Certainly, there are rumours at 1 Spadina Cres., beneath the turrets and gargoyles and vine-covered brick, of whispers in darkened rooms. And there was that unsolved murder back in 2001, when a lecturer was knifed repeatedly in the chest.
But if they were looking for ghosts in University of Toronto buildings, they were in the wrong place. Because 1 Spadina Cres., a Gothic building so beautiful that one of the city's main arteries parts around it like water, doesn't really have any good ghost stories.
And yet, someone died trying to find some.
Just before 2 a.m. yesterday, a drunken ghost-hunting trip across the building's roof went from an eerie adrenaline rush to a painfully real-life tragedy.
A 29-year-old woman, following her 34-year-old male partner from one rooftop to another, fell three storeys.
She died later at St. Michael's Hospital, police said.
Friends identified the woman as Leah Kubik, who was originally from Indiana but moved to Toronto several years ago. Neither she nor her companion was a U of T student.
"For Toronto, this is the first real incident of someone tragically dying or being seriously injured due to this sort of activity, but this has gone on in the United States," said Sue Darroch, who is a fixture in the city's paranormal investigation and research community.
Dying on a quest for ghosts is rare. In 2007, a scare-seeking ghost hunt in Worthington, Ohio, ended with an eccentric recluse shooting a cheerleader, paralyzing her left arm and leg.
And in 2003, a black-clad ghost seeker in New York state was run down by a drunk driver while walking on a country road.
This type of ghost hunting, including the reckless kind that resulted in the woman's death yesterday, is not something of which organized ghost seekers approve.
"We usually refer to them as `thrill-seeking.' People who have maybe watched television or got caught up in movies or fictional books or whatever," Darroch said.
"And when they think of ghosts they think of a spooky-looking building, and they're going to break in and they're going to look for ghosts."
The building at 1 Spadina Cres., though not especially haunted according to the city's experienced ghost hunters, does have its share of history.
It was bought by the university in 1972, but was built in 1874 to house the Presbyterian Knox College. During World War I, it was turned into a military hospital, where a 21-year-old Amelia Earhart cared for wounded veterans with influenza.
If the couple was looking for ghosts, they probably should have gone to University College, where a stonemason from 150 years ago purportedly regales passersby with gruesome stories of a love triangle gone violent, before dissipating. Or Massey College, which Robertson Davies said he wanted to haunt.
Richard Fiennes-Clinton, who leads ghost tours of the university's campus, said: "This particular college itself doesn't even really have any kind of substantial ghost stories to it.
"There's certainly a lot of other buildings around the university that do have stories. I think with that one ... it is a very Gothic-looking building. It's a creepy-looking building."