Thirteen years ago, Sue Hayes had a ghostly encounter.
The experience involved an evil entity possessing a young boy, who was the son of one of Sue’s friends. And somehow the spirit attached itself to her. She knew when it was around because she’d suddenly be overcome with anxiety and fear. It was terrorizing her cat. She would hear unexplainable sounds. It was moving objects in her home. It’s the sort of story that almost makes you uneasy just listening to. Hayes was being haunted. She wasn’t even sure she should tell anybody. After all, not everyone believes in ghosts.
“It was horrible,” she says of the experience. “I didn’t talk about it. I had this weird anxiety all the time. Absolutely, I was scared.”
So after months of being tormented by what she would call a demonic presence, she decided to do something about it. She contacted Michelle Desrochers and Patrick Cross of Canada’s Most Haunted.
Hayes was vague in her email. All she told them was that she thought she was having an encounter with a ghost. The next thing she knew a paranormal research team was literally at her doorstep, ready to assist. They got to witness, first-hand, the bizarre events involving the dark entity. It was also determined that Hayes had a special gift. She was able to sense spirits. It was like a sixth sense.
“Every day, I smudged my house, recited prayer, I even lit dragon’s blood incense,” she says. “I did angel work help, and I had salt water baths all the time. And then one day I just knew it was okay. Something shifted. The animals starting acting normal. It was like there was sunshine in my windows again. I still sense spirits… I get a tingling sensation and the air almost feels touchable. But now I know how to protect myself.”
This winter, Paranormal Survivor, a special television series documenting eye-witness accounts of the supernatural is set to air. A segment of the program is titled ‘An Infectious Evil’ and will tell the hair-raising story of exactly what happened to her more than a decade ago.
Be careful what you invite in. It can be really hard to get rid of it.
Her personal experience with the dead led Sue to establish Paranormal Muskoka, a non-profit group consisting of four other local women dedicated to helping people who are being disturbed by all things paranormal. Each member brings a unique gift. Hayes’ daughter, Niki, the group’s newest member, has seen spirits ever since she was a little girl. Her friend Denise Mitchell is considered the group’s resident witch. She studied Wicca and uses her knowledge to study the origin of a spirit. Gayla Lauren Bowes is Paranormal Muskoka’s photographer. She uses her expertise on exposure and speed settings to capture ghostly images and other phenomena. Diana McGrath has always been able to sense spirit energy. Together, the group makes a perfect fit.
They conduct paranormal investigations and research, geo-ghost tours, house clearings and blessings, and provide expositions and seminars. They do not accept cash for any work they do. Sometimes, she says, getting rid of the ghost is as simple as acknowledging its presence. Spirits will often attach themselves to houses or buildings that had something to do with a situation when they were earth bound.
“Taking money is like making a deal with devil,” explains Hayes. “You have to go into it with a pure heart and good intentions.”
The group responds to calls from people year-round. Sometimes they get one call a month. Sometimes they get several. They’ve captured voice recordings, and eerie images of unexplained phenomena like orbs or what appears to be an apparition. They’ve assisted in house blessings and even watched a family sell their home after not being able to cope with the paranormal activity that was going on in it. This past summer, they attended a millionaire’s cottage on Lake of Bays who had an uncanny situation where his Jacuzzi kept turning on at the same time every night.
“People don’t know that Muskoka is on a ley line, which is like an energy grid that surrounds the earth. I think because of that it makes this area a little more active than usual. My best piece of advice for people who are obsessed with the paranormal, who maybe think it’s cool to use a Ouija board… be careful what you invite in. It can be really hard to get rid of it.”
This coming Saturday, October 24, and again on Devil’s Night (October 30) the group will hold its annual Driving Ghost Tour. Participants are asked to purchase a ticket and are then given a location in which they begin a walk that will take them to various haunted locations around Huntsville. Anyone wishing to take part can find contact information on the group’s website www.paranormalmuskoka.ca.
Paranormal Muskoka will also have a spooky display set up at Boles Barn during Muskoka Heritage Place’s annual Great Pumpkin Trail event set to take place on Halloween night. Don’t miss the opportunity to see these ladies in action.