The Archives: NAGS Keefer Mansion

The Niagara Amateur Ghost Seekers (NAGS) investigated the Keefer Mansion in Thorold, Ontario. Below are the results of that investigation. In attendence was Elvis Podvorac of the future The Shadows Project and The Cogeco New Team.

Watch the Video Here:

Notes from GhostBoy:

This was my fourth visit to Maplehurst Mansion, which is now known as The Keefer Mansion Inn, an upcoming tourist destination and bed and breakfast.

As we pulled into the driveway I could sense the energy of this grand 33-room home situated high above the town of Thorold and overlooking he Welland Canal. As we exited the vehicles and approached the home I could see movement through the windows on the third floor. Several in our group commented that those windows in particular draw their eyes and some claimed to see movement.

As the group milled about the exterior of the home I felt uneasy and sick to my stomach. I could smell horse flesh and something more, but I couldn’t define it. In the front of the home, my eyes caught movement once again within the home. Elvis said he saw something to and confirmed what I was seeing.

I once again went around the side of the home which faces West. There I looked up at the third floor windows once again and saw two figures looking down. Once was a child of sorts, or at least smaller than the other. The other was larger and more curious and continued to watch my movements for some time. I felt really uneasy and then joined the group.

At this time both the accompanying film crew and Phil Ritchie of Keefer Developments arrived and we proceeded into the front door. Mr. Ritchie flicked on the old fashioned gas lamps on the exterior of the house, giving us a feeling of times forgotten. He also indicated that they were having electrical problems on the second floor and that some of the lights were not functioning. It is ironic, because on previous investigations with Pauline Raby for the book Shadows of Niagara, the second floor proved to be the most active. Kevin, before I had joined the Niagara Amateur Ghost Seekers had explained to me that he, too, had the same experiences in the same rooms on the second floor.

Naz proceeded to speak on camera to the film crew and then I took the film crew on a small tour throughout the house and explained the basics of ghost hunting. I also had to dispel rumours of an insane asylum, a full morgue in the basement and other exaggerations about the home.

The crew seemed very nervous to be in the home and were very jumpy. I left them on the second floor and proceeded downstairs to join the group. I found them in the front right parlour and Elvis kept going in a motion around the room. I began to do a similar pattern and also spun on my heels a few times. I had the impression of dancing and Elvis and Naz both said they felt a similar feeling.

The second parlour facing west offered something different and rather repulsive. There was the smell of feces that did not remain in one part of the area. It seemed to travel about. Someone indicated that perhaps the spirit was sick. At this time the smell intensified.

Looking for a logical explanation we checked the washrooms that did not have this smell. We continued to smell the odour in different part of this large room, and then suddenly it was gone.

As I exited the parlour I glanced up at the stairs and on the landing I saw movement. I began taking pictures. At this time my camera, which had fresh batteries was drained of power. The one/off switch (not easily flicked by mistake) was constantly turning off. Then the power just died. I got a total of three pictures the whole night. We remained staring and concentrating on the main stair case and then I decided to go up. There I sensed a female energy, one that was cautious, but very welcoming and warm. At a certain location on the steps the warm feeling of getting hugged and encouraged was present.

I continued through the main hallway on the second floor and sat down at the window bench overlooking the front of the house. The film crew had made their exit and the team came up the steps. As I sat there I received the words “Pancreatic Cancer”. I began to question this but did not get a response. I then proceeded to go into the bedroom on the east side of the front of the house. Here I encountered once again the spirit who was most strong in my investigations with Pauline Raby for Shadows of Niagara. This time I felt the same feelings but got a little more information. I felt a soldier, a veteran of the Second World War. I asked his name and rank and got no response but could plainly see a man who was proud, demanded respect, felt depressed and wondered about his fate. I could see his pants and boots and even made the motion of keeping my heels together and marching. It felt like this spirit was of the German army and most likely was here when the home was a place for the elderly.

We continued towards the back room, where again in previous investigations felt a very strong energy. This time was not much different. At one point I asked Kevin to turn off his halogen headlamp because I thought it was distracting. He said OK and reached up to turn it off but it was already off. Kevin said, “Did you just see that too?” and indicated he thought his lamp was on also. I witnessed a light source curve around Elvis and whoosh off. Kevin didn’t remain in this room long and exited.

