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In 2009 Chaps Paranormal attempted to uncover if the old Mississippi Hotel was indeed haunted. The team experienced personal sensations of heavy chests and a smoke filled hall was witnessed. The names Jacob, Heddy and Stan were all felt by them and multiple EMF spikes were captured in places, as well as catching a moving apparition on camera.
In the end everything was recorded and uploaded to YouTube. Their final verdict was that the hotel was haunted and it is listed in the top 100 haunted places in Canada. So what has happened in the past that has made it a haven for spirits?
In 1872 Napoleon Lavalee built the Mississippi Hotel now called the Greystone Hotel on land that was originally deeded in 1824 to Carleton Place, Ontario settler, William Morphy. Lavallee operated it as a hotel and the town council meetings were held there until 1883. Of course as any small-town hotel in those days, there was a room in the back where gentleman played cards complete with an automatic cigar lighter. There was said to be three deaths in the hotel during the Lavalee ownership even though no records can be found. Some thought they had occurred when it was a TB hospice or from an argument over gambling debts,
The hotel was purchased in 1883 by Walter Mcllquham who doubled the room capacity to 56. Walter’s son, Clyde Mcllquham and his family ran the hotel from 1907-1959 and according to history his son Watty was quite the character and would sell bottles of booze right out of his dad’s hotel bar. At 4:30 am on April of 1959, the Mississippi Hotel suffered a major fire. Fireman, aided by a crew and pumper from Smiths Falls eventually confined the blaze to the fourth floor and roof. Before anyone noticed the blaze, it had already broken through the roof on the south end of the building. Flames quickly ate along the studding between the ceiling and roof and soon the fire had engulfed every top floor window. For five hours they poured water on the fire and the ground floor was swimming in water and the damage was extensive.
The devastating blaze had been caused by a defective south-end chimney right beside caretaker Bill Green’s room. In the end most of the Mississippi Hotel was rescued except the top floor (fourth floor) and the extensive ornate verandas had to be removed. Sadly, fireman James Garland who had been manning a heavy hose lost his life that day. He suffered a fatal heart-attack and was removed to hospital in an ambulance. Garland is said to haunt the hotel to this day and the footsteps heard in unreachable places are his.
In the early 80’s Brian Carter purchased the hotel from Ms. Lorraine Lemayand it became known for its sultry striptease shows. Hoards of bikers would roar into town for the beverages from the hotel’s famous long bar and many thought the hotel’s reputation had taken a nose-dive. Rumours have circulated for years that the hotel suffered two deaths during that period of time.
One of the female entertainers hung herself in hotel room #201 and a small boy who had been kept in a locked closet while their parents enjoyed themselves tragically suffocated and could not be revived. There was no mention of these two deaths in the local papers and people have long said that it was covered up to protect the hotel from losing anymore of its proud heritage. To this day the ghost in #201 will not allow any other female to reside in this room.
In 1985 the hotel closed its doors and fell to disrepair for 10 long years. From 1995-2010 it went through many owners until the Seccaspina family bought it in 2011 and once again began restoring it to its former glory. During the past 3 years many stories of the paranormal have been recorded.
The resident handyman told stories of unlocked doors that for some reason refused to budge and other doors that were found open when they had been locked. He saw many moving shadows along with odd noises and voices during his stay there. Sometimes spirits even banged the downstairs pillars in the dead of night. One paranormal told me he thought the hotel was an ongoing wormhole allowing spirits to travel through. After walking around the hotel and talking to me for hours he looked at me and said,
“I didn’t mean to leave you with an entire story. I just wanted to see that you aren’t alone in yours.”
I looked at him and wondered if we really are haunted, not by reality, but by those images we have in our minds.
Photo of Jonathan Wish Heart 2012
Other photos by Linda Seccaspina and the CP Museum
I am pleased to announce that the building has been sold and the grand old lady will come alive again.