Standing in the twilight with the Thomas Foster Memorial looming
over me I could sense another presence and very slowly started to
look around.My feet were firmly planted where I stood and I am sure
it was out of fear that I couldn’t move my feet as my legs were trembling
and the blood had left my head which made me feel dizzy and about
to faint.

The Thomas Foster Memorial was built in 1936 for $250.000.00
by Thomas Foster a very stern but caring man who was Mayor of Toronto
in the 20’s and also a MP, Comptroller, Alderman, butcher, drover and
finally invested in real estate to make his millions.
Thomas’ two main loves in this world were his daughter Ruby and his wife Elizabeth and this is why Thomas built his Memorial.
Thomas would not tolerate any wasteful spending and died a millionaire leaving his estate to many worth while causes such as Cancer research, Tuberculosis, hospitals, Sunday Schools, Char women, newspaper boys, under-privilege children, and of course his beautiful Byzantine Memorial in memory of his daughter and wife.
And the Foster Memorial has received the very appropriate name of the “Diamond of Durham”

Over the years I had heard all the bizzare tales about the Foster Crypts as I grew up with the Thomas Foster very near and dear to my heart and just up the road.

My first visit to the Foster was with my father who had told me about the tale of the missing golden ball on the top of the main dome. And as the stories go someone stole the gold ball and had melted it down so they could cash in on the gold, and another story is it was struck by lightning and fell off the dome only to be buried for many years in the ground and the last but truly interesting story is the gold ball is in one of the crypts in the basement.

There are 9 crypts inside the Foster Memorial, with three upstairs where Thomas is buried, his daughter Ruby and his wife Elizabeth; and in the basement there are 6 crypts with one open to the public, one houses the millennium time capsule and the other one the township bi-centennial time capsule.
Three of the crypts in the basement have never been opened and we are not sure if there is anyone in these crypts or if possibly the gold ball was put in one of the crypts for safe keeping and everyone thought it had been lost.
The basement crypts were established for the community to use in the winter when the ground was too frozen to dig and no one knows for sure if they were ever used.
 
It is the basement crypts that all the stories are told about and today I am about to find out if the stories are true.
Over head the pointed columns of the Foster shoot up into the air and are flanked by the three solid copper domes that are the symbol of Byzantine architecture and give the Foster the appearance of being in a European country and not in the rolling rural hills of Uxbridge Township surrounded by corn fields. In the entrance way the large heavy solid bronze doors give the appearance they are protecting something very beautiful and important.
The leaded glass windows appear to be on fire when the sun is shining on the Foster and could account for rumours of seeing flames inside this very unusual building but that is one of the reasons I have ventured up to the Foster today is to try and dispel rumour from fact.

Again I have the feeling I am not alone and this time I hear a noise close by but I can’t distinguish what that noise is or where it is coming from and I am not too anxious to find out after hearing all the stories about strange happenings at the Foster.
The reason I am alone here at the Foster is I agreed to meet a friend and we were going to take a look at the grounds to see how they could be improved but now I am a little more than hesitant about staying here and waiting as the feeling of not being alone is even stronger now. And the feeling of adventure has been replaced by caution.

I get my legs to move and I start around to the back of the Foster to the basement door so I can take a look around and once and for all dispel this feeling of someone else being here with me.
I approach the heavy armoured basement doors very slowly and carefully as I am not sure I really want to go inside and check this out when I am not even sure what I am looking for and there are many dark shadowy corners in the basement where something could hide.

Slowly I unlock the heavy basement doors and inside it is dark and dank with a very little stream of light coming in from a tiny barred window high up on the back wall. In front of me is the hall way with a cold stone floor and if I remember correctly a light switch on the right hand side of the door.
I reached out to flick on the light switch and my hand hit something cold. I drew back in horror I don’t remember anything being between the door and light switch that would be so cold and then I hear it, a noise like a rustling to my right. I turned quickly to go out the door and it slammed shut. I stood there for a minute or two stunned that the door had slammed shut and I was in total darkness now with no idea of what had shut the door or what I had touched that was so cold.
The air here in the basement was heavy and I was breathing very quickly from the weight of fear and almost turned back except I still didn’t know what my hand had touched earlier. Taking a deep breath, I stumbled forward in the dark to try and find the other light switch at the end of the hallway and managed to find the switch only to discover the bulb had burned out.
There it was again the noise of rustling and the feeling of someone else being present and as I turned in the direction of the noise the door flew open with a bang and there stood a stooped old man with his hat in his hand and he said, I thought I heard a noise in here and decided to take a look. Then as quickly as he appeared he turned and shuffled away shaking his head as if he had been disturbed by my presence.

When I got to the door there was no sign of the old man and with his slow shuffling walk he could not have disappeared that quickly. I wanted to ask him who he was and what he was doing at the Foster with no sign of transportation around I couldn’t imagine how he had gotten there alone.

As I raced around to the front of the building with what I am sure was a wild look in my eyes, there stood my friend. And seeing her look at me with a puzzled expression I knew I couldn’t tell her about the old man with the shuffling walk she would never believe me and I wasn’t sure I believed in what I just seen either.
So I suggested we walk the property and I would leave the exploring for another day.
But I knew we were not alone that day, I could feel it.
Tales of the Foster Crypts
By Bev Northeast