The location where this rather chilling haunting occurred is rich in history, and we are following up on a few other reports in the general area...
The following occurred in 1999. My then girlfriend's parents were going to Europe for a month around the holidays, and they invited me to live with them for the time. They lived above a small family run convenience store in Etobicoke.
The building itself was very old, although it had been renovated numerous times, and the apartment had been added fairly recently. Most of the old structure had been changed, save for the basement and the foundation.
There was one entrance at the front of the store, then a door at the back of the store, which led to the stairway upstairs for the apartment, and another door which led to the basement.The register is at the front of the store right next to the door. All along the opposite wall are freezers, as well as the very back wall, right to the doorway.
During the day, I watched the register, while my girlfriend ran errands. The brother worked the store nights so we could have some time to ourselves, so he slept late, or went out with his girlfriend at the time.
The store was never very busy, usually only a handful of customers buying cigarettes or lottery tickets. Thankfully I had a small television behind the counter to keep me occupied.
Late one morning I looked up from the TV and caught sight of movement in one of the security mirrors which shows the back row of freezers. I could see what looked like a woman, dressed in heavy black garments briefly in the mirror. I was confused, because the door was right next to where I was sitting, and it had a bell on it to announce anyone coming through. I hadn't heard a sound of anyone coming in.
I thought it might be a relative, or someone that had come down from the apartment, but I knew no one was upstairs when I came down in the morning, and I hadn't seen anyone come in at all. I was a bit concerned it might be a neighborhood crazy, maybe some confused old lady who had somehow come in through the back.
I walked quickly towards the back of the store (very small ... Maybe 30 feet deep, 20 feet across) never taking my eyes off the mirror. As I rounded the corner, I caught sight of black fabric, and that was it. Nothing else. The store was empty. I checked the back door, and it was still locked.
Later that night, as we sat down for dinner, I talked to my girlfriend about it. I started into it as a joke, but the look she gave me stopped my heart. She herself had never seen anything, but her mother had told her many times about this woman in black.
She then told me that there were always strange things happening in the store. Stuff would be moved around on shelves. Sometimes the freezer at the back of the store would be open, or extra condensation would be found on the glass of one particular door.
As well, they had two dogs that stayed in the store overnight to protect it, and it was kind of assumed they might knock things over, or open the freezers.
The brother apparently had seen the woman in black as well and my girlfriend had just assumed he was going along with their mother. She was very skeptical of pretty much everything.
When the brother had closed up the store for the night, he came upstairs and we talked to him about what I had seen. He had done some research on the area, and told me he had even seen a photo of the original building. It was at one point, according to him, the only structure in the entire area. He said it used to be a farm house, which as Toronto sprang up around it, was converted to a general store.
Apparently, there used to be a door right where I had seen this lady vanish. It had been bricked up a long time ago.
It was at this point the brother asked me if I had ever gone in the basement.
No one in the family, except for the father would willingly go down there. Even the dogs wouldn't set foot there, and always slept facing the door, giving it ample room.
All that was down there, was a cotton candy machine cart and a few coops, where he nursed injured pigeons back to health. The pigeons needed feeding, and neither one of them were willing to set foot in the basement. So, I volunteered. At this point, still brave. My girlfriend would not leave the apartment. Her brother would go with me as far as the store, but not into the basement. Not at night, and not without people in the store.
The light was on a draw string in the middle. The original foundation was still very visible, and the ceiling was very low (I'm over 6-foot tall).
Telling the brother that if he closed the door, or if in any way thought he could prank me, I would hurt him. A grown man, and he looked absolutely terrified.
I could hardly breathe walking down the steps. I was full of dread ... Like I remember feeling as a kid, while waiting for my father to find out what I'd done, the brief moment of terror before punishment.
Again, considering the conversation upstairs, I had every reason to be terrified. I could hear the pigeons fluttering around, bouncing and scraping off their wooden convalescence boxes. I snapped on the light, fed the birds, snapped off the light, and fled. I had no sensation of a presence, just creeping fear and a serious bout of claustrophobia.
