This is by far my favourite topic and by far the most interesting building that I know of.
There is a ton of significant history behind this church. It does not do the history justice, but I will briefly summarize it, because this is my ghost story not a history lesson.
The church was built in 1818 by the British soldiers of Fort Malden. There is a lot of history in this area about the American Revolution and the battles between the Americans, British and the Indian wars. The heavyweight story behind this all is the Fort Malden treasure. For years there has been a rumour that a great treasure was hidden when the Fort was captured by the Americans, during the retaliation battles for the British burning down the White House.
The Treasure was said to be the British counter plan to even the odds against the French funding to support the American revolution. The money was a vast amount set aside to finance an Indian Confederate Army. Chief Tecumseh was the key. He was the most respected Chief at the time and was the voice of leadership for many of the tribes.
The plan was leaked and Chief Tecumseh was killed in battle. This left the Indian tribes fragmented and the whole plan went to ruins. Some of the key people involved at the time were well known Masons. And they all were founders of the Amherstburg lodge. Many remained in Amherstburg long after the wars.
Rumours say that the treasure was hidden in the original Masonic temple. (location lost to history during the fires that burnt down the original town) Or that it was buried by masons just before the Americans occupied the fort. Or that it was buried and the church built over it. (although this one does make some strategic sense)
I find this history fascinating and it provides a new look at that period of time. Imagine if the Indian Confederacy plan was successful? What would that have done? Created many more years of war?
Many people have looked for this treasure. Even John A Macdonald (first Prime Minister of Canada) and other wealthy/ powerful men have bought land in the area at the time in hopes to claim the treasure.
The Orangemen movement in Canada was also rumoured to have been involved in the treasure hunt.
At the center of all this is the old Anglican church. This church has a "Masonic Window" that is rumoured to have secret clues to the location of the treasure. (I have personally seen this window many times and it looks normal to me. However many professionals have looked at it over the years) The original founding fathers of the church were said to be buried under the church. (when I was little they did some foundation work to the church and discovered the hidden remains of the original fathers. It was a big event when they had them moved.)
This church has a little grave yard behind it that is also very old. It is said that the church and the grave yard is haunted by the ghosts of the founding fathers, that they stay guarding the secrets.
My involvement with this church is fairly simplistic. I have attended this church for the most part of my childhood, and have attended it from time to time as an adult. There have been times when I have been there and heard footsteps and through I have seen movement of people that were not there. My biggest experience happened as a teen. We were exploring graveyards and we decided to one night after some drinking to cut through this graveyard and check it out.
...Actually we were ducking out the cops who were watching us as we were publically intoxicated. (Although...we were really just loud and obnoxious and not as intoxicated as I am sure we appeared to be. We (my friend Eric and I) always tended to bring out the worst in each other. I am sure that is why for everytime we went out drinking, we now have a long and incriminating story to tell about it)
So we had a few drinks and were walking home... (at least we were not driving this time) and stopped at the church. We were sitting in the graveyard being quiet and planned on using the excuse that we were checking it out, to avoid any patrolling cops from harassing us. (a sound piece of teenage reasoning)
Although we were not there officially to check out the grave yard, I was actually interested in it. It was very little (20 - 30 graves) but very old and very rustic. Part of the charm of the grave yard is that it is laid out like a garden. It has a small brick break wall along the back with nice budding trees and a circular-ish (swooshy) stepping stone path. The grave stones are in little collections, scattered throughout the area. (A couple of the grave stones were set right into the church foundation at the back of the church.) The graveyard in total is very small and was limited to about 15-20feet deep off the back of the church and about 10 feet to the north side and maybe 20-25 ft to the south side.
It was very odd and unlike any graveyard I have ever seen. As odd as it was, it was very welcoming and peaceful. I often thought that if I had to choose a place to be buried it would be there in that little peaceful place.
The house next door to the church was an old rundown historic home and was part of the church property. It was the target of some vandals from time to time, but it framed in the little graveyard quite nicely and with the trees and wall blocking out the rest of the area the graveyard was very secluded. I never felt threatened, but I did feel watched and the shadows seemed to lurk and move unnaturally especially around the old head stones.
We stayed back in that graveyard for quiet sometime. I constantly felt cold chills and the touch of something that was not there. Be it nerves or be it in my mind but I think spirits walk that area and were interested in why we were there. After we left, Eric told me he felt the same as me. (Eric was one of friends that were far removed from the group of friends that I hung out with that were interested in the paranormal activities of the area.) ...so to have him comment, solidified my belief that we were in the company of spirits. Although we did not see any ghosts, both Eric and I felt that we were in the presence of them and that they were watching and at times touching us.
I understand this was a lot of history and very little ghost story and that these encounters are not really scary at all but I will conclude this story with the comment; that the time I spent in that graveyard has left a lifelong impression on me.
Never have I felt as religious, or in the presence of holiness. (if that makes any sense) as I did in that place. There has always been such a strong pull both in my heart (for feeling in the presence of history, spirits and a peaceful spiritual afterlife) and in my mind (for the curiosity as to the secrets that that place holds.) If there is such a thing as a good ghost encounter... Than surely this was it.
Today the old historic house has been torn down and the property (along with most of the old graveyard) has been replaced with a parking lot. The church felt that the lack of parking in the area was significantly reducing its dwindling numbers. So they moved the graves, dug out the garden and created a large dirt pad for parking. The church too has undergone some cosmetic upgrades and the old side entrance was removed and bricked in. The foundation at the rear has also been redone and the set in headstones were removed. (I think 1 or 2 may still be left) The stone wall at the back was removed and the garden expanded to the north.
Although so much has changed. If you stand there and look at what it left of the graveyard and the church... You can feel the connection to another time and significance to the history and spirits there.