A One-Star Yelp Review at Best

Historically, an inn has been seen as symbol of good will and hospitality. Lured in by the promise of a hot fire crackling away and hearty food, people flocked to these establishments for an opportunity to find rest and comfort. The Bender’s family Inn, however, operated an establishment of murderous intent, slitting the throats of visitors and burying the bodies in the nearby apple orchard.

1871 saw an unusual family settle down on the outskirts of Cherryvale, Illinois, right on a road that connected to two major cities in the area. The Benders were a clever family of four, taking advantage of the location and dressing their home up to entice potential visitors into staying for a night or two.

 Photographer: Arno Smit

Photographer: Arno Smit

The Benders helped to spice the local gossip mill, with the two men of the family both named John and the two women of the family both named Kate. Everyone had an opinion of the group, arguing if they were a family unit or two married couples. There was even a compelling argument that the women could have been witches involved in dark rituals steeped in sin and treachery. (Tragic that no one pegged the group for a bunch of murderers.)

The glory of living in the wild west was that this was the land of both opportunity and reinvention. It was also the perfect place to set up an elaborate business in killing unsuspecting visitors.

The one-star inn was small at best, located next to a flourishing apple orchard. Visitors might have been tempted by the rich smell of apple blossoms that hung from the trees in white clusters, making the inn seem harmless. Inside the inn the room had been cleverly arranged, with a front section hosting space for dining also serving as a general store. A canvas curtain divided the space, hiding the sleeping quarters behind it.

A chair was positioned directly against the curtain. It was referred to by the Benders as the best seat in the inn and they would encourage visitors to seat themselves upon it. Perhaps the visitors who took that seat were being kind and pretended that the odd stains upon the curtain were not there. They might have also been distracted by the younger Kate, who would often entertain them as they sat.

Both of the Johns would swap positions, taking turns standing behind the curtain with a hammer waiting for the chance to strike down hard the moment the guest relaxed and let their head brush against the curtain. Once the two Johns had made their move, Kate would attack, slitting their throats with a knife.

 Photographer: Suzy Hazelwood

Photographer: Suzy Hazelwood

Bodies were handled with skill and dragged into a cellar. The family would wait for nightfall to bury their victims in the orchard. The elder John would often plow the soft earth of the orchard to disguise the shape of the freshly dug earth. Most bodies had been brutalized in their murder except the body of a young girl, found beneath her dead father. A fear spread quickly that she had been buried alive.

Perhaps if the internet had existed in the 1870s, reviews could have been given. Potential visitors would have been advised of the startling behaviors of their hosts or the curious sounds of moaning from beneath the floorboards.

While no one ever discovered if the Benders were biologically related, or pagan worshippers, it was quite clear that the entire family were terrible hospitality workers.

If your heart is truly set on staying at a murderous location, however, check out this link for some ‘safer’ suggestions.


IMG_7587.JPG

Rachel Small

Rachel Small is not small and she writes a bit. She crawled to life one night after midnight in the basement of a bookstore.

Japan is Flush with Ghosts

Japan is known worldwide for a lot of things: culture, cuisine, anime. It’s also known for some twisted horror stories. For some reason, a lot of Japanese urban legends are set inside of public restrooms and they are quite disturbing. You might piss yourself before ever reaching the toilet should you encounter any of them.

 Screenshot from  Corpse party: Book of Shadows   game created by team GrisGris

Screenshot from Corpse party: Book of Shadows
game created by team GrisGris

When thinking of a scary bathroom, I automatically think dirty, smelly, and dank, with dim lighting and questionable substances on the floor, not sitting on the toilet and receiving assistance for a tricky number two.

So here’s some toilet horror for you. Every one of these tales varies in each telling, but here’s the gist of things.

