Updated November 2005: The “spooklights” viewed at this location were proven by verifiable and repeatable experiments on July 24th 2001 to be car headlights with the source being the West quarter Line. Since that time the experiments have been duplicated by numerous serious ghost investigative groups and individuals with identical results, including one local high-school.
Our paper detailing our study of the location, photos of the source light, and experiment can be found within this entry.
It is unfortunate that a handful of groups claim otherwise and have used our material almost verbatim without giving proper credit to their sources. Any group that states that the “spooklights” are anything other than car headlights are either unaware of these experiments or refuse to prove it to themselves or are wilfully lying to their readers.
THE LEGEND OF GHOST ROAD
In the 1950's a young man by the name of Dan/Dave Sweeny was driving a motorcycle down a desolated road in Scugog Township, Ontario, Canada. He was driving at an excessive speed when he lost control, and was thrown into a field. Tragically poor Dan was killed when his head hit a large rock. Since the time of the accident there has been reports of a phantom headlight which crosses the field, then turns left down the road where it vanishes into the night. It seems Dan is doomed to relive that last ride each night on Ghost
road.....At least that's how one story goes......
A motorcyclist killed while fleeing the father of his girlfriend, and that it was a snowmobile instead of a motorcycle.
Please see update below - March 20th /01
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE POSSIBLE 'PARANORMAL' ACTIVITY
For decades (possibly much longer) people have been reporting strange and inexplicable phenomena occurring on 'ghost road' The most common of these is a mysterious white 'light' (the headlight of a motorcycle according to legend) and a smaller red 'light' (the taillight). Other anomalous phenomena include the sighting of 'ghostly beings', cars being pulled forward and backwards, electrical anomalies, batteries draining and equipment (i.e: cameras) malfunctioning, ufos, strange sounds, and other assorted odd occurrences.
HISTORY OF THE AREA
In 1827 the town of Lindsay was founded by a Mr. William Purdy, and his sons Jesse and Hazard. The town was first known as "Purdy's Mills". Purdy built the first dam in the winter of 1827 to power his grist mill. The dam was 10 feet high, and located on the Scugog River, at Lindsay. The dam flooded the area near Port Perry, creating a lake and Scugog Island (location of Ghost rd) was born.
Previous to the formation of the lake and island the area was inhabited by farmers and traditionally belonged to the Mississauga's native tribe. The area was the location of an ancient native footpath that led to L. Ontario and was the scene of fierce tribal warfare between Ojibwa's and Mohawks. Many historical artefacts including human skeletons have been unearthed in the area.
Geology Features - Clay, Loam, Sand, Gravel, minor silt
Geologic Fault Lines - goes directly under Port Perry and Lake Scugog. Some scientists predict that there could be a major earthquake in the next 50 years. This is still under debate.Â As can be seen on the maps, the fault runs north-east traveling under lake Ontario, under the Pickering nuclear plant up to Scugog township and splits at Lake Scugog going up both shores.
Update March 20th/01
We recently received an email from a long-time area resident who remembered a very different ghost story in association with the 'Ghost Road' lights. The story tells of an unsolved murder involving a farmer. The 'lights' in this story are attributed to the spirit of the deceased individual and his lantern.
The above ghost story is also very similar to legends and myths surrounding other known 'spooklight' locations. However, at least in this case we were able to find some basis in historical fact. A farmer in fact was reportedly murdered - death attributed to gun shot wounds in 1838 on Scugog Island. Is it his ghost than that is the cause of these 'lights' - no - though this does make for a more believable ghost story.
Our personal thanks to our correspondent.
This paper is a summary of our observations and research in regards to the 'ghostlight' and various other 'strange' phenomena occurring on Scugog Island, Ontario between the period of April 2000 to July 2001. It also contains our conclusions in regards to the same.
Please note that the use of the terms 'spooklight', ghostlight, 'lights' throughout denote the same phenomena.
Appearance - Behaviour
The light displays witnessed by us include amber, white, and red lights. They appear spherical in shape, and the larger amber and white lights are approximately the size of a basketball at approximately a ½ km distance from the field. The smaller red light, referred to in the legend of Ghost Road as the tail light appears as ½ the size of the larger lights at the same distance.
From the 1/2 km and 1/4 km points on 'Ghost road' the 'ghostlight' appears as one solid light with the naked eye as well as through optical devices such as telescopes, binoculars, etc. Occasionally it appears as if more than one light is merging together to result in a larger light that pulses.
The luminosity, frequency of, and duration of the lights vary considerably between each separate observation. Location and apparent path of the lights seem to follow a set pattern with the occasional variance, such as the light travelling further, and making an erratic movement not normally sighted.
