The year was 1856. University College was in the throes of its construction, employing a number of stonemason’s, including the Russian Ivan Reznikoff and Greek Paul Diabolos. The two had reportedly never gotten along, especially considering Reznikoff’s fiancée, Susan, was having a secret affair with Diabolos in the late hours of the evenings.

Louis Sokolov, a writer for The Newspaper in the 80s, ran a Halloween story where he revive
d the story.  Reportedly, one foggy evening in 1889, Reznikoff appeared to a student who was walking across campus. They returned to the student’s dormitory for a drink, and for Reznikoff to tell his tale. Reznikoff discovered the affair between Susan and Diabolos one night when he stayed late at the construction site to finish a gargoyle. Hearing voices, he looked below him to see his fiancée and nemesis, and heard Diabolos’ say, “see the dull-witted Russian.” Infuriated, the next morning Reznikoff grabbed a double-bladed mason’s axe and attacked Diabolos. His first strike missed and the axe got stuck in a wooden door; the same wooden door where you can still see the axe mark today.

Diabolos ran inside and up the stairs, hiding near a ventilation shaft. Reznikoff followed, but was caught off guard when Diabolos stabbed him in the side. Diabolos hid his body in the ventilation shaft, and apparently got away with murder.

The student woke up the next day to find Reznikoff had disappeared, with no indication he had ever been there. However, two years later after the St. Valentine’s Day fire, clean-up crews discovered a human skeleton wearing a belt buckle stamped with the stonemason’s emblem…

Happy Halloween, UofT.


Blog TO – The Great Murder Mystery of University College
U of T Magazine – 6 Places at U of T That Just Might Be Haunted
U of T Magazine – School Spirits
The Varsity – Ghosts of Campus Past
The Varsity – The Haunting of U of T
Images from: Skyscraper City