Scugog Shores Heritage Museum

OCTOBER 25th, 2015


[Lana] We left early on the morning of August 2, 2014 to get to Port Perry. Our first stop was at the Scugog Shores Heritage Museum. After living in the area for the majority of my youth, it was one of the few places that I had never visited and I was pleasantly surprised. Inside the main building, were unique artifacts from the area circa the 1800’s including an operator’s switchboard, a post office and a pharmacy’s stock room; however, it was outside in the Heritage Village that the truly interesting occurred.

Strolling through the cemetery, both of us were a little uneasy simply because it wasn’t clear exactly where the graves actually were. We could be walking along and suddenly see a small stone marker beside us nearly hidden in the grass. We carefully made our way over to an amazing tree that had been carved with designs from the local Mississaugas First Nation tribe.  

As we continued further, John came to a point approximately halfway through the cemetery, to what she says felt like a barrier that she couldn’t cross alone. This was only the first of the unexplained feelings we would both sense in this village.

[John] This was a very odd feeling for me. As I’ve described in previous articles, I’ve felt “things” my entire life and so feeling apprehensive about entering a specific area was not strange. However, feeling like I couldn’t cross into an area of my own volition was new. I occasionally feel there are buildings I don’t want to enter or areas or rooms I would rather avoid, but feeling like there was actually a barrier in front of me that was making my legs heavy as though I couldn’t lift them to walk into the other half of the cemetery, was disconcerting to say the least.

Lana graciously asked me if I wanted to leave but I knew I wanted to continue – I just couldn’t do it on my own. So Lana took my hand and led me through the rest of the graveyard to the point ahead where we wanted to explore.

[Lana] At the far end of the cemetery was Head Memorial Church. Right away John seemed to be drawn to the small organ that sat just inside the door… not that strange considering her background in music but this was different. She reached out to touch the keys (an action which surprised me) and then suddenly jerked her hand back. A cold shock jumped from the organ to her finger and stayed there for over five minutes despite it being a very warm day.  

[John] I usually am drawn towards pianos and organs but I so rarely touch them without permission and certainly nothing of age. I tend to be very sensitive to antiques (antique stores are not the most fun for me) and as I walked towards this organ I had the conscious thought that I didn’t want to go closer or touch it, but I was also aware that I was moving closer to it. Honestly, I am not fond of even recollecting this experience because it really threw me. I was strangely aware of almost watching myself in a strange way – not that I was out of my body and looking at the encounter as an observer, but mentally being aware of what was happening and consciously aware of my thought processes while it was occurring.

I continued to walk towards the organ thinking, “Don’t touch it. Don’t touch it,” and then I was standing directly in front of it, watching my arm reach out and my index finger lightly touch a key.

Now… when I say that I watched my arm reach out, please do not take this to mean that it was as though someone else was controlling me. It was not like that. I knew I was making the motion. I knew I was in control of my physical self. However, it felt as though I was also an emotional bystander and could not understand why I was reaching out to touch an object I didn’t want to touch. I felt compelled to touch the organ and so I chose to.

I lightly touched a key (I wish I could remember which key but that part is a blur) and my finger instantly turned cold. Lana described it as a cold shock jumping from the organ to my finger but I don’t think I would say it was like that. It was more like an ice-cold sensation melting into my finger and travelling up my arm to my elbow where it stopped. There was an electric shock sensation as well, which seems contrary to the melting feeling but it had that sharp quality to it.

I know the feeling lasted for what seemed like a few minutes but in reality it may have only been one or two minutes… of that part I am unsure. As the feeling in my fingers was slightly damaged by frostbite a few years ago, I had to ask Lana to confirm the temperature of my finger because though it felt ice-cold to me I was unsure if it was truly cold. Lana confirmed that the one finger was significantly colder than the rest of my hand, which confused me and made me nervous. “What just happened?” I decided to shake it off and move on… though I was very careful to not touch anything else the rest of our time there and I felt somewhat distracted from really focussing attention at much else in the church.  

[Lana] Insisting that she was fine, we continued exploring the old church to find that it housed four organs in total. For reasons that are probably obvious, John didn’t touch any of these other instruments. I did have a strong sense that there was something about the organ that John did touch. Looking back, I wonder if it was something (or someone) attached to the physical object representing the music that was loved so much.

[John] After the experience, Lana reached out on social media to find out what other people might think of it. We heard some possible explanations and honestly I’m uncomfortable with them all. The idea that a being might have been using my energy to try to manifest or that it was something upset that I touched the organ or that it wanted me to touch the organ because of my love for the instrument… all make me shudder. For all I know, maybe it was a weird nerve anomaly in my body that caused the sensation.

[Lana] Outside the church was the museum’s small exhibit about the First Nations’ inclusion in the history of the land. A camp showing how the Ojibway Mississaugas lived during the time that these early settlers moved into the region was completely hidden behind unkempt foliage. If not for having the map provided by the staff, we never would have suspected what lie hidden right before us. 

