Located near Bancroft, Ontario, The Baptiste Lake Inn (formerly Grant's Inn,) came to our attention through an e-mail sent to us by a reader... "Hello. I have recently visited an old (100yr+) Inn on Baptiste Lake near Bancroft, Ontario. While we were there, some of our more sensitive members picked up a man hurrying from one of the guest rooms, going downstairs to the location where the post office would have been (through the conference dining room,) to the lakeside door which would have exited out to the train station and back again. Solid black things that looked like coattails and "human shapes" as well as solid white ribbons and semi-transparent mists were all seem by members of our crew. The sounds of things banging and making other sounds were heard which goes with previous reports of footsteps in "empty" hallways and moving up and down the stairways which have been reported long before our visit.
Being quite perceptive to energies, I immediately felt a presence in the Inn. I asked to view the rooms of the Bed and Breakfast section (upstairs) One door would not open at first try. I knew the energy was there. On second try, it opened.
The view was of the lake. A myriad of details of the ghost (and his little sister) came into my mind quickly. The owners are new. I asked them if they felt the building was haunted and they laughed a little and responded that at times it seemed so.
I didn't divulge to them my instincts, yet am increasingly curious as to the accuracy of what I felt. I will try to find old newspaper items on this event, as I feel that these children drowned."
Staffer Tamara while sitting after dinner in the lounge noticed someone peeking around the kitchen door at her. Looking up, the (again, very solid,) shape of a human head (Tamara noted it was at the right height too,) moved slowly and methodically out of view and back behind the door. Of course, no one was in the kitchen at the time (someone playing a joke or even just spying would have had a VERY difficult time to move away unnoticed and without making sound,) and this shape had even managed to block out the lights reflecting off various things and when it moved, the lights that could be seen returned to normal.
Earlier, director of GHRS, Matthew Didier has been talking to assistant director Lynda Quirino while she settled her belongings into her room. He stayed outside her door watching her unpack through the opening created as the door was partially open. He moved back into his room across the hall then ventured back to continue the conversation. He noted that she had apparently put on a green cardigan and was in the process of adjusting her bed with her back to him. He started talking to her, opened the door completely to enter the room and found it empty upon walking in.
"That's creepy" he said which (thankfully,) Lynda, who was in the washroom next to her room overheard.
Toward 1:30am, Matthew was intrigued as he watched what he later described (with a lot of help,) as a human form (described as being like the predator in the movie of the same name in "stealth mode",) moving from place to place in the conference dining room. Unsure if it was just him or a trick of the lights, he had Tamara Zyganiuk, Jennifer and Lynda (the last of the group present,) come and see it. They all saw the shape and noted it was definitely three dimensional, human shaped and about ten feet away from the back wall.
After looking a little like four chicken impersonators bobbing their heads back and forth to see the dimensions of this thing, it seemed to move around a little and just as it had for Tamara in the kitchen, a reflection of light of a far doorknob would again brightly shine into the room in which they were seated and if it was in front of the this light source, no shine would be detected.
Matthew took a laser pointer and the "shape" definitely affected the beam. It was impeding it's ability to shine brightly on the far wall and when movement had been detected, the beam shined brightly against the wall where it had last failed to do so on the last test. The consensus was that it really did not seem to like the beam as it moved very rapidly after it's use.
Matthew found himself in an interesting place when he had to tell the Tamara Zyganiuk not to "fixate" on the shape as it didn't seem to be going anywhere and would be there for a while. It's rare to be able to say "don't worry about the ghost, it'll be there next time." The shape did for all intents and purposes stay within a fifteen feet area for a good forty-five minutes. When it did move, the results were bordering on the spectacular.
At about 2:30am, Matthew, now sitting with his back to the small dining area, noted the smell of cheap perfume. This was followed by a dramatic drop in temperature (in a room that had been "too warm" thanks to an airtight wood stove located in it,) and an overwhelming smell of what was deduced to be lavender talc. This cold and the accompanying smell lasted a good thirty minutes.
Having an opened minded group take a walk around the inn, before learning any of the history involved, yielded interesting results.
Nine individuals all armed with a pen, three page questionnaire, and full run of the inn the data produced made for, and still does, interesting reading. Words like "anxious", "tension", and "disoriented" abound through the pages.
The inn itself is a beautiful old building, being 100+ in age. Very few changes have taken place over the years, only two walls have been removed upstairs to make larger rooms. The general store, still in use, still boasts the original counter top. The tin ceilings and walls all add to the warm and charming atmosphere of this cozy inn. The inn is as interesting in history as any you could find in Ontario.
