The Shroud of Secrecy Lifted on the St. Catharines, Ontario, Poltergeist of 1970.
5 Police Officers, 2 Priests, and a host of others witness a Poltergeist!
by Rob McConnell
According to retired Niagara Regional Police Officer Bob Crawford, when he responded to a domestic dispute at 237 Church Street, Apartment 1, in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada's "Garden City" on February 6, 1970, the last thing that was on his mind was a poltergeist.
The poltergeist was carried by the media within the Niagara Peninsula, as well as national and international media, including CBC, CTV, CHML, The St. Catharines Standard, The Canadian Press, The Hamilton Spectator, The Toronto Telegram, The Toronto Daily News, and the Buffalo Evening News, just to name a few.
On Monday, October 2, 1995, in a home in St. Catharines, I interviewed Mr. Bob Crawford, Mr. Bill Weir and Mr. Mike McMenanin ,all retired members of the Niagara Regional Police Force stationed in St. Catharines.
Mr. Crawford recalled how on February 6, 1970, as he was leaving 237 Church Street, Apartment 1 where he had been dispatched to investigate a domestic dispute, a female who identified herself as a resident from another apartment in the building asked the officer for his help in their apartment.
Crawford followed the citizen into their apartment which was in total disarray.
The complainant told the officer their story of how objects and furniture were moving around their apartment by unseen forces. Crawford was shown a chest of drawers laying on its side in the kitchen. Crawford was told that objects and furniture started moving around on their own in their small church street apartment about 10 days prior to February 6, 1970.
Living in the apartment with the female complainant were her husband and two sons.
After listening to the complainant and the events surrounding the present state of the apartment, Mr. Crawford claimed that his first thought was to call a member of the clergy, when a priest from a local Roman Catholic Church arrived at the apartment. Crawford stated that the priest was well aware of the events within the Church Street apartment and had been there previously and witnessed a bed moving away from a wall on its own. The priest then pushed the bed back to the wall but when he turned his head, again the bed moved away from the wall by unseen forces.
Crawford requested that everyone try to remain calm and instructed them to go into the living room.
Since Crawford was the last person to leave the kitchen, he claimed to have moved a chair out of his way and placed the chair in a normal position against the kitchen table before entering the living room.
While trying to calm down the complainant both Crawford and the priest head the sound of footsteps moving across the living room and into the kitchen.
Crawford claimed that he and the priest went into the kitchen and stated that the chair that he had moved against the kitchen table was in the middle of the kitchen several feet away from the kitchen table.
The priest told Crawford that this was the type of occurrence that had been happening for the past 10 days.
It was about this time that Constables Weir arrived. Constable Bill Weir who thought he was backing up Crawford on a domestic call was in for a "rude awakening."
After being briefed by Crawford, Weir, who was the officer assigned to this incident claimed that he had responded to this address earlier that year.
Weir said that he first responded to the address on January 15, 1970, and was made aware of strange occurrences which had been reported by the tenants of a different apartment. There had been reports of loud noises and strange occurrences. Since his first visit, Weir claimed to have contacted the Engineering Department of St. Catharines who inspected the building and found no structural damage with the apartment building.
The gas company was also called with the entire heating and water system inspected and everything was working fine and in good condition all well within normal operating specifications.
The police officers even bled the hot water radiators but still the noises persisted and so did the strange events of objects moving by unseen forces in Apartment 1.
Weir stated that while he was backing Crawford on the "domestic dispute" call on February 6, 1970, while in Apartment 1, he witnessed several bowling trophies being tossed off a wooden board over a radiator, being tossed off, one after the other, onto the floor. He also reported that he observed the kitchen wall clock unplug itself landing on the floor without making a sound.
The police officers who were at the scene that February 6 1970 evening claim that the "agent" or "host" of the described poltergeist activity was the 11-year-old son of the complainant. Crawford stated that when the 11-year-old walked through the apartment, pictures on the wall, "swayed in the same manner as a dog wags its tail when it is happy to see its master."
The officers all state that the invisible force pushed the young boy against the wall on several occasions and they also claim that as the boy was sitting in a large and heavy chair. the chair flipped over on its own pinning the child to the floor. The chair was so heavy that it took two officers to lift the chair.
The officers also stated that a chesterfield, holding four people, levitated about eighteen inches off the floor. One of the ladies who was sitting on the chesterfield fainted when she realized that she was sitting on a levitating piece of furniture.
Weir claimed that the child was sitting on the knee of a police officer when an unseen entity tried to remove the child. It took the strength of two officers to keep the child on the knee where he sat.
The officers also witnessed the child's bed levitating from the bedroom floor and watched as the frightened child jumped off the bed. The bed slowly then returned to the floor. They turned their attention to the frightened child and when they turned back to where the bed was, the bed was about two feet off the ground being supported by two chairs.
Dolls and pictures fell from the walls.
A table lamp in the bedroom fell over.