Aka Manto
“Aka Manto” literally translates into “Red Cape”, and this entity usually seems to haunt the fourth stall in elementary school restrooms. Should you enter its stall, you will be asked one of these questions the moment you sit down: “Red cape or blue cape?” or “Red paper or blue paper?” Regardless of the wording, answering “red” will get the skin flayed off of your back, and you will be strangled to death if you answer “blue”. The trick to this is to not answer at all. Just do your business and get the fuck out.

 Photo Courtesy of  WallpapersBrowse.com

Photo Courtesy of WallpapersBrowse.com

Hanako-san
Have you ever played “Bloody Mary”? This is Japan’s version. Hanako-san haunts the third stall of the third story bathroom in schools. To summon her, knock three times on the stall door and ask her if she’s in there. If she answers you, I suggest you run. Hanako-san has no qualms about dragging her summoners into the stall and killing them.

Kashima Reiko
WARNING: IF YOU HEAR THE TALE OF KASHIMA REIKO, SHE WILL APPEAR TO YOU WITHIN THE MONTH. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Kashima Reiko is the spirit of a woman whose legs were cut off by a train. Despite dying on the tracks, for some reason she chooses to haunt bathrooms. She asks every person who encounters her where her legs are. There is no right answer to this — she will cut your legs off no matter what you tell her.

The Akaname
These little creatures aren’t dangerous, but they’re pretty disgusting. Akaname are goblin-like demons that live in old bathrooms and bathhouses, surviving off of the dirt and grime these places have accumulated. Apparently, they also like to lick human feet. So don’t be alarmed if a red tongue darts across your toes. Or freak out, because who knows what their tongues have picked up.

So there you have it — three ways to die with your pants around your ankles (and a gross experience). Have fun trying to relieve yourself in Japan.




bab.png

Michelle A.

Michelle is a second-year student in the Professional Writing program. She doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life. She hopes she’s doing something right. She is a great person to talk to; doesn’t talk much herself.

Nickel City Nightmares

nickle-1251201_1920.jpg

Once you have journeyed all around the world in your pursuit of spooky shit; once you have tripped through Prague, had a tunnel scream at you, bought ghost car insurance in Bath; once you have plumbed the whole of the planet for all the spookiness you can possibly handle; then you will finally be ready for Sudbury.

No, not the cool Sudbury in England that dates back to 799 AD which probably has boatloads of history to dispense, we are instead speaking of the Canadian one. Founded in 1893 (or ten years earlier when the mission Sainte-Anne-des-Pins was established (or 1.849 billion years earlier when the meteorite struck that started all this trouble in the first place)) Sudbury is the unofficial capital of northern Ontario.

Nestled within the Sudbury basin (otherwise known as a fucking crater,) Sudbury has been dominated by the crash and boom economy of mining. The population grew rapidly after the settlement was established and development followed likewise, the whole of city at the mercy of the international nickel market.

 Photo of Levack Mine by  Gregory Roberts

Photo of Levack Mine by Gregory Roberts

The mines are perhaps the best place to start. Deep down below the surface is where Sudbury had its start, and so did its spookiness: one of the mines is even haunted (allegedly!) The 2650 level of the Levack Mine has given people the spooks since the 1970s. At the time, it was the job of the fireguard to go down into the empty mine, all by his lonesome, and keep an eye out for fire. But on this night he was not alone. He phoned up to the two other people present in the mine to get him the hell out of there. The elevator operator was only convinced by the panic in the fireguard’s voice, a panic which only increased, as he had had just about enough of being told he was down there alone when he was quite confident he was not. Fucking ghosts. Ever since, tales of what haunts the shaft have been told all around the mine.

Sudbury isn’t just mining though, they also have arts. Up on the surface, the Sudbury Theatre Centre (STC) opened in a physical sense in 1982, but had already existed as an organization for several years. Since it opened its doors, the theatre has been haunted. This ghost is not malicious or terrifying like the one down in the dark of the shaft, and is identified as Sydney Brown. Brown was 80 when he died in 1979. He had been a part of the STC for quite a while, and once the building was opened he moved in. Having followed the spirit of the theatre, Brown never gets up to anything too nefarious and is generally looked upon with goodwill. Catch a show here, and you may have an extra member in the audience if you are lucky.