This building was the post office, general store, inn, as well as a train station for the line that ran from Kinmount to Bancroft. Many people have stopped here over years for many purposes, some of which I feel are still visiting or at least haven't left.
After all the participants had walked around filled out there questionnaire it was time for dinner at which time all were filled into the history of our accommodations for the night. During dinner several of our group were aware of feeling someone or something watching our group eating dinner. Many mentioned hearing noises between the old post office door and the door to the hallway. This would later prove to be an interesting observation.
As dinner was over we all went and sat in the living room, enjoying the fire and conversation, many of us had not met in person only via email. Slowly the group started to shrink as people tired from the drive up, and the delicious meal started to make their way to bed. Eventually leaving only four of us sitting in the front room, the time being around 1:30 am.
Matthew, our fearless leader sat in the chair facing the hallway and dining room, and seemed to be distracted by something in the hallway, his head was weaving back and forth. Matthew then asked if one of us would be so kind as to check out what he was seeing. Needless to say the blue chair he was sitting on was now occupied by all four of us. Matt tried to explain what he was seeing describing it as looking through bubble wrap, later we decided that it was more like watching the movie "Predator" when the alien is in stealth mode in the trees. The shape was three dimensional and seemed to move around the dining room. Matthew had also been witnessing a solid shape moving through the hallway. This shape and solid seem to stay between the dining room and hall, every once and awhile moving to the door jam to get a better look at us.
Matthew moved to the couch with his back to the hall and dining room, feeling that whatever it was would still be there to look at when we wanted, and after watching it for two hours we all tended to agree. At that point the shape moved and seem to disappear, at that moment Matthew asked if anyone was wearing or smelled perfume. The response from all three women in the room was no, at first. A moment after Matthew had asked all three of us noticed a sudden and drastic temperature change in the area around us. Goose bumps and shivering the strong smell of ladies lavender talc over took us all. Tamara with a slight cold caught the scent as well. It was an interesting evening to say the least.
Lynda, and myself decided that we were now going to be room mates for the night, figuring that neither of us were going to get any rest. The room we slept in that night/morning was directly over the dining room, and both of enjoyed listening to the things moving in the room below us as we tried to get some rest. Needless to say Lynda and myself slept with a light on, I guess you could say we were scared of the things that went bump in the night.
Although I must say I never really got any sense of being in any harm the whole night. Would I stay there again, well let me put it too you this way, I would love to go back and see if the shape is in the dining room again, or the solid in the hall way. However in saying this I wonder if my imagination would now get the better of me. Sometimes the things in your mind are far scarier then the things right in front of you.
The weekend was...unbelievable. Upon entering the inn, I instantly knew that it was a "busy" place but not entirely of the bodily/tangible kind. There's just so much history and so much atmosphere within its walls, it whispers to you as you walk its floors. Really.
Aside from the exercise with pen and paper and senses which we were asked to do, the entire experience was phenomenal. The exercise itself was eye-opening in that it allowed you to attune yourself to your surroundings in your own time and space which is important. First impressions are outstandingly accurate and the exercise took that importance into consideration. The fact that we were working as a "team" was important and we all had a distinct "rapport" with each other which was not only refreshing but critical - especially in an investigative situation such as this.
As for the experience itself? Captivating! Four sets of eyes cannot be wrong! We all were witnesses to something totally tangible (cold spots/atmospheric distortion) and intangible (no specific facial/physical features to the entity in question) at the same time. And we were all very aware of the change in atmosphere within the room itself. It was almost as if the entities were waiting for the right time to make themselves known and, perhaps, for the right number of people to whom to make themselves known! The combined sensitivity within the room (we were all very aware of our surroundings having experienced countless similar situations) was a factor, I'm sure, behind the success of the visitation. And we were all objective observers though working and existing as a team.
I'd be curious to return in order to secure more obvious "proof" of its existence. The laser pointer was really making it agitated (way to go, Matt!), and yet it was the laser pointer that helped us to realize that it was indeed "there". I knew it wouldn't hurt us and that it was just as curious of us as we were of it; however, the stories of the "Shiva" creature in the back room were making me not just a tad uncomfortable!!!!!! I had the distinct impression that we were under constant observation at the inn and that any and all comments were being savored for use at a later time!
Upon first sight of the Inn (3:30pm) I could picture it in an old black and white photograph. It seemed to emanate a long and rich history as a meeting place and as a place of business.
Once inside the house I felt this even more - the store seemed like it hadn't changed in a hundred years except for the products on the shelf.