The third floor was interesting as we were to meet up with a very interesting spirit. I could sense a child as did Pauline Raby on a previous investigation. I had the overwhelming feeling of playing games and tricks on the NAGS crew. I crawled inside a small closet and poked my head out and then scared Elvis at one time. I was almost encouraged to do this and indicated that the closet area was a “naughty” room.

We continued to investigate and I followed Elvis into an adjoining room to the closet. Here Elvis sensed someone hiding and I could sense it too a child again. I looked up and saw a good place to hide – another small level on the top area of the room. Elvis lifted me up and I could see a child up here and felt for a floor. There was a good 6 ft by 3 ft. space – perfect for playing and hiding.

I began to question this child and sensed it was a female, but perhaps was called a “Tomboy” at one time. Elvis then confirmed he could sense a female child and I left to record the name “Lizabeth,” “Liza,” “Lisa,” “Lise”. I couldn’t get it. It felt like Elizabeth but I felt like there was no E at the beginning. It felt right, but not correct.

I returned and Elvis indicated that he got the name Anna. Strange, it was too different. I said it could be a middle name like Elizabeth-Ann. We continued to speak to the spirit and then asked the spirit to join us. I felt that this girl would be no more then the age of 8 and would be responsible for some noise and mischief. I asked her to follow us and saw a light bend around the corner of the room. I said, “OK, we’ll follow you. You can scare the other guys.”

We proceeded to the staircase and made it halfway down to the window area where I pointed to something that would baffle the NAGS team. A tiny child-sized palm print on the window and the letter “a” scripted in a fashion from long ago. Gord indicated that he did not see the fingers and palm print in the window when he went up. There was no children on this level of the home, it is simply too dangerous as it is still a construction site. We photographed the palm print and asked the spirit to do it again.

We continued and joined up in a circle in the area where I felt the soldier was. I was getting a blockage with this spirit, so I asked the spirit to communicate with Naz. I knew Naz had an interest in WWII and the German forces of that war. We all felt a cold energy in the room. At one point it rose up and went straight onto Dave’s chest. He backed off slightly and then Naz said he could feel his hand get cold and his leg also. He indicated it felt like a child. I smiled at Elvis knowing that we had asked this spirit to “join and scare” the others.

We then continued to the backroom and Kevin refused to enter saying he felt sick in that room. Here some of us smelled Iodine as was recorded earlier on previous investigations. We also felt a rush of cold going round and round clockwise in this room. It certainly felt like an operation that had gone wrong, someone died as a result. We also felt a very interesting electromagnetic field that made our hairs stand up on our arms and the back of our necks. It wasn’t goose bumps, but rather a static field.

We then proceeded to investigate the windows to see if any markings were made. Elvis had another encounter with the ghostly girl as I was calling out a name that fit perfectly. It felt right and I knew instantly both Elvis and I were correct somewhat with our name gathering – Annalisa. That was the name. As I said it allowed I asked are you going to cause trouble?

The recorder picked up a strange voice. It’s best to listen to it at this time in the EVP section and draw your own conclusions.

The Keefer Mansion Inn is going to be a spectacle for tourists and a very welcoming location. It seems like there may be some tricks played out on future guests making for an interesting bed and breakfast experience.

Special thanks goes to Phil Ritchie of Keefer Developments and the crew and cast of Cogeco Television. It was a very interesting experience.

Sleep tight.

Notes from Dr. Gord:

On the night of Oct.23rd, 2005 we were granted access to Keefer Mansion in Thorold, Ontario. Together with Creepy Bastard and a team from Cogeco Cable, the NAGS team went to investigate what paranormal things may be present in the house. The house is currently under renovations to turn the once mighty mansion in to a bed and breakfast, and frankly, Phil Ritchie and team are doing a great job. Personally I can’t wait to see the final result.

