As glossy new theatres, cinemas and performances venues go up, St. John the Evangelist Church remains firmly planted on the corner of St. Urbain Street and President Kennedy Avenue. It is both an architectural reminder of an earlier era and a fully-functioning Anglo-Catholic Church, which continues to serve its congregation and operate a drop-in center for the needy. What the tens of thousands of tourists streaming past during the festival season likely don't realize is that the Red Roof Church has long been rumoured to be haunted. The hauntings, however, are extremely unusual: they are benign. Interestingly enough, instead of unsettling cold spots and other unpleasant paranormal activities manifesting themselves, the spirit haunting the church is said to be very gentle. Indeed, "warm spots" are known to surface on occasion, comforting the parishioners lucky enough to experience one. The feeling, according to one church-goer, is not unlike “being embraced by a loved one.”
Today, an intimate theatrical studio sits in the basement where Eden Musée once flourished and, according to staff and students, this part of the building is haunted. There are reports of pipes inexplicably banging and strange noises erupting in the basement studio. According to an article in Journal Métro, the school's Technical Director, Yves Duceppe, was very reluctant to go there alone when he was a student from 1979 - 81. At the time, the dark, un-renovated basement was creepy and infested with rats and insects. He never ventured there alone. Apparently, despite being converted into a versatile theatrical studio, the mysterious hauntings continue. Many of the students report unsettling feelings of unease and of being watched by someone or something hiding in the studio's dark recesses. Furthermore, two floors above the studio, there are also numerous reports of a ghostly woman appearing at the top of the stairs leading to the main theatre of the Monument-National.
In another story, the local toll-gate keeper, an old man name Quinn, had the fright of his life one moonlit night. One of his cows had strayed away from the toll-booth and wandered towards the Trafalgar Tower, prompting the owner to go retrieve the animal in the beautiful moonlight. Quinn had heard about the haunting from several people, but he thought it was a joke and had no fear. According to Quinn: “I had just found my cow at the foot of the haunted summer-house and saw, with my two eyes, a beautiful form of a woman looking out of one of the windows. I was transfixed to the spot and could not take my eyes off the vision. She was in white with her hands clasped, as if in prayer, looking upwards. I remember falling down on my knees and crossing myself, and I remember nothing more.”
When asked if she had ever experienced anything spooky, the waitress recalled that once she had gone upstairs for some supplies, and when she reached the top of the stairs she saw the shadow of someone entering a room. She approached and quickly realized that the door to the room, which the shadow had entered, was closed. Confused, she went to the supply room to carry out her task. As she was opening a box, she felt someone lurking behind her. She spun around and saw a dark form wavering in the doorway. The terrified waitress tried to back away, but stumbled and fell over a box as the shadowy form came into the room. The now-trembling waitress feared that the apparition would advance on her, but instead it turned and proceeded to walk right through the wall.
Today the tunnel is used by people who know about its secret entrance. Homeless people sometimes use it for shelter and occasionally artists host clandestine vernissages (art exhibitions) and illegal rave parties. While the tunnel beneath the Lachine Canal is definitely spacious, it is also rumoured to be haunted, according to many of its users. Firstly, there are reports of a growling noise that emanates from within the darkness of the tunnel. According to one man who was contemplating sleeping rough in the tunnel, he heard what sounded like a large animal growling menacingly at him, so he decided to abandon his plan.
Allegedly the 6th floor of the McLennan Library is haunted by the ghostly apparition of an elderly man who wears a strange old coat. He is known to float quietly above the floor, sometimes towards students who are deep in a book or librarians stacking the shelves. Once he selects his target, the apparition is known to glide up behind a person, then lurk, almost perfectly still. He stares intently at his victim until he is noticed. When the startled person reacts, usually by screaming and jumping up from their chair, this ghost is known to vanish into thin air, leaving the victim embarrassed for having disturbed the quietude that makes the McLennan Library famous.
What the visitors are oblivious to is a dark secret: lurking just below the square lies an old dungeon, a series of creepy jail cells that once housed Montreal's most wretched and miserable prisoners, including those awaiting execution. It is the site of the first Montreal Prison, a notorious jail where inmates were locked up in dangerous and unsanitary conditions. The prison also hosted live executions, where cheering crowds on the Champ-de-Mars witnessed criminals being hanged from a scaffold erected in front of the prison wall. The old jail cells are presently off-limits to the public and are rumoured to be haunted, possibly by ghosts of criminals long-since executed.
Schoolgirls enrolled at Villa Maria have been whispering about the hauntings for decades, often to the disapproval of religious officials who were once involved in the school's administration. Despite the school offering a more secular education nowadays, the hallowed halls are still said to be haunted by various ghosts. Certain locations are said to be extremely haunted, including the main lobby, where as mysterious rope sometimes swings on its own accord, and the fourth floor, where students often experience flickering lights and gusts of cold wind, not to mention phantom footsteps and disembodied weeping sounds. Delving into the site's history of the site can provide clues as to what may be causing the hauntings.
McCaskill also mentioned a frightening encounter. One day, while going about his daily routine, he heard a sort of demonic growling noise. It got louder and more menacing, causing him to bolt from the building momentarily in a state of fear. On another occasion, he noticed that a cross had subtly burnt itself into the grass outside the Legion without any explanation - nothing had been placed on the lawn that could have formed the religious shape. Concerning the disembodied voices, in addition to whatever was growling, there is also a chorus of women upstairs who sometimes sing to the sounds of a piano; unusual, because the Legion’s piano is downstairs. There is also the mysterious voice of a child, which Ken McCaskill actually managed to record. Late one night in 2014, after he had locked up, he recorded a muffled child’s voice saying something like “Pick up your Tootsie Roll”. The same young voice, in a clearer tone, also asked: “Can I come downstairs now?”
The building is currently used by the Department of Education. At some point during the 1990s, a female Graduate student had a terrifying encounter in Duggan House. She was scheduled to have an important academic meeting her professor in the large foyer of the building. When she entered, she found him in a plush chair, awaiting her. The student sat down opposite him, put her purse on the ground to the right of her, and flipped open her notebook. She was in the process of explaining some new avenues of research, when suddenly she froze and stopped speaking. Her mouth agape, she stared at the shadowy, spiral staircase to the left behind the professor. The student appeared to be in a state of panic and started pointing at the staircase and screaming. She witnessed the ghostly specter of a woman, clad in a 19th Century petticoat, who materialized on top the spiral staircase and then begin descending into the foyer. The girl was now shrieking hysterically, causing the professor to panic. He immediately spun his chair around to see the imminent danger that was terrorizing his student. There was nothing there.