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We received the following account in June 2012

"After exploring caves along the Irvine river in Elora last week, my friend wanted to look for duck feathers.

I had recently discovered that one could just navigate along a narrow ledge to a more open area to a short spot of dry land slightly ahead of where the Irvine meets the Grand river (below the famous Lover's Leap). Lots of ducks and geese tend to hang out in the quiet area there as the path is not obvious and humans generally don't like to get their feet wet. So we decided to risk a soaker and edge around the cliff.

Having made our decision, we quickly negotiated the rocks and made our way to where cliff face crept right up to the edge of the river. As we did so, we noticed a pair of young girls ahead of us who apparently had the same destination in mind. I had waved at the two earlier (whom I judged to be around 13) but did not get any response other than slightly incoherent giggles at the antics of my dog. I had also seen them huddling under a ledge, and my friend had as well. She also had tried to greet them and from their lack of response gathered that they were hiding some illicit behaviour "from the adults".

The water was bitterly cold and the two girls were careful to keep their feet out of the river as they edged around the bend and out of sight. We were at most a minute behind them on the narrow path. Just before reaching the point where the going got tricky, both my friend and I detected a strong smell of wood smoke. So strong that I nearly choked on it, although there was no visible sign of smoke in the air and the smell faded as quickly as we commented on it. We puzzled over the strange intense odour but kept on with the tricky task of getting around the cliff face without soaking our shoes.

Once past the bend, it took me several moments to realize that I couldn't see the girls anywhere. There was no place to hide, no caves, and no place anyone could climb up the overhanging cliff face. And we had only been out of view for a minute or two at most. The most plausible scenario was that they had sprinted to the far side of the short jut of land, then waded into the cold water just as quickly to get around another cliff and into the delta where the two rivers joined.

I had no sooner framed this implausible explanation than we flushed a pair of geese who had been sitting peacefully ahead. If the girls had fled that way, they surely would have spooked the geese first.

We immediately returned to the staircase that led up into Victoria park proper and I quickly proceeded to the Lover's Leap overlook. From there I could scan the entire river delta from above, but no one was in sight."

The witness further writes in answer to some questions we had:

"Hmm. I didn't really pay a lot of attention to them as the only truly remarkable thing they did was vanish. I was reminded of the "phantom hiker" story I read on your site recently, which is why I posted it.

They were both in modern dress as far as I recall (I am very slightly nearsighted but I don't wear glasses). One had a bright pink (or maybe red or orange) jacket and similarly light-colored pants. She could have been blonde. The other had darker hair and clothes. Blue jacket I think.

It was Wednesday May 2nd 2012, maybe 7pm or as late as 8pm.

There was no obvious source of the smoke, especially such a powerful scent. It was like inhaling right next to a wood fire -- I really did nearly choke, and my friend commented on it immediately before I thought to say anything. Nothing visible on the air, no lights on the surrounding cliffs. Fires are not allowed anywhere in that area, although there are plenty of dead pits. We had been all over the Irvine gorge as far as the David Street bridge, on both sides of the river, and had seen no live fires or smoke. It also faded unnaturally fast: there was not much wind down there, and I would have expected even drifting smoke to linger for at least a few seconds.

One point I didn't make was that all of us (there were four in our party although the other two were heading up to the stairs by that point) were carrying small tektites (meteor stones) at the request of the lady who was looking for the feathers. Some say stones of that type increase sensitivity."

Our thanks to our reader for sharing these experiences with us. Have you had a similar encounter? Can you add some further information to this report? Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Your privacy will be protected, and confidentiality is assured.