BALA BAY INN INVESTIGATION
INVESTIGATION WITH THE PARANORMAL SEEKERS
Date: June 5 – 7, 2009
Members Present: Rachel, Jay, Amanda, Donny, Paula, Jeff.
Equipment Used: Digital cameras, audio recorder, video cameras, Parabolic, Infra-red camera, EMF and digital thermometer.
Other Factors: Full moon, bachelor party, small kids, noisy bar/restaurant.
“Donny, your GPS got us lost!,” exclaimed Rachel as she sat in the back seat of his car, surrounded by equipment. Amanda and Jay laughed. It was true though. The GPS had a different destination then the one that we had intended on going to. Not only where we lost, but it was almost 10pm. “Better call the place and let them know we’re lost and going to be late,” Rachel said to Amanda. “Just be glad that this isn’t tomorrow night. We would be screwed for sure!” she continued. Amanda dialed the number and talked to the front desk. She got directions and we were back on the road again. After driving for 20 minutes we came across the train tracks, the beer store was on our left, and we arrived at our destination a minute after.
The Bala Bay Inn is located in the heart of Bala, across from the water. Built in 1910 it is the oldest brick hotel still standing. Once named the “Swastika Hotel”, it boasts a lot of history, as well as ghost stories.
We arrived around 10:30pm on Friday night. The moon reflected off of the lake in front of the Inn and the sounds of the loons made the atmosphere idyllic. We gathered our equipment and our bags and headed into the Inn. The front lobby was decorated with a modern look, but it still had that old Inn feel. Jeff and Paula had arrived much earlier that day and were sitting in the restaurant on the right called “The Grill”, waiting for our arrival. We gathered our gear and headed up to our rooms. Rachel, Jay, Amanda and Donny were all staying on the third floor, rooms 310 and 309. Jeff and Paula were staying on the second floor in room 201. The rooms were brightly decorated, and cozy. Hopefully they weren’t already occupied by unseen guests. After dropping of the gear, we headed downstairs to join Jeff and Paula for a much needed drink and laugh.
Saturday morning seemed to come quickly. During breakfast, Rachel and Amanda both complained about the weird dreams they had, as well as the lack of sleep. “There were people coming in and out of my room all night,” said Amanda. “They just wouldn’t leave me alone. At one point, I knew I was doing astral travel,” continued Amanda. “How could you tell?” Rachel asked. “Everything was happening in real time and it felt like I was awake,” responded Amanda. **(Later that day, Amanda was talking to Crystal, who said that during the night, she heard her name being called by someone who sounded exactly like Amanda)** After we had finished eating Amanda asked for a pen and paper and began to write down what was coming to her, as well as sketch what she was seeing. “I’m getting the name Alex,” Amanda said as she wrote the name down on the piece of paper. “I am also hearing ‘I won’t let them ruin my good Irish name!” she continued. Amanda then went quiet. “Now I see a man. He isn’t from the Inn, but from the water. He’s slimy and missing an eye. Decaying. He has brown hair, which is straight and longer on the top,” she said. “I’m also seeing a man with an arm missing. It’s severed from the elbow. There is also a little girl and a man that keep coming into the room,” she went on to say. It was then that Amanda began to draw the little girl and the man with the missing eye.
The team spent the remainder of the day enjoying the sights of Bala and nearby Gravenhurst. At one point during the evening, before the investigation began, Rachel had to run up to the third floor to get something from the room she was staying in. Upon reaching the stairs to the third floor, she noticed a shadow at the top of the stairs, as she ascended the shadowed moved to the left and down the hall. When Rachel reached the top of the stairs, she looked to the left and saw nothing. Not thinking anything of it, Rachel retrieved what she needed and went back downstairs.