But maybe watching plays isn’t your thing. Maybe these ghosts seem silly to you. Maybe you need something more. Maybe you need aliens.

Yes, not just below ground, not just at ground level, even the fucking skies are out to get you here. Sudbury has seen its fair share of UFOs, maybe even more than its fair share! Since the 1950s UFOs have been spotted in Sudbury skies. Are they interested in this ancient crater? Perhaps, but they don’t seem to stay for long, so mining interest seems unlikely. In fact, they don’t seem to land in the area at all, content to keep a distance, content to only watch.

If any of these stories interest you, visiting Sudbury is surprisingly affordable, and in the warmer months can even be considered enjoyable. I never even got into the old hospital, Bell Mansion, or the Burwash Prison: if you need a guide to local weirdness, then Spooky Sudbury by Mark Leslie and Jenny Jelen is your best bet. Happy haunting!


image1.jpeg

Joseph Alexander

Joseph is a homonculus animated by a need to solve mysteries. When no mysteries abound, crude mexican cuisine will frequently suffice. He grew up in a small, Northern Ontario community and is still suffering the consequences. Also, he writes sometimes.

Prague: In the Dark of the Night

Looking for some prime haunted locations to get a good thrill? Then look no further than the Czech Republic’s capital city, Prague. With its twisting paths, haunting architecture, and mysterious atmosphere, it's not hard imagining that Prague is overflowing with supernatural occurrences.

Old Town in particular is a hot-spot for lingering spirits who can’t seem to find rest in their eternal slumber. While there are numerous sites and hauntings to visit, here are some of the more intriguing ones you might want to see (or avoid) on the dark streets of Prague.

 photo courtesy of   pixabay.com

photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Perhaps you’ll encounter “The Headless Templar”: a dishonoured knight beheaded for a crime long forgotten by the living. He can only be released from his ghostly wanderings if slain by a mortal person in combat. Are you brave enough?

Need a shave? “The Mad Barber” was a man who dabbled in alchemy, trying to make mountains of gold for himself despite various warnings. This plan obviously didn’t go well: he lost all of his money, his family fell apart, and he lost his mind. He eventually started slicing into everyone who crossed him with his razor, and was beaten to death when he challenged a group of soldiers. If you’re willing to let his ghastly figure shave you, you’ll find him wandering Karlova Street, waiting to be set free.

The Czech Republic has some fantastic beer. Should you overindulge, don’t be scared if you encounter a tall, skeletal man on your way back to the hotel. He only bothers the drunks on the street for money. Legend has it that he was once an unusually tall man who sold his skeleton to a doctor for a fortune. Celebrating his new found wealth, he went out to celebrate, but became overly intoxicated and bragged about his luck to the wrong people. They robbed him and stabbed him to death in the streets. His restless spirit now wanders in the hope that he can buy his skeleton back.

Everyone loves a good turkey, right? Well go to Kampa Island during the night of Good Friday and you may see one: on fire! This phantom creature gobbles around the old mill since one of the previous owners roasted and devoured it whole when he should have been fasting. The man became ill and died within a few hours. Every year since then the turkey’s flaming image appears. Please note that you must not challenge the turkey: the turkey is evil and shall prevail. You will burn.

If you’re in the area and interested in investigating these and other haunts, BohemiaMagic has put together an interactive map for prospective ghost hunters to follow.


bab.png

Michelle A.

Michelle is a second-year student in the Professional Writing program. She doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life. She hopes she’s doing something right. She is a great person to talk to; doesn’t talk much herself.

Salem Witchy Tourism

In the early 90’s Wicca, a branch of Paganism, became officially recognized as a religion despite developing activity in the 1940’s. This acceptance of a religion that actively promotes the idea of witchcraft and rituals shows that society has developed quite a bit since the time of the Salem Witch trials.

