Status: Former Private Girl’s School, Abandoned, Fire Site, Demolished, Residential High Rise
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History and Paranormal Activity
Alma College for Young Ladies is, or rather was, in St Thomas, Ontario. The school was opened in 1881 as a private school for girls and was closed 1988 due in part to a teacher’s strike.
It has been featured in movies including Silent Hill and Orphan.
Sadly, it was burned to the ground in 2008, ironically right after a demonstration to save the building. The fire was ruled as arson but it was set by 2 boys aged 14 and 15 and their names cannot be identified. Stories indicate they were playing with matches in the basement.
In the years 2007 – 08 one of our investigators was able to do an investigation of the site with members of the team and others.
Alma College, much like Whitby Psychiatric Hospital, was rumored on websites to be impossible to access with 24 hour security and high fences. In the summer of 2007, we decided to check it out for ourselves due to its close proximity to London.
As with many other locations, the difficulty in getting onto the grounds and into the building had been much exaggerated. We simply had to slip around the fence and we were in.
All that was left of the site was a music building, a church (which proved impossible to get into without causing damage), the main building and the ruins of the amphitheater. The grounds proved to be highly active, as they still are, leaving everyone present with an uncomfortable feeling of being watched and studied on a constant basis.
Upon entering the building, we found that the inside had nearly been gutted. Only the wall frames and the floors were intact as well as the three staircases. Individual rooms could be identified though such as dorm rooms, classroom and a library. In the library my hand was actually grabbed by a small child.
The basement was found to extremely active with a very strong feeling of not being wanted. Many light anomalies were both seen and photographed by the team as well a feeling of being watched and objects moving on there own. The most impressive EVP captured in this location was a man’s voice saying, “leave now”.
The main floor included classrooms and administration. Many voices were heard on the digital voice recorder, sometimes so many they would overlap so much specific words became impossible to hear. Despite the school being set up by a religious institution there is a surprising amount of foul language heard on all EVP tapes.
The upper floors were used as dorm rooms and by far the most active parts of the building with the exception of the staircases.
The east tower was a hotbed for dark entities, even more surprisingly these entities were easily identifiable as not only dark but also most probably former students as they were teenage girls – mean girls indeed.
Great care had to be taken in this part of the building as the girls would attempt to trip us up especially at the top of the stairs. Abusive language, threats and general disgust was picked up repeatedly on the digital recorder in the east tower.
The west tower at the rear is also called Angela’s Tower due to a legend of either a student or a teacher being tormented by other students and locked herself in a closet to escape this torment. Unable to escape she eventually suffocated to death. The very top of Angela’s Tower is said to be Angela’s room. In this area we found the residents to be very friendly – knocks were responded to and questions answered including is this Angela? The response being a very low whisper of “yes”. The apparition of a teenage girl with dark black wavy hair, a very pale complexion and a white night gown was frequently seen in this area.
Finally, we come to the main staircase which was used as a location in the film Silent Hill. The staircase formed a square of open space from the basement to the top floor. Numerous EVP activity was picked here including “Who are you?” and “Why are you here?” indicating at least some sort of awareness of the team by an entity possessing intelligence. The apparition of a woman in blue was captured as a picture here and seen many times.
It was a very sad day for us when Alma College was burned and it haunts me (forgive the metaphor) to this day. To look at the grounds now where a grand building once stood is very depressing. Paranormal activity aside, the province of Ontario lost one of its greatest heritage buildings that day.
Currently the grounds are still very much a hot spot, possibly even more active than the building itself was. I would still highly recommend doing further investigations at the site.
Paranormal activity after the fire includes: apparitions of young women, powerful of dark energy coming from the former church as well as on the ravine side of the rubble, general feeling of unease as well as of being watched and not being wanted, light anomalies, slight feelings of nausea, unexplained noises including bangs and cries coming from both the rubble and the surrounding forest and empathic feelings of loneliness, sadness and loss.