“We will remember them”

Marie Williamson and Carol Goar shared the honour of laying a wreath on behalf of the Paris Museum and Historical Society on the cenotaph this year.

Remembrance Day dawned sunny but bitterly cold (minus 2 degrees.) Despite the weather, close to 1,000 people gathered for the ceremony, spilling out into Grand River Street North and Mechanic Street.

The wreath-laying was part of the lead-up to the 2 minutes of silence. Marie and Carol, who arrived early, placed the PMHS wreath on the cenotaph shortly after 10 am. They were escorted by a veteran, who provided directions, saluted their wreath smartly and accompanied them back.

By 11 am when bugler Geoff Adeney sounded the last post, the cenotaph was covered with dozens of identical wreaths — from relatives and comrades of deceased veterans, service clubs, churches, retirement homes, Girl Guides, Scouts, local firefighters and police, all three levels of government and the Royal Canadian Legion.

The only sound during the 2-minute pause was the mournful bark of a cold dog; a fitting remembrance of the misery in which 19,252 Canadians died at Vimy Ridge and Passenchdale 100 years earlier.

The silence was broken by Reverend Canon Mario Hryniewicz, reading the familiar words: “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not wear them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

The crowd repeated: “We will remember them.”

After the 90-minute ceremony, Marie who grew up in Paris, said she was struck by how well-attended the event was on a wintry morning. “Boy were there ever a lot of new faces,” she observed.

Carol, who is adjusting to small-town life, was stirred by the coming together of old and young. From babies bundled up blankets in their wagons to veterans wrapped in eiderdowns in their wheelchairs, everyone was united in the act of remembrance and gratitude.

Carol Goar

Spectral stirrings highlight Ghost Walk

A chilly, damp mist hung in the air, creating an aureole around the moon. It was a perfect night for the Paris Museum’s “Ghost walk” led by board member and paranormal hobbyist Michael Flewelling.

Twenty-three hardy souls turned out for the trek to St. James Anglican Cemetery; some serious about detecting signs from the long-departed, other curious to see where Michael would lead them.

He gave participants a quick briefing before leaving the museum, asking everyone to keep an open mind and tread carefully. He explained that he and his mother-in-law Ina would attempt to communicate with the town’s founders, using special paranormal devices.

The graveyard was pitch black, except for the odd flashlight. But it seemed the spirits were stirring. Michael and Ina picked up signs of activity almost immediately. Using their communication devices asked they Hiram Capron, the founder of Paris, if he approved of strangers tromping through the cemetery. He answered with 2 flashes — an emphatic no. Nonetheless he was willing to answer other questions about his identity, lineage and family.

Michael and Ina let participants to use their devices to converse with ancestors buried in the cemetery. People fanned out, looking for particular moments and attempting to communicate with departed family members. Using a night-vision camera, Michael captured the scene:

Intrepid wanderers in the graveyard

Some participants developed a real interest in the paranormal, others weren’t sure. But that didn’t stop the group from heading over to the Arlington Hotel to discuss the experience over drinks and tasty food. The evening was the first joint venture between PMHS and the Arlington.

Carol Goar

Ghost Walk, October 28th, 2017

Just a quick summary of last nights event (I know some of you were in attendance). We had a total of 23 on our walk who braved the chilly night. My mother-in-law Ina assisted with utilizing some of the paranormal equipment. We even had folks who brought their own equipment. We had some spirits out and folks had some very unique experiences. We then had 18 people continue on to the Arlington for some yummy food and drinks. I was very pleased with the turn out and interest of those who attended. Thanks to Marie and Hilary who helped with checking people in.

Here are a few examples of ghost walk experiences…

Marie was able to confirm with a spirit by the name of Susan that she was truly at peace. Then there was a group that had communication from a little boy who was sitting in the tree. He was very playful and in the same location Hilary’s daughter said it sounded as though something exhaled in her ear. Also my mother-in-law Ina snapped a photo of an orb in that same location. The photo was taken with a special full spectrum camera which is why the people are blurred.

Michael Flewelling