There are many haunted locations along the Grand River and one local paranormal research group is intent on unraveling the secrets of the river and her inhabitants over the centuries.
Their adventures into the paranormal happenings around the Grand River will now be chronicled on national television with the premiere of a creepy new show on APTN at the end of the month – Ghost Hunters of the Grand River.
SNIPE – Six Nations Investigates Paranormal Encounters – started 12 years ago and now their adventures will be captured for everyone interested in finding out the answers to long-whispered rumours of paranormal happenings around the Grand River.
The first episode of Ghost Hunters focuses on the fabled Chiefswood Mansion, the childhood home of the famed Mohawk Poetess Pauline Johnson.
“Although we have gathered some pretty compelling evidence over the years and from many different locations, our search will always continue,” said SNIPE founder Todd Thomas Sr. “We believe that every building has a story to tell, a history that is fascinating. One of our fondest places is Pauline Johnson House at Chiefswood Park.”
The group has conducted many investigations at the century manor on the grounds of Chiefswood Park over the years.
“All of our team have had personal experiences and witnessed paranormal anomalies caught on film, in still pictures and on audio recordings. We believe that this beautiful peaceful place is haunted. As to why we cannot answer why; only the spirits can and until they tell us we will continue to try and communicate with them.”
Thomas’s interest in the paranormal began many years prior to the formation of SNIPE.
“It began with a passion for Iroquois folklore, myths, legends and ghost stories that have been an integral part of my life. I found myself wanting, wishing to see some of these ghosts, going out driving late at night trying to catch a glimpse of these mythical or spiritual beings that our people have stated they have encountered – something unexplainable. I cannot count how many times I was out looking for the screaming skeleton or sitting on Seventh Line waiting for something to happen. I quickly found a few friends and family members that shared the same curiosity which got the ball rolling on forming this group.”
He said, “We have come a long way from the start when we were sneaking in abandoned or historic places hiding from the cops,” he said with a laugh.
“By forming this group, we were able to start asking and obtaining permission to conduct proper investigations.”
SNIPE members include Thomas, Jay Smith, Tom Hill, Trevor Thomas and Artie Martin.
Some of their kids are now getting involved, too.
“We all share the same passion. We want to experience paranormal (activity). We want to catch evidence of this activity and we want to have fun doing it.”
Thomas says there are many haunted locations along the Grand River.
“You have to remember in the past there were no highways or roads. The main source of travel was the waterways. Also many people settled along the river so you have to believe that many conflicts, tragedies and lost loves have happened along this river. Many lost souls that are still there.”
The idea for the show happened after the group was approached by a producer who heard a CBC radio interview that was done on SNIPE.
“The producer discussed with us his vision of what he wanted to create. We all felt that it was exactly what we would have wanted to create so it was a very great meeting. I mean as paranormal investigators we always dreamed of a show but we didn’t spend all those years prior conducting investigations travelling spending our time and money to do what we do expecting this show; we did it because we loved doing it. Then when this opportunity presented itself to us we are very grateful. What was so perfect was that the producer feels the same way we do by wanting to create a show based on honesty, integrity and believability.”
The first episode is filmed at Chiefswood Mansion.
“I think everyone in our community knows of someone who has had an experience there or have heard stories of this beautiful place being haunted. All I need to say for our people to want to watch this episode is: ‘everything you have heard is true.’”
Members of the public interested in exploring paranormal activity with SNIPE is welcome to join them, said Thomas.
We are always inviting someone to our hunts. We absolutely love sharing our knowledge and experiences with anyone who wants to give this a try. Imagine sitting in pitch blackness in a known haunted location with proven paranormal activity waiting, trying to focus your eyes…your hearing amplified, every noise, wondering what that was, asking yourself, ‘did I just see movement?’”
He said there is no experience like it.
Catch the premiere of Ghost Hunters at the GREAT theatre tonight (Wednesday) at 7 pm.