As the Cogeco team wandered the house, after interviewing Steve, I went for a smoke and came back in to the house and wandered around the first floor generally observing the majestic house and when I returned to the 2nd living room (basically) I noticed Creepy pacing between both living rooms. I went to the windows of the 2nd living room to observe the view and when I turned to walk back towards the stairs I felt a cold rush of air go right by me. At first chalking this up to it being a drafty house, I could not find the source of where the breeze may have come from. Being puzzled I sat down in the spot where I had felt the rush of air as everyone was of doing their own thing. As I sat relaxed I felt the arm hair, on my left, stand at attention but only a patch of about 2 – 3 inches. Then as soon as someone came in the room, it was gone. Strange encounter indeed, but not the last of the night.

We wandered the rest of the house, separately, occasionally meeting up in various rooms and it was here that I had a vision of man in no less than three rooms. I would honestly say he was following me around observing me and making sure I knew it was his house. He was about 6ft tall dressed in a black suit, black hair and a variation of a goatee. I would place him in his late 30’s and of upper class background. Who is he? I have no idea.

As a group we examined two rooms and it was here that all the fun stuff happened. In the front left room on the second floor we gathered in a circle to attempt communication. It was here that we all felt a distinct cold spot present in front of us, we waved our hands through the air and there was only a distinct area where the cold was felt. All present in the room felt this as well as a tingle in the hands when passing through the cold.

It was in the back room, on the right hand side, on the second floor that I had my most memorable encounter of the night. John, David, Creepy and I entered the room and closed the door to attempt communication with whatever was present. The first thing we all noticed was the distinct smell of Iodine or possibly an anesthetic smell, much like is used in a hospital. When we asked if anyone was there, there was a distinct rush of energy circling us, causing arm hairs to stand on end. I even had the small hairs on the back of my neck standing at attention with a distinct pinching feeling. John confirmed that he felt his also. On three occasions I saw a shadow form move past the window behind David. Once again a cold spot presented itself in front of us and all four of us felt this temperature drop. It was then that I got a vision of a brown long haired woman, dressed in what looked like a blue hospital top, screaming amiss a pile of bodies. I also felt a strong feeling of panic and confusion in this room.

All in all it was a great time there, and I would like to thank Phil Ritchie for allowing us the time to examine the Mansion and a shout out to Cogeco Cable for taking an interest in what we do.

Notes from Kevin:

First, I would just like to thank Phil Ritchie of Keefer Developments for once again allowing the team access to the Keefer Mansion. I would also like to thank Toadfuss for getting us in with the Cogeco folks, and Darryl Day from Cogeco for sending us a great interviewer and camera man Talia and Steve.

This was my second visit to Maplehurst, and after my first visit I was excited to go back. You will notice that I am not one that usually even does notes on investigations. There have been a couple times, but normally I don't have much to report.

A little background. When I first started talking to GhostBoy, even before he was actually a N.A.G.S. Team member. He had asked me where I felt there was activity inthe Keefer Mansion. Keep in mind this was before his book was even released. Well I told him and even showed him on a floor plan, and he was impressed that him and I had both had the same feelings. I am the first to admit that I am not the most sensitive person when it comes to the Paranormal world, but Keefer is different for me.

This time around I had one memorable experience. Well, it was an experience. John, Elvis and I went to the backroom on the second floor, this is one of the 3 areas that I had really felt something the first time I had been to Keefer. We stood in a circle and John asked if we could get a sign that someone was present, just then I saw what I thought was my headlamp, at the exact same moment, John asked me if I could turn it off, which I was already reaching to do, but it wasn't on. At this point I began to fill really sick, to the point that I had to leave the room, I began to gag, almost to the point of vomiting.

The rest of the evening was rather quiet for me. Since I had been there previous, I knew the house pretty well, and I had just wondered off with different members here and there.

The night was great, I am glad that Steve finally got the chance to enter the mansion which we all know he has longed to do for 8 years. We got some great EVPs, and a great look at the past.

I would highly recommend that once the Keefer Mansion opens in February as a Bed And Breakfast, plan a night there. Even if you aren't interested in the paranormal, what Phil Ritchie and his crew have done to restor this glorious mansion is outstanding, you won't be dissapointed.

Notes from nAz:

Shortly after arriving at Keefer Mansion, the film crew for The Source showed up. 8 minutes later Phil Ritchie was onsite to let us in.

