Who would have guessed that a short weekend trip to Stratford Ontario to see Sound of Music would culminate in a story of spirits and ghost busting?
For middle spring it was a beautiful Saturday morning, sun shining brilliantly temperatures hovering at around 22°C Sunday threatened to be very similar. Three couples, old friends, met first in St. Jacobs, the picturesque town just south of Waterloo Ontario renowned for its old order Mennonite farmers who set up every Saturday morning to sell their wares.
Everything from vegetables to apple and rhubarb pies, from freshly baked breads and cheeses to fine sausages assault your senses in the open market. With bloated stomachs we meandered through the county roads on our way to the Stone Maiden Inn that would be our home away from home while in Shakespeare country.
The Inn itself is touched by history and splendor.
Built in 1873, it was first a stately private home until after its sale in 1914 when it became the Sanders Hotel. An 80-year-old "Guest Register" is situated on a coffee table in the front hall that positively reeks of the past. Little did we know.
As you enter the Inn you are struck by high ceilings, grand chandeliers, original plaster moldings that today are priceless. In the enormous parlor is a lovely fire place, grand antique furniture, a library of well chosen books and a well preserved chess set whose crafted pieces I found stunning.
Then there are the bedrooms. Walk up the beautiful staircase to the second and third floors where rooms named after, princesses, archangels and literary characters are so cozy you could spend the entire day lounging about.
But then you would miss the comfy outdoor patio, amidst budding flowers and shrubs you could just as easily spend the afternoon drinking wine and chatting as we did before dinner.
Tim and Johanne Adlington had just purchased the Inn a couple months back. They are new to Bed and Breakfasts but along with their 17-year-old son Marshall and 20-year-old daughter Marilyn, they run the establishment like they were old hands.
Tim joined us on the patio before dinner. I remarked how taken I was with the way in which the past plays a role in the elegance of the Inn. It was then that Tim smiled and said, 'you don't know the half of it." We were already late for dinner but Tim promised to tell us the entire "story" of what he recently learned when we returned from our evening of theatre. "Wait", he said, "it will give you the shivers."
Sound of Music has always been one of my favorite musicals and this year's Stratford production was one of the finest I have seen in a while. We returned to the Stone Maiden Inn humming the melodies of the classic musical. Tim joined us on the patio for an evening tea and he began the story of his first two guests last month, Judith and Catherine from Boston.
The Inn had just opened under his management and both women, old friends, booked a couple days stay. They were originally given the "Barachiel" room on the second floor. Barachiel is the archangel traditionally associated as a guardian and the angel of lightning. When Tim went to check on the women he noted that Judith was sitting on the bed with a strange look in her eye.
"I asked her if she was alright" Tim told us, "she looked at me and said in a shaky voice that there was 'bad energy' in this room. I told her we were the new owners", Tim went on, "and that I would happily switch her to a room of her choice."
The women moved down the hall to Arkial room, the archangel of love. Both were pleased with the change.
A short time later Tim noticed that the door to the Barachiel room was ajar. He walked in only to find Judith once again seated on the bed this time with a beatific smile on her face. "I was pulled back to this room", she explained, "I simply had to ensure that I did my job. I was able to rid this beautiful room of its bad spirits. In fact from this day forward your beautiful Inn will be surrounded by angels" she noted with a look of satisfaction on her face.
Judith and Catherine departed the next day. They left the following note:
Correction: An earlier version of this blog mistakenly used the wrong names of the "ghos-tbusters," Emma and Charlotte instead of Judith and Catherine.
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