Present Day Preston Springs Garden Hotel
Sulphur Springs Hotel – Part III
As long time readers of my blog already know, I was once the caretaker of the most haunted hotel in Cambridge Ontario. As mentioned in parts I & II of this epic, I lived on the grounds from late 1995 to early 1998. I was tasked with security and minor maintenance of the vacant building, and in carrying out my duties I came across some other-worldly phenomena.
Upon moving into the small service quarters, located in the shadow of the immense hotel, my young family and I were completely unaware of the events to come. My eldest son was born shortly after my wife (of the time) and I had moved in. My life was a whirlwind at the time and neither my wife nor I spent much time worrying about the ethereal consequences of living so close to the Preston Springs Gardens Hotel. That is until we started experiencing some very weird happenings.
It started with small, barely noticeable events, like, on grocery day, a loaf of bread would spontaneously jump off the counter when our backs were turned, doors would open and close of their own power and the cat would seem to play with unseen playmates. Nothing truly unexplainable happened until our son was born in November of 1996. We would lie in bed late at night and listen to our new born baby coo and laugh over the baby monitor, and when one of us would enter his room to check on him, we would catch, peripherally, one of his stuffed animals suspended in thin air over his crib, which would then fall as though it had been caught red handed.
One event that occurred early on was precipitated by the removal of items from the hotel. The day of our move in, as described in Part II, my brother, my best friend and I performed our maiden exploration of the derelict hotel, wherein we found a huge pile of discarded kitchen wares, books and other ephemera in an ante-room near the rear entrance. Among the garbage were two beautiful glass vases, thick hand blown white glass that engendered visions of red roses. Being somewhat of a romantic in those days, I happily absconded with the vases as a gift for my wife. Bringing them into our small home, my wife cleaned them and placed them on our bathroom window sill, one at each end of the three foot long sill. Several weeks later I fulfilled my romantic duty by purchasing a single red rose for each vase. That evening as we lay in bed, we heard a crash, which caused me to leap to my feet and dash into the bathroom, only to find both vases smashed on the floor in the middle of the room. Now, this in-and-of-itself is nothing to be alarmed by, but for the placement of the glass. It was as though someone had picked up the vases and thrown them to the ground in the middle of the room. My wife and some friends speculated that some entity took exception to my removing them from the hotel, which was an idea that weighed on my mind for some time.
This event wore on me, over time, as my mind went over the details again and again, I couldn’t reconcile the weirdness. And when compared against all of the other events, I just couldn’t get over the idea that someone or something was with us.
Months later, as I hosted a party that included family and close friends, my guests insisted on an extended tour of the hotel, and it was my pleasure to oblige. We wandered the halls, exploring and marvelling at the splendour of this once opulent building, eventually congregating in a large suite on the backside of the hotel. As we stood talking and laughing, we noticed something moving through the over-grown gardens surrounding the concrete baths located halfway up the backyard. Wispy and white, this apparition, which we couldn’t completely make out, appeared to move from bath to bath. Each of us stood in amazement, silently watching through the large windows as this ghostly body glided over the shrubbery. We watched for a few minutes, until eventually it moved toward the building and disappeared near the rear gallery doors. Suffice it to say, my guests were eager to get out of this haunted building, so we walked, with goose bumps, all the way from the fourth floor to the service entrance on the first floor. We never did see the apparition again, but the building always provoked a feeling that one was being watched.
We lived in that small "cottage” (as my sons affectionately call it) for just less than three years, and in that time I witnessed many weird events like those already discussed, from unexplained lights and shadows, to strange whispers and even a push down the stairs (as described in ‘Hotel Haunting in Cambridge’). As time went on, my family grew and we were forced to move to a more appropriate home, leaving all the spookiness behind us. From time to time I pass by the hotel and I reminisce over all the memories I have of that time of my life.
Several theories have been proffered to explain these phenomena, from poltergeist, to a caring but deceased head nurse of the property’s days as a retirement home. But I prefer to leave speculation as to the cause of these events to the reader. It saddened me to see of the recent fire in the service building in mid 2011, which has culminated in the demolition of the building in the summer of 2012. While the hotel still stands, its condition unchanged since the last renovation effort, I fear it has a date with a wrecking ball in the not so far off future.