The investigation began at 11:30pm. Unfortunately, Crystal and Dan could not make it that evening because of sick children. We began the investigation in the formal dining room, which is called “Ghosts”. Amanda walked around for a moment, seemingly staring off into space. She then grabbed a chair and sat down. “There are two ghosts in this room. One is at the back and the other is just floating around,” Amanda said. “They aren’t showing themselves, but I can sense that they are here,” she continued. “I keep getting the name ‘Elizabeth’. Elizabeth was gone a long time ago. I am also picking up on the name ‘Philip’.” Amanda went quiet again. She then put her hand on her face and began to speak. “A woman, 30 years old. She dances in this room. She likes the floors, she likes to twirl. Early 1900’s. She has a long dress to the ground. She really likes it here,” she said. “She is not a ghost, but a spirit. She could have lived or worked here, but she definitely has a connection to this place. She has brown hair and hangs out on the balcony, looking out to the lake. Someone must have seen her. Her dress is white and her hair is up, like the way they wore it back then. She has some sort of birthmark, or freckle, or a patch of dark skin on her face. She keeps saying ‘Amanda, I want you to come.’ She is showing me a room. It could be 312. She keeps saying “I’m lucky, I’m lucky. She liked to gamble.” Amanda said as she looked up and around the room with a smile on her face. “I’m now picking up on the name ‘Roger’, and another male,” she said. “His hair is light brown, slicked back. He is very well dressed, suit with a tie. Looks like a salesman. He looks about 32 years old. He is very thin, lanky build. About 5’11 to 6 foot. He has a distinctive pointy nose, defined features, and small eyes. He is friendly, outgoing and everyone liked him,” Amanda continued. “He keeps saying ‘I want my wife to know that I love her. Never got a chance. She loved me so much. I never got a chance to show her. Tell her for me. I didn’t know we would have such little time’. Now I’m picking up on the name ‘Isabella’ and I see a shack,” she said. The room went quiet. As we stood around filming, and listening, Amanda began to speak again. “All these people keep coming into the room!” Amanda exclaimed. “I’m kind of scared. These ghosts are not from this place. They are from the water,” she went on to say. “There is one in particular. A man. His elbow down on the right side is gone, severed. He is water-logged.” “Is this the man with the missing eye that you picked up on earlier?” Jay asked. “No, this is a different one,” responded Amanda. “This one is also blue, slimy and gross. He is stuck because he doesn’t realize what happened. He turns the taps on and tips glasses over. He has something to do with the water in the Inn,” Amanda said.
We walked over to the kitchen area which is located in behind the ‘Ghosts’ dining area. Immediately all of the team members could feel the difference in atmosphere. Amanda was not too impressed with the area. She seemed to be a bit hesitant and at one point had the pants scared off of her as Donny rounded a corner unannounced. It was quite the funny sight. After Amanda had calmed down she began to see things. “There is someone over by the ovens,” she said as she pointed to the ovens. Paula was walking by the back of the kitchen trying to get a reading when Amanda began to sense something was wrong. “Paula, you need to come back here. Stay away from the back,” she said. Paula wasn’t going to ignore Amanda’s warning and came back to where everyone was standing. “I feel very uncomfortable and nauseous and I have the shivers,” said Amanda. “At the back, I see a creepy looking man. He has long black hair that is greasy looking. He has dark eyes and long skinny fingers,” she described. Being brave, Paula tried to tell this unseen man that she was not going to be afraid of him. With saying that Amanda freaked out and left the kitchen. Following her back to the ‘Ghosts’ dining room, Rachel asked Amanda what she had seen to cause her to leave. “When Paula said that she wasn’t afraid, I saw him rise up to come after Paula,” she said. “He was very defensive. Stuff happens in that kitchen. Stuff moves. I’m creeped out by that kitchen,” she continued. “All I hear now is him saying ‘Nasty Bitch’. I don’t know if it’s towards me or Paula, but he definitely doesn’t like the fact that I know he is in there,” Amanda continued to say. “Does he go throughout the Inn?” asked Rachel. “Nah, he usually stays in the kitchen,” Amanda responded. With that, we decided that it was best to move on to the next room.
