Sources - Recommended Reading:
Toronto Ghosts & Hauntings Research Society
The Haunting Of Mackenzie House
By Chris Rabile - (c) 1998 (Heritage Toronto)
By John Robert Columbo - (c) 1988 Doubleday Canada
In July 2004 we received an email from a witness to an unusual event at Mackenzie House. The name and personal information of the witness has been removed for their privacy. Permission to reprint their experience on the Pararesearchers website has been granted.
"I have seen the "lady" up close and she scared me so much that I couldn't walk up darkened stairs for most of my life. I am now 29, and my sighting took place when I was 9 years old in December of 1983. She appeared old, had long hair and seemed to be hanging suspended on the landing of the stairs as I looked up from the front hallway. She looked right into my eyes and I screamed so loud the staff and my mother and sister came running. I went back one more time with a school trip the following year, and all of my friends worried that it might happen again. Of course, it didn't. I'm not too sure why ghosts appear or why they appear to whom they do, but I would take a lie detector to prove this occurrence actually happened to me. I have had two other occurrences since in other locations, but nothing as scary as seeing a full figure, see-through white woman looking right through me. I hope this has convinced someone, I know my friends and family members are too scared to even visit the house.
I cannot be certain of what era the "apparition" I saw came from, but I do remember the clothing appearing to be of another century, perhaps 18th century. She wore a long dress, with a lot of ruffles from what I can recall. I have no idea if she was related to MacKenzie, but I would guess her costume was from over 100 years ago at the very least. I can still somewhat see her in my mind, even though I've tried to forget.
I guess I just really want people out there to know what I saw, and I wonder if others have witnessed the same sight as myself."
We would like to thank the witness for sharing this experience with our readers. While we do stand by the original article (this is the first email in response to this particular article that takes a different viewpoint. Current and former staff members have contacted us including the present curator approving of the article) perhaps there is more going on at this location then at first surmised.
Mackenzie Heritage Printery Museum
On May 31st Matthew Didier, Jennifer Krutila, and Elizabeth of the TGHRS, along with myself visited the Mackenzie Heritage Printery Museum in Queenston Niagara.
This location is rumoured to be haunted" as well, however we do not have any particulars to share with the reader at this time.
If the hypothesis that "haunts" occur in locations where the emotional impact would be greatest on the surviving consciousness, then this location would be far more plausible than the one in Toronto.
As Mackenzie wrote in 1854, "Thirty years ago, I published at Queenston, on the 18th of May, 1824, the first number of a public newspaper, voluntarily established to promote justice and equity in a sparsely populated, badly governed colony. To commemorate the day that had transformed a quiet, peaceful obscure trader into an ardent colonial politician and public censor, I then planted in front of my dwelling a row of acacia or locust trees, and a grape vine and had the pleasure last week of seeing them growing luxuriously." Two of these trees to this day still stand as a memorial it would seem to one of Canada's greatest political activists.
"In 1823 he moved his family to the beautiful, stately home at the foot of the escarpment at "Queenstown" (Queenston) and opened a country store. His dislike for the malpractice of the Family Compact, as the ruling political clique of the time was called, led him to cast aside his mercantile pursuits for that of publishing and politics, in an effort to right these political wrongs.
Accordingly, on Tuesday, May 18, 1824, the first issue of "The Colonial Advocate and Journal of Agriculture, Manufacture and Commerce" was published. The newspaper carried agricultural advice, poems, anecdotes, classified advertising, current events and most importantly, Mackenzie’s own fiery political commentary. It was published weekly (each Tuesday) at the cost of five pence a copy or 15 pounds sterling, Halifax currency for an annual subscription. Mackenzie liked to refer to his "Colonial Advocate," as the western-most newspaper in His Majesty’s dominion.
Mackenzie’s ideas, criticisms and denunciations of the ruling Family Compact through his newspaper did not sit well with the politicians of the day. At the time of Colonial Advocate’s first issues, work had just begun on the monument to General Brock. During a ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone, a bottle containing a copy of the Colonial Advocate was placed in the foundation stone. When Sir Peregrine Maitland, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada and head of the Family Compact heard of this, he ordered construction on the monument stopped, and a large quantity of the newly-erected masonry pulled down in order to remove what he called a "colonial rag."
So as the reader can already ascertain this location (the birthplace of the Colonial Advocate - such an intregal part of the shaping of our country's future) is indeed a location that would hold strong emotional ties for William Lyon Mackenzie.
It is also home to much Mackenzie memorabilia including his printing press.
Definitely worth a visit if you are planning a trip to the Niagara region!
Sources - Recommended Reading:
Muddy York Mud - Scandal and Scurrility in Upper Canada - By Chris Raible (c) 1992