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The Mackenzie House
Built in 1830 for Toronto’s first mayor. A man more American than English.
William Lyon Mackenzie was known for his politics. Butting heads with English law and fighting for the rights of the people. Making him very unpopular with politicians.
He respected the rebellious Americans and wasn’t shy about saying it. Just 7 years after this house was built, he’d led the biggest rebellion in Canadian history. Gathering militia and supporters to overthrow English rule.
Mackenzie was chased out of Canada with his men, into Buffalo and were given asylum on Navy Island. He renamed the island “the new republic of Canada” and began plans on another invasion. It never happened. Mackenzie gave up.
He lived in the United States for years. Then the love of the people brought him back. Citizens, fed up with English politics and corruption, said “Hey, remember that tough mayor we all loved… what ever happened to that guy?”
Mackenzie returned to Toronto and worked here into old age. Retired here and in 1861 he died inside the house.
His Famous Grandson
He’s remembered most by his grand-kid. Son to William’s daughter Isabel Grace King. She named him after his grandfather.
William Lyon Mackenzie King was Canada’s 10th Prime Minister. Kind of funny that Mackenzie King was a big believer in the paranormal. He ran séances inside the Laurier House in Ottawa.
King took up spiritualism in the 1920s. Contacting the dead with friend Joan Patteson and mediums such as Etta Wriedt. Etta was a “direct voice” medium from Detroit. Her fame caught the attention of one Kristian Birkeland, a physicist.
He exposed Mrs. Wriedt as a fake by proving her ghostly noises were produced by a trumpet and chemical explosions. A description of one night is straight out of a movie…
“[Birkeland] jumped up, switched on the electric light, and, before the Spiritualists could interfere, had snatched the two trumpets from the floor… So the curtain fell on one more glorious act in the Spiritualist drama. Mrs. Wriedt had put in the trumpet particles of metallic potassium which, meeting the moisture she had also thoughtfully provided, explained the “psychic movements.”
Close examination disclosed that on other occasions she had used Lycopodium seeds to produce the same effect.”
This didn’t stop Mackenzie King. He contacted many spirits over his political career. Including his mother, Wilfrid Laurier, Saint Luke, Saint John and of course his grandfather William Lyon Mackenzie. It’s said all of them consulted on his career decisions.
This is fitting because his grandfather’s home is considered the most haunted in Toronto.
Find out why it’s so haunted…
Today’s Ghost Stories from the Mackenzie House
Fast forward to current day. The museum does small classes for local schools.
The teacher turns away from her group to write on a blackboard. A crash from the back of the room and she spins to see a clipboard thrown into the back corner.
She asks the little girl nearest the board, “Why did you throw that?”. The girl stares at the floor.
The little girl approaches the teacher after class. “I didn’t throw it. It fell!”
Shaking her head, she asks, “How? You were sitting there, the board was in the back corner, far away.” But the girl kept saying over and over, “It fell, it fell, it felll!”
The teacher sending her away. Disturbed. She believed the little girl.
A woman visited the museum. Walking along the first floor near the piano. She saw movement and spun and to see… herself. It was just a mirror.
Almost calm when in the reflection a shadow appeared behind her. Darted across the room and towards the front door. A bang! Loud against the door and she jumped.
Her curiosity was stronger than her fear. The woman ran to the door and swung it open. Nobody, just the lion’s head knocker staring back.
She lifted the knocker and let it slam against the door. The same sound.