After introductions were made The Source did their interview with me. Man, was I nervous! Anyways, everyone said that the interview went great & GhostBoy took the Source crew for a tour of the mansion. After Cogeco had left, we started our investigation.

2nd floor:

1st bedroom on the right. I picked up on activity in this room but couldn’t put my finger on what it was until one of the girls from Cogeco laughed. Immediately I picked up on a longing to hear a childs laughter in the house it felt really sad.

2nd bedroom on left. I was drawn to this room. Upon entering I felt confusion. I decided to leave then come back. We’ll get back to this room later.

Back room behind staircase. I walked in on CreepyBastard, Kevin & GhostBoy attempting communication with a spirit in this room. I could sense a spirit but it felt scared & shied away. Kevin had to leave shortly after I entered as something almost made him vomit. Right after Kevin left, CreepyBastard lit a candle & John asked the spirit to blow it out. The candle didn’t go out, we left.

GhostBoy and I returned to the 1st bedroom on the right. I mentioned to him the emotion and longing for children’s laughter. Right away we got a thump from above as confirmation. No one was on the 3rd floor. A couple of the team entered the room & the spirit disappeared leaving behind a scent of perfume.

After the last room we headed upstairs to the 3rd floor. No activity stood out on the 3rd floor. I do have the bookcase doorway to the widows walk groaning when opened on tape!

Back down to the 2nd floor

The NAGS team decided to do a circle in the 2nd bedroom on the left. Told ya I’d get back to this room ;) Ok. Here is where it got interesting. While GhostBoy was telling the spirit to communicate with me, something touched my left arm first. Then a minute later only the palm of my hand got really cold! As I was experiencing the cold on my hand, I could feel frustration in front of me. There are two spirit’s in this room. One was a small child that was holding my hand and leaning against me. The other was that of a older gentleman, a soldier. I got strength in character, a sense of order as in everything should be neat n tidy, clothes just so.

After the circle, Kevin and I ventured into the basement. I did not pick up on anything in that place.

Once I was done checking out the basement I went back to the 1st floor. Kevin left the check out another room and I was alone. Here something interesting happened. I could almost see what the rooms on the 1st floor were used for. I started to walk around like I knew the place & how they used the rooms. I believe at this point Kevin rejoined me & I took him on a tour of the first floor explaining what certain rooms & hallways were used for. I know it sounds silly, anyone can guess what rooms are what I’m saying is I knew! Or I was being shown! It was very enlightening and made my stay in the Keefer Mansion even more comfortable that what it was.

One thing about the Keefer Mansion. I, myself did not pick up on anything about the house being a hospital at all. The impressions I got about the place was all about home, kids and entertaining guests. I could very easily call a place like that home.

Notes from David:

I cannot express with words how impressive this building was. Wow. Absolutely one of the nicest places I have been, and it wasnt even finished! Well, I should start with expressing thanks to Phil Ritchie of the Keefer foundation for allowing us this visit. Thanks also go to Talia and her cameraman from Cogeco for covering us, and message forum member “toadfuss” for arranging the cogeco involvement. Now that all the thanks are out of the way did I mention what an impressive structure Keefer mansion is? While it is still under construction/restoration it is plain to see that this will be likely the nicest bed & breakfast in the Niagara Region once its completed.

The atmosphere wasn’t typical of most investigations. I found Keefer to be warm and inviting. downright comforting. The night began with cogeco interviewing Stephen, and I walked around admiring the first floor. After the interview the cogeco crew wanted to explore and film the house a bit, and they miked John and followed him on a bit of a historical tour. We had decided as a group not to start a proper investigation until after they had left... but I did go into the basement on my own while they all went upstairs. I was astounded everywhere you went in the basement it led to another room and that would lead to yet another room again! While I did not encounter anything distinct I did had the sense of being watched or followed while down there.

After Cogeco’s finest departed our team gathered and headed upstairs. We split off into smaller groups and went through the many rooms and nooks and nooks and crannies the home had to offer. Rooms within rooms, closets big enough to seem like a small room, alcoves, even a bookcase that moved to expose a hidden staircase. Throughout the home I did not experience the “creepiness” or any uneasiness that investigations usually have to some degree, I felt welcome there. I felt a few cold spots and feelings of being watched here and there. I did however get an oddity. I had a digital cam with me, and it seemed the batteries died. I replaced with fresh batteries and the camera continued to not work. After we left I tried the camera and it worked fine. Peculiar. Another peculiar thing is that amongst the few pictures I did get one of them is jet black there is nothing there. Its like it was censored (hmmm).

