Happy Halloween! I figured today would be a great day to tell a sports related ghost story. Since I am a bad story teller I figured I would relay this great story of a ghost that lives in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. This was written by Paul McLaughlin of thestar.com. Before the NHL Hall of Fame moved to it’s current home, the 100 year old former Bank of Montreal building, there was apparently a suicide in the 1950s. Here is the story:
For more than 50 years a ghost known only as “Dorothy” has haunted the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Star is now able to publicly reveal her full identity and confirm what actually happened.
In the early 1990s, a few years before the Hockey Hall of Fame moved into the historic building that had been a Bank of Montreal branch for close to 100 years, Toronto musician Joanna Jordan saw a female ghost looking down on her from a second-floor ceiling.
Jordan, who was playing the harp at an event being held in the building’s Great Hall, was unaware at the time that a ghost purportedly haunted the space. “I remember it so vividly,” she says, “because it’s one of those things you’ll never forget.” Jordan refused to go up to the second floor by herself when she played at the Hall, which opened in 1993, some years later. “It was just too spooky up there.”
It is assumed, by those who believe in such things, that Jordan had seen the spirit of a young teller known as Dorothy, who had killed herself in the bank some time between the early 1900s and the 1960s, according to various sources. Although Dorothy has been written about in numerous books and articles, she has never been given a last name. Nor was the reason for her death confirmed.
The Star has learned that she was Dorothea Mae Elliott, 19 years old. She shot herself early in the morning of Wednesday March 11, 1953 and died 22 hours later at St. Michael’s Hospital.
Her death didn’t garner much attention from the newspapers of the day. The long-defunct Toronto Telegram ran a brief item on March 11, which reported that police were checking a story that the “attractive young brunette may have been despondent over a love affair.”
The Telegram didn’t follow-up on the story. But the Toronto Daily Star, as The Star was then known, ran a three-paragraph item on page 14 the next day that announced her death, citing the cause as loneliness because her boyfriend had left her to “take a job on the boats.”
Neither paper mentioned her name, but it did appear on a death notice on March 13 that The Star discovered.
Over the years other rumours emerged. One version accused her of having been caught stealing money. Another said she had been discovered helping members of the Irish Republican Army, who were planning to rob the bank to fund their cause back home. And a psychic, several years ago, said she was murdered because she had uncovered a scheme involving the bank manager, the chief of police and a leading judge, all of whom were embezzling money belonging to farmers.
The most common theory, however, was that she was having an affair with either another teller or the branch manager, a married man who had an apartment in the bank.
The latter account is the accurate one, according to someone who knows the details but for personal reasons doesn’t want to go on the record. “She was a beautiful young woman who was very popular,” this person says. “She looked like the actress Rita Hayworth.”
The source also told The Star that Dorothy had been orphaned at the age of 9, following the deaths of her parents a few years apart.
Len Redwood, the bank’s messenger in 1953, described her in a 1982 interview as “the life of the party, the most popular girl in the bank.” He said she shot herself in the women’s second-floor washroom with the bank’s revolver, a .38 calibre, which was kept in his drawer. Years later, his son Vic said his late father “told me that he and an ambulance attendant carried Dorothy downstairs, likely still alive, in a wooden, Windsor-style chair. That chair was at my parents’ cottage as late as 1990.”
A few years ago I spoke with one of Dorothy’s fellow workers, who thinks she’s the last person to have seen her alive. “Dorothy was a beautiful girl, tall and buxom,” said Doreen Bracken. “I wasn’t very sophisticated at the time but she was. The men liked her, eh?”
Bracken remembered the day of the shooting. “I came in about 8 a.m. and she was already there,” she said. Bracken noted that Dorothy, who was wearing a blue-knitted dress, looked “distressed and dishevelled.”
Just after nine o’clock another employee, Zeta Rushbrook, began screaming and yelling over the balcony, Bracken said. Len Redwood raced upstairs to see what was wrong and discovered Dorothy’s body. “We didn’t hear a shot,” Bracken said.
There have been countless reports of strange occurrences in the building over the decades that are believed to be connected to Dorothy: lights flicking on and off; doors and windows opening and closing for no apparent reason; and moans, screams and other eerie sounds echoing through the historic structure. Some staff and employees have heard footsteps when working alone at night. A few have felt a phantom hand on their shoulder or leg.
Rob Hynes, who formerly worked at the Hall as a special events supervisor, had an encounter that spooked him. While preparing for an event, he entered a narrow kitchen that runs behind a second-floor conference room to get some coffee urns at around 6 a.m. A strong feeling, as if being watched by someone, “but different than that,” enticed him to enter the conference room, which was in darkness. “One of the chairs, and this is the God’s honest truth, was turning, as if a breeze was in there,” he says. “It actually moved right into my hand. I’m rather skeptical about ghosts, but I just freaked out and ran out of there.”
Despite all the reports, only one other person is believed to have actually seen the spirit. One summer a young boy was visiting the Hall of Fame when he started screaming, “Don’t you see her, don’t you see her,” says Jane Rodney, who was the Hall’s coordinator of resource centre services at the time. “He claimed a woman with long black hair was going in and out of the walls.”
Dorothy’s family does not speak about her death, nor would they comment for this article. They have objected, over the years, to her being seen as an object of fun.
It’s always fun to read a ghost story on Halloween, especially one which involves the Hall of Fame of any sport. This had nothing to do with cards, but sometimes it’s so much fun to take a break and read about something very cool like this. Have a great Halloween.