 Photographer: Rondell Melling

Photographer: Rondell Melling

The Salem witch trials were a horrifying time that was founded in hysteria and paranoia that spread throughout the community, spurring people to isolate suspicious members and accuse them of treachery and consorting with the devil. These accusations were particularly devastating because torture and a biased justice system followed, and ended with a death sentence. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, with a high number of the accused being women, but only 20 overall were executed.

Present day Salem has changed quite a bit since the days of the witch trials. Nearly 1500 local women have publically announced their status as witches, and have helped establish a strong witch tourism trend in the area. Storefronts publically announce fortune readings and a variety offer spellcasting. This tourism feeds off of the deliberate atmosphere that Salem has promoted, by hosting a variety of events like ghost tours and parades celebrating the dead. These events are popularized with the intent in gaining economic revenue, and sustaining the area.

Witchcraft has gained popularity due to the change in popular culture. People have grown up with television shows like Bewitched and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, as well as books like the Harry Potter series. Typically, witches are presented as positive members of their respective societies. The shift in trends pushed witchcraft into a popular light and in turn popularized Wicca.

However, with this tourism so fixated on the promotion of witchcraft as well as theatrical performances, the question of historic sensitivity comes to light. The Salem witch trials had represented massive torment within a community, but less attention is being focused on the historical sufferings that people faced and instead being put on celebrating Halloween inspired events to promote revenue streams.

It can be argued that this is an attempt to take and transform the brutality into something positive. The witches of Salem suffered because a powerful group of men occupied positions of power in the justice system. It can be powerful, retaking a brutal narrative and turning it into something positive that celebrates women. Women in Salem today no longer need to hide their identities and are able to commemorate these differences in lifestyle.

The Puritan church leaders must be rolling in their graves as women actively participate in their community based off of witchcraft and rituals. Salem witchcraft attracts a wide variety of tourists who want to participate in the customs and traditions, and also engage with the festive events that Salem hosts.

The power of the original Salem witches clearly lives on in Salem today, as generations later they are still remembered. If you’re interested in checking out some tourism related to these events, check out the official website for Salem.

 Image from: Coco Parisienne

Image from: Coco Parisienne


IMG_7587.JPG

Rachel Small

Rachel Small is not small and she writes a bit. She crawled to life one night after midnight in the basement of a bookstore.

Frozen in Time and Open for Visitation

Whether or not you believe in the paranormal, the fact remains that horror is not simply limited to fiction. The debate over whether or not ghosts do exist is one that’s been argued for centuries. However, what is not up for debate is the existence of ghost towns. Perhaps you’ve seen coverage of this matter in a movie. Think Silent Hill for a popular example. But ghost towns don’t just exist in the movies. They are very real. And, ironically, considering the name, they tend to draw quite a large amount of lively tourism to them.

Have you ever wondered how many ghost towns there are, dotted throughout our world of the living? Perhaps you’ve even heard of some, like Hashima Island in Japan, or Oradour-sur-Glane in France. Or, perhaps you’ve heard of the one I intend to cover today: Pripyat.

 Photo Courtesy of: Pixabay.com/ Unknown Photographer

Photo Courtesy of: Pixabay.com/ Unknown Photographer

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Chernobyl Disaster, this is the breakdown: On the morning of April 26th, 1986, in Pripyat, Ukraine there was a power surge in the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl power plant. It triggered a chain reaction that ultimately led to a catastrophic nuclear disaster. Prior to this event, Pripyat, the city most directly affected by the accident, held a population of approximately 14,000 people. After the disaster, it held 0.

But the thing that makes Pripyat so fascinating is the tourism that it attracts. The reasons for the abandonment of all ghost towns in this world vary greatly, but Pripyat’s is still relevant, even now, some thirty years later. It remains to this day extremely radioactive, and experts predict that it will remain that way for hundreds of years still to come due to health risks posed from the radiation. The include various kinds of cancer, deformations, and acute radiation syndrome. In fact, many people who evacuated Pripyat in the early days following the accident developed cancer and subsequently died from it.