After trying to view a few buildings only to find them locked and, apparently used for storage, we came to an authentic log cabin. Once again we could feel the weight of history heavy on us…or was it something from history? Personal artefacts littered the small room we had entered. Spinning wheels, a loom and some of the crafts made on them lay strewn about in stark contradiction to the hunting gear and traps which were also found here. A narrow and very steep stairway led up to the second floor which was the community bedroom consisting of seven beds. I made it far enough up the stairs to see what was up there before having to return to the first floor (I am not a fan of heights in the least when I have to climb to get there). Oddly enough, the sensation which I had felt earlier when we first entered the cabin, returned threefold. We were not alone.

[John] While heights do not bother me at all – I’m actually a fan of them – standing on the first floor was more than enough for me. The heaviness that Lana felt when he climbed those stairs was the feeling I felt upon entering this building. I knew immediately that I was not going up the stairs even partway. I don’t know what was bothering me about it. It wasn’t a bad feeling. It wasn’t a negative feeling at all – I don’t think. It just felt uncomfortable and I wanted nothing to do with it.

[Lana] From a historical viewpoint, it was interesting to see the tools and furnace in the blacksmith shop and the items from the woodworker’s display barn but to be perfectly honest, my mind was still back at the cabin. I found myself glancing back quite often. It wasn’t until we walked into the print shop that I could once again concentrate on my current surroundings. The old newspapers and the printing presses that created them were quite intriguing.

[John] I was the same. I kept looking back towards to the cabin wondering why we felt that way. What was it that created that feeling? (I always wonder this when I have these feelings of heaviness or of something else being there. It isn’t always a bad feeling, just a different feeling.)

[Lana] From there we moved on to the Lee House. One of the founding families of Greenbank (a small community just north west of Port Perry), the building was representative of a common Victorian era home in the region. Once again I had a faint uneasiness upon entering the domicile. I have to wonder though if it wasn’t due to the leg brace in the bedroom just inside the front door. 

[John] I was very uneasy here. I entered the home first and did not even look to my right where the bedroom was. I just felt like I needed to avoid it. Again, I don’t know why. I looked to the left, feeling like someone was there and I saw an antique doll placed on the chesterfield (ugh!). I quickly moved through the house to the back room and looked around. Lana then called me to the front bedroom and I hesitantly looked in, which was when I noticed the chamber pot and the leg brace next to the bed. It creeped me out and I told Lana I was done and ready to move on.

[Lana] With a few final pictures of the exterior of the building, we decided it was time to take our leave. As we made our way to our vehicle, I took a glance back at the log cabin. I was sure that I had seen something peering out at us if only for the briefest of moments and then it was gone.

[John] I didn’t look back at the cabin when Lana did so I did not see what he thought he saw. I do think however, that it was more likely the build-up of eerie feelings and expectedness that led to him thinking he saw something than an energy actually appearing. However as I said, I didn’t look there at the same time so I don’t know what may or may not have actually been there… but I know that Lana truly feels he may have seen something.

[Lana] I did try to communicate with the staff a few days after we returned from our trip just to find out if anyone else had ever noticed any strange happenings at the museum. I never received an answer.  

Perhaps we will return one day to see if we can’t find some answers on our own.

Pareidolia: What Do You See?

OCTOBER 24th, 2015


Have you ever looked at a bush or wallpaper pattern and were sure you saw a face looking back at you? Have you seen the man on the moon? If so, you aren’t alone. This occurrence even has a name… pareidolia. It is defined by as “the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features.”

On October 16th, I posted a photo on our Facebook account which I had taken the night before. I was staying with my parents for a few days and had this feeling like I was being watched. Now I think it was just that I was somewhere I am no longer used to sleeping (even though it was my old room) and I didn’t have John there with me and was missing her. As I lay there staring up at the ceiling, it occurred to me that the light cover sort of looked like it had eyes if I looked at it the right way. I decided to take a picture to see how the camera on my phone would pick up what I was seeing. It came out even better than I could have thought. The barely there eyes were now well defined and extremely prominent but it also picked up an evil looking mouth making the photo quite creepy. I decided I would post the photo the next day.

We had quite a few replies commenting on the creepiness of the image and people relating tales of others seeing faces and feeling watched but one response really stood out. One kind lady suggested that it was time for a cleansing and blessing of the house if the image was in fact “real”. Apparently she took this as an honest attempt on my part of sharing evidence of a paranormal entity. I right away explained to her that I was merely sharing a creepy photo of a natural occurrence and literally had to try to convince her that nothing supernatural was happening.

It really made me think…what if I hadn’t been honest about the origin of the photo? She had shared my photo on her page (where again I explained my purpose of posting) and people were already discussing the validity of the demonic looking figure. How far would this have carried on had I not said anything? This really opened my eyes to how simple a photo can be mistaken for something it isn’t. It also showed me just how easily someone can get caught up in supposed evidence, how quickly it could spread and how easy it could be for hoaxers to play their games.
I have always been interested in the paranormal and have wanted to personally find proof that there is something out there but this just shows me how careful we all have to be in deciding what to believe in as real.