Toledo Yacht Club

TYC logo

Toledo Yacht Club building

JRR Tolkien once said “Not all who wander are lost.”  Some believe that the spirits of their deceased comrades wander the halls of the Toledo Yacht Club.  Perhaps the draw of peaceful waters maintains its strong grasp on a sailor’s soul after he passes.  Follow the Fringe team as they set sail on a voyage to find answers.

Investigation Date: January 25 & January 27, 2013

Location: Bayview Park Toledo, Ohio


  • Don C.
  • Kelly S.
  • Al
  • Tami
  • Ray
  • Chad
  • Matt
  • Andy
  Investigation Conditions
 Fri Jan 25  Sun Jan 27
Avg. Temperature (f)  Mean 18°  Max 21°  Min 16°  Mean 21°  Max 32°  Min 10°
Humidity  Avg   79    Max   93 Min 62  Avg  75  Max  87 Min 66
Barometric Pressure  30.16 in  30.40 in
Wind  6 mph South  6 mph SSE
Precipitation  .01 inch  .01 inch
Dew Point  14°f  17°f
Moon  Waxing gibbous 98% of full  Full
Solar X-Rays  Calm  Calm
Geomagnetic Field  Quiet  Quiet
Events  Fog, snow  Rain


The current Toledo Yacht Club is a Spanish style building built in 1908. This steel reinforced concrete structure is three stories tall with big windows and large front entryway. This building is situated on the water with easy access to dock space.

The following is taken from Yacht Club History.htm

The history of the Toledo Yacht Club dates back to August 14, 1865 when the original organization, the Toledo Boat Club, was founded. At this time, the Toledo Boat Club had a boathouse located on the Maumee River at Elm Street.

During the post “Civil War” period, there was more public interest in “Rowing” than “Sailing” and individual “Power Boats” had yet to make their presents felt. Toledo boasted of such clubs as the Undines Xantho Boat Club and the Naiads. The rowing fraternity was housed near the Cherry Street bridge. Such boats were raced as the “Toledo”, an eight-oared barge, “Naiad”, a four oared shell; “Albertine”, a double shell; and “Mist”, a single sculled shell. These races attached thousands of spectators. Upon the wane of barge and shell racing as a popular sport, the private sailing community began to emerge.

In 1878, the first clubhouse, a small frame building, was erected on Gard Island and the name “Toledo Yacht Club” was adopted. This club served its members until 1890 when a second more pretentious clubhouse was erected with a large front veranda and sleeping rooms on the second floor. Ferryboats ran between Point Place and Gard Island making the clubhouse on Gard Island more accessible to many of its members.

The flood of 1883 did great damage to the yachts, destroying some and wrecking a large part of the fleet. It was years before these yachts could be replaced by new boats.

During the time the Toledo Yacht Club was located on Gard Island, a rival organization known as the “Ohio Yacht Club” was incorporated in 1885, and had a clubhouse erected on Presque Isle. Intense rivalry developed between the two clubs and continued until 1896 when a merger of the two clubs under the name of “Toledo Yachting Association” was adopted.

About this time, Presque Isle had attained great popularity as a summer park. The river steamer “Pastime” made several trips a day so that the island became quite accessible from the City of Toledo and in 1898 the club built its third clubhouse on Presque Island facing up the river. The city quarters of the club were in the Neptune Building.

In 1898 the Toledo Yachting Association secured from the City of Toledo and the Board of Park Commissioners a twenty-five year lease for the property that Toledo Yacht Club presently occupies at Bay View Park, and the club agreed to erect a clubhouse worth not less than five-thousand dollars and to permanently improve, reclaim, beautify and construct waterways upon the leased land. In 1901, the club re-adopted the old historic name the “Toledo Yacht Club”.

On the night of Feb. 5, 1906, the newly built, fourth clubhouse, a frame colonial building took fire and burned to the ground. The club then build its fifth clubhouse, the present concrete fireproof structure which was completed in 1908. The new building was opened April 1, 1908 with a grand reception for members.

