HAUNTINGS RESEARCH
The
                                                                                       Group


The Centennial Building, once know as the Court Offices, was designed by architects, Frederick Cumberland and Wallace Storm, and was built in 1854. The building served as the county court until 1964, and then became the community centre in 1967.

In 1984 the building was deemed an historical building under the Ontario Heritage Act and currently is the home of the Whitby Courthouse Theatre. It also houses a banquet facility and until recently, the town archives.

Paranormal phenomena have been witnessed in this building over the years by several of its custodians. Lights in the Regal Room (banquet hall) have been reported to go on, when the building has been darkened and secured for the night, causing custodians to re-enter the building and have to secure it once more. One particular custodian witnessed an apparition in the upper balcony of the theatre, which then stepped down 15 feet onto the seating floor. Such reports date back to 1871. Gord Howard, a staff writer for the Oshawa/Whitby This Week claimed, "If this place isn't haunted, it should be".

The present facility attendant, Greg Nugent told us that he personally has never seen anything anomalous in the building although he did relate that a teacher that worked in the building experienced paranormal activity when she was there by herself working. She promptly left.

The building is currently being audited for reconstruction, which is scheduled to begin sometime around March 2002. We would be very interested in returning to the building once the construction is under way to see if the coming project causes any reaction amongst it's unseen residents.

Special thanks go to Greg Scott, who arranged and made it possible for us to investigate this beautiful piece of architecture. Our thanks also go to Greg Nugent who was a wonderful and very good-humoured guide.

Sources: Oshawa/Whitby This Week
www.town.whitby.on.ca5005

No those aren't orbs but rather the midst of one heck of a snow storm

December 14, 2001 report

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Date:      December 14, 2001

Investigators: Dee Freedman, Anita Perron,
Krystal Perron, Steve Dietrich,
Eric Ouellet, Lisa Reid, Derek

Weather:Blizzard conditions

Moon Phase


Steve picked up an orb in this photo, however we remind you that we still are not convinced that orbs could be spirits. We still haven't decided just what they may be yet. But we have captured a few on film that we cannot explain as light reflection or moisture.
Steve's favourite part of the building, the cold dark basement.
Another orb = Light reflection


The evening began at the front door of the Centennial Bldg, at 8pm. We knocked on the door several times waiting to be let in. Although we heard our knocks answered from the inside with reciprocal knocks, no one came to the door. We ended up waiting till approximately 8:15pm to get in when the facility manager, Greg Nugent arrived (the roads were treacherous that night, I'm surprised we arrived on time).

After we removed our coats we walked directly ahead into the theatre (where the hauntings purportedly occur). We decided to take a look first to determine where to set up the equipment. A few of us walked to the stage to check it out. Upon stepping up on the stage I turned around to face the seating area and noticed a quick flash of light in the balcony section almost directly above the door we came through. I turned to Steve and Anita and commented on it, at which time Greg (who was standing near the door) made a comment to me that I didn't hear, however his comment will come into play later on in the evening.

Anita and I also had the same feeling on the stage at the same time, and as a result asked Steve to set up one of the cameras there. We now decided to get to work setting up all the equipment and start exploring. While admiring the old architecture of the room that houses the theatre, I now felt comfortable and really didn't feel any more unease at all. I continued to roam around the rest of the building taking in the beautiful woodwork and old feel of the place.

Later on in the evening while talking with Greg he mentioned once again, the flash of light I had seen earlier. We were standing just outside his office door as he proceeded to take a newspaper clipping down off his bulletin board to show to me. The photo in the newspaper clipping which dated back to January 20, 1988, showed a ball of light caught by the camera in precisely the spot I had seen a light flash earlier.

In general I felt a few bits and pieces of a presence throughout the evening, but nothing substantial with the exception of the light flash. The tour of this beautiful building was very much worth coming out in a blinding snowstorm to see.

Post note: After looking over my photos, I was very disappointed to discover that all the photos that I took inside the room that houses the stage and theatre seats, turned out black. Only those photos I took outside of that room turned out. Makes one wonder.

Dee Freedman
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Krys:

Lisa, Derek and I arrived at the courthouse a little later than the others due to a bad snowstorm. When we entered the building, we were welcomed and told to roam as freely as we wished. Rooms that we could not enter were locked off. With that in mind, I decided to walk straight ahead and into the theatre. The recording equipment was set up on the stage facing the seats and the balconies. I later found out that the general area was the scene of a fatal accident, but the only uneasiness I experienced was when I was on the balcony. With a drop below of about 15 feet and only a railing that stops just at your knees, you could imagine why.

