The death of a woman who may have been looking for ghosts in a Gothic-style building where a professor was murdered several years ago is a tragedy that should serve as a warning to all thrill-seekers, a paranormal investigator said Thursday.
Police were called after the 29-year-old woman fell several storeys during the early hours at the University of Toronto building.
“The general public has a lot of misperceptions,” said Sue Durroch, co-founder of the Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society.
“Because of the Hollywood-ization of ghost stories and fictional ghost stories, people get these impressions that a spooky looking building must be haunted or if there’s a tragedy associated with it, it must be haunted. Of course, that’s absolutely incorrect.”
Early in the day, Toronto police Sgt. Dave Vickers was reported as saying the woman and a 34-year-old male friend were in the building because they thought it was haunted.
Const. Wendy Drummond later refused to confirm any ghostly connections, saying only that the pair was trespassing and exploring the roof-top area. In January 2001, 50-year-old artist and lecturer David Buller was found stabbed to death in his studio in the building at 1 Spadina Cres.
The unsolved killing may have fed rumours that the building, erected in 1875, is visited by ghosts.
The man crossed from one roof to the other, but a wire the woman was holding onto gave way and she plunged to her death, Drummond said.
Ghost tours do take place at other university buildings but 1 Spadina Cres, is not among them, said Richard Fiennes-Clinton, a guide with Muddy York Walking Tours. He said he had never been able to unearth ghost stories related to the structure but said he could understand why some might believe otherwise given the building’s imposing style.
The ghost research society, which has had a website for almost 13 years, also said it had never had any reports or even queries related to paranormal activity at the building.