Night in a Haunted Hostel


This story of inexplicable terror happened at a haunted hostel in Northern Ontario on our drive across Canada.

It is worth mentioning right upfront that neither of us is paranormally inclined. We don’t receive visitations from the other side nor do we discover messages from beyond on burned pieces of toast. However, on this particular night we were put through our paces by either a poltergeist or someone pulling the ultimate prank.


We were en-route from Toronto to Calgary with a plan to camp along the way. It had been raining nonstop that day and the idea of setting up camp in the downpour seemed plain miserable. So, a swift online search later we were heading to a hostel some 20 miles away, getting a little drunk on the promise of a comfortable – and dry! – room.


Are you looking at me? Photo: Urban Escapists

The hostel was situated by a remote forest road off the Trans-Canada Highway.

On arrival we were greeted by a kid of indeterminate age and gender, who rushed off to find his grandparents who ran the place. The pair turned out to be wonderfully welcoming, informing us that we could pick the room of our liking as only one of the rooms was occupied by a young German couple. They recommended, however, a snug lime green room called The Green Palace.

After settling in, we prepared ourselves dinner in the shared kitchen and met the Germans. They had been staying at the hostel for a week, waiting for their VW van re-registration documents to arrive so that they could continue their journey eastbound. Wishing them luck, we finished our meal and called it a night.


Blood moon rising. Photo: Urban Escapists


Hours later I woke up to a funny sensation: as if someone or something was shaking the bed sideways. I had read up on sinkholes just a few days prior and in my sleepy stupor wondered whether a giant sinkhole had formed underneath the hostel and the building was about to cave in. In the end I decided to ignore it hoping that the next morning I’d just have a weird anecdote to tell.

Not so lucky.

This is when the knocking on the walls began. What made it more troubling was that the sound echoed from opposite walls – at the same time.

A moment later I heard the doorknob click. I watched it turn slowly before the door opened. Then, it was pulled shut again. It was as if something had slipped into the room.

At this point I decided that enough freaky shit had happened and gave Justin a nudge to wake him up.


Easier said than done. Photo: Urban Escapists


I was about to relay the events when the room’s fire alarm went off. Not only was it eardrum-shatteringly loud, the alarm also came fitted with a strobe light.

We clambered up in a state of groggy panic and ran through the flashing darkness out into the hallway — only to discover the rest of the house completely pitch black and quiet, with no sign of emergency whatsoever. Or people for that matter. Only our room had turned into a block-rocking pop-up disco.

We waited for a moment for something to happen, for someone to run up the hallway to investigate the noise. But when nothing came of it, I went back into the room and pulled the battery out of the alarm.

We sat down to catch our breath and wait for the owners to turn up (the siren was so loud, it would’ve been audible a hundred yards away). I started describing the events leading to the alarm going off. Justin wasn’t entirely convinced by the story and thought I must’ve dreamt most of it. Coincidental, he said.

poltergeist face reconstruction

Reconstructing the haunted hostel poltergeist encounter. Photo: Urban Escapists

We then made a creepy realisation: The clock on the wall that hadn’t worked in the first place pointed at 3:35am, which was the moment the alarm had gone off. Perhaps back in the day something sinister had happened in the room at 3:35am, I argued.

When the owners didn’t turn up, we decided to try and go back to sleep. This time we made sure the door was locked. But it wasn’t all over yet.

Soon enough the knocking began again and now we both heard it. It echoed from the two walls opposite each other, as it had done before. Knock, knock, pause, knock, knock. We sat in nervous silence for what must’ve been a good 10-15 minutes before it stopped. And then the show was over.

Eventually, completely wiped out, we fell asleep and only woke up when the alarm clock went off in the morning.

I’m a tourist, get me outta here!

The first thing on our minds was to hit the road – fast. When we met the owners in the hallway, both dressed in almost ritualistic white and golden robes (they were on their way to a wedding, allegedly), we decided not to bring the night up. Instead, we bid our hasty goodbyes and stepped on the gas.

haunted hostel screaming prof

A seasoned traveller reflects on a paranormal experience. Photo: Urban Escapists


With enough miles between us and the hostel, we stopped to hash it all out over a coffee. Was it an elaborate prank, a series of freak coincidences or something genuinely supernatural? We thought the latter but who knows.

In hindsight we did wonder what happened to the German couple as we never saw them – or their van – in the morning. Whether they ever received their registration documents or were forever left languishing at the haunted hostel…


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