Ultra Vires


Interview with a Ghost

All he wanted was appreciation… and a doughnut

Alisha Krishna (3L) is U of T Law’s Resident Paranormal Negotiator.

From the moment I walked into the DLS building as a caseworker, I fell in love with the uneven lime green floors and the inexplicable showers between offices—leftovers from its past lives as private residences, small businesses, and convents. 

One day in October 2021, another caseworker and I entered the employment office to find an incredible stench that persisted for weeks. The smell was deemed a health hazard in November, which prevented us from working there for the rest of the semester. 

After weeks of inexplicable smells and dying flies, we became suspicious that DLS may have had an unearthly visitor. Plans for séances and exorcisms were bandied about. However, before they could be implemented, we were proven right—a raccoon was excavated from the roof over the third-floor employment office in the following semester. While the University considered the matter closed, the students knew better.  

Ultra Vires reported on this phenomenon last year, speculating about the presence of a “disgruntled” raccoon spirit that might still be lingering in the halls. UV assumed the spirits had made their peace once the smell had left. Yet, in a shocking twist, the UV editors received a daunting letter last month, threatening their motivation to finish the semester. 

The author of this chilling note claimed to be the very ghost they thought they had left behind with their clinical placements. Sensing that our Procyon wraith had more to say, the UV editors acknowledged that, as a serious newspaper with integrity, it was time to tell both sides of the story—extending the proverbial olive branch to help facilitate hostage negotiations.  

Given my love of the DLS building, and on-the-ground experience with the spirit in the past (not to mention the stellar mediation and negotiation training I received as a caseworker), I’ve been appointed Lead Negotiator and liaison. After all, I had nothing to lose. My own motivation is unsalvageable, and so can easily be sacrificed to save the year for everyone else. 

After tense negotiations, Steven (as he prefers to be addressed) has agreed to drop his demands in exchange for a profile and a doughnut.

Steven, looking tough-as-nails. Credit: Jennifer Sun

I met with Steven in the Ultra Vires dungeon, having summoned him through the requested séance, where he looked right at home amongst the precariously piled stack of newspapers. As the familiar faint stench wafted through the air, we curled up with our coffee for a chat. 

I asked why he had such an attachment to the DLS building. “It’s well-known in the community that something about DLS just attracts animals,” Steven explained. “I had a gig getting rid of other pests in the area, and a condo developer had just evicted me. I needed a new place, preferably close to work, and the DLS roof was open because of their renovations. I thought a loft apartment sounded sweet.”

Steven failed to realize that this hole would soon be closed and his corporeal remains would become trapped in the rafters. “That’s what I get for having the cognitive capacity of a human toddler. The afterlife has truly put things in perspective for me.”

Though he found the afterlife initially disorienting, Steven soon enjoyed it. “I realized that banditry became much easier when walls no longer mattered. I also made some new friends, which was pretty cool.” 

When asked about these friends, Steven told UV that he met up with the squirrels who caused DLS to shift locations in 2000, to “compare notes.” Their spectres likewise have remained with the clinic long after their demise. We told Steven that our sources at the time assumed the squirrels would have left, reporting that the new building was “convenient, clean, and house[d] no wildlife!” 

Steven was deeply offended. “It’s just so hard doing your job with no appreciation, you know? Because I haunted the Employment Division office, I knew it was hard to ground a grievance in mere lack of appreciation. Instead, I settled for causing a fly infestation of biblical proportions. I thought—that’ll show them!” 

In response, the DLS staff tried to cover the smell using car fresheners and waited for the smell to go away. “They really only made the smell worse.” Steven added, “I think that Building’s Services didn’t want to take the roof apart because it had been freshly renovated. Maybe that’s why they waited so long to find me.” 

By the Winter 2022 term, paranormal experts (and construction workers) had successfully located and removed Steven. “I still go back there sometimes,” he says. “The DLS building just wouldn’t be the same without an animal spectre haunting it. I hope to carry on the tradition.” 

We hope that readers now realize the critical contribution of our furry friends to our campus life. “I know DLS celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022, and I’m really happy for them. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in the next 50 years.”

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