Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spooky Sydney

Every once in awhile my site visit schedule allows me to attend local events.  One of my favorite events this year was the ghost tour of Sydney's historic north end.  I don't usually go in for all that paranormal stuff, but when Peyton extended the invitation I figured it would beat hanging out in a hotel room all night.  Anna MacNeil joined me for the tour, which was a great chance for us to get to know each other better since she is the newest member of the Information Management and Access Committee.

The tour begins at St. Patrick's Church where the guide talks about the church being built on top of a graveyard and bodies being discovered during renovations.  And since it's a ghost tour, we heard all about various spooky experiences that people have had in the building.  From there we walked through the streets, learning about an old military base where soldiers experienced forerunners, houses of ill repute where soldiers got into trouble, and murder plots and executions.  We also learned about homes with basements that were converted into prison cells, and how previous and current owners have dealt with these interesting spaces and the interesting occurrences that seem to accompany them.  I also heard the story of Moxham Castle, a seemingly cursed property on which the hotel where I was staying now stands (complete with many tales of frightened staff and visitors).  So needless to say I spent the rest of the evening sitting in bed and waiting for something creepy to happen.

Cossit House Museum
One part of the tour definitely stands out more than the others.  Cossit House is believed to be the oldest house in Sydney, dating back to 1787.  Now part of the Nova Scotia Museum, the house has been restored and furnished in accordance with late 18th century practices.  All that I will say is that by the end of this tour, the hair on the back of my neck was standing up and I was more than ready to get outside again.  Thankfully the tour ended back at St. Pat's (as it is affectionately known), and everyone enjoyed some tea and scones.

On a lighter note, I also learned on this tour that J.R.R. Tolkien's mythical ents aren't so mythical.  As you can tell, this one instructed me to keep quiet, but if you go wandering through the streets and keep your eyes peeled, you may notice that you're being watched.

So the next time you're in Sydney during the summer, be sure to check out the Ghost Tour hosted by the Old Sydney Society.  I promise that you won't be disappointed.

Happy Halloween!

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