Despite this level of danger, Pripyat has attracted countless tourists from all over the world. Evidently radiation has died down just enough to allow tours through parts of the city, but if you ask me it’s still a very calculated risk by all those that enter. After all, every person that goes into Pripyat on a tour must be cleared by a radiation detection machine before leaving. How inviting!

 Photo Courtesy of: Pixabay.com/ Unknown Photographer

Photo Courtesy of: Pixabay.com/ Unknown Photographer

But I can understand the fascination that ghost towns such as this generate. Maybe it’s a side effect of being a writer, this unrelenting curiosity, but it’s astounding to me that a place which was once so thriving and grandiose could turn into something so haunting and left-behind. Pripyat in particular looks and feels like a place completely frozen in time. There are pictures of dolls and teddy bears left behind, old classrooms and nurseries completely as they were, but with a thick layer of dust and decay covering them now. There is even a ferris wheel that was new and completely unused at the time of the evacuation that stands in this vacant world inhabited by nothing but radiation, dust and debris, and perhaps the occasional animal.

But when I really get thinking, I have to wonder if the radiation is truly the only thing that haunts the city.

I’m not saying outright that Pripyat is a town full of ghosts. But I have a hard time believing that a town that was abandoned so quickly and so entirely by all its living inhabitants wasn’t taken back over by inhabitants of a different kind.

For a more detailed guide on the requirements of touring Pripyat, please refer to this blog written by Stephanie Craig, a woman who participated in a tour group through the city herself.


IMG_4312.jpg

Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall is a 23 year old Professional Writing Student, who used to be afraid of all things horror, but was then forced to watch Paranormal Activity, and now there’s no going back.

Halloween 2018 in Ottawa

To quote Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, “Ottawa is a depressing frigid shithole and always has been”. Subsequently, those of us who live here are saturated in gloom and despair from all those winters spent praying for the sweet release of death, just so we don’t have to shovel the driveway. But on the upside, Ottawa’s collective misery makes for a great Halloween season! And 2018 will be another killer, let me tell you.

So, whether you are looking for a few good scares, perhaps a thrill to break up the endless tedium, I, this blog’s resident vampire, will endeavour to pass along the good news. And of course, before I begin, it is important to note that all the following events are nocturnal-friendly. 

 THE HAUNTED WALK’S INCIDENT AT THE BUNKER: A ZOMBIE ADVENTURE!

Do you want to be trapped in an underground bunker while being chased by hordes of the undead this Halloween? Well, you are in luck. Now you can put all those years of practice running for the bus in five feet of snow to good use. The Incident at the Bunker will be running for three more nights, October 27th, 28th and November 3rd—so put it in your planner forthwith. Adult tickets are $26.75, and youth tickets (up to 17) are $23.75. Please gather your party at the Diefenbunker Guardhouse before your tour departs.

NATURE NOCTURNE AT THE CANADIAN MUSEUM OF NATURE

hdr_nocturne-2018.jpg

On the night of October 26th, the Canadian Museum of Nature invites you to a masquerade soiree in black. Guests can explore the museum after dark and mingle with the dinosaur skeletons from 8PM to midnight. Tickets are $25 and guests are to be 19 years of age or older; that means no younglings.

BILLINGS ESTATE HAUNTED HOUSE ON THE HILL

Built in 1827 by Braddish Billings, the Billings Estate is Ottawa’s oldest wood-framed house and the former home of four generations of the Billings family; including Elkanah Billings, Canada’s first palaeontologist, and Braddish Billings Jr., the architect responsible for designing the Trinity Anglican Church rectory on Bank Street. The Billings property also contains a cemetery, where many of Ottawa’s pioneers are interred.

Nowadays the estate is owned and maintained by the City of Ottawa as a museum for most of the year. However, on the nights of October 26th and 27th, the estate will become a haunted house. Advance tickets are sold out, but there are tickets sold for the final time slot (10:00PM) on a first-come-first-served basis, so don’t get there late, because this one is especially busy.