Afterwards, while standing by the main staircase contemplating where to go next, Steve came running up from the cellar stairs huffing and puffing. Anita and I were alarmed and questioned him as to what was wrong. He said he did not feel comfortable down in the cellar and did not want to be down there alone.   Well.... I guess that decided where we were going to go next.

The cellar was very dank with dirt floors; originally flagstone walls, and what looked to be large open stalls. There were electrical switches on the wall, so we decided to use those instead of our flashlights, as the floors were quite muddy with the leaking dampness.

After poking around for a while, we came across a set of stairs that led up to a doorway. The walls were very narrow in this particular area so we had to walk single file. Anita was just taking the first few stairs when the lights had gone out on us. We quickly turned on our flashlights and searched for the switch down the hall and around the corner.

When we found it, we realized the switch was in an "off" position.  We tried to rationalize as to the causation but were left a little baffled as we had ruled out many things; burnt out bulb, faulty wiring, and the switch not being completely upright when the lights were originally turned on. I might also add that the light switch was heavy duty and would not stay at a mid point on the panel, but would stay only in an up or down position. And we know we were definitely alone. We took some photographs finishing up in the cellar, then went back upstairs.

The rest of the building was very interesting historically. I had spent quite a bit of time roaming mostly on the second floor and peaking from a distance over the balconies and into the theatre.

We finished up the rest of our tour asking a few questions as well as asking some of our new and old friends what their impressions were.
I know that they (and myself included), very much enjoyed the visit to the old courthouse and would definitely return for a follow up investigation.

Krys Perron
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Steve:

Well, to use the famous phase, "It was a dark and stormy night!", and of course it was on this particular night.

As we arrived at the Tim Horton's meeting place in Whitby,  the heavy snowfall in the past several hours had accumulated quite a bit of snow and to top it off, there was also a crack of lightening as we waited for the group to arrive.

Upon arriving at the building, you immediately get the impression of architecture lost to the modern era. Entering the building, you come upon a magnificent wooden staircase with hallways leading left and right and the theatre straight in front.

As it has been stated before, I am the psychically tone deaf member of the group and don't expect to receive impressions other than those in the form of possible cold drafts, smells, etc, or to put it in easier terms, the phenomena associated with the 5 senses. This negative thinking on my part also holds me back as Dee has stated that I close myself off just as I enter a paranormal environment. I believe there is truth to what she is saying and have started meditation to see if I can start to have impressions that can be collaborated with other members of the group.

In this particular location, I did have 2 possible areas of impressions. By the stage and in the basement, the latter being the most significant. At the stage, I received what I would call a full body feeling. It's that feeling you get when you're feeling nervous and it goes up and down you. This lasted barely a few seconds. As for the basement, I decided to go down alone, as everyone else was busy in other areas. There was no reason for the extremely heavy feeling of fear that hit me as I entered a darkened area in the basement. I had just gone through a quite well lighted area and in entering the dark area with my flashlight in hand, it just hit me out of nowhere to the point I had to return to the first level and ask some colleagues, Anita and Krystal", to return with me. As we returned to the basement, there was no further feeling of fear. We further explored the basement with no impressions being felt by me. One other incident that did happen to us was the turning off a light switch that we had left on for others when they decided to enter the basement. Later I was wondering if that part of the basement was just below the stage. If and when another investigation happens, I will be checking this out.

In some of my pictures, I did have the orb phenomena happen which seems is to be a recurring theme in many of the investigations that I go on. The interesting thing that has been pointed out to me by Krystal is that the way I take my photographs makes this something that I intend to experiment with in future investigations. When I take pictures, I don't just take one here and one there. I take 6 in the same direction consecutively without moving the camera. I might then take 4 in that direction consecutively without moving the camera. I have ruled out light and reflective glare in many of my photographs now because they don't show up in all the pictures. When there is an orb appearing in a picture, it's not there before or after. I will be doing experiments to see how far away the camera actually picks up dust and the size of it.

Steve Dietrich
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Centennial Building, Whitby
Centennial Building, Whitby, Ontario