Interview with The Shadows Project

Southern Ontario certainly has a lot of suspected haunted locations and there are just as many paranormal investigation teams.

In recent years, some have scaled back investigating, while others have pursued commercial interests such as “parlour theatre” or “ghost walks” and have determined that good-old-fashioned research and investigation mean nothing – unless it brings in money and/or the promise of fame.

There are also groups who have decided that the area lacks enough haunted locations and have made up hauntings-and-histories as-they-go, keeping their whereabouts secret and making Twitter moments of the investigations.

And then there are a select few who have decided that investigating the paranormal is primarily driven by the desire to learn, understand and share.

The Shadows Project is a group of paranormal investigators who have researched and documented hauntings from Buffalo, New York to Toronto, Ontario and do so with integrity and determination.

From left to right: Elvis, Tom, Chae, Steve, Gord

There isn’t one team member that stands out, nor is there one that fails to be a contributor. From sensitives to skeptics, the team comprises of a wide-variety of individuals, each bringing with them their own unique way of investigating. From drop-dead serious moments, to comedic outtakes, the team can be summarized in one word: Real.

I had the opportunity to interview members of The Shadows Project and this is the result:

Question One: What are the Shadows Project’s goals?

Gord Westwater (aka Dr. Gord):
The Shadows Project goals are to investigate as many reported haunted locations as possible and collect whichever evidence we may find. With the evidence, our findings will be presented on our website, in a fashion that all can relate to. Also the evidence will be presented in such a fashion
that, anyone who reads it, will have their own opinion of it, rather than forcing ours upon them.

Tom Hubert (aka Ace):
As always, to keep our integrity by always being honest on every investigation.

Elvis Podvorac (aka Creepy Bastard):
The goal of the Shadow’s Project is seek an answer to the question: What are ghosts?

Stephen Willett (aka nAz):
As a team, I believe our goal is quite simple, Prove or disprove the existence of Ghosts. Personally, as a believer I want to know Why? Why do they appear to us when we least expect it? Why are they here? There are too many “why’s” I want to know…

Gord Westwater of The Shadows Project

Question Two: What is your favourite investigation and why?

Gord Westwater:
Personally, I have two favorite investigations. The first would be Century Manor in Hamilton, Ontario. This place was an abandoned Psychiatric Hospital and it was here that I really started to have experiences that I could not explain. The second being St.Peter’s Cemetery, as it here I have seen numerous shadow apparitions.

Tom Hubert:
I like Century Manor, but wasn't experienced enough at the time to fully get it. So, after that, Decou house foundation. Because there always seems to be shadow activity.

Elvis Podvorac:
My favourite investigation is/was in the location we dubbed The Abandoned Farmhouse, in Flamborough, Ontario (which has been torn done). The location presented a number of, what I believe to be, spirits. A number of EVPs have been captured on our recorders when left unattended in the house as well as when carried with us. On one investigation, one of the doors was locked from the inside. From our previous investigations we knew that there door locks do not work. On the following investigation the door was open again, and we checked the lock. Sure enough, the locking mechanism was not functional. What made this location for me was that we were able to visit it multiple times and each time we felt we were progressing. It was like a pattern was forming and a picture of what we were experiencing there was coming together. Of all the places I have explored, this one had the greatest potential for a breakthrough.

Stephen Willett:
I really can’t pin point a favourite investigation. Every time I record a “evp” or feel an unseen force touch me, that gives me a “rush” -a thrill. I have fun on every investigation with TSP. To me that’s what it’s all about, having fun & hoping to see that full apparition.

The Abandoned Farmhouse

Question Three:
Where would you like to investigate in Canada and why?

Gord Westwater:
I, personally, would like to investigate historic places within Toronto and Montreal. The reason being, these are some of our oldest cities with lots of history, and it seems to go hand in hand with strong paranormal activities and locations.

Tom Hubert:
I think Banff Springs Hotel. It has to be believed to be haunted.

Elvis Podvorac:
I would like to revisit Century Manor again. I have had a few experiences very early on and would like to investigate it some more.

Stephen Willett:
No place in particular, except for some old hotel nestled in the mountains in western Canada.

Question Four: Tell us about your most recent investigation.

Gord Westwater:
The most recent investigation was to a place called Metler’s Cemetery in Fonthill, Ontario. I had a strong feeling when visiting the place one night, and took the team there to investigate. Sadly, my experience seemed to have been a one off chance as nothing revealed itself that night that the team went.

Tom Hubert:
Not much to tell. Cemetery with no activity at all.

Elvis Podvorac:
Our latest investigation was an old pioneer cemetery out in Font Hill, Ontario. Aside from the historical interest, the location yielded nothing of note.

Stephan Willett:
Metler’s Cemetery, Personally, I didn’t get anything.

Question Five: Take me through the steps of an investigation – from someone calling in saying: “I’d like you to investigate…” to the results.

Gord Westwater:
When someone approaches the Shadows Project with a chance to investigate, we offer our assistance to them, but ask that they do not reveal any knowledge or facts of what has happened at the location. From there, we will meet first at a designated spot, just to relax, catch up and then head to the location. Upon arriving at the location, we are all at the same frame of mind. Depending on the size of the location, we may either approach it in teams or all at once. We generally will not talk with one another during an investigation as this can lead to the power of suggestion. The only way of communicating is by hand signals. For example, if a team is experiencing something they cannot explain, a wave of a hand will bring another team member over to stand in that spot. A simple yes or no nod of the head will suffice and the investigation will continue. At the conclusion of the investigation, we will compare what we found with each other, and at this time, if it is a person’s home, we will then approach them with our findings. After discussing what we have found, we will reassure the person that nothing negative or hurtful will come to them. The next day or so, we will go over our audio and video and report back to the client of any evidence found or not found. If it is a public location, we will then post our findings on our website, for others to read.

