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Haunted apartment freaks out Ontario talk show host – Part 1

Michael Vara was helping friends restore an old apartment building similar to this one.
Michael Vara was helping friends restore an old apartment building similar to this one.
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

In 2005, Michael Vara, an Ontario resident and host of Late Night in the Midlands, agreed to help remodel a building on a side street in Rochester, N.Y. Little did he know that his life and his views on the paranormal would change forever.

Two close friends of his had purchased the site, which had been damaged due to a fire. To make things more comfortable for Vara, they offered to let him live in one of the studio apartments within the building.

“It was a big jump from the very small bedroom I was renting at the time and it was a chance to have my place and some independence for a change,” he said.

He and his 13-year-old stepson moved into the apartment in November and began to set up the place right away. But there was one big problem.

“It did not take long to figure out that something was not right there. That very first night, it all began and folks, keep in mind that this place had been out of commission for several years because of the bad fire.”

Tired from moving, he and his stepson decided to “kick back and watch Smallville. We had the complete series and it involved no lifting!” he said.

That night as they relaxed and watched the show, Vara said, “I began to hear what sounded like the kitchen cabinets opening just enough to bounce back and make that tap, tap, tap sound. I would pause the show and listen.”

Both he and his stepson heard the sounds. Finally, he noted, “I got up to turn on the kitchen light fast and (saw) nothing. This went on several times that night.”

Vara said he and his stepson spent some time talking and decided to “call it a night.

“At 3:20 a.m., out of nowhere, my stereo came on blasting loudly. It nearly scared the both of us out of our skin, as we laughed and then joked that the place might be haunted.”

Thinking no more of it, they both went back to bed.

“The next morning my stepson told me that he kept hearing noise in the kitchen all night."

And the same thing happened the following night with both the cabinets tapping and the stereo coming on right at 3:20 a.m.

“By my third night, I decided I would do some research on the computer to see if I could find anything on this building.”

However, as soon as he tried to do so, his computer died.

“I turned it off and then a few minutes later on again, and again it would lose power.”

After this happened several more times and only when searching for information on the building, Vara said he had had enough.

“I was surprised because it was a brand new desk top computer and still covered by the store so I brought it in to the kind Asian man who owned the store. I left it with him for the day and said I would pick it up later.”

When he went back to the store, the man said, “nothing was wrong and he ran it all day. I would end up bringing the computer back to the store three more times until finally he yelled at me.”

He said, “Nothing is wrong with computer! I ran it all day! Are you trying to pull a fast one now? Do not come back in again!”

By that time Vara was thinking, “Oh boy!” What is going on here?” Vara added that he began to wonder if mice were the culprits. Always the rational man he said that would explain the kitchen cabinet doors opening and the critters might have chewed through the wires to his computer as well. To deal with the problem, he called an exterminator first.

“While he found no evidence of mice, he set traps and planned to check back in a few days.”

He also called two different electricians “to check the wires and make sure everything was safe. Both electricians said the same thing, ‘Nothing is wrong with your wiring at all.’”

By then Vara and his stepson had contended with the “constant noise,” the stereo blasting in the night and the loss of power to his computer “anytime I tried to find the history of this apartment building” for a couple of weeks. Now if that weren’t annoying enough, he said things sated to “pick up and I do mean pick up!”

One night while he and his stepson were relaxing, Vara “witnessed the blinds on the windows begin to start lifting away from the wall and then slap back at the wall. This went on for about five minutes,” he said adding that the apartment had radiators with no fan-blown heat.

“When the blinds stopped, I went to Wal-Mart and bought the movie White Noise because I wanted to see the extras at the end where they showed how to do an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) session. I got an old tape recorder and bought brand new cassette tapes. We planned to do EVPs later that night.”

The evening began with the arrival of a “woman friend who was coming over to meet me.” Things were going great but then the unexpected happened again.

“Out of nowhere, a picture of my kids came off the wall and dropped in between us. I then started to explain to her that we suspected the place was haunted.”

Later that night, he walked the woman to her car and headed back inside the building.

“I opened my door and began walking in the apartment when a horse shoe that was screwed into the wall came off and just missed my head! Make no mistake about it,” Vara noted, “it could not just fall out of the wall and be thrown across the room unless someone did it. It was only my stepson and I there at that time.”

Distressed by the night’s events, he decided to talk on the phone to the woman who had been there and just rest on his bed. Well, there’s no rest for the wicked, as they say!

“I notice the mouse on my computer moving by itself and then it began clicking things. My son comes in the room and said, ‘Dad do you see that?’ Then his son added, “OMG, dad, get up and look at this!"

What he saw on the computer screen simply blew him away.

See Part 2: Apartment was site of fatal fire

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