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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Flight of Five Winery in Old City Hall will host a "Ghost
Toast" with Mason Winfield on Wednesday. (ENP FILE
Wine and spririt enthusiasts alike will surely be drawn to an event Wednesday at Lockport's Flight of Five Winery in Old City Hall.

The "Ghost Toast" is a discussion with local ghost expert Mason Winfield — and wine. Or as Winfield puts it, "a short informative talk and a little vino, a little celebration."

The wine, however, is not just the beverage for the event; it is the topic itself, in a manner of speaking. The talk will focus on the top haunted sites in Niagara Wine Trail country.

"There's a couple of interesting ways of looking at reports of psychic phenomena," Winfield said. "I try to break them down into intelligible categories."

"There are sites that are famous for being haunted, but they don't have any ghosts. Or at least any that you can find," Winfield said. Those sites have all the "earmarks" of a haunted site, except for a ghost.

"And then there's other circumstances in which there may be a famous ghost, but it may be reported in different places," he said, citing Red Jacket, former free mason William Morgan, and Gen. Winfield Scott.

Winfield said there are certainly a couple haunted wineries on the wine trail. "They could very well all be haunted."

"A couple of the wineries have pretty darn good ghost stories," he said, noting that two of the current wineries on the trail — Marjim Manor and Old City Hall (home to Flight of Five Winery, where the Ghost Toast is being hosted) — were both famous for being haunted long before they became wineries.

"Flight of Five ... the building had ghost stories in the early 1900s," he said.

Marjim Manor owner Margo Sue Bittner has embraced the winery's haunting, incorporating ghost stories into wine tours regularly.

Bittner has had numerous encounters with ghosts in her time there including an incident in which she was performing a wedding. During the vows, she said, every guests camera turned off. And after the "I do's," they all turned back on.

Jackie Connelly, owner of Flight of Five Winery said she hasn't seen anything concrete pointing to a haunting, but there are "things" that happen that make her think.

"The water faucets turn themselves on once in a while," she said. "It's a little unnerving when you're in a building that's 150 years old."

Winfield will have copies of his new book, "Spirits of the Niagara Wine Trail" for sale at the event.

The social hour begins at 6:15 p.m. with a glass of wine. The discussion begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person. They're available at the winery for $15 per person. To reserve tickets or for more information, call 433-3360.

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