Top 5 Most Haunted Places Outside of Brampton
We know Halloween isn’t exactly around the corner, but there’s no right time of year to indulge in stories (some real, some imagined) about some of the most supposedly haunted places in Ontario.
It's also interesting to look at surrounding cities and examine the darker aspects of their storied histories.
So, if you're looking to explore some haunted properties some time soon, here are five places you might want to check out.
5) The Keg Mansion/Euclid Hall - Toronto
Don't want to think about ghosts while enjoying a nice steak dinner? Too bad -- they're watching your every bite. According to this popular ghost walk website, the Keg Mansion on Jarvis is very, very haunted. The historical home was built in 1867 for Arthur McMaster and purchased by Hart Massey (a very famous businessman and philanthropist) in 1880. If the name Massey sounds familiar to you, it's because the family's charitable Massey Foundation built and/or contributed to such famous landmarks as U of T's Hart House and Toronto's Massey Hall. The house was eventually renamed Euclid Hall by Hart's daughter Lillian.
So, where do the ghosts come in? Legend has it that Lillian Massey's 1915 death so devastated her household staff that a grief-stricken maid took her own life. Rumor has it that the maid hanged herself above the main staircase. People have reported seeing the ghostly maid hanging above the stairs, and they've also heard the phantom footsteps of children. Other visitors say an eerie presence can be felt in the women's restroom.
4) Old Oxford County Courthouse and Jail - Woodstock
The walls of old jails see many things and hear many tales.
This historical correctional institution was built in 1854 and was the sight of five hangings -- including that of Reginald Birchall, a notorious man who posed as Lord Somerset and committed a murder that scandalized society (probably because he was just such an infamous conman).
That said, it's not the ghost of Birchall that haunts the property.
The death mask at the entrance to the facility is of Thomas Cook, a man hanged in 1862 for the murder of his wife. Apparently his head came off during the course of the execution due to his rotund figure (he was a little heavy for the noose) and rolled into the crowd, prompting the discontinuation of public hangings at the jail. But although poor Thomas no longer has his head, some claim to have seen his specter haunting the fourth floor of the courthouse.
3) The Hermitage Ruins - Ancaster
This location is relatively close to home and, apparently, quite haunted. According to ghostwalks.com, people are known to visit the ruins in search of paranormal activity because the lands are thought to be inhabited by unhappy spirits.
Apparently the Ruins' reputation stems from the Legend of Lover's Lane. According to the legend, coachman William Black fell in love with the niece of his employer (the owner of the property on which the Ruins lie) and was devastated when he asked her family for her hand in marriage and was refused. Black did not take the news well and hanged himself in the barn.
Black was buried at a crossroads near the Hermitage. People have reported hearing moaning and sobbing around the burial site. Others say his ghost has been seen wandering the grounds in search of his lover.
2) The Merritt House - St. Catharines
The Merritt House (once known as Oak Hill) was built in 1860 for a War of 1812 veteran named William Hamilton Merritt. According to ghostwalks.com, Merritt was part of The Refugee Slaves Friends Society and his home contained tunnels that were part of the Underground Railway that still exist now.
The house was used as a military hospital during WWI, but the Merritt family (William had since passed away) moved back in once the war ended. In 1928, the house was converted to an inn and in1938, it was converted once again -- that time into a radio station. According to ghostwalks.com writer Daniel Cumerlato, a paranormal investigation that he was a part of toured the home and found that the once-perfectly organized CD library was in complete disarray. Apparently the DJs were shocked and had no idea why the CDs had "flown off shelves and smashed against the opposite wall."
Cumerlato also wrote that a psychic on the tour became distressed by a spirit she referred to as "Booger."
While it might be hard to determine if the house is truly haunted, one cannot deny that its age and history alone make it worth a spooky detour.
Photo courtesy of www.ghostwalks.com
1) Mackenzie House - Toronto
The Mackenzie House belonged William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first mayor and a decidedly controversial figure.
Mackenzie was a well-known writer, publisher, rebel and politician who received the home as a gift from supporters. Although the house will forever be associated with the man who inhabited it, he was only there for two short years before passing away in his bedroom.
Now, the house is a famous museum and is known as one of the most haunted buildings in Toronto. According to torontoghosts.org, people have reported seeing the several ghosts wandering through the home. Some have seen an "apparition of a small, bald man in a wig and frock coat" around the house -- perhaps the old mayor? People have also reported wandering into cold spots and hearing footsteps and the sounds of a phantom printing press.