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    Caveat Salutor


      10:06:01 am, by Admin   , 1650 words  
    Categories: Ghosts & Hauntings

    Caveat Salutor

    This post has been spurred by really, only a small number of questions... but it had to be done to help answer them as I feel more might be coming down the pipe...

    Credit JenniferHeartsU under Creative Commons via Wikipedia

    I have a bit of a reputation... people who know me well know it's undeserved... well, at least not deserved for the same reasons it's ascribed to.

    I admit to being (often) a pompous weenie... because I have a tendency to the pedantic.


    I can be a real "know-it-all" dunghead who feels he can tell people what's what.

    This character flaw is annoying to many... and honestly, I do apologise for it... however... this leopard can't change it's spots in one way.

    I really, Really, REALLY care about the topic of ghosts and hauntings, possibly a little too much, so when something leaps up and bites me hard, holding back my tongue and not commenting (or keeping my fingers off the keyboard and not posting,) is impossible. This said, there is something about the end of Summer and the world's entry to Fall that brings out people who need to have an experience or want to have one in the worst way... and on occasion, whether by design or by accident, there's always someone willing to sell it to them.

    In this case, I have to mention one of my favourite places in the world. Sure, like all things, it's been "better" and "worse" at varying times, but in my scant forty-four years on this planet, I really have little but fond memories of going to The Canadian National Exhibition... The "Ex"... or "The CNE"... and am looking forward this coming season to heading down with kid and Sue in tow to enjoy the festivities.

    Ghostly "doin's" are usually the last thing I think about there... and with good reason...

    As most of you reading this know, I founded the website Torontoghosts in 1997 and I can state, although I lost (through a horrific accident of technology) all my e-mails from 1997 through 1998, at the time of writing this, I've received 62,413 reports. (Thank you mail database!)

    I wish I was making that number up though... 'cuz that's a lot of reading... but I'll be honest, I didn't respond to 'em all... we have a team (thank God!) that are all well trained and worthy and help in significant quantities (obviously)... but there's the number.

    Now, top this off with quite literally dozens of books in our library specifically on ghosts in the Province and City from authors such as Sheila Hervey, Barbara Smith, our friend (and consultant) John Robert Colombo, and many others... and I will have to say this.

    There seem to be, at best, three reports from the CNE... and only from inside (not outside of) two of the Western-end buildings... and only two of the three reports are "first hand"... and not to put too fine a point on it, the stories in question are not all that wahoo in terms of detail or "fright" experience in terms of entertainment value, as it were...

    Heck, from 2003 through 2005, I had a webpage devoted to places in Toronto I didn't have firm stories from where I was asking for help... and the CNE was listed... and the silence about The Ex grounds as a potential "haunt" were a bit deafening.

    Now, in fairness, this is only based on what's been sent into Torontoghosts, Ontarioghosts, PSICAN, ParaResearchers and the writings and collections of several well known authors... but there it is.

    So, ghostly stuff at the CNE usually isn't on the ol' radar with me... unless time and parcels give me a chance to cross the road and go due North East of the grounds...

    ...until this year.

    First, there was an article on a blog about an upcoming book. The article was about a group/person who was indeed doing "ghostly stuff" on the CNE... and... well... have a look... click here... although I can tell you what it was more than anything that got to me...

    The stories for the book and (now) the tours seem to be emanating (initially) from a medium only... not 'normal everyday' witnesses as such... even The CNE on their site kind-of warn that the stories at The Ex that will be discussed originate from this fellow and his group only... but that wouldn't bug me too much (how do I know they're not spot-on after all?)... although I do have a personal feeling that one should have more than a single source like this to base a collection "cases", but that was not the initial issue with me.

    What bugged me is a lot more pedantic. (Read: Smart-Alec'd)

    As evidence of "ghostly doin's", the medium had an old coin lobbed at her... "an 1812 penny"... from Lower Canada.

    I know, since this is read by many of my re-enacting friends, yes... let me deal with the two most annoying (pedantic) errors of this tale...