A couple of the more notable experiences I had where when we gathered in groups. In a front room on the second floor we were all in together we experienced a cold spot moving throughout the room. At one point I felt it settle on my right shoulder upper arm and I had a tingling sensation in those bodyparts. At another point we were all actually “tracking” the movement, and while at least 2 or 3 people had their hands “in” the cold spot all coming towards me I felt it hit my stomach then chest, it seemed to roll up my torso my beard hear was standing up as it passed by. In a back room on the second floor there were four of us at one point, and we experienced a cold spot circling the room/us. I had multiple experiences of something touching me – I had cold spots, tingling body parts and hair on arm/neck standing whenever and wherever I was feeling the touch. I also got the impression of a young girl while in that room. Also worth mentioning that the circling cold spot/touches were usually around hip/waist high while in that room.

In my haste to get this report in on time I will sheepishly admit I have not yet listened to tapes to process any potential EVPs. If anything comes of that they will be sure to be posted here soon.

Notes from our guest Creepy Bastard:

First I would like to extend my thanks to the NAGS team for giving me the chance to tag along with them to Keefer Mansion. It was definitely a memorable experience. Let me also add, before I continue with the investigation notes, that I have noticed an increase in my ability to perceive things more clearly than I used to. Thanks to NAGS and their guidance I am more confident in going with my instincts...

When we arrived at Keefer Mansion, the first thing that struck me was great the building looked, very impressive. While we were standing in the parking lot, looking at the west side of the house, my attention was immediately drawn to the top floor left hand window. I watched it for a while and then mentioned to GhostBoy that there is something about that window. He said that it is a very common feeling that everyone seems to get.

We moved to the front of the house and while we were waiting for the COGECO film crew to arrive, Naz said he felt as if we were being watched. I was again drawn to the front window into what would most likely have been the living room and I had the same feeling about that window as I did about the one on the third floor. I again mentioned it to GhostBoy and he agreed.

Inside the Mansion, while the camera crew was setting up, I went to the front window where I was looking from the outside and sat on the sill. There was too much going on around me and I didn't feel anything. Once Naz was finished with his interview, GhostBoy took them on a tour.

Naz and Dr. Gord said they needed to go outside to clear their heads and I thought it would do me some good as well. A few minutes later we came back in and that's when things started...

1st Floor

I felt compelled to stay in the front two rooms - the living room and dining room. I had no idea why, but I felt I needed to stay here. Next thing I know I am walking a circular pattern through both these rooms, over and over and over again. In one location I would keep hitting a cold spot every time I circled the room. Naz was in there with me and said he felt it as well. Soon I became aware that the cold spot was moving around the room and I was passing through it regularly.

I told Naz that I had no idea why I was still walking around the room and that either I was following the cold spot or the cold spot was following me. The rest of the team returned to the room and GhostBoy immediately started circling the room. He spun around a few times and then wrote down the word 'dancing' on his note pad. As soon as I read it, I knew that was why I was circling the room.

Across the hall was a large room with two fireplaces and several windows. It felt like a parlour or library to me. Behind me Naz said the word sick and suddenly there was a smell like a latrine. But only in one corner of the room. We checked the other side of the wall found that there was no lingering smell. We returned to the room and the smell was gone. GhostBoy noted that the smell was not gone, but rather moving past him.

2nd Floor

When I reached the landing I felt that there was something there. Nothing specific, just something. At this point my recorder picked up a voice saying "Help". I moved off the landing and onto the main hallway of the second floor. The second door on the left I had a feeling like someone was ordering me to 'come here'. I walked in and told GhostBoy that there was something in here. Again, no specifics, just something. Later I would learn that this room was significant because it was the room with the soldier entity.

Next I went into a room that GhostBoy indicated had a strong presence from his last investigation. Kevin began coughing and had to leave. I didn't get any feelings in this room. Still, I lit a candle in hopes that GhostBoy could entice the entity to show itself by extinguishing the flame. Nothing happened.