The red light usually follows directly behind the larger white and amber lights and has been observed on several occasions independent of these other lights.
We have observed the light phenomena during different weather and visibility conditions such as fog, snowstorms, rain, severe thunderstorms, cloudy and clear sky conditions without any apparent bearing on the display of lights. With the possible exception to the above statement being the increase and frequency of light displays during intense electrical activity overhead and increased humidity. We have observed a light exit the field, race up the road, in an apparent attraction to the location of an impending lightning strike. This observation was made with both the naked eye and while using binoculars. We have deemed this a separate event from the 'ghostlight' and speculate that this may have in fact been ball lightning. Differing phases of the moon do not have an effect on the appearance, behaviour of the lights either.
We have observed both a slow fading out of, and a quick wink out with the eventual disappearance of the lights.
The light phenomenon has been observed from the ½ km mark on Ghost Road (Mississaugas Lane), and the ¼ km mark. Attempts to view the light from the crossroads of Pine Point Road and Ghost Road have been unsuccessful. On October 3rd, 2000 we carried out an experiment which involved splitting up with two observers stationed at the ½ km mark, which is higher in elevation and two others positioned at the stop sign and flush with the field. Signaling with their high beams from the ½ km mark while the light phenomena was occurring in their perspective, the two observers at the south end had no visual on the lights'.This included with and without binoculars and from the vantage point of the roof of a mid-sized car, which gave a clear view of the surroundings.This is due to the fact that you are removed from the line of sight at this position.
We have been informed that observations of the lights can be made from a specific spot on Pine Point Road slightly west of the stop sign on a slight rise in the road. However, we have not made any observations from this point. I also wish to note that this particular location is dangerous to park in due to the lack of visibility of vehicles traveling westward on Pine Point Rd.
Attempts at viewing the phenomena at a closer range were successful on July 24th, 2001. These observations were made from within the field located to the south, nearby the lake, approx. 2km south of the intersection at Pine Point. The 'ghostlight' appeared as one solid light at this location. However, this observation gave us an idea as to the exact location of origin, which was found later that evening.
Past eyewitness reports include the light passing within 6 ft. of one individual and in front of several others, whom appear to be credible, as well as the light displaying some form of possible intelligence by following a witness at a close range. These reports are to be considered as separate events from the phenomena commonly referred to as the 'ghostlight' Sound
No sounds are connected with the display of ˜lights. We feel that sounds such as a motorcycle revving, native drumbeats etc occasionally mentioned by other witnesses are the simple, and wholly understandable misidentification of the natural sound made by pheasants, which we have heard frequently during our observations on 'Ghost Road'. The sounds of horses galloping within nearby fields may also result in this type of misidentification.Animal Reactions
Observations in an attempt to gauge a pet dog’s reaction to the ghostlight and location in general remain inconclusive.
'Ghostlight' - Taken 19/06/01
-the camera used is a Canon Rebel G 2000 with a 28/80mm zoom lens.The pictures were taken without the use of a flash.The camera was set on landscape mode and at 80mm zoom. An external shutter release was used.Film was Kodak Max Zoom 800.
-the shutter speed for this picture was shot at 6 seconds - aperature set at 8.0
-photo scanned as is with no enhancements made.
Photo Courtesy: Steve Dietrich
True origin of 'ghostlight' as verified by our repeatable experiments conducted 24/07/01. This photo was taken approx. 2km south of Pine Point Rd. and Mississauga's Trail.
Photo Courtesy: Steve Dietrich
The time frame for the first appearance of the light phenomena varies considerably depending on the source of information. The earliest date recorded so far comes from a notation contained within the diary of an early resident of Scugog Island, which refers to ghostlights occurring on Devil’s Light Island, which dates to the late 1800’s. This notation has been confirmed by e-mail correspondence with the present owner of the diary and may be viewed on these pages. This reference to ghostlights implies a possible connection to some of the light phenomena reported at the Ghost Road location. However, our efforts to find any supporting documents, which contain similar references from the same time period with the generous help of Frank and Joan Young of the Scugog Historical Museum and the librarians of the Toronto reference library did not yield any corroborating information. This in conjunction with the fact that there would be no living witnesses from that time period leaves the possibility of 'ghostlights' occurring on the island during the 19th century as speculative only.
The latest possible date in regards to first reports of the light phenomena is 1979. This date was obtained by a newspaper clipping of an article featured in the Port Perry Star on the mystery lights that we were able to locate at the Port Perry Public Library.
We were able to learn that the area long before becoming an Island was the scene of tribal warfare between Mohawks and Ojibwa tribes. It was also the location of a well-traveled Native footpath. There have been many artefacts, including Native remains unearthed in the immediate region. Recent visits to the location in the company of two 'sensitives' of Native ancestry (whom we work with and consult often) suggest that this may have some bearing on the reports of possible paranormal events other than the 'ghostlight'.
