It was past midnight. The pub was closed and the sole remaining staff member wearily headed for the door. She was about to flick the switch to turn off the lights for the night but her hand froze when she heard a male voice right behind her ear say, “Don’t turn off the lights.” It was a command, not a request. The startled woman turned around, only to find she was completely alone. Terrified, she heeded the spirit and raced from the building, lights still glowing through the windows.
This story, and countless others like them, are explored during an eerie evening at Bracebridge’s Inn at the Falls on Sat., Nov. 2, hosted by Maria Da Silva and Andrew Hind. Bradford residents and authors of 14 books (including Cottage Country Ghosts and Ghosts of Niagara-on-the-Lake), Da Silva and Hind have been hosting the popular event for seven years.
The building today known as Inn at the Falls has strong links to the Lake Simcoe Region. It was built in 1876 for Judge William C. Mahaffy, born and raised in Bond Head, whose stellar legal career began with a Barrie law firm. Shortly after Judge Mahaffy’s untimely death in 1912, his family sold the luxurious manor. His spirit, however, remained and is today just one of the ghosts inhabiting what many describe as the most haunted building in all of Muskoka.
The chilling tales that emerge from the inn’s stone walls are countless. Many guests and staff have seen the Judge imperiously walking around the building as if he still owns it. Chandeliers rattle violently at the mention of his name. A waitress in the basement Fox and Hounds Pub was left quivering when, as if by invisible hand, ice flew out from behind the bar and across the room.
The November ghost evening is a frightfully fun way to explore these stories firsthand. It includes a three-course dinner, a guided tour exploring the history and haunts of the heritage inn, and a lively discussion about the supernatural. Dinner and tour packages are $49, while overnight packages, which include breakfast, start from $149.