The next room was another Restaurant: ‘The Grill/The Patio”. As we walked through the bar area, we entered an enclosed porch area that looked out towards the water. “Damage, fire. Something had to be fixed,” said Amanda. “Whatever it was it destroyed part of the house on this side,” she continued. “It feels like the building was run-down, condemned. No one cared about it for a while,” Jay said. Amanda agreed. “There is a little girl with straight hair,” Amanda began to describe. “Anna? Or an ‘A’ name. She has a sweater with long sleeves, a dress, and shoulder length brown hair. She is low-key, but has been seen and heard in the hotel,” she said. “I hear giggling,” Jay announced. “She is showing me her Mom.” Amanda said. “She is very pretty. Her mom has curly hair, looks like the 1920’s. Her parents were fighting a lot at the time. She is crying and torn between them. She is pointing out to the lake. She looks like she is about 8 years old. She has little white socks, black shoes, and white buttons on the top of her dress. She doesn’t know what is going on. I think she drowned. I see her playing by the water, a toy, falling in. Her parents were fighting; she got upset and went to the water. No one was there. She doesn’t know how to swim,” stated Amanda. Rachel could sense that Amanda was getting depressed over what she was seeing. “Why don’t you ask her to show you a happy time?” Rachel asked Amanda. Amanda was silent for a moment while she asked. “The little girl, she had a porcelain doll with a bonnet and a dress. She loved it. Her dad brought it back from a work trip. It made her happy,” Amanda said. However, the images of the little girls last moments kept replaying over in Amanda’s head so we left the restaurant. It was then that Paula looked down at her sound equipment and watched it turn on and off without her touching it.
As we left the restaurant we stopped in the lobby and had a quick chat with two employees of the Inn: Jay and William. Amanda began to tell the two employees about how most of the ghosts are actually from the lake. She began to describe how she picked up on one in particular that had a missing eye. “Did he have brown hair?” William asked. “Yes!” exclaimed Amanda. “That is whats-his-name. There was a boating accident about a year ago, and they didn’t find him for a few days,” Jay said. It was then that we showed him the picture that Amanda had drawn earlier that day of the man with the missing eye. Jay appeared shocked when he saw the picture and told us that that looked almost like him. “Do you know his name?” asked Amanda. “Steven,” William said. “Do you have a picture of him?” was Amanda’s next question. “There is one somewhere, but I know there is a facebook group for him,” William said. “I will have to look it up after the investigation. I’m excited to see if it matches with my sketch,” stated Amanda.
We entered the ‘Lux Lounge’ next. This room was coloured in rich purples, reds and oranges. We took seats on the comfortable couches and chair and sat in silence for the first few minutes. “There is someone to the left of the fireplace, and one behind the bar,” Amanda began to say. “I saw a woman,” said Jay. “She had a pink suit jacket and a white blouse on. She was sitting in a chair. I didn’t see her face,” he continued. Amanda then noticed something moving across the floor. “There is a cat in this room. I saw the dark shadow near the ground. I can tell by the way it moves that it is a cat,” she said. “I am also picking up the name ‘Jeffery’ or ‘Jefferies’. It’s a last name. As well as the last name ‘MacKenzie’,” she continued. We all sat in the quiet comfort of the room, when Amanda began to talk really fast. “There is an older gentleman, round spectacles, balding. He reminds me of the guy from ‘Titanic’,” described Amanda. “It almost looks like he use to work here or was an owner. Grey suit, very proud. He has a pocket watch, and black shiny shoes. I’m also picking up the name ‘James’. He is saying something about James. Really hard working. He is also saying ‘I put my blood and sweat into this place’,” continued Amanda. “He is involved in this place. He was involved in some bad things, shady things,” she continued. “Okay, so I know this sounds silly, but Doilies. There is something about them. He wants people to put them in here, or they were in here,” stated Amanda. “He use to say things like ‘Jesus Christ’. He was a tell-it-as-it-is type of guy,” she said. “I am also getting the name ‘Jessica’. This older gentleman, he likes the trees, forest, nature. He liked it out here. Irish. Something about people trying to ruin him. He is not going to let people do that. I see him in different ways – clean shaven or with facial hair. He has grey hair, slightly balding. He keeps repeating himself over and over. He is upset about changes. He keeps pacing, talking and using a lot of hand gestures. His name is not James. He keeps dictating to me like I’m his therapist. He keeps saying ‘When I was a kid….’ He just keeps rambling. I’m getting the initials ‘J.R.’ Now he is saying ‘Choices. Choices have to be made. He is talking too much. It’s hard to understand,” gasped Amanda. “He is saying too many things at once. There is something he wants to change. He wants things back to how they use to be. Something about the restaurants. Simple and back to basics. Homemade, wholesome family restaurant would bring more business. Regular food. He’s not use to the changes, the parties,” said Amanda. The sound of exhaustion was in her voice. We sat quietly, absorbing the room’s atmosphere, before we decided that we should leave and head to the upper floors.
