They are among us and there is one person in the city who knows who they are. Some, like the long deceased hanging judges of Mackenzie Hall’s Courtroom are a little finicky and believe in due respect to them and their courtroom. This is one of the dozen or so well-researched and documented ghost stories that could be revealed to the walkers on the return of ghost walks of Old Sandwich, officially titled Spirits of Sandwich: Special Summer Edition, A Walking Ghost Story presented by the Monkeys With A Typewriter Theatre Company. Normally held in the Autumn, this will be the first summer run for the walks, a response to public pressure to get them going once again.
Sinister host for the evenings, local actor Rob Tymec, has spent over a decade escorting the curious around particular places in Old Sandwich Town and other locales in the region. If nothing else, he tells Eyes on Windsor, the walks actually seem to generate paranormal energy.
Which causes one to conclude the ghosts of the city’s oldest section are not shy. Of course, there is no guarantee they will appear on any walk but even if they don’t Tymec’s stories are bound to send a few shivers up a few spines. He has seen evidence that we are being watched, most dramatically during a story telling on the grounds of Mackenzie Hall. A photograph was taken showing an extra audience member. It was a rather eerie figure standing behind the listeners. Things have also gone bump in the night. Boxes have been heard being rearranged in the Hall despite a lack of humans. A slightly apprehensive Tymec did double duty just to confirm he was alone.
Again, the arguable conclusion is the ghosts are a particular lot who like things the way they like them. As for those hanging judges, with a penchant for handing out the cruelest of punishments even when the accused are more than innocent, it is simply how the wheels of justice turned so many years ago.
If Tymec were living back then he too might be among those carted away for an end-of-life session. What is known is that, apparently, one of the hanging judges has a certain dislike of Tymec’s hat. He was in the courtroom and one of the spectators on this night is a medium who breaks the news about an irritated judge fussing about Tymec’s hatted head complaining it shows a lack of courtroom decorum. Not to upset anyone and despite the fear of being seen with hat head, Tymec removes the offending article.
This summer’s ghost walks do not include entry to Mackenzie Hall or any of the other buildings on the approximately 90-minute tour, which includes the famed Mill Street Windmill and one of the oldest buildings in the province, the Duff Baby House. It is at the house where strange goings-on have been observed. In particular a gown-wearing women seen near the windows. Tymec talks of how she was once engaged to a Baby but was rejected by the family who declared her not to be a proper marrying kind for its progeny.
It’s these stories about Sandwich’s past which make the tour so fascinating and which generate praise not only for the apparitions and their activities but also the insight into the town’s history. It is rich and, as is often the case with history, often unknown. The tourists come away with a greater appreciation of the town, something that obviously pleases Tymec who has spent considerable time finding out about its past colourful times. Some will actually share their own phantom tales adding another element to the evening.
Starting point for a tour is the parking lot of the Mackenzie Hall Cultural Centre at 3277 Sandwich Street (Corner of Sandwich and Brock). The walks start at 8:30 pm and are scheduled for Saturday August 21st and 28th and Saturday September 4th. There is no set price to participate, a hat will be passed. And, of course, fitting for the days of COVID, the tour will abide by all pandemic restrictions in effect each night.
Tymec is standing by for anyone needing additional information and can be reached at 226 344 3814. Comfortable shoes are recommended, flashlights are not necessary while flash cameras are deemed disruptive and not encouraged. Ghosts, however, are welcome and, confirms Tymec, they are there. There is only one way to find out if they will make their presence known. Have a great walk.
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.