Tom Hubert:
We get the call, or email, we specifically ask for no details. From this point on, this is what happens for me only. I am not told where we're investigating. I don't meditate, or try to remote view. Mainly because I don't believe there to be any value in that. The day of the investigation, when I'm driving to meet the team, I either listen to music quietly on the drive, or nothing at all, and just try to get into the right frame of mind. When we meet, we don't really discuss the details of where we're going. During the investigation, I do not use any tools or equipment other than my flashlight. Occassionally, I bring an audio recorder, but it's digital and have never had anything on it. I think equipment is useless. There is no tool specifically invented for this field. Until then, it's just a guess that these tools work. After the investigation, while at the location, we discuss in private, what we've come up with and how best to reveal that to the client. The team takes turn with their reveal to the client. Any photographic/evp evidence found later is sent to the client by email. We video ourselves after the investigation for our notes. We also never reveal our client, or post anything that would give away who they are or where they are.

Elvis Podvorac:
(Empty, creepy silence.)

Stephen Willett:
A “client” will email or contact a member of the team. That team member will contact the rest to work out a time and date, withholding any information sent in by the client. After the investigation we will sit down with the client and discuss any immediate findings before letting the client share what they have experienced in the location. After listening to audio and watching video, the team will share any possible evidence to gather opinion & will have non-tsp individuals to listen & attempt to debunk. Once any possible evidence has been gathered TSP will share that information with the client as well as any followups.

Question Six: What has made you a believer?

Gord Westwater:
What has made me a believer in this field are too many instances of activity I could not rationally explain. From having the same images within my mind that others have found, or seeing a shadow figure walk across a field, has a resounding effect on the psyche that cannot be
explained. Also finding an evp on audio that you did not hear during the investigation, also leads to more unexplained evidence.

Tom Hubert:
Nothing at least not yet.

Elvis Podvorac:
When certain things happen, or when I get a certain feeling that ‘something’ is odd, it is easy to dismiss and my imagination. What has made me a believer is that, not only am I experiencing strange things, other people are too. What really cemented it for me was when we confirm each others feelings and they are spot-on identical.

Stephen Willett:
Way too many experiences have happened over the years to make me think otherwise. As a skeptic as well I’ve attempted to debunk everything that has happened & I cannot. When objects move infront of you and others for no logical reason…

Question Seven: Has your views changed over the course of investigating? Explain.

Gord Westwater:
My views on the paranormal have indeed changed over the course of 5 years of investigating, at the time of writing this. When I began in this field, I was the skeptic however over the course of investigations and more and more instances of unexplainable encounters, it has led me to
believe that there is more happening in this world that meets the eye.

Tom Hubert:
No. I am still the skeptic

Elvis Podvorac:
My views have definitely changed. When I first started, I was at the mercy of whatever information was available. The more I investigated, the more I experienced. The more I experienced, the more questions I had. That is the one thing I noticed most of all. The more I do this, my questions don’t get answered. They just lead to more and more questions.

Stephan Willett:
Many, many, many times. As a believer and a skeptic, I have frustrated myself with wanting to believe and at the same time explaining away what I saw and felt. In the beginning I really had fun. Checking out insane asylums, creepy tunnels and graveyards, getting those disembodied voices on tape, yeah, good times. After awhile I started taking it too seriously, thought that I should try and conform to some level of professionalism. Now I’ve realized life is too short & I’m back to having fun with my friends.

Question Eight: Many of you have been investigating the paranormal for some time, and there are years of reports from the TSP crew of various locations. Most of the reports offer similarities in the evidence and experiences. Once you find a haunted location, or one that is perceived haunted - what is the next step? What is beyond sitting in the dark, recording on tape, videotaping, photographing? What is the next step? How will TSP go beyond this foundation?

Gord Westwater:
At this current time, it is hard to show the world of evidence of the paranormal. As everyone is aware, both believer and non believer alike, spirits and paranormal activity does not happen on command. All we can do to continue, once we find a truly haunted location is keep investigating it and collecting more and more evidence. Essentially, the cream of the crop would be to find a trigger to make the activity happen and then present that to the world. From a realistic point of view though, what we do is just continue doing what we do, investigating the unknown and presenting our facts in a truly mature and sensible fashion and hope one day to find irrefutable evidence that ghosts do exist.

Tom Hubert:
(Skepto Stare of Silence).

Elvis Podvorac:
We believe that when investigating, it is important to visit and revisit that same location as often as possible. One visit, for a couple of hours, and that’s it, doesn’t work. Every location and haunting has its own personality. What may work at one location, may not work at another. Some locations yield more EVPs than others. Some locations overwhelm you with strong emotions and overload your senses. These little traits are impossible to define without repetition and experimentation. Once we find that perfect location that we feel has the potential to yield results, we will batter it with whatever method we feel may work towards finding answer to our question.

Stephan Willett:
Beyond the foundation would be simply, correlation of data and networking. As there is no real method or tools to confirm a spirit presence, correlating data from as many individuals and ghost hunting groups as possible would be the only way to come close to confirming a spirit presence.

* * *

The Shadows Project provides homeowners and businesses no-charge investigating and all notes on all their public investigations are online for visitors to read up on.

Most recently they released Episode One of their investigations on Vimeo. In the past, the group experimented with podcasts of their investigations.

For more information on the Shadows Project, and haunted locations in Southern Ontario and beyond, visit their web site at


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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.