YouTube videos mislead people into believing there's a spooky side to the grounds
Mind you, I do believe in ghosts, but only at locales with practical explanations: Casa Loma, Fort York and Queen’s Park.
In my three, almost four, decades of life I’ve read up on hauntings from Pluckley in England to Poveglia in Italy, as well as the more infamous ones like Amityville and Eastern State Penitentiary.
Heck, I did a lecture at the Black Museum in March on paranormal investigators and their role in shaping modern spiritual horror, so I’m well-versed on most things paranormal.
For starters, people don’t die in cemeteries, and very few traumatic events have happened in them. There may be a few old battlefields like Gettysburg, Shiloh or down in the Niagara Region that have been turned into impromptu cemeteries.
But not Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
Why do I bring this up? Because there are a few YouTube videos with amateur ghostbusters gallivanting around the grounds peering into crypts with their cameras and trying to capture something spooky for the world to see.
A simple Google search, “Mount Pleasant Cemetery haunted”, will manifest these apparitions of the video variety.
The Ontario Catholic Paranormal Research Society produced a grainy shot they allege to be something inexplicable. It looks like the reflection of trees and sunlight on a smooth, black granite surface.
Another video, done by Haunt Ventures — Canadian duo Melissa McKnight and Jason Dasti — is a pedestrian tour of the grounds.
I contacted Toronto author, John Robert Colombo, who is known to gather spooky tales from across Canada in his 36 volumes.
He could not recall any traditional ghost tales involving the grounds, but did mention the longest-serving prime minister was buried there — William Lyon Mackenzie King — and he was a closet spiritualist.
He allegedly chatted with his dead mother while in office.
As for Mount Pleasant Cemetery itself, its people remain as silent as the grave.
Heather Weir, the family service manager, dropped me a digital line on the claims.
“We completely understand your interest in speaking with someone at Mount Pleasant Cemetery and also appreciate that stories like this are all in good fun,” she wrote. “However, out of respect for our families and those buried in the cemetery we’d prefer not to comment.”
It’s unfortunate, because I really was interested in how the management tries to debunk these myths, and keep the reputation of the cemetery grounded.
Regardless, I think the message buried six feet under in my column is that, even if you are interested in the paranormal, don’t trespass on private property or drum up spirits for cheap thrills.
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