A large heavy chest of drawers moved away from the wall and back again.
A chair in the opposite corner of the room rose into the air and slammed down onto the floor.
The only two items that remained in the apartment which were not affected by the unseen forces of the poltergeist were a crucifix and a picture of the Virgin Mary with a palm leaf over the frame.
The police officers requested that the child's father make arrangements for the children to spend the night elsewhere. As the children started getting dressed to leave the apartment, a bookcase fell over.
According to one report, on February 11, 1970, police officers and detectives, including a police photographer with a 35mm camera, movie camera and tape recorder entered Apartment 1, 237 Church Street. Along with the police were two doctors, a lawyer, family members, members of the clergy, and the 11-year-old boy.
The police officers that their had been a leak and members of the media had been alerted turning the immediate area of 237 Church Street into a media circus. According to the officers, the family members could not leave their apartment building without reporters "badgering" them.
It was reported that a reporter for the National Enquirer tried disguising herself as a Nun hoping to get access to the family and the 11-year-old boy. The members of the family and the building owner hired a local lawyer who acted as liaison between the family and the media. The instructions from the family - NO INTERVIEWS.
Weir recalled that he personally advised the reporters that if they did not "back off" that they would be arrested and charged.
According to Weir, Crawford and McMenanin, the poltergeist activity stopped at the apartment when the 11-year-old boy left it and went to his grandmothers - or did it? There were unsubstantiated reports that the poltergeist activity continued at his grandmothers.
During the course of the investigation into this case, it was discovered that the "agent" or "host" of the poltergeist is now a successful business professional. I did contact the "agent" or "host" but he declined to be interviewed.
I understand and appreciate that paranormal experiences can be very traumatic, and that different people react in different ways. In the majority of cases, the "host" or "agent" have no recall of the poltergeist events. Others simply do not wish to remember, burying the memories deep within their conscious and sub consciousness.
I respected his wishes not to be interviewed and have therefore left the identity of the family out of this article.
I was able to contact one of the members of the clergy in this case, Father Stevens who was in Welland, Ontario, and he too, declined to my interview.
Based on the information given by the three distinguished members of the Niagara Regional Police Force that I interviewed, Bob Crawford, Bill Weir and Mike McMenanin, who have a combined total of more than 75 years police experience, that it this a very rare case of a highly documented poltergeist.
Paranormal researchers, a poltergeist is usually associated with a spirit, usually mischievous and sometimes malevolent, which manifests by making noises, moving objects, and assaulting people and animals.
"Poltergeist" comes from the German "poltern" (to knock) and "geist" (spirit).
Some cases of poltergeist are unexplained and may involve actual spirits.
In other cases the phenomena seems to be caused by subconscious psycho kinesis (PK) on the part of one individual.
Most common poltergeist phenomena are :
- rains of stones, dirt and other small objects;
- throwing and moving of objects, including large pieces of furniture;
- loud noises and shrieks, strange lights, apparitions and vile smells.
In this case, based on the evidence supplied by Crawford, Weir and McMenian, and the subsequent police reports from the Niagara Regional Police Force, there were no vile smells, no drastic temperature changes, no raining of small objects, no strange lights and no apparitions.
The research of William Roll, project director of the Physical Research Foundation in Durham, North Carolina, has supported the psychological dysfunction theory pertaining to poltergeist activity.
Beginning in the 1960s', Roll studied written reports of 116 poltergeist cases spanning four centuries and more than one hundred countries. Roll identified patterns of what he called "recurrent spontaneous psycho kinesis" (RPK) which are inexplicable, spontaneous effects. He found that the most common "agent" was a child or teenager whose unwitting PK was a way of expressing hostility without fear of punishment. The individual was usually unaware of being the cause of the disturbances, but was secretly or openly pleased with their occurrence.
Other researchers have found that "agents" are often in poor mental or physical health and thus are vulnerable to stress. Patients with unresolved emotional tensions have been associated with houses where poltergeist activity took place.
In studying the personalities of "agents", psychologists have found anxiety reactions, conversion hysteria, phobias, mania, obsessions, dissociative reactions, and schizophrenia.
In some cases, psychotherapy eliminates the poltergeist phenomena.
The psychological dysfunction theory has been disputed by other researchers, including Gauld and Cornell, who said that the psychological tests used were invalid. Psychiatrist Dr Ian Stevenson has proposed that spirits of the dead may account for more poltergeist cases than realized. In studying a number of cases attributed to living "agents" and to spirits of the dead, Stevenson noted significant differences.
The phenomena in living "agent" cases was without purpose and often violent, while cases involving spirits of the dead featured intelligent communication, purposeful movement of objects, and little violence.
According to Bill Weir, the poltergeist of 237 Church Street, Apartment 1, in St. Catharines, Ontario lasted 28 days - one complete lunar cycle.
For The 'X' Zone Radio & TV Show and The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper, I am, Rob McConnell.