    #1: The CNE grounds would be in Upper Canada. Not Lower Canada... "Upper" and "Lower" were determined by the flow of the St. Lawrence River... not it's North/South Geographical location. This would be the Canadian equivelant of saying something that happened in Wales happened in Scotland... or something that happened in The Ohio Territories happened in New England.

    #2: Lower Canada didn't have a mint... A quick Google search to Wiki would have sufficed to fix this error... I mean, the reason for the Battle of Baltimore during The War of 1812 (where the Brits lost and a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key saw the old fort's flag against the night sky illuminated by Congreve rockets penned a little ditty about the "rockets red glare" and "bombs bursting in air" over the "flag" that was "still there"...) was because Baltimore had a metal foundry... whereas all the British/Canadian metal goods were shipped in from England. The Canadian Mint didn't strike a coin of any sort until 1858.

    The soldiers who would have been anywhere near the CNE grounds during The Battle of York would have been some Upper Canadian Militia, a handful of Glengarry Light Infantry, a small band of Native warriors, and a small group of Grenadiers from The King's 8th... all of whom would have had generic coin of the realm... if that!

    Of note with The King's 8th... A lot of the battle was more a scrimmage with the American landing party coming ashore at present day Sunnyside beach and beating back the defenders... and legend says that it was a couple of The King's falling through the rotting ice on the big pond nearby during the battle that gave it it's present name... "Grenadier Pond" in High Park...

    So, we have a site with limited (in the extreme) previous reports mixed with a VERY bad history topped off with a slightly (personal) questionable source for information.

    ...and brought to you by a person with a new book to sell who's offering "certified" parapsychology courses and ghost tours... and worse when you look at past outings, but that's neither here nor there.

    My only statement overall...

    Caveat Salutor... "Visitor Beware".

    There's a blurb on the PSICAN message board that goes into more details at http://www.psican.org/messagecentre/viewtopic.php?t=9194
    If you're not a member of the above, it's free to join...

    NOW, allow me to remove my pedantic hat... and look at things objectively...

    We have at least two friends working with/for the CNE and their ghost walks... who we trust... and we have our fingers crossed they will inject some good stuff into what might not be all that wahoo... Maybe the tours won't be based solely on the more questionable stuff.

    Although the fellow in question (the author/group leader/ghost hunter who's spurred this event with his team and medium only,) has a "past very imperfect" with us, perhaps this is simply communications issues... maybe it's not too bad...

    Perhaps his understanding of parapsychology is impressive and somehow not making itself clear. I know we're overly fortunate to work with folks like the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at University of Edinburgh, members of The Parapsychology Association, and, of course, many of our own group (including me) are member of The Society for Psychical Research and devour information and news of the ongoing research into psi, paranthropology, and parapsychology... and he might be well versed in the differences between "ghost hunting" and parapsychology (which are very mutually exclusive...)

    Are things better than I expect? Was this author just have a really bad day at research on a few occasions? Is there more than meets the eye here? Was his first books edited or somehow messed with and made kinda questionable or miscommunicated in some way?

    ...but since people might be heading there for a "ghostly" experience, and people have now asked, my suggestion is still and always Caveat Salutor/Emptor... and, of course, ask questions... and if you want to work from pure statistics and want to increase the chances of some sort of experience, consider crossing the street at the Princess (Prince's) Gates and visiting Old Fort York which, ounce for ounce, is the place that we hear of the most in the city of Toronto proper.

    It's (sadly) not doing anything "ghostly" right now officially, and staff can run hot-or-cold when it comes to discussing things ghostly, but for atmosphere, history, and indeed, the chances of bumping into something that goes bump in the night (although more things are reported in daylight at the fort,) it's your best bet in that neck of the woods... (The centre blockhouse and officer's quarters especially...)

    ...but if you go on the tour... if you listen to the speakers... if things "ghostly" at The Ex get your attention...

    ...like ANY ghostly entertainment activity...

    ...ask questions... understand it might be for "entertainment only"... and...

    Caveat Salutor!

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    The entries found on this blog are based on the thoughts and discussions of Sue Demeter-St Clair and Matthew James Didier....two paranormal investigators/researchers based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The blog is now archived, but will remain online for those interested in reading it. Please have a look for us via these websites:

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