TYC 1908
Toledo Yacht Club circa 1908 after reconstruction

On the twenty-third of March 1909, William Howard Taft, President of the United States of America, for the purpose of encouraging proficiency in the art of sailing upon the Great Lakes by means of popular contests in yachting, gifted to the Toledo Yacht Club a beautiful silver cup known as the “President’s Cup”. The most famous winner of the President’s Cup was “Old Sam”. Old Sam had won over one hundred sailing events before she was retired and its transom displayed in a prominent place at the Toledo Yacht Club as a memento to this famous sailing yacht.

Commodore Merrill B. Mills of Detroit inaugurated the annual Mills Trophy Race in 1907 and donated to Toledo Yacht Club a sterling silver punch bowl, very ornate in design, for the purpose of encouraging proficiency in the art of navigation upon the Great Lakes by means of a popular contest in yachting. This race was held annually until the year 1917 at which time it was discontinued, both because of an unfortunate accident which cost the life of a popular yachtsman and the depressing influence of World War I. The Mills Race was re-established by the Toledo Yacht Club in conjunction with the Storm Try Sail Club. In 1995, the seventy second running of the race, 161 yachts competed for thirty-eight trophies. The yacht race has become one of the most popular sailing events on the Great Lakes yacht-racing schedule.

In 1965, Toledo Yacht Club organized a centennial celebration with a parade of boats and the crowning of a centennial queen. As the oldest club in the area and the eleventh oldest yacht club in the United States, the Toledo Yacht Club became host to the Centennial celebration.

The historic Toledo Yacht Club, Bay View Park, Toledo, has been entered in the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service, US Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.


There are several claims of activity at this location. On the third floor, several members claim to have heard a toilet in one of the restrooms flush of its own accord. Also on the third floor, a bluish colored “mist” was spotted in a side hallway. The witness was standing in a long hallway which runs perpendicular to the shorter hallway where said mist traveled. According to the witness the mist moved from out of a side storage room down the short hallway towards the ballroom. On the first floor, footsteps have been heard traveling across the floor. There are also reports of shadowy figures peering over the stairway banister on the third floor. Perhaps the most intriguing claim of paranormal activity occurred on the first floor at the yacht club’s bar. One evening a bartender was performing her duties as usual. At the time the bar area was somewhat “dead” (no pun intended). As her back was turned to the bar she heard someone complain about their Manhattan cocktail. When she turned around she found that no one was at the bar. According to several people associated with the club, one member, deceased at the time of this incident, was known for complaining quite vociferously about his Manhattans.


The Fringe team arrived on Friday evening at 10:00pm. Several yacht club members and their families were having dinner in the first floor dining area. On setting up this investigation, Fringe agreed to make a presentation to the club in which we would speak about our team and its investigations and experiences. Our presentation lasted about one hour. It went well and yacht club members seemed quite interested in what we had to present. They also shared some of their unexplained experiences at this location. The team took a tour of the yacht club to get acquainted with its layout and get a grasp as to where certain events were experienced. Going through this building, we were all impressed by its sheer size and labyrinthine quality. We were also struck by the ornate architecture inside as well as outside. It is also interesting that the entire building is made of steel and concrete as opposed to wood.

After our tour we discussed the locations for our video cameras and stationary recorders. We opted to use five cameras. We wanted to capture the stairways in particular. We placed cameras looking up the stairway leading to the third floor (the third floor hosts the ballroom) and also looking up the stairway leading from the third floor to the fourth floor. A camera was stationed up in the fourth floor ballroom balcony looking down to capture the ballroom. Cameras were also placed on the third floor hallway where the blue mist was sighted and in the first floor hallway where footsteps were heard. We also placed a stationary voice recorder in this first floor hallway. The yacht club provided the team with guides to assist us with finding our way through the building and to answer any questions we may have. As we had an ample amount of agents we opted to split into two units for the investigation. Throughout the evening the Fringe team conducted EVP sessions. We also had agents monitoring the camera system. We had two REM pods available and placed one in the first floor hallway and one in the ballroom.