We ascended the original staircase to the second floor. Because we were not the only guests at the Inn that night, we kept our activity and our voices down. As we walked the second floor, Amanda stopped in front of Room 201: the room Jeff and Paula were staying in. “The little girl is here, just hanging out,” said Amanda. We began to hear people stirring in their rooms, so we decided it would be best to head up to the third floor to finish off our investigation. “There is someone on the stairs,” Amanda said as we made our way towards to the doorway leading to the stairs.
Even though Amanda told us that someone was on the stairs, that didn’t stop us from heading up to the third floor. We were immediately taken to the room that is supposedly the most haunted room in the Inn: Room 312. We entered the room to take a look around. Amanda sat down on the bed and began to tune in to her surroundings. “There is someone in the bathroom,” said Amanda. All was quiet for a while as Amanda sat with her eyes closed. “I feel very relaxed,” Amanda said. Jay agreed. “Something about a view. A room with a view,” said Jay. “It’s a female spirit,” said Amanda. “This room is important, but I can’t seem to pick up why,” Amanda continued. “It feels like this was a happy spot for her,” added Jay. “I’m picking up on the year 1949 and a maple leaf. A brown maple leaf,” said Amanda. “I also see a nurse. A lady in an old nurse’s outfit. Someone was sick, and she looked after him. I’m getting a weird feeling. This building was used as something else at one point,” she said. After sitting quietly for a few more minutes, listening to our surroundings, we decided that we would call it a night.
We all said our good nights and headed to the rooms we were staying in. In Room 310, Jay and Rachel were relaxing and talking about the nights activities when Jay began to get impressions. “There was lots of detail in the building design and structure that has changed,” he said. “Most of the spirits here are ‘visiting’. I did see a girl with straight hair. She was wearing a yellow frilly dress. I would say she is between 8 and 12 years old, and about 4 foot something. In the ‘Lux Lounge’ I saw a middle age woman, sitting on the couch with a pink jacket. I could only see her body though,” described Jay. “Was there a fire? Or something burnt down?” Jay asked Rachel. Rachel wasn’t going to say anything, but she did know of something that did burn down. “Something got heavily damaged. There were extensive renovations,” continued Jay. “They don’t like the renovations or the change. This place use to be really classy. Nice clean hardwood floors, chandeliers, lots of attention to detail. Something feels eerie. Is there old wiring that has never been updated?” Jay asked. Rachel did not have an answer to this question. Jay continued on. “Something to do with a quarry, miners. Either they were on the land working or staying at the Inn,” he said. “Loggers, maybe? They have no relation to the place, but I am seeing cabins that these loggers stayed in. This use to be a rough, working community. Labour intense work. There was lots of land. This town use to be way better. In like the last 10 years it has died down. There were more shops. People just packed up and never came back,” Jay finished. With that, Rachel turned out the lights and, with the rest of the Inn, drifted off into a peaceful sleep.
The Bala Bay Inn is a truly remarkable and beautiful place. With a history of deaths, tragedies, and achievements it makes it hard to believe that such a place would not hold on to the past. Do we believe that The Bala Bay Inn is haunted? Yes. Who do we think is responsible for the haunting? One is definitely that of a previous owner or owners that want to see the Inn return to its former glory. Some aren’t from the Inn at all, but from the waters of Lake Muskoka, which is located across the street from the Inn, while a few others enjoyed the Inn so much in their lifetimes that they have decided to come back and visit.
If you wish to see The Bala Bay Inn with your own eyes, you can check out their website at www.balabayinn.com, or take a trip up Hwy 169. Stop by for a drink on ‘The Patio’, or a nice dinner at their fine dining restaurant ‘Ghosts’. If you’re brave enough, maybe spend the night in room 312. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up meeting a ghost, or two.
This is a photo comparison of the male ghost Amanda had done a rough sketch of and that of a young man who tragically lost his life on the lake. During breakfast on Saturday morning (day of investigation), Amanda drew the above face of a man that she was seeing. She described him as “A man from the water,. Slimy. Missing an eye. Decaying. Light brown , straight hair. Longer on top.” Unfortunately they didn't discover his body immediately from the water. He was only 24 years old. Can you see the similarities?