Written by: Ben Heywood MacLeod & Cameron McGlade
Last week, we found ourselves looking through old archives in our school museum to bring light to some of Harbord’s festive history. As we dug deeper, the information became harder to decipher. Near the very back of one of the filing cabinets, we came across a very peculiar story. A story that has literally vanished from our school’s history for over a hundred years.
The details are not exact, but we pieced them together as well as we could. Between 1899 and 1902, there was a terrible fire on the third floor of the old building of Harbord. The exact cause is unknown, however the school suffered serious structural damage and renovations were required the following spring. The haunting aspect of this story though, is that during the building’s evacuation, one person was unaccounted for. The details of this person were lost in time, so it is unknown if they were a student, a teacher, or another staff member. However, it is certain that there was one death. There was a search, however the body of this mysterious missing person was never found.
It was traumatizing for students and teachers alike, and it only got worse. When the school reopened and classes resumed as usual, the third floor had been replaced with a varnished wood. Within the next few weeks, reports began to surface of sounds of moaning around the 3rd floor. As more and more students noticed it, they deemed it to be the missing body, the one lost in the fire, who was haunting the building. After studying the evidence, it cannot be denied that something very ominous was going on in our school. For the next year, many reports identified mysterious moaning and footsteps, at all times of the day. But after that, not a sound. Since 1904, it seems that our school ghost has not revealed itself again.
There have been other fires since then, and even one tower-crippling storm, but nobody else has been lost. This is all that we could gather from the facts, we will leave the choice of believing whether or not there was supernatural activity in play that year up to you. Next time you’re on the 3rd floor however, listen just a little closer for the missing person who vanished after that fire. We’ll never know what happened to them, and who knows, our school ghost could be reading over your shoulder right this minute.