Ghosts, aliens and UFOs of Kawartha Lakes
Kawartha Lakes has its share of things that go boo in the night, streak across the sky or appear in human form from another planet. From Lindsay to Burnt River, no area of the city is safe from paranormal happenings.
Familiar Lindsay ghost stories include Mary at the Flato Academy Theatre, reports of footsteps at the former Lindsay Post office at 15 William St. N., and at the Kawartha Lakes Museum (formerly the Olde Gaol) where unexplained lights and noises are said to occur. A ghost named Hector supposedly haunts Cambridge Street United Church.
There are a few other businesses that have spectral stories attached, although the details are scant. One commercial building in downtown Lindsay is rumoured to have some visitors spooked, vowing never to return. A popular inn in the city has paranormal tales blowing in the wind. Both businesses refused comment. Perhaps they were afraid of scaring away customers.
Kat Lipinski is a Lindsay psychic and medium — yep, she connects with dead people daily over the phone, via Zoom or in person at her business Roma Therapy in Lindsay.
She has many tales about local apparitions that are not the usual ones to draw people to the area to ghost hunt. Out of consideration for homeowners, she is vague about their locations.
One of her first unsettling times in Lindsay was just after she and her husband rented a house on Pottinger Street. She said many weird things happened there. “Guests felt uncomfortable and none of us liked being home alone,” Lipinski said. Her husband Andrew is not frightened of any perceived ghosts but would get nervous going into the basement. Lipinski added, “Sometimes if I was alone, I would go outside just to avoid being inside alone.”
A call to the landlord did not shed much light, other than that a hoarder lived there before the Lipinski family.
Some paranormal experts believe a messy house would give unforeseen forces too much power and negative energy. Lipinski said this absolutely could have been the case. She also mentioned a Polish belief in the domovoi — which is a house spirit. She said some cultures believe you have to appease house spirits by bringing them offerings and by keeping the kitchen clean.
After renting, the couple purchased a home in Lindsay. They viewed a Victorian-style home on one of the streets behind the Flato Academy Theatre. Lipinski said when she walked in, she couldn’t breathe. “It was like the wind was knocked out of me.”
The home’s design was strange, according to Lipinski. “It was separated in weird ways. There was not a lot of energy flow inside.”
The couple decided it was not the house for them. “When we left there, I was panting and sweating,” and when they got home, she said, “I could not stop thinking about it.”
Lipinski called the owner and asked if the house was haunted. The woman did not know, but said she thought the house at one time had been used to train Catholic nuns or priests. What she said next was not a surprise to Lipinski. “I am on oxygen and I have COPD very bad.”
While there were no signs of illness or an oxygen tank for Lipinski to see, she said it made sense that she picked up the breathing issues with her abilities.
Lipinskid said newer homes can be haunted as well, adding that residents could bring energy with them or spirits may not want a building there. “If you put a house or a building somewhere, you are disturbing things.”
She investigated a reputed haunting in a newer subdivision house in Lindsay about 10 years ago. As soon as the family moved in, their doorbell rang at 3 a.m. The husband awoke and opened the door. No one was there. It had snowed that night and there weren’t any footprints leading to the door. He poked his head out and was perplexed.
Lipinski said things started getting strange soon after. She believes the man left the door open a little too long and let something in. A kitchen kettle would boil by itself. The family would often come home to their pet birds flying around the house when their doors had been firmly locked.
Lipinski said the most unsettling incidents involved family members hearing each other in rooms when they weren’t there. In one instance, the husband and wife and their roommate were in the kitchen and they heard the roommate clearly speaking from the hallway. She said it was unnerving to the family, but these strange happenings stopped. The doorbell never rang by itself again. Lipinski speculates that whatever was there eventually accepted the family.
While the medium does not advertise ghost removal, she is contacted occasionally by people believing their homes are haunted.
She said in nine out of 10 places there is nothing spectral, “There is mental illness or addictions or EMF — electro-magnetic fields.” She added she believes that a lot of copper wiring in a home can create feelings of paranoia. It can also make people anxious or feel like they are being watched, she suggested.
“There are people who just need medical help and do not have ghosts in their homes.”
Lindsay actor Christopher Lee Grant leads the Habitat for Humanity ghost walk through Lindsay, highlighting the usual spooky spots plus interesting historical tidbits.
One evening, the group stopped at the front of a dark Alexandra Public School on Sussex Street North. Grant was telling them the schoolyard formerly housed a cemetery.
According to the Canadian genealogy records, the first Protestant cemetery in Lindsay was on the grounds where the school now stands. The location was inadequate and according to a newspaper file, the bodies were transferred on May 22, 1876, via a wagon, loaded with rotten coffins three tiers high, down Kent Street on its way to Riverside Cemetery on Lindsay Street South for reinterment. As Grant finished the unsettling tale, the front outside light at the school flickered on. Grant said, “It was great timing for the crowd.”
He said he believes people like ghost stories because they want to glimpse themselves in the future, “People like to know what’s beyond life.”
Not all otherworldly tales are on terra firma. There is an average of 1,000 reports a year in Canada of UFO sightings. Lots of them are easily explained away as drones, weather phenomena or corporate or government technology.
Kimberly Slade has a cottage in Burnt River where her family enjoys stargazing. Escaping the Toronto-area light pollution allows them to see the constellations one star at a time, except on Aug. 19 this year, “We saw something that resembled a train with lighted windows, or a glowing pill capsule,” Her husband thought for a minute it was a UFO.
A quick check revealed it was a Starlink satellite. Slade said they had seen Starlink satellites before, but this looked different.
According to the astronomy app Star Walk, the satellites look like “a moving chain of bright dots resembling a brilliant train of lights.” Starlink is a satellite constellation system that aims to deliver global internet coverage — no doubt confusing skyward gazers around the world.
Not all unbelievable lore can be easily explained away, especially when the people central to the story have died. Monica Smith’s* mother was an artist and her dad ran a small business in downtown Lindsay. (The Advocate is using this pseudonym to protect Monica’s real identity, given she has been a victim of domestic abuse.)
In the early 1980s, Smith’s mom shared that their family, along with a bunch of other Lindsay people, were approached by “men in black” in the late 1950s. They wore black suits and had black eyes. Smith said her mom thought the men were “very persuasive” and had mesmerizing eyes.
The purported aliens then asked the group to leave with them on their ship. Smith said her mom was willing to go, but her dad did not believe or trust them and refused. Smith says she was shocked but believed her mom and regrets she never brought up the subject with her again.
Smith’s mom said she never saw the other people again. Perhaps they moved away, or just maybe, had the flight of a lifetime?