Local ghost tale subject of book – by Kyle Gennings (Timmins Daily Press – September 5, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Timmins is a community built on harrowing tales. There are many stories of men and women who overcame everything under the sun to build a life for themselves in the wild and unforgiving North.

But for a local educator, it was one story that inspired him. It is a story that has stayed with him and moved him to share it with the world.

That story is Popchuck’s Ghost. “Let me tell you a little bit of the history of the book,” said author and educator Paul Toffanello. “Back in the mid ’80s when I was teaching at Schumacher Public, I had a bunch of boys who were pretty reluctant readers and I had to find some way to engage them.

“And it just so happened that the Joe Cameron from Camp Bickell asked me to be the director at Camp Bickell and I found out there was a ghost called Arnold Popchuck. “I just took all of the little stories that the kids at the camp had about him and put it all together into a story that I hand wrote.

“I used this story in class and in that first handwritten draft. I put all of their names in it so it gave them some purchase to read it.” Now, decades later, Popchuck’s Ghost is going to print and has already been released in e-book format.

“This is a story about three kids, two boys and a girl, who find themselves at a summer camp and discover mining tunnels underneath,” said Toffanello. “They find out that these tunnels are in fact occupied by a ghost and they come to understand the circumstances of how he became a ghost.”

The book outlines the journey the children make to help the ghost understand the mystery and why he is still here.

“That is Book 1,” said Toffanello. “It is a series, the Popchuck Chronicles.”

The journey has been a long one for Toffanello, but he is proud of the work that he has put in to get where he is today.

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