This was the home of Audrey and Ronald Stillman. Audrey was an avid knitter who would regularly attend knitting workshops. She sold her custom-knit creations at craft shows across Ontario. Research shows that she was active from 2001 to 2004, but most likely beyond that scope.
Ronald lived in the house for certain from 2002 to 2006 and was known to be alive in 2012. Ronald apparently passed away first, leaving Audrey living on her own. According to a source who will remain anonymous, she looked after Audrey. One day Audrey had been stuck in her couch for three days before she was found. She checked in on Audrey until around 2019. This would seem to align with the calendar on the wall dated from 2018. The source claims that Audrey had someone who she referred to as her ‘son’ who lived ‘next door’. I cannot find any verification of this though.
Ronald’s father, Stewart, passed away in 1976. Ethel, his mother, passed away in October 2000 at the age of 88. I discovered a card addressed to Ethel in the house, congratulating her on her 87th birthday. I initially thought that she might have lived in the house with the family, but it could be that the card was a keepsake.
There’s no record of Ronald to be found in telephone records or recent online searches. He was part of a trail plan for hikers and skidoo enthusiasts.
I know very little about this couple. Internet searching revealed a single mention of the wife, and the husband hasn’t been mentioned in over twenty years. Most of the people that I found to be associated with the couple, were themselves deceased. I know that Audrey was living in a senior’s living facility in Barrie at one point in time.
In 1977, the house title was transferred for $2.00. I believe that the house was transferred to Ronald after the death of his father.
The Body Stain
This house is known as the Body Stain House because of the distinct outline of what appears to be body decomposition on a hallway carpet. Given the years since the parents deaths, they can be ruled out.
With Audrey known to have been at a senior’s residence, the question is was she living there before or after living in the home. This also asks the question, whose body was it, if anyone’s?
There’s a fascination with the macabre and lifestyles that surpass our own. For example, we’re intrigued by explorations of large mansions and exquisite ways of life. We’re drawn to photos of embalming rooms and morgues. It’s not so much the end of life that draws our attention, but that we rarely ever get to see inside of these rooms. We’re drawn to things that we don’t see every day.
This brought me to a moral dilemma: whether to show images of the alleged stain. In the urban exploration hobby, you’ll discover that explorers fit into certain niches. Some are content to explore. Some want to explore and document the past. Some want to make money (i.e., the “you won’t believe what I found” hype). I’ve ultimately decided not to post images of the stain on social media websites except for my own blog. This is after initially stating I wouldn’t show it at all.
This exploration has left me troubled, uncertain, and uncomfortable.
Therefore, it was a good exploration. According to a source, Audrey ‘left’ the senior’s facility many years ago. This is somewhat confusing. If she left her home to live in a senior’s residence, it wouldn’t make sense that she’d move back into her home in her 80s.
I found literature pertaining to care for someone who’s had a stroke as well as bereavement. There are several scenarios:
– After one of them suffered a stroke, Audrey and Ronald relocated to a senior living facility.
– Ronald is still alive, and Audrey went to live in a senior’s residence.
– Ronald passed away at home, and Audrey moved out. This conflicts with the information that Audrey left the senior’s residence, unless by left, the source meant she had passed.
In any event, it’s really not our business to know but it still makes you wonder. I’m inclined to think that Audrey and her husband moved to the home after the senior’s residence, where Audrey would spend the final years of her life alone.
Given its close proximity to a main road, the house has been ransacked. Clothing has been thrown onto the beds. Dresser drawers have been taken out and the contents dumped on the floor. Audrey’s sewing room, where she’d create her crafts, has been ransacked. Her sewing magazines have been taken out of the cabinet and hutch and tossed about.
In a back room, there’s a shoe rack and hanging clothes that have been spared from being tossed. They are about the only things left intact. The condition of the house is what I’d call a ‘time crapsule”—a well-preserved house with many original contents left inside, but in such dismal condition that it’s difficult to take photographs and to find research content.
I found utility bills in Ronald’s name and hotel reservations made by Audrey, which I believe were for her craft shows.
In the kitchen, it’s almost ironic that the garbage can still holds a garbage bag. The kitchen drawers have been tossed out, and the floor is filled with junk. The cupboards contain dishes, cups, and spices. A layer of black mold coats the walls. On the kitchen counter sits a bottle of Kahlua.
In one of the bedrooms, the mattress has been uprooted as if someone was expecting to find jewels under the bed. Clothing has been tossed throughout the room. Many of the rooms are so messy that you can’t see the floor.
In the basement, there’s a retro bar, which likely dates back to the 1970s. Several bottles of alcohol sit on shelves behind the bar. This area has considerable black mold as well. Behind the bar, I found dozens of vinyl records still in their plastic wraps. I didn’t inspect them because of the concern for mold.
In another room, I found plastic containers filled with 35mm slides. The slides were from assorted years, including 1965, 1967, and 1972. It was at this point that I had an idea. These slides had probably not been seen since the 1980s. For at least 40 years, these slides may have sat forgotten on a shelf in the house. Their most likely destination would be a landfill at the time the house was demolished.
I decided to show the content of the slides. My reasoning was that they depicted life in the 1960s and 1970s, which I find fascinating. Another reason was that I felt it would be a great accompaniment to this story. There are photos of northern Ontario snowmobiling, a trip to Las Vegas, photos taken at their cottage, Christmas, and a trip to the Grand Canyon. Perhaps someone will recognise the cottage?
Now there will be at least one person who’ll say, “You’re against posting photos of a body stain, but you’re fine with posting their memories”.
If I could summarise this exploration in one word, it would be “disgust”, I found myself disgusted with people and the way they toss places around looking for valuables. That comes across in my video. It’s at this point that you can retort that I’m also in a house where I don’t belong and that I’m being hypocritical.
This house is yet another example of why I started this hobby. I wanted to document the lives that were lived and the things that were left behind after they passed.
June 2023 – The house has sold for tax arrears.
35mm Projector Slides
August & October 1965
Video Walk Through