At one point later in the evening agents monitoring the cams thought they saw the first floor cam move several times. Agent Al went down to check the cam and ascertained that the tripod was sturdy and that there was no air current which could account for any such movement. We noted the times of the alleged movements for later review. It should also be noted that access to the hallway could only be gained through one doorway which was visible on camera. The other doorway at the end of the hallway was shut and locked preventing possible air currents or access to persons without our knowledge. Agents also noted what may have been flashes of light on one of the cams. Again the time was noted for later review. During the evening’s investigation the REM pod went off in the ballroom. The purpose of this device is to detect movement within a certain area around the device. If movement is detected the device emit’s a shrill sound and colored lights flash. This equipment is somewhat similar to a KII meter with the addition of sound. Basically, if no investigator is near the pod and it goes off that may be evidence of some unexplained presence. Our video surveillance confirmed what the agents testified to; the REM pod DID react to something. No agent was close enough to set it off. As we investigated the attic area of the yacht club we noted some anomalous readings on the emf MEL Meters. The readings vacillated back and forth, rising and falling within a certain range. Guest agents Chad and Matt from Weston Paranormal heard what they thought was a voice in the first floor hallway. The exchange was captured on audio but we are unable to hear what the agents claim to have heard. We also captured some audio in the bar area during an EVP session.


After the investigation we checked the portions of the video that were in question. The alleged camera movement turned out to be pixelation. This combined with the dark room the camera was placed in led to the appearance of movement. The flash of light recorded by one of the cams turned out to be a spec of dust. To ascertain this we had to view the video at ¼ speed. As mentioned, the REM pod did go off in the ballroom. This was also caught on camera. Before jumping to paranormal explanations we did several tests to see if any environmental agents could make the pods react. If a person waves his hand around the pod it will react. This is the theory behind using the pod; IE. a supposed entity will cause the REM pod to react if it comes within range. We discovered that the pods are also sensitive to radio waves. Walkie talkies used within range of the pods will set them off. Several photographs taken with our IR still cameras showed what could be taken for mist. A closer look reveals that they are most likely reflections. We believe the IR cameras caught reflections from a combination of the glass chandeliers and the IR security cams installed on the ballroom balcony.

TYC anomaly photo 1
This photo was taken in darkness using an IR camera. In this photo we see two areas of interest. We have an orb like area in the top yellow circle. The bottom circle shows a reflection which could be mistaken for a mist. We believe both anomalies are related. The IR security light above the balcony seems to be causing a reflection off of the chandelier which carries down to the area above the doorway. To further support this conclusion a line drawn between both anomalies bisects the security light. The lens of the IR camera that photographed this may have intensified the reflection.
TYC anomaly photo 2
This photo was also taken with an IR camera. We believe it is very possible that the anomaly captured may be explained as a reflection from the shiny surfaces that are abundant in the bar area.

During the second night of the investigation Don wanted to test a theory that might explain the flushing of unattended toilets that some have heard in the past. We added some colored liquid to the tank of the toilet in question. The theory being tested was that of the aptly named “phantom flush” (see video below). If the tank was leaking water through the flapper the colored liquid would have seeped down into the bowl. The phantom flush phenomena occurs when the water level of the tank reaches a low point caused by the leak. At that point the flush mechanism activates and flushes the toilet. This phenomena is possible with both older flapper models as well as the newer float models. During our test we did not detect any leak in the toilet tank in question. We believe the emf Mel Meter fluctuations mentioned earlier were due to low batteries. Upon replacing the batteries we were unable to get the same readings. As our audio recorders were unable to pick up what our agents heard in the first floor hallway we must classify this event as a personal experience. The audio from the bar area was unclear to us. We can not determine if what we hear is a voice or if it is one of us brushing against the recorder. We include the audio below for your opinion. Due to this factor, we also classify this audio as personal experience.


Our video surveillance did not capture anything unexplainable. We did obtain some interesting photos which we believe can be explained as reflections. Our investigation also found rational explanations for several anomalous equipment readings. While we did not detect any leaks in the toilet tank, we believe that the “phantom flush” may be the best explanation based upon the fact that this odd incident occurred several years ago and the current caretakers indicate that it is possible that the toilets were updated sometime after the phenomena. We could find no explanation for the voice we captured on the EVP. While we did not experience a lot of activity during this investigation we believe that this location merits further study. Its history and the past experiences of guests at the Toledo Yacht Club suggest that there may be something out of the ordinary occurring. Fringe Paranormal hopes to continue its exploration of this historic Toledo landmark in search of answers.

A few seconds in we hear some banging and as Kelly asks a question we hear what may be an answer
 Fringe has had quite a few people asking about toilets that flush of their own accord.  Here is a video that may explain some of these instances.

Prepared for Fringe Paranormal by Don C

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