Motoring in the afterlife

One spot at the Oshawa Automotive Museum that is said to be a ghost "hangout."
One spot at the Oshawa Automotive Museum that is said to be a ghost “hangout.”

The Oshawa Automotive Museum has been a historic staple in the city of Oshawa for more than 50 years, celebrating and showcasing the history of the automotive industry. The building houses a wide collection of antique cars and automotive artifacts, but some say the museum is home to much more than just automotive history.

Over the years, there have been many reports from staff and patrons of the museum who say they have seen or reported strange phenomenon around the building that can only be described as ghostly encounters.

No one really knows when the museum hauntings started, according to the Paranormal Seekers, a paranormal research and investigation group based in Durham Region.

The Paranormal Seekers are led by Rachael Cross, an expert in the paranormal who has been having encounters with spirits since she was a little girl.

 “I grew up believing in ghosts and reading about them,” said Cross. “My grandparent’s house was said to be haunted and I spent a lot of time there, but spirits never bothered me until my family moved to Courtice.”

Cross said that every time she was at her grandparent’s house, she regularly saw spirits running across the backyard toward the swimming pool.

But of all the places the Paranormal Seekers have been, the museum seems to have a pull that keeps them wanting more.

Throughout their investigations of the museum, the team has discovered a number of unusual phenomena such as orbs of light floating above cars, as well as voices on their digital recorders.

The team has come across at least five different spirits at the museum, each with a different story. These spirits have come in contact with Brenda Montgomery, the team’s psychic, and told her a little bit about why they are there.

“There is Cameron, a really friendly spirit in his late 40s. He’s our tour guide each time we go to the museum and he points out the places where the other ghosts hide,” said Cross.

Montgomery said the spirit of a little girl told her she is attached to one of the cars in the museum because it belonged to her family. They say there are also the spirits of a little boy who died in a fire next door to the museum, a pharmacist who enjoys the cars, and a guard who still continues to work his job long past retirement.

 “My first time at the Automotive Museum, we were investigating and my fully charged, top of the line camera didn’t work for 20 minutes,” said Colin Williamson, a paranormal investigator and photographer. “The weirdest part was hearing a voice say ‘hello’ and I was the only one who could hear it. Everyone else looked at me like I was crazy but later on the electronic voice phenomenon right before I say ‘who just said hello’ all you hear is ‘hello’.”

So what is it that makes ghosts affect our electronic devices like that, or make noises that only certain people can hear? Many experts, such as Cross, believe the ghostly plain of existence – the part of our world that shares space with the paranormal world – can be picked up by and affect electronic devices.

Ghosts are able to manifest themselves or their energy by absorbing the power from things like cameras or phones, according to Williamson.

This theory, shared by many experts, may explain why electronic devices can act up, or just die altogether when a person is in or around a place said to be haunted.

 According to Williamson, it also explains why it’s possible to use a device such as an electromagnetic field detector (EMF) to detect the presence of a ghost because they give off EMF readings.

However, if people think a house or a place around town is haunted there’s always a “level of skepticism,” according to Cross.

Not only do ghosts supposedly give off EMF but everything around does as well. From the phone in your pocket to the breaker box in your basement, there are any number of things that can give off false EMF readings, according to Cross. 

However, according to the Paranormal Seekers there are no false readings coming from the Canadian Automotive Museum. The investigators did what they call a ‘walkthrough’ before their investigations, to get base readings for their equipment and see if there is anything around that could be interfering with the devices.

The Paranormal Seekers have given many firsthand accounts of the goings on at the museum and pictures and audio recordings of what they call spiritual encounters are on their website