During the first stages of my observation (while filling out the questionnaire after the initial meeting and before dinner), I experienced what could be described as a definite weakness in my knees while ascending the stairs for the first time. It was as though there were an increase in gravity pulling me downward - not comfortable at all. This subsided as I reached the top and made my way to the back (towards the small bathroom). Nothing unusual about the bathroom except that it was extremely cramped and no place for claustrophobics! Upon entering the laundry room, however, I experienced a buckling in my knees once again and far more pronounced as it was accompanied by a strong vertigo. I stood there for a short time to see if it would pass - it did not. I exited the room and things returned to normal, then re-entered to experience the swimming dizziness yet again. I then chose to leave the room, making a mental note to set a tape recorder up there which I did after dinner.
Other rooms in which I experienced strange sensations were:
Room D - (about 8:30 pm) where I experienced a sense of pressure which escalated as I approached the back of the room, culminating in a slight headache-like jabbing between my eyes which went away as I retraced my steps backward.
The Dining room (around 5pm), which was either simply extremely hot and stuffy enough to cause discomfort (or perhaps it was something else)?
The Conference Room, which was not as oppressive but gave me an impression of activity although it was empty at the time (also around 5pm). It was also notably cooler than the other rooms at the time I first went in. During dinner I kept hearing thumping noises coming from behind me near the outside door - I would turn around each time to find absolutely nothing out of place - it got to the point of being distracting.
When Steve showed us the Basement seemed oppressive but I believe this was more spatial and not paranormal (due to clutter low headroom and cramped quarters).
The Kitchen held an air of mystery - especially after hearing the cook was uncomfortable being there that evening. Once it was vacated, (later, around 10pm) I took pictures and thought to set up a tape recorder but the ongoing conversation in the next room would have made this difficult. I chose instead to place a recorder in Room D (where I had experienced the brief jabbing headache).
The only time I experienced discomfort in the Fleur-de-lis room was when several people were drawn in there at once (about 4-5 of us in the room at once - I did not make note of the time). At that, it was a slight vertigo but nothing more.
My strangest observation (around 5:30pm) involves a door upstairs (the one marked "Emergency Exit" which led to stairs leading to the kitchen). From behind me I heard it open and close a couple of times in a row, then looked over my right shoulder to see it closed. I then tuned back to what I was doing and within 30 seconds heard a banging again, turned and saw it open and close before my very eyes, 3 times rapidly in succession, opening a distance of about 1.5 - 2 inches each time. When open I did not see anyone through the gap or any shadows to indicate there was someone on the other side. My partner was there at the time and heard the door but did not turn around in time to see anything. My first thought (and the other researcher's) was one of logic - that there was a draft created from someone opening the outside door to the kitchen downstairs. Perfectly logical until I realized the door had been CLOSED to begin with. Drafts don't often open doors that are latched shut, and it was a newer door with a good doorknob and it fit quite snugly in it's frame - no play around the latch to allow shifting or banging. At this time unfortunately I had not started taking photographs, but I took several of that door later on, as every time I walked by it was in a different position - wide open, shut tight, slightly ajar... of course this was not unusual in itself, only after what I'd seen and heard.
In summary, although I personally did not experience any apparitions or sightings (with the exception of the door scenario), my impression was that the house definitely holds the energy of more than one entity. I did not feel threatened in any way and would definitely go back. It is my impression that the entities there are benevolent and mean no harm, but should be treated with respect (as should be the case when dealing with any haunting).
- Tamara Z.
Update: August 2004
One of our readers wrote us the following note...
I am well acquainted with Grant's Inn. I am related to the original owner, Hiram Grant and Mabel, who was the last Grant family who owned the inn. I have wonderful memories of spending summer vacations there. This was before it was turned into a bed & breakfast. Mabel would let us pick a room and we always chose to "double-up" because we were told the place was haunted! Of course they was teasing us, but we did scare ourselves silly by daring each other to go into the front bedroom - the one with the picture on the wall of the dead baby in her casket! This was Mabel's little sister who died in infancy. Contrary to an earlier report on your web site - there were never any burning candles or other icons surrounding the picture which hung on the wall. There was also no baby furniture - but I imagine that makes for a good story.... [Editor's Note: This was told to us by a former owner... we (the GHRS) didn't actually see the furniture or the picture in question.]
We have visited several times over the years after Mabel passed on - having dinner in the inn when it was bed & breakfast (in the 1980's) and also on a stopover from camping in Algonquin Park. We were very saddened & dismayed that the original place has been torn down and a new one built in its place. The Inn was filled with old pictures and other sentimental things we would have loved to have been able to buy.
How I miss the old place! No matter what stands in it's place, I'm sure the energy of the Grant family will forever remain!