Bed & Breakfast
Serves Up the Occasional Ghost
by Renka Gesing
were the furthest thing from his mind when Wayne Strong purchased
the house at 1104 Monmouth Road at Richmond Street in Olde Walkerville.
Wayne, a labour relations and business improvement consultant, had
planned to open Ye Olde Walkerville Bed & Breakfast in 1996
simply as a financial investment.
Now, in the words of one of his guests, the B&B business, the
house itself and its history is a passionate hobby.
Part of that hobby now includes researching the family who originally
built the home, and especially the life of one person from the homes
past someone who seems happy to occasionally wander through
the home and make herself known to special people who, according
to Wayne, have a gift.
After check in, each guest of the elegant manor, which was built
around 1903, receives historical information about the Walkerville
area and also gets a tour of the building highlighting the detail
of restoration efforts. Invariably Wayne is asked if there are any
ghosts on the premises. My answer is always I dont know,
explains Wayne. I havent seen anything move, no shadows,
no encounters of any sort. I possibly dont have the gift to
communicate with the here after, but I know theres something
beyond just this. As far as believing in ghosts, Wayne says
hes open to it.
I mean there are documented experiences of ghosts
which inhabit homes. The book, Life after Life details
out-of-body experiences, and police departments bring in psychics
to help them solve crimes. Surely theres something to all
And, if he had any doubts, they dissipated after two certain guests
visited. Britt-Marie Karlberg arrived with her husband one day last
year to the Walkerville B&B, her first visit to North America
from Sweden. Partway through the usual tour, Wayne thought Britt-Marie
asked the usual question. Her husband, who was more fluent in English,
explained to Wayne that she was telling him there is a ghost in
the house, not asking him if there were any.
The next morning, Britt-Marie revealed a dream to Wayne about a
woman who was living in the house, who appeared to her as a kind
woman with long, dark hair; wearing a long, white, flowing dress;
between 35 to 55 years old. She felt the woman was either a family
member, maid or worker at the home and died in the month of March
The ghost told Britt-Marie she is very happy in the
house and is pleased with what Wayne has done to the home. And she
somehow shared her name to Britt-Marie; it sounded like Maggie,
Magee, Macghee or Mackee. She kept rolling these names out;
all a variation of Maggie and Magee and Mackee, recalls Wayne.
In Waynes earlier research of the house, he discovering that
a Robert Leishman had purchased the land from E. Chandler Walker
(Hiram Walkers son) in 1903. He also discovered that Robert
was a machinist at London Bridge and that his wife Mary worked at
Hiram Walkers. He had paid little attention to the detailed
history until Britt-Marie revealed her experience. With renewed
interest Wayne re-read the file. In the Windsor Directory of 1903,
which listed all family members living at each address, he found
Maggie Leishman, one of the eight Leishmans living in their
previous home at 224 Monmouth Robert & Mary Leishman
and their six daughters. While Wayne remained slightly sceptical,
he provided this information to Britt- Marie, who agreed to try
to reconnect with her visitor.
Strong in Corinna's room, where Maggie made her first appearance
Who's that Girl? (Montage by Chris Edwards)
The next morning Britt-Marie told Wayne that there is something
to do with a large pile of dirt on the south side of the building,
and reconfirmed that the woman had some connection to the home.
Spurred on by this information, Wayne continued his research. He
found a newspaper article noting that Robert Leishman died at his
residence May 25 1923, survived by his widow and six daughters,
one of whom was Mrs. William McGhee. The name McGhee jumped off
the newspaper page and by process of elimination, Wayne concluded
that this was Maggie.
This was what she was trying to tell me, Wayne recounted.
Britt-Marie nailed it. How could she have possibly known the
history of this area? She was pronouncing the full name all the
time the ghosts name is Maggie McGhee.
But this was not the only time Maggie made an appearance. Carol
Malewicz, a local teacher, stayed at the B&B last December while
in between house moves. As she related to the Times: I was
sitting in the main living room, and just had a sense of needing
to look up. She sort of floated across from the front door, reddish
hair, white, silky, very flowing type of gown. I saw her a second
time in the dining room. As was the case with Britt-Marie,
Carol had no previous knowledge of Maggie or of the Leishman family.
Wayne is obviously now intrigued and convinced that Maggie indeed
resides at the B&B and he continues to try to uncover what happened
to her, when she died, and where could she be buried.
The Times managed to track down a relative of the original Leishman
family, Phyllis Gervais, who was also born in Walkerville. Maggie
was my aunt, recalled Phyllis, surprised that Maggie should
have made these appearances. She was older when she died.
She did suffer with her heart. Old Doctor [Clare] Sanborn attended
to her for years and years. I used to go visit her quite a bit.
She was nice, quiet lady.
Phyllis believes Maggie is buried in the Windsor Grove Cemetery,
but has no other information.
Wayne Strong would like to know more about the life of his ghost
Maggie and why she has chosen to haunt his B&B.
If you know anything, either drop a line to the Times, or contact
Wayne at Ye Olde Walkerville Bed & Breakfast, 1104 Monmouth
Road, Windsor, N8Y 3L8, phone 254-1507 or email email@example.com.