentary breakfast. There was a beautiful line-up of hot and cold foods including bacon, eggs, hash browns, build-your-own oatmeal stations, and most importantly, an automatic pancake making machine! With the click of a button, I had two buttery, soft pancakes to dig into before the drive back to Kingston. There was no better way I could think of to end my awesome trip than those sweet and delicious pancakes!
Phantoms of Yore will be continuing to travel through South Eastern Ontario this month to visit other historic sites that hold a lot of secrets from the past. If you’re brave enough, you can join them at the Ganahauntway event and at Murneys Tower in Kingston for another ghost hunting experience. Tickets to these events sell out FAST.
Thank you Cornwall Tourism, Tourism Of SDG Counties, and Phantoms of Yore!