Laura, Queen's Square | October 13, 2016
As the nights grow darker and Halloween draws nearer, now is the perfect time for telling ghostly tales. While horror movies and books can be spooky, nothing is creepier than those “true” stories that happen close to home.
Cambridge with its old stone buildings and rich history is full of yarns that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Here are a couple to help make your blood run just a little bit colder.
Historic Post Office
Perhaps our city’s most famous ghost is Emily. Her shadowy figure is said to haunt the clock tower of the old Galt Post Office. The legend goes that her body was found hanging from the rafters after a soured love affair with William S. Turnbull, the postmaster of Galt from 1898 to 1919. William himself died a few weeks later on April 26, 1919. He too is said to remain in the building, winding the clock in the tower.
While past owners of the Post Office have heard many things go bump in the night, the story of Emily is doubtful. No records exist of her or her death. Check it out for yourself by searching the vital records in Ancestry at any Idea Exchange location, or visiting the Post Office when it reopens as our newest Idea Exchange location.
Galt Collegiate Institute
A little way up the road from the old Post Office is Galt Collegiate Institute. Built in 1852, GCI is one of the oldest high schools in Ontario. Fittingly, its mascot is a ghost.
Staff and students through the years have seen and smelled pipe smoke in the top floor corridors; a lifelong and spectral habit of Dr. William Tassie, principal from 1853 to 1881. Witnesses have also heard boys whispering after hours on the main floor; ethereal voices attributed to past students who died as soldiers during the Great Wars.
For a peek inside the GCI mystery and another from the region, check out this Haunted Histories segment from CTV news.
For more spine-tingling stories from Cambridge’s past, be sure to sign up for a Ghost Walk with Joleen Taylor, a McDougall Cottage staffer and curator of our city’s oldest spooky stories.
Did you have an unexplained encounter? A personal ghost story of your own? Please share it in the comments below.
Photos Courtesy of the Cambridge Archives & Records Centre