This is my third story submitted to YGS. I have previously submitted occurrences titled, My Blackberry and My Mom, and also Eldon House Shoes.
In 2004, my wife and I were at the (now discontinued) One Minute Film Festival in Toronto, Ontario, where we had a couple of video entries up for public adoration. While our videos garnered no awards, I was fortunate enough to win a draw and received two tickets to the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. My wife and I booked this for the following summer to see the play, You Never Can Tell.
As the time drew nearer I had to select accommodations (not included in the prize). Niagara on the Lake has quite a few Victorian era hotels that are quite extravagant and I am told are worth the money. Influenced by my Dutch heritage, however, I was looking for something a little less expensive. I stumbled upon the website for the Olde Angel Inn, their rooms were much cheaper and they had a room available for the night I needed.
There are only five available guest rooms in the Olde Angel Inn. They are all on the second floor above the restaurant and bar (I didn't sample the bar but the food is quite good). You are given a key to your room and one to the door downstairs because once the restaurant is closed for the night you are on your own, the staff does not remain. We stayed in the Colonel's Suite; in the "Irish Fertility Bed" (I think that name might have something to do with the bed's incredibly small size). We went to bed around midnight.
At around 2:00 AM I was awoken by a bang downstairs. I assumed that it was a late guest trying to check in. That is impossible at the Inn because if you are late you are locked out and there is no staff available to accommodate you. The first bang was followed by another bang then more of them. It became louder and LOUDER in rapid succession. There was then a very loud CRASH and the sound of the splintering of wood. This was followed by another series of bangs but they started to fade in volume. BOOM, boom, boom, boom, boom until the sound faded away completely. I was sure that something "big" had happened downstairs. Maybe people had broken in and were wrecking the place; I was not sure. I did have it in the corner of my mind that this may have been a ghostly occurrence. In either case I was not going to investigate.
My wife still seemed to be asleep so I did not disturb her. In my case I could not go back to sleep. My mind was full of questions and beside that the bed was so small that I was hanging on for fear of falling out anyway.
Twenty minutes later, there was again, a loud BANG. The exact same sequence played out. The bangs, the splintering of wood and then the trailing off of the sounds were all repeated the same way they happened the first time. My wife said, "Did you hear that?" I said yes and then asked if she heard the first cacophony. She had heard it.
I told her that maybe someone was locked out but she wasn't buying that. We both then admitted that we thought it was due to some ghostly agency. I don't know when we fell asleep but it was not a long time before morning came.
I was still trying to rationalize things so, to test my "person locked out theory", I went downstairs and let myself out. I pretended to be locked out and pounded on the door and shook the door in its frame. I then let myself in and shoved the door closed as hard as I could. I then stomped up the wooden stairs and entered my room where my wife was looking at me quizzically. She said, "Was all of that noise you?" I admitted that it was and asked her if that sounded like the sounds from the night before. She said, "absolutely not."
The Olde Angel Inn restaurant does not open for breakfast so we walked to another establishment. When we returned a woman was in the Inn restaurant cleaning it. I asked her if she found anything broken, to which she said no and asked me why. I told her about the noises and the splintering wood. She said nothing was broken and that she had only been working there a few months and heard enough tales about weird goings on. She did not want to hear more.
Later in the day I learned from others about the sad tale of Captain Swayze. He was killed in the cellar by the invading Americans during the war of 1812. It is said that he still appears in ghostly form, usually in the washrooms (which are in the cellar).
The American soldiers broke into many places that day and routed the inhabitants of the homes and businesses before burning most of the buildings to the ground. A terrible snowstorm arose and scores of the inhabitants of Niagara on the Lake froze to death that night. I wonder if the sounds my wife and I heard were a repeat of the soldiers breaking down the door all those years ago.
For anyone interested, Niagara on the Lake is a great little tourist town located where the Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario. I highly recommend you visit if you are nearby. Here are links to Niagara on the Lake, the Olde Angel Inn and to Captain Swayze.