I flew back up the stairs, almost bowling over the brother. He also broke into a run when he saw me coming and we half tripped, half flew up the stairs. As we collapsed in the apartment, my girlfriend immediately demanded to know what had happened. Her brother looked to me for an explanation, and I sheepishly explained nothing had happened, I just really, really didn't want to be there.
The next morning I went downstairs to open the store. I let the dogs up into the apartment and unlocked the door to collect the newspapers.
The day passed without any incident, although I watched the mirror and the back corner of the store all day.
It wasn't until a few nights later that anything significant happened. While we were sitting upstairs watching TV. The entire apartment flickered, like a power surge.
The three of us kind of looked at each other, and then we heard a big crash from downstairs followed by the dogs barking and snarling and snapping. My girlfriend screamed, but her brother and I both thought instantly of the logical (illogical?) explanation. We thought they were being robbed. We burst down the stairs and found both dogs snapping and growling at the basement door, but backing away from it, rather than moving towards it.
Neither dog particularly cared for me, but had never been vicious. When the brother tried to grab one by the collar, it turned and snapped at him, before running to lie down behind the counter and whine. The other dog snarled and lashed at me, before the brother caught it by the collar and dragged it yelping away from the door.
We checked out the store, but nothing was out of order, nothing was different than how the brother had left it when he locked up.
The dogs went quiet. And we could hear noises coming from the basement. It sounded like very soft thumping or knocking. Again, the brother refused to go, let alone even open the door. He flat out stated that if I opened the door, he was going upstairs and leaving me with the dogs to stay and fight. He was already making his way up the stairs.
I don't know why, but I stayed behind and stared at the door. After chiding myself for a few minutes, I got up the courage and opened the door. At once I could tell what the sound was.
The pigeons were FREAKING out.
I had no flashlight, and no real light to speak of, but I decided to just run down, switch on the light and have a look. I figured whatever happened, the light would scare anything otherworldy away. I also expected to see something tipped over. It all started to make a bit of sense, something got knocked over in the basement, scared the pigeons. Pigeons were making a racket, and that spooked the dogs. Seemed to make sense to me.
I ended up going very slowly down the stairs, half turned, so if I had to break into a run, I could do so without tripping and breaking my neck. I was near the bottom of the stairs, and I stooped low to avoid hitting my head. I grabbed the light and snapped it on. The pigeons were still going crazy, fluttering and kicking up feathers. They weren't making any sounds (like clucking or cooing) just the sounds of them trying to beat a frenzied escape.
This is where I lose all rational explanation. I looked into the very back corner of the basement, into the little patches of darkness. Simultaneously, both pigeons went silent. The darkness ... Moved. It was like a shadow, as if something was moving in front of the light.
The shadow in the back corner stretched slowly to touch the ceiling, then very quickly towards me. I was instantly completely disoriented, and stumbled forward. There was a loud rushing sound in my ears and I felt myself forced downwards, almost horizontal to the floor as if pushed down by the back of the neck. I didn't feel hands, or anything touch me. It felt almost like gravity increased 10x.
The shadow passed over me, along the ceiling. It felt like ... Hard to explain. It was cold, but it felt like it pulled my skin tight. Sort of like when you first take off a glove in the winter time after coming inside and you start to heat your frozen skin. It was only as it passed. It felt just as cold all across my body too, whether it was on bare skin or where I was clothed. There was no residual cold feeling, although I did shiver violently for some time after.
My balance came back too, and the rushing died down in my ears. My breathing normalized as much as it could. I didn't even shut off the light or close the door, I just half stumbled, half-ran up the stairs.
I didn't sleep a wink that night. And although I would attribute it to the excitement and their poor health, but both pigeons died very shortly after.
Our thanks to the witness for sharing this report.