submitted by Lisa Weitz
Canada’s Grand Masters of Illusion, THE OUTERBRIDGES, premiere MYSTERIES OF THE KEYHOLE HOUSE, one of the most anticipated magical experiences of 2023. The tour of the Ottawa Valley kicks off with performances from June 30-July 22 at The Station Theatre in Smiths Falls and continues to Perth July 28-Aug 12, Carleton Place Aug 18-26, and Gananoque Sept 8-16. (Fridays @ 7:30pm, Saturdays @ 2:00pm & 7:30pm — $33 plus HST and Eventbrite fees at https://outerbridge.eventbrite.com – full details below).
The Keyhole House is an enchanting sanctuary inhabited by Ted and Marion Outerbridge, TikTok sensations and headliners at Hollywood’s Magic Castle. Beckoned by the spirits of yesteryear, these connoisseurs of all things magical were chosen by the abandoned, dilapidated home to be guardians of this historic gem. As they meticulously restored the creaking floors that carried the weight of countless footsteps, a treasure trove of cherished relics materialized before their eyes.
From delicate skeleton keys to faded photographs, from a forgotten spool of thread to yellowed newspapers, a Victorian dollhouse, and even a 1918 golf ball, each artifact whispered tales of bygone eras. But it was Ted’s compelling video-logues, marrying history with the digital age, that transported the Keyhole House into the viral universe. With over 30 million views on social media and appearances on CTV National News, a TVO documentary, and NBC’s The Golf Channel (Brooke Henderson’s grandparents had a 54-year connection to the house), the Keyhole House became international news!
These videos and the true stories they tell birthed Mysteries of the Keyhole House, a simultaneously reverent, mystical and joyous show where magic becomes the master storyteller. Audiences will be transported through time as Ted and Marion Outerbridge take them through an evening of enthralling illusions, séance, and dance, creating a spine-tingling spectacle of living history.
It all began when, fresh off their Hollywood appearances in search of an old Victorian home, a chance Google listing lured the Outerbridges to the home and its grand keyhole arched entryway. That was the first tell-tale sign — after all, what magician doesn’t love a keyhole and its portal to the otherworldly!
The couple was immediately smitten with a love that was palpable and unconditional. Despite concerns from banks and building inspectors, the Outerbridges could not be swayed, and moved in on a cold November day. Ever since and ever thankful, the Keyhole House has generously returned its love with regular revelations of its storied past.
Indeed, on the very first night, Ted awoke to an aura of bright light at the foot of the bed, which they are now convinced was the spirit of Agnes Lamb, one of the first owners of the Keyhole House. To this day, the couple’s sleep continues to be disrupted by things that go bump in the night.
Ted and Marion thought they chose the house but came to realize that the house chose them. Evidence of this manifested itself when Ted discovered a book behind a hidden stairwell; he opened it to a random page only to find an illustration of a character named “Ted”! A dusty newspaper discovered in the attic featured a headline, “Dance Little Ladies”, a perfectly choreographed welcome to Marion, herself a professionally trained dancer.
And what would a housewarming for the couple be without a gift set of keys? The Keyhole House happily obliged by unearthing a set of 8 skeleton keys dating back to 1892 that Ted discovered behind the fireplace mantel.
Serendipitously, the Outerbridges gifted the home an old gothic lantern found at a local antique shop that turned out to belong to the very architect who designed the Keyhole House. In reply, the Keyhole House’s long since silent doorbell miraculously started working on its own, revealing ethereal forces at play. It too can be said that Agnes has been known to mischievously lock and unlock the front door at will.
Delving into the depths of history, Ted’s meticulous research into Agnes, and all those who lived and loved there, has unlocked timeless stories of its former residents, many of whom played important roles in the development of this former railway metropolis including landowners, merchants, and veterans. Among them is WW1 veteran John Briggs, a returning soldier who found solace in the Keyhole House before later succumbing to a heart attack there and being buried in an unmarked grave. Ted led an appeal to the Federal Government’s ‘Last Post Fund’, to ensure that John will receive the military gravestone he deserves, forever memorializing his service.
Through the power of TikTok videos and Ted’s captivating ‘Smiths Falls History & Mystery’ column in Hometown News, he similarly rallied Township funds to restore Agnes Lamb’s tomb which had fallen into great disrepair. Now adorned with beautiful limestone, Agnes, and her kin rest peacefully, knowing that their legacies will never be lost to time.
Setting itself apart from other magic shows, the Keyhole House is a real-life in real-time celebration of the departed, and serves as a living, breathing bridge between reality and illusion, past and present, and the rhythmic cadence of time. Prepare to be captivated as you step into this ethereal realm, leaving an indelible mark on your soul.