Wednesday, 31 October 2012


People live upstairs at the Coach Inn — and a few have died there. That may be of no consequence to this story. But read on.

Real ghost or Photoshop?
In recent weeks someone in the Coach billiard room snapped a picture that has spooked regulars and staff. A ghostly white image appears behind the subject, Paul Ford, who is striking an air guitar pose.
Depending on who you ask, the unexplained figure behind him — an apparition some say — is a uniformed man holding a musket or a lady with a pool cue. Copies of the photo hang in two places in the bar now. Remember, Halloween is coming.

Yes spirits pour forth into glasses in this old downtown landmark. Those convivial glasses are raised and good cheer is generally on tap. So the picture might be a prank. Or the play of light from the flash was playing tricks.

A man who brought the picture into The Sun Times, though convinced the ghost held a musket, said he understood the photo had been enhanced.
That could not be confirmed and Ford has been unavailable for comment.

But this is hardly the first time staff at this 125-year-old drinking establishment have been spooked.
Meet Manda McCartney, a Coach Inn bartender who says a wooden plaque — which proclaimed bartenders are never wrong — “bounced” off a shelf from behind two heavy beer steins about four months ago. The plaque had fallen and been placed back on its glass shelf twice by other bartenders.
McCartney set the steins in front of the plaque to prevent it from falling again. She was behind the bar, facing bar maintenance man Mike DeAdder, just before the plaque leapt off the shelf.

“Amanda had walked by it or something down by the sink and had just started walking back towards this end from the other end of the bar,” DeAdder recounted. “And I guess it, actually just flew. I don’t know, like how to describe it. I just seen it out of the corner of my eye really.”
Though the plaque had moved, the beer steins remained undisturbed. McCartney believes in paranormal activity. “I definitely believe in it. For sure.” She said they put the plaque away, feeling “spooked out.”
“No. I can’t explain it,” DeAdder agreed with a chuckle. “It just happened. I don’t know why it happened. I have no idea. There’s no physical reason it happened, it just happened,”

Asked if he believes in ghosts, he said “I’m not sure I do or not. I do see that picture (of the ghostly figure in the billiard room). It does intrigue me a little. I have to understand, I wonder what that is.”
Another time DeAdder left a third-floor room at the Coach, where he’d placed a table saw. He returned to find a mattress had slid 12 feet across the floor and leaned itself on the saw, he said. The mattress had been leaning with another mattress against a wall.

There are no doubts in Leona Bennett’s mind about what’s caused doors to open and close, things to be knocked off shelves and cold breezes to blow when windows and doors were closed.
“There’s an angry ghost we called him,” said Bennett, who worked at the Coach for five years until 2006. “Like we figure it’s a man and we figure he’s just angry. But nothing ever happened to anybody that would cause you to (think) I can’t stay here. Like nobody ever got hurt because of him, they’re just there. So you just accept it.”

McCartney looked at that barroom photograph and said it looks like the apparition of a lady. She spoke with Ford, the picture’s air guitar hero and he told her no one was standing behind him when the picture was taken.

These weren’t her only encounters with the unexplained at the Coach either. In fact, many staff tell their own scary stories too.

Shortly after McCartney started working there, the juke box started by itself. It’s connected to the Internet and so she figured it was just an automated update. She turned it and the barroom lights off, then left the building for the night with her boss and her boss’s husband through the upstairs office fire escape door. It was 3 or 3:30 a.m.

They drove out of the parking lot and noticed from 10th St. E. the lights inside the bar were on again. When they backed up the car to have a closer look, all the lights turned off before their eyes. “There was nobody left in the building. Everything was locked up,” McCartney said. She herself had done the walk-around to ensure no one remained inside.

“It’s a little weird. It’s unexplainable but . . . . We just laughed and kept going. Yeah, we didn’t want to go back in.”

Sometimes she gets “chills” in the bar, other times there’s the strong smell of cigarette smoke in the upstairs office, as if someone blew smoke in her face. “We don’t smoke up there. It’s an old, old building. It was built in 1887, right? Been a lot of history in here” and time enough for a few spirits to be wandering about, she means.
Bartender and cook Melody Restrick admitted she’s seen things there she can’t explain either.
“I always see something out of the corner of (my) eye, like you know, and see someone kinda walking by,” said Restrick, who has worked at the Coach for 10 years. “Then you look and there’s nothing there.” Her laugh spoke volumes about knowing how unlikely that sounds.

“I just think that there’s a lot of people that have died here and they’re still hanging around,” she said smiling.
Wendy Whitmarsh was a Coach bartender for 25 years and now works in Bleinham, Ont. “Oh it is haunted. The place is haunted for sure.”

The office radio would be off and then turn on by itself. The adding machine would spew three feet of paper inexplicably. “It got to the point it didn’t bother me. It was like, OK, you want the radio on, have the radio on,” she said with a laugh.

One night she and other staff sat in The Dark Side — the bar in the other half of the building —when the lights in the windows facing 2nd Ave. E. came on, one at a time. “And they’re on a breaker that would, if it was on they would all come on,” she said.

“Maybe there was an electrical problem. I don’t know.”

Source: OwenSoundSunTimes

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