3rd Floor

I explored the attic behind the hidden bookcase. Very cool, but nothing ghostly. When I came out of the attic I turned the corner and opened a closet door. GhostBoy jumped out and scared me - it was a manly scream, so I am not ashamed. In the adjoining room I was drawn to what will be a bathroom. This is where things got really good... I was standing in this room which was portioned off with new drywall. I immediately sensed someone hiding and that it was a child. I looked at the room, but could not fathom this to be a place that would be any good to hide in. I left to find GhostBoy and brought him back. I told him that I felt something was here. He immediately got the feeling that someone was hiding and it was a child. I was stunned that he felt exactly what I felt without any prompting. He couldn't find the hiding spot either, until he looked up. Above our heads the walls was stripped away revealing an attic crawlspace. The perfect hiding spot.

He asked me if it was a boy or girl. I said it was a girl. He asked me for a name and I said Anna. He got the name Lizabeth, with no 'E'. GhostBoy asked the little girl if she was causing trouble and if she would like to come with us and scare the other guys. We went down the stairs and GhostBoy spotted the handprint on the window on the landing. There was a stylized 'a' very clearly drawn into the window. The handprint itself was a child's hand, for it could easily fit in the area of my palm.

Dr. Gord came down behind us on the stairs and he confirmed that the handprint was definitely NOT there minutes before. GhostBoy asked her to write some more and that we would come back and see later.

We regrouped on the first floor and decided to go back up to the second floor and try to communicate with the spirit in the front left room. As we started to enter I caught some motion out of the corner of my eye as if something ran up the stairs behind us. I told GhostBoy what I saw and we were both thinking the same thing: Our little friend from upstairs.

In the room, when Naz told us the feeling he had that a child was holding his hand, GhostBoy and I knew that not only were we communicating with the little girl - we were actually interacting with her.

After we finished in that room, we moved into the back room where Kevin was overcome with a coughing fit - it was a manly cough, so he shouldn't be ashamed. This time I smelled the Iodine smell in the air and we all confirmed it. A presence seemed to appear in the center of the group. I felt a numbing in my right arm, and then an overall weakness in both arms. From here we moved back up to the third floor.

We checked the window, but there were no further messages. I got a strong sense that she was still playing with us and that she wouldn't leave the message on this window, rather she would put it somewhere else. We quickly moved up to the third floor and as soon I reached the top, my body was wracked by a cold spot. It wasn't like when you walk into a cold spot or one rolls over you, my body actually shuddered. At that instant I turned to GhostBoy and he blurted out the name; Annalise. The name felt right to me as well.

I felt driven to search for any messages. In my mind I keep thinking; "where would I write the message..."

It was an incredible experience to interact with a spirit, and I look forward to going back and doing it again.

EVPs Recorded:

1. Male voice is heard stating "Help me", Before John starts to speak DOWNLOAD

2. John asks "Do you want help?" and shortly after "Yeah" is heard. DOWNLOAD

3. Male voice says "Feel em" DOWNLOAD

4. When John says "Because we have an interest", and make voice is heard over lapping his voice stating "I can feel them" DOWNLOAD

5. John asks "Are you scared?" Oddly enough his voice echoes in a room where there was no echo, nor did anyone elses voice do the same thing. DOWNLOAD

7. After John's statements at the mischievous spirit that was playing games with Elvis all night, you can hear a faint female voice saying "I am Annalise, I am dead, come play with me" . DOWNLOAD

8. Sound of a male voice faintly saying "Help" then near the end of the recording a very clear deep "Help" can be heard . DOWNLOAD

9. The sound of a loud shriek, possibly female heard on the second floor. DOWNLOAD

10. Another shriek is heard in the same general area on the second floor as the first, but later in the night . DOWNLOAD

11. A male is heard making an "Exhale, Help" . DOWNLOAD


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About This Blog

Out of the Dark: The Ghost Hunting Chronicles is a blog providing detailed investigations of the Out of the Dark team, paranormal news and editorial.

It will also feature the past investigations of paranormal investigator and author John Savoie.