We feel that the legend/s surrounding the ghostlights on Ghost Road is simply that, an urban legend. Similar stories accompany the display of spooklights worldwide and suggest a common folklore/myth. In July 1983 Cathy Robb a journalist with the Port Perry Star interviewed retired O.P.P officer Harold Hockins who had policed Scugog Island since 1954. He was able to confirm with her that no motorcycle accidents or otherwise that resulted in a fatality had occurred in the vicinity of Ghost Road during that time period. There are no police records, hospital records, obituaries, nor news clippings that would support the legend as an actual historical event.
Reflecting Car Headlights Hypothesis
We had been informed that the Canadian television program W5 ran an episode on the ˜light phenomena of Ghost Road several years ago and that one theory suggested by the program as a possible explanation for the phenomena was reflecting car headlights from Shirley’s Road and the West Quarter Line. This proved to be false - our email correspondence with W5 resulted in a denial of this segment being fimed nor aired. We have conducted various experiments, detailed in the diary of our visits, involving car headlights, from the highest elevation of the W. Quarter Line, the intersection of Hwy 7A and the W. Quarter Line 4 km to the south, and Ma Browns Road, located 2km. to the south. These experiments involving both high and low beams, and brake lights failed to reproduce the light phenomena seen from Ghost Road during all attempts, with the exception of our last experiment. The monitoring of traffic on these roads by us also proved inconclusive, but is irrelevant at this time.
Earth Lights & Earth Quake Lights
We feel that this unsupported (by our experiments) hypothesis may be relevant to reports of light phenomena other than the consistent 'ghostlight' due to Scugog Island's close proximity to an active geologic fault line and geophysical makeup.
We have seen hoaxes attempted on Ghost Road and within the field on two separate occasions involving the use of flashlights. These along with our own flashlight failed to reproduce the light display. However, this could potentially account for some reports made by those who make one time visits to the road and are unsure of exactly what the 'ghostlight' appears like.
Other Strange Phenomena Occurring On Ghost Road
Cars being pulled backwards and forwards have been reported on Ghost Road.Â Compass readings and the use of an emf detector taken at various locations on the road and the edge of the field including underneath the Poltergeist tree have shown nothing out of the norm. However, the vicinity of most of these occurrences was identified as a 'ley line' by our colleagues who are 'sensitives' and whom were not privy to this information beforehand.
A sighting of a possible “being” of some sorts on 'Ghost Road' was made by one of our members, which defies a proper explanation at this point in time. Our member was the sole witness and factors of misidentification, heightened anxiety due to the circumstances cannot be ruled out. However, it is interesting to note that a young woman, whom we interviewed on the road a couple of weeks later, was able to corroborate many of the details of our member's sighting without prior knowledge of the event.
A part of the legend of 'Ghost Road' involves the large infamous rock located on the southeast corner of the road. Legend states that if you sit on the rock, you will be thrown off by unseen hands and/or become violently ill. We have personally tested this out on numerous occasions without incident. Our two 'sensitives' also stated they received no 'feelings' from the rock either - and further stated they felt "it's just a rock."
Date: 24/07/01 Weather: Clear, mild
Equipment: Binoculars, telescope, spotting scopes, (4) camcorders, (4) 35mm cameras, digital camera, EMF detector, flashlights, walkie talkies, cell phones, compass, etc.
We arrived as a group at the 'Ghost Road' at approx. 7:30 pm.The town of Port Perry and surrounding region was completely without power. Members of HRG stationed themselves with telescope at the 1/2 km mark, four of us remained at the intersection with Pine Point, while two others made a trek to a point approx. 2km south of this intersection.
At the 1/2 km mark observations of the 'spooklight' were easily made with the use of a telescope. These were viewed as "large fireballs."
The 'spooklight' was not observed by those at the intersection, which is much lower in elevation as this location is removed from the line of sight.
Those 2km south excitedly reported that they could see the 'ghostlight' from a hill surrounded by field and woods.There is a line of hydro poles running north/south here and the lake even further to the south is easily visible at this location. The 'light' was observed as singular. This was the first time an observation of the 'light' phenomena was observed by our group at a location other than 'Ghost Road'.
We gathered as a group at the 1/2 km mark and a hypothesis to be tested was quickly formulated based on the following: eyewitness testimony and photos taken that the 'spooklight' origin is south of the lake and Scugog Island - the 'spooklight' origin viewed as one single light from this new location would be at a much greater distance than we anticipated or tested through our previous car headlight experiments if in fact car headlights were the cause..
