BY: SEAN PLUMMER
‘Lovely’ and ‘quaint’ are accurate descriptors of Black Creek Pioneer Village… during the daytime. But when the sun sets on this open-air heritage museum located in Toronto’s north end, the words ‘creepy’ and ‘eerie’ become more accurate.
The fact that several buildings on the property are thought to be haunted makes it the perfect place then for Jaymes White to conduct his popular séances. The professional mind-reader, who starred in his own TV show (Mind Games) and trains law enforcement in observation and handwriting analysis, has been conducting seancés on the property for the last four years to mostly sold-out (and freaked-out) crowds.
With Halloween approaching, Rue Morgue decided to check out White’s ways with the spirit world and ask the skeptic a few questions.
How did the séance at Black Creek Pioneer Village come into being?
I have been doing séances around the country and have always been a fan of The Haunted Walk. We approached each other about a joint séance in Toronto. They asked me if I knew about the hotel (Half Way House). It is one of the most haunted places in Canada so I did not skip the opportunity.
In terms of its haunting potential, what was your initial impression of Black Creek?
The coolest thing about Black Creek is that they get all these old historical locations from around Canada. A lot of them are haunted. It is almost like getting all these haunted places and putting them together. The hotel is one of the most haunted and so that was my first choice. I also really enjoy walking around because it allows you to enjoy what life must have been like; a very good escape from the modern sights of just apartment buildings and skyscrapers.
Briefly, tell us who supposedly haunts your séance.
The general consensus is the Lady in Blue is the one who haunts the séance. They believe her husband left her/was having an affair so she is trapped in the house. There is a lot of tragedy and darkness in the hotel.
You’ve been doing séances there for awhile. Tell us about some of the stranger happenings.
We have had a lot of crazy experiences. We had one night where someone thought something followed them home. They always thought their house was haunted and they caught something on video. As of right now we have had eight people say something has followed them home. We have had a night where some lady kept saying something was touching her back. Then when she got home she sent me a picture of her back and it was all bruised up. I have countless stories I could share.
What is typical for a Black Creek séance experience? What can people expect?
Each experience is different. There is nothing like it. Some people describe it as being in a real-life horror movie. It is hard to explain what exactly it is, but I can guarantee it is something you have never done before. It is very psychological. There is a reason it has sold out for four straight years, no matter where I go.
There is a powerful séance scene in the 1957 film Night of the Demon where a character is warned that breaking the circle can kill the medium. Guests at your séance are warned not to break the circle, when guests hold hands to call upon the spirits. What could happen?
There are two interpretations of breaking the circle. The first is that the circle is like a telephone cord, and when you break it you disconnect everything that is happening. The second is that if you break the circle you can increase the activity and allow the wrong “spirits” in, and that is where you can be followed home. As of right now I have had eight people say something followed them home; five of them broke the circle.
A friend of mine attended your séance recently and believes something came home with her. Talk about the idea that spirits can attach themselves to a person or a place or an object.
I think it can sometimes be the power of the mind. If you are scared and fearful maybe it makes you more vulnerable to have something follow you home. I have had no issues with any of my séance audiences coming. We always resolve any issues, and I am one message away. It could also be maybe some people are better at picking up stuff than others.
Do you believe in the paranormal?
I have had a few experiences, but I guess you could say I am skeptical but open-minded. For the séance I need to remain neutral and not assume that everything is paranormal. I will dissect a lot of situations just to be safe. I do not want to be someone who just says everything is paranormal. I accept both sides. It doesn’t bother me if you are a non-believer or a believer. Our goal is to have a shared experience we remember for a long time.
How do you reconcile that seeming contradiction of not believing in ghosts but conducting séances, ostensibly to contact them?
I have to remain neutral for whatever audience I am dealing with. I think everyone takes away what they want to believe anyways. I have to just be unbiased and see where the group and night goes. Why I think my séances do really well is because I am not pretending to be some medium who says everything is paranormal and you just sit in a circle for six hours. I have over 20 years of training in psychology and am prepared for any situation.
Why do people want to believe in ghosts?
I think people want to believe there is something more out there. I think everyone has their own views, and all of them are correct. That is what makes the world go round. The unknown is the most fascinating thing!
You believe reason can explain all of what are called supernatural experiences. Do you hope y to have that opinion changed someday?
I believe a lot of things can be explained, but I think there is the unknown. I try not to express my beliefs during the séance because it is about your experience not mine. I have thousands of crazy stories over the years when meeting so many wonderful people during the séance.
The Séance at Black Creek Pioneer Village runs until November 8.