STITTSVILLE HAUNTED HERITAGE TOURS

You’ve probably heard of Ottawa’s Haunted Walk, but have you heard of Stittsville’s Haunted Heritage tours? Odds are you probably haven’t. And that is good news, because there’s nothing like a good ghost story that you have not heard before. The ninety-minute tours will be running until November 3rd, alternating between 7:00PM starts and 9:00PM starts. Tickets are $15. Book them quickly though, because they are selling out.

BEETLEJUICE: A CAPITAL POP-UP CINEMA PRODUCTION

On October 27th, Westboro Village and Capital Pop-Up Cinema will be hosting a screening of my personal favourite spooky classic, ‘Beetlejuice’. Hot cocoa, heating fans and cider will be available to keep movie-goers from sliding off the mortal coil mid-show, but everyone is encouraged to dress for the weather, which will inevitably be frigid and bitter. Showing begins at 7:00PM at 261 Richmond Road.

1Ykz.gif

edg.png

Natascha Wood

Natascha is a second year Professional Writing student and withered cemetery dweller, born in 1632, in Great Britain.

Blood in the Attic: The LaLaurie Mansion

 Photo Courtesy of  Definition.org:  http://definition.org/creepiest-homes-america/10/

Photo Courtesy of Definition.org:
http://definition.org/creepiest-homes-america/10/

Leading up to 1834, the LaLauries were members of high society: hosting lavish parties and pampering their guests. Madame Delphine LaLaurie was a beautiful, charming woman who purchased the mansion in 1832 and maintained the household herself; her husband had little to do with the property and its affairs. Behind closed doors, she was known to be quick of temper and lashed out.

When a young female slave fell to her death from the roof (in order to escape being beaten after brushing a snag in the Madame’s hair), neighbours who had seen the Madame burying her in the courtyard called for law enforcement. This little girl was not the first reported death at the mansion; one man had purposefully jumped out a window to escape punishment. That window was quickly sealed with cement and remains so to this day.

As there were laws restricting the mistreatment of slaves, Madame LaLaurie was forced to give up her slaves. However, she convinced a relative to buy them back for her, and heads turned the other way. After that, rumours circulated Madame LaLaurie about her brutal treatment of her slaves, despite showing civility to them in public (and even manumitting two of her own). The LaLauries quickly lost popularity in the French Quarter, which worsened the Madame’s temper.

Suspicions were confirmed when a fire started in the kitchen in 1834: Madame LaLaurie was, in fact, torturing her slaves. Rescuers found that at least seven of her slaves had been locked in the attic and were mutilated beyond belief. Reportedly, the cook set the fire herself, either as a suicide attempt or to expose the horrors taking place. She named Madame LaLaurie responsible for the treachery in the attic. More exaggerated tales claim that these were macabre medical experiments and that Madame LaLaurie’s doctor husband aided her.

When the attic was discovered, locals flew into a rage and ransacked the mansion. The LaLauries were nowhere to be found; they had fled the scene amidst all of the commotion. Most rumours claim they left for Paris: others whisper that Madame LaLaurie returned under a new identity. However, a plaque with Madame LaLaurie’s name and death date can be found in New Orleans.

As for the rest of the LaLaurie slaves, witness accounts say that the slaves in the attic died from their wounds or were already dead when they were discovered. Some even swear they were put on display at an auction as proof of Madame LaLaurie’s brutality.

Today, the LaLaurie mansion is now privately owned and has been converted into apartments, but before then it had unoccupied. Nicolas Cage bought it in 2007, but never spent a night there and sold it a year later. It most recently came under the spotlight as a filming location in American Horror Story: Coven (according to Huffington Post).

Passersby claim the mansion itself has a spooky atmosphere about it, that ghostly screaming and the clanging of chains can be heard from within. On occasion, the little girl who fell from the roof can be seen around the place. Unfortunately, there are no tours of the interior since the mansion is privately owned, but walking tours of New Orleans usually make the detour.




bab.png

Michelle A.

