25 Jun 2009
Ghost Hunters visit jail
Posted By KEVIN LAJOIE
For years, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson have been investigating haunted sites across the U. S. and Canada in search of paranormal activity.
That search recently lead the two popular ghost hunters to the Seaway City's own spooky spot, the Cornwall Jail.
The duo, along with other members of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), spent several days at the jail last week searching for clues of the afterlife for an upcoming episode of their well-known reality TV show Ghost Hunters.
The local jail - which has been the scene of numerous hangings and suicides during its 175-year history - was brought to the group's attention through e-mails and local recommendations, and they decided to pursue it further.
Along with interviewing local history buff Ian Bowering and others, the group spent two nights in the jail with a variety of audio and video equipment trying to detect paranormal activity. A TV crew was also busy filming the goings on.
So how did they fare? Well, they can't say anything before the show airs on TV, but they acknowledged the jail's past and the claims of weird activity in the building made for an interesting case.
"The Cornwall Jail was a unique case due to the very tragic history it has had," said Wilson. "The claims (of paranormal activity) were jam packed for such a small place. The investigation was pretty standard, trying to debunk the claims while at the same time looking for solid evidence."
Regardless of the investigation, Wilson said the storied history of the jail - which is now run as a tourist attraction by Cornwall and Seaway Valley Tourism - makes it a great place to visit.
"People need to come here and check it out," he said prior to the group's departure on Friday afternoon. "There's literally stories here in every room."
Tourism employees Barb Matthews and Renay Dixon guided the crew through the jail facility in the counties building at the foot of Pitt Street, and they said they were thrilled when TAPS contacted them about doing an investigation.
Prior to arriving in Cornwall, the group investigated Fort Henry in Kingston, and the two sites mark the first time Ghost Hunters has filmed in Canada.
TAPS isn't the first group to investigate paranormal activity in the jail, but they're probably the best known. Their TV show is seen in more than 30 countries and draws millions of viewers in the U. S. alone.
"It's good exposure for the jail,"Matthews pointed out.
The show airs on the Space Channel in Canada, and while the exact date is not yet known, a co-producer of the show said the episode featuring the Cornwall Jail will likely air in mid-to late-September.