It was a Labour Day weekend, and The Gravenhurst Opera House was the first stop of my Northern Ontario tour. Needless to say, I was so excited to be doing my very first show there! What a beautiful place! Upon entering the Opera House, we were immediately welcomed by James and Bryan, and of course, Martin, the sound man who was to meet us for sound check before the show. They weren’t alone!
The history of the Gravenhurst Opera House tells of their own resident ghost by the name of Ben. A dedicated employee of the Opera House, he is known for being a mischievous ghost who closes doors, plays pranks and fiddles with lights.
After a brief introduction, my team and I were guided to the stage area. I mentioned to Kathryn that I had being greeted by the presence of “Walter”, a ghost who insistently followed me from the moment I set foot in the place. She asked if I thought it could be Ben instead. I assured her it was Walter, and a very bothersome Walter too! I told her I wasn’t feeling Ben, at least not yet! We laughed it off.
As we were lead to the stage area, the door I was proceeding to go through closed, as though it was meant to close in my face. A team member managed to grab the door before it hit me. We wondered if the culprit could be Ben!
TIME FOR SOUND CHECK
We assumed our positions on stage to go over the intros and music and continue as though live. Kathryn was now sitting in the back row of the Opera House and had asked me to move around on stage so she could see the effectiveness of the lighting. I had the sudden urge to dance like the little frog from the Bugs Bunny cartoon show, Michigan J. Frog! The song “Hello my Baby” was all I could hear in my head and I could visualize him dancing with his little hat and cane! I just had to dance to this little jig, so I did! (see video below, you’ll understand!) Once I stopped dancing, Martin, signaled that we were going through the entire run as though live. Sound check was now done and it was time to leave so that we could all get ready for the show.
LET THE SHOW BEGIN, WALTER
The people of Gravenhurst welcomed me with open arms! I immediately felt a rapport and comfort with the crowd, and their validations were welcomed!
Thirty minutes into the show I felt a tug. There he was! Walter was back and he was showing me the pontoons of his plane. He talked about having to change them. I told the audience I was being harassed by the essence of Walter and that he was talking about his plane. A woman raised her hand. She told me that her dad, “Walter”, flew planes and she felt perhaps it was him trying to come through.I told her about a difficult landing he had once had which she recalled, then told her that he was showing me “Snoopy and the Red Baron”. I told her that I could see Snoopy sitting behind his machine gun, on the roof of his doghouse and the sound of machine gun bullets ringing off in the distance. Shocked, she immediately validated that she had bought him that exact stuffed toy four weeks before he had passed away and that he had been buried with it. Elated with this information, it was obvious that it was her dad Walter! I thanked her after giving her more information. It was so exciting for me to connect Walter to his daughter. His persistence certainly paid off!
The show continued with person after person validating the details, information received and shared about their loved ones. I felt so good to have so many receiving messages. At wrap-up, I announced to the crowd that I would join them for a one hour meet and greet. I always love to hear everyone’s reactions and stories!
REACTIONS AFTER THE SHOW
The woman whose father, Walter, came through approached me to thank me for bringing through her father. She mentioned that she had asked him early that morning to “go bug Jay and follow her everywhere”. I laughed and told her that I wasn’t surprised and called Kathryn over to share the story of Walter, the persistent spirit who greeted us earlier that day when we had arrived.
Kathryn told her about Walter, and how he had been “hanging around”! We shared some chuckles. Then, the woman asked me if I could look at something for her. After agreeing, she pulled out an antique stuffed toy animal from her purse, Michigan J. Frog, the same little frog I had imitated earlier that day! Kathryn almost fell over and so did I! It was Walter all along, who greeted me and who had danced with me. We were astounded!
UNTIL NEXT TIME, GRAVENHURST
After the meet and greet, we left and ended the evening in the most beautiful Bed and Breakfast, Days at the Lake. The next day, Kathryn and I woke early and got coffee in town. On the way back, we stopped at a local yard sale. Lo’ and behold what was there? “The Red Baron’s” air-plane in plain view! We looked at each other and without a doubt knew that Walter’s spirit was indeed still with us!
Photo Credit: Town of Gravenhurst