Michelle is a second-year student in the Professional Writing program. She doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life. She hopes she’s doing something right. She is a great person to talk to; doesn’t talk much herself.

Spirits in the Cotswold Hills

The city of Bath and its surrounding towns have been host to a wide array of different societies and peoples throughout history—Iron age Britons, Romans, Saxons and Georgians, among others. So, it’s not at all surprising that the area still bears their marks, in architecture or in stories of a more ghostly nature. And if you believe those stories, then you’ll find that most deceased residents have decided to stick around.

The first, and perhaps the most infamous of the stories around Bath, is the legend of Sally in the Woods. So the legend says, Sally was a little girl who was locked in Brown’s Folly, the tall tower standing alone in the woods, and she died there.  Since then, people have reported seeing the apparition of a girl in the roadway, which is pitch black at night without lamps or moonlight coming through the trees overhead. Cars often swerve to evade the phantom and crash into the dark forest. As such, the legend lives on and residents continue to avoid that road at night, for fear that Sally will emerge in their headlights.

 Image by London Illustrated News. [Theatre Royal, 1888]

Image by London Illustrated News. [Theatre Royal, 1888]

Another story, which has made the rounds in the past century, involves the Bath Theatre Royal on Sawclose, built in 1805, and still the most incredible work of Georgian architecture. I cannot personally attest to the accuracy of the following stories, as I did not see or feel or smell anything during my many visits as a child. However, others who have gone to see performances do experience some rather strange phenomena attributed to different spirits.

One of the spirits people report seeing is known to all as ‘the Grey Lady’. She sits in the top left box during shows, leaving behind the distinct smell of jasmine and a terrible depression that affects show-goers for days after. The Grey Lady is said to be an unnamed Victorian actress, who hung herself in the Garrick’s Head Pub next-door to the Theatre when she discovered her husband had murdered her lover.

Of course, we cannot speak about Bath without mentioning the outer towns. And this time, it’s Bradford-on-Avon, the quaint town built on a once thriving textile industry and the site of a few grizzly happenings. Where, in 1532, a local man was burned at the stake for heresy, now there is a zebra-crossing, or a crosswalk for those of you who are of a more North American persuasion. The road crossing is between a pharmacy and a charity shop. Residents and tourists pass over it daily, most without knowing what transpired there five hundred years ago.

Thomas Tropenell, the above mentioned Bradford resident, was arrested for denying the doctrine of transubstantiation—the belief that bread and wine given at the eucharist were quite literally the blood and body of Christ. For doing so, he was burned at the stake upon that very crossing. And sometimes it feels like the fires are still burning. People who cross the road often experience a sudden change in temperature, a sudden unexplainable heat on an otherwise cold winter day. Those who do feel it don’t know what to attribute the heat to, but author Jasper Bark theorizes that the execution of Thomas Tropenell left a permanent mark that can still be felt today.


edg.png

Natascha Wood

Natascha is a second year Professional Writing student and withered cemetery dweller, born in 1632, in Great Britain.

The Screaming Tunnel

Niagara Falls, Canada is home to many ghosts. Countless landmarks are actually inhabited by citizens that once walked the streets of this beautiful place, and now refuse (or are unable) to move on. Perhaps you’ve even heard of some of its most famous haunts: The Olde Angel Inn, The Blue Ghost Tunnel, and The Doll’s House Gallery, to name just a few. It’s also home to a place known as “The Screaming Tunnel”, which is an old railway tunnel that has attracted a couple of ghosts of its own.

The first is an old woman whose story many locals have passed down through the years. Back when there was still a small neighbourhood nearby the tunnel, this woman lived in one of those houses with her husband. Legend goes that she and her husband would be up every night fighting, and that when they finished, she’d storm down to the tunnel, and scream at the top of her lungs. The neighbours believed that she was trying to make everyone feel the pain she did in her marriage. When she died, it would appear that she kept returning to her tunnel to scream.

