A not-so-ordinary audio shop has been the topic of conversation in Richmond Hill, causing speculation over whether it really is a haunted house
By Amanda McGee
Kim Hadfield leads a film crew up to the second level in a barn house-turned-audio store, where a suspected suicide took place decades prior. The documentarians wait for something to happen as Hadfield and her team set up their equipment and prepare for yet another of their paranormal investigations. As with any other investigation her team does, Hadfield ensures that they are not told about any significant historical information — they let their findings unfold the story.The hairs on the back of Hadfield’s neck rise as she feels something touch her on the back over and over. The sudden giggles of a child erupt in the once quiet room. Creaking floorboards and the sound of shuffling feet begin, forming an eerie memory that Hadfield still carries with her even ten years later. Many people have driven past Angie’s Audio Corner at the intersection of Stouffville Road and Yonge Street, completely unaware of its haunted past. The three-storey property is home to a legend that involves creaking floorboards and a piano playing with nobody — not even a piano — present. Angie’s Audio Corner has become a local Richmond Hill treasure, attracting those seeking to experience paranormal activity – and well, people looking to buy audio equipment.
Before becoming a retail destination for high-value audio equipment, the residence was known as the Oak Manor. So the story goes, in the 1920s the home was owned by Edith Legge and her son, Homer. Many say they still roam the site, sparking the paranormal claims throughout the years. While Edith’s cause of death remains unknown, Homer was allegedly shunned by the family and eventually died as an outcast.Canadian author John Robert Colombo featured the chilling legend in his book Mysteries of Ontario, writing how later occupants of the residence coined the nickname “Joke Manner” because of the strange occurrences happening inside the house. From pictures flying off the walls to loud bangs erupting from the basement, the residence became notorious for being haunted. When the building was an ice cream parlour in the mid-90s, the owners Danny and Debbie McLellan claimed to have seen a man run across the room and vanish into a wall. The building has since been occupied by many different business owners, with some even vacating the premises because they were too scared.
In the early 2000s, the building was occupied by Greenhawk Equestrian Sport. At the time, Krista Trulsen briefly worked as a product transporter, driving and delivering to other Greenhawk locations. She recalls pulling the truck into the driveway before walking towards the trunk to unload some buckets when suddenly a young woman approached her. The lady had straight sandy brown hair and was dressed in a button-up t-shirt styled with worn-out blue jeans. Struggling to unload equipment by herself, Trulsen asked the woman if she worked at Greenhawk and would be able to help her. The woman answered “sort of” in a thick English accent and within a split second, she vanished into thin air. Trulsen remembers shivers running down her spine before she frantically searched the area looking for the mysterious woman. That was the first and last time she ever saw her.
“It totally jitterbugged me out,” said Trulsen, who firmly believes she encountered a ghost. Trulsen questioned the staff working that day if anyone had seen the young woman, but the employees nonchalantly explained there were ghosts around and how something like this was not uncommon to happen.
Angie’s Audio Corner took over the space in 2012. Angela Lisi, known universally by her customers as Angie, has never once encountered a ghost in her workplace.
On the other hand, Lisi’s associate, Andrea Lenne, who has worked at Angie’s Audio Corner since the store’s opening, has had some terrifying encounters.This wasn’t due to eerie encounters with decade-old ghosts, but rather because Richmond Hill residents would come banging on the fragile wooden doors of the shop, frantically warning her of hauntings. Ten years and many night shifts later, Lenne hasn’t experienced anything supernatural. “I never heard anything, but maybe I just wasn’t open to it,” she said. The worst that has happened is someone misplacing an item, causing Lenne and her co-workers to joke that it’s Homer moving them. Whether it is him or not, Lenne doesn’t know and, frankly, doesn’t care to look into it that much. If Angie’s Audio Corner really is haunted, Lisi says Homer must be at peace. “He loved the sound of music,” she says.
The chilling rumours circulated far enough within the GTA to intrigue Hadfield, a Milton-based paranormal investigator, to take a visit in August 2012. Anything related to the paranormal immediately catches her attention, so when Lisi allowed her to come and investigate, Hadfield didn’t hesitate in making the 55-minute drive. It was worth it — her team, Halton Paranormal, concluded that the place was indeed haunted.
After hearing about a local group of women embarking in paranormal research, Sean Cisterna decided to dedicate a film to them and their findings. He recalls hearing about Angie’s Audio Corner from word of mouth in Richmond Hill, making it a prime location to film 30 Ghosts. “The curiosity to connect to something not of this world — that’s what appealed to me to a project like this,” said Cisterna.
Lenne says the paranormal legend has a way of coming up again in conversation every-so-often years. In fact, the unique history of Angie’s Audio Corner has recently sparked interest in online conversations, bringing together current and former Richmond Hill community members who reflect on the hearsay claims of the building.
Ghost tales seem to transcend time, passing on from generation to generation and igniting curiosity in people. What is it that makes stories of the supernatural so interesting? “It’s the possibility of encountering something that you wouldn’t otherwise encounter in your normal life,” said Cisterna, adding that the phenomenon of not knowing is what he finds so intriguing. One thing that’s for sure is how ghost stories have the capability of bringing the curiosity of a community together.
As for Lisi, she will continue to remain unphased and provide top-quality service to loyal and incoming customers, despite what some may think of the building. The paranormal claims, if anything, have boosted the store’s publicity and business as people are intrigued to take a visit and see for themselves.