Hypothesis: Cars placed on the W. Quarter Line at a greater distance than previous experiments facing both N. and S with both high beams and lowbeams switched on will in fact be seen as one singular light from Mississaugua's Trail and the newly found observation spot.
Experiment: Group A (Sue, Lisa, Anita, Dee) will observe any and all light activity that occurs from 'Ghost Road' noting time and duration of each.
Group B (Steve, Krys, Jay, Julie) will be on the West Quarter Line shining both high and low beams, and taillights towards the direction of Group A. Group B will also record the time and direction of any other traffic on the West Quarter Line.
Groups A and B will remain in direct communication throughout the experiment via the use of cell phones. Group A and B will simultaneously record experiments with camcorders.
Conclusions: Group A consistently saw displays of the 'spooklight' (repeated over 20 times) while Group B was stationed on the West Quarter Line at a distance of 3.6 km further south than previous experiments conducted in order to test the car headlight hypothesis.Group B deliberately flashed both high and low beams northwards towards the location of 'Ghost Road' at the direct prompting of group A. The true location of origin at a greater distance than previously tested is consistent with the observations of the 'spooklight' as one single light as opposed to two from both 'Ghost Road' and the newly found observation spot. All vehicle lights at this distance will be viewed as singular both with naked eye and optical devices from the 'Ghost road' viewing spots at this distance.
The actual location of origin further explains why the counting of cars on the W. Quarter line proved inconsistent during our previous attempts (they must be positioned at this location) to create the effect seen on 'Ghost Road'.
We have now established the actual origin/causation of the consistent 'spooklight' observed on 'Ghost Road'. Vehicle lights are easily visible over this distance due to refraction and further reflection from the line of hydro poles running N-S and in alignment with the W.Q. line location. Our observations, verifiable experiments, and simultaneous videotaped footage while remaining in direct communication bear this out.
Our thanks to HRG members, Steve Dietrich, and Jay and Julie.
We have researched and observed the ghostlights of Ghost Road and other various strange reports for a period of fifteen months at the time of this writing. Our failure to reproduce the 'spooklight's during controlled experiments on ALL, but our last visit had led us to believe that factors other than reflecting car headlights were in fact the true origin of the 'mystery lights'. We also had believed that all credible reports of anomalous light phenomena shared the same origin and cause with the consistent reports of 'ghoslights' and that other phenomena would also be associated. Similar unusual experiences are associated with occurrences of 'ghostlights' and their various names throughout the world.This is not the case and these should have been treated separately.
However, our experiments conducted on July 24th 2001 and detailed here proves that the 'ghostlight' enigma is indeed solvable if not the other more unusual reports at this time.
Vehicle lights travelling downhill at a specific location on the W. Quarter line and refracting over the moist air above lake Scugog are viewed as the 'ghoslights' from the 1/4 km and 1/2 km marks on 'Ghost Road'.
Differing traffic conditions at this specific location of the W. Q line and weather conditions contribute to the differences in appearance of the 'ghostlights'. Example: High beams would be used more often on the W. Q. line during storm conditions.
Any reports received of 'ghostlights' witnessed at the interesection of Mississauga's and Pine Point or physically on the 'Ghost road' itself are not attributed to the above and therefore should be treated as separate events as already explained above.
We have received many reports of possible paranormal activity on the 'Ghost Road' including those made by our own members. The location is famed for it's known 'party' atmosphere, and coupled with the increased anxiety of individuals on the road due to the popular legend; we believe a large percentage of these reports occur due to these and other natural reasons.
It is also our opinion that a smaller percentage may in fact have a genuine preternatural origin, but for obvious reasoning this is pure speculation on our part.
This was our first group investigation and a valuable learning experience for all of us. We would like to give a special thank you to all of those who have contacted us via this website, through emails and talked with us on Ghost Road and shared their experiences. We also wish to thank those fellow investigators who shared their expertise with us, and those friends who accompanied us to the location. And perhaps most importantly the town of Port Perry and residents of Scugog Island. Thank you!
Update July 2008
Over the years people have tried to argue our findings from creepy TV programs that actually filmed the origin of the spooklights with Lisa, Ian, and I in attendance only to decide to push the spooky angle which is completely false instead of portray the reality of our findings, to a defunct paranormal radio show host, to a few people who just hate being proven wrong or more likely would have no where else to go in their search for cheap ghostly thrills..
Thankfully the vast majority who are very serious about ghosts, and hauntings do go out and repeat our experiments with identical results. We have also received much positive press coverage including the October 2007 edition of Owl magazine that featured our investigation (a children's magazine) where yes even kids have been able to prove the car headlight origin.
What this has taught us is that some people particularly if they are attempting to make money from an urban myth have zero interest in the truth, science, or even plain old common sense. Again, thankfully those are few and far between.