The main ghost in the tunnel, however, is where the story gets interesting. It also happens to be where the story gets really twisted.

The most popular ghost in the Screaming Tunnel is a young girl, thought to be around 14 years old. The problem is, as time has passed, her story has gotten more and more warped, and three variations currently exist. But they all end the same way.

The first variation of the story says that she was a little girl who got caught in a nearby barn fire, and ran to the water that flowed through the tunnel at the time in an effort to soak her burns. But she was too late, and succumbed to her burns while lying in the stream.

The second variation believed her to be the child caught in the middle of a bitter custody battle between her mother and father. When her father lost, he became so enraged, that he took her down to the tunnel, doused her in gasoline, and burned her alive.

The third variation is the most horrifying. It involves the little girl being sexually assaulted by an old man who, in order to destroy the evidence of his crime, murdered her, and burned her body in the tunnel.

 Photo courtesy of Johannes rapprich on pexels.com

Photo courtesy of Johannes rapprich on pexels.com

Regardless of the lead up to the event, because of the fact that she died burning, it’s believed that anyone who enters the tunnel and tries to light a match will draw out her spirit, which becomes so terrified of the flame, that she blows it out. This inability to light a match in the tunnel, and the sound of screaming often heard, is what draws people and their curiosity to the site.

No one quite knows which story – if any –  is real, but there are many legends about this tunnel aside from the above mentioned. Either way, next time you find yourself in Niagara Falls, consider checking out the tunnel. Just beware of any screaming that you hear emanating from inside. And whatever you do – never light a match.


IMG_4312.jpg

Maggie Kendall

Maggie Kendall is a 23 year old Professional Writing Student, who used to be afraid of all things horror, but was then forced to watch Paranormal Activity, and now there’s no going back.

Bytown Museum Hauntings and Disturbances

 Photo by: Patrick Tomasso

Photo by: Patrick Tomasso

Rattling doors and crying porcelain dolls are the stuff that ghost stories are made of. Ottawa as a city is a fantastic area filled with activity and heritage. However, one of Ottawa’s most unique attributes is its long history of ghosts. With so many heritage buildings located in the city, it isn’t strange to consider their morbid history. The Bytown museum, located next to the similarly haunted Chateau Laurier, is rumored to be haunted by Duncan McNab, a previous supply manager.

Despite being dead for over 150 years, his spirit remains active within the museum. The Bytown museum is known for cold spots and the peculiar sound of footsteps that persistently follow workers and visitors.

Originally designed to act as a storehouse for supplies, it eventually underwent a drastic transformation in the 1950s, turning into a museum that would host the history of the Ottawa area and the Rideau Canal. However, despite any alterations that the building underwent, ghosts seemed to cling to the building. The Bytown Museum has gained notoriety for its haunting, bringing in a host of paranormal experts and even the local haunted walks of Ottawa, all seeking to unveil the secrets of the building.

The Bytown Museum is famous for more than just cold spots and the sound of footsteps, though. Porcelain dolls have often appeared to be crying, items move freely of their own accord, and strange experiences with orbs of light that flash in rooms. Rumors say that the museum isn’t haunted by a single ghost, but at least two, due to an encounter with Lieutenant-Colonel John By having controlled a computer within the building, bring up his name again and again on a document. By was an engineer who supervised the construction of the Rideau Canal and the founding of Ottawa (originally known as Bytown).

However, an argument can be made that the ghosts are neither McNab or By, but rather the hundreds of Irish workers who died during construction of the canal. With little ceremony and burial rituals, bodies had often been disposed of freely. Not until 2004 was a plaque commemorated to mark their passing. Irish workers had taken jobs digging the canal due to the limitations they faced during their time, and they suffered from illness, exhaustion, and hunger while working on the canal. Death rates were high and it wouldn’t be unlikely for a spirit or two to be restless still. The Bytown museum is perched beside the canal and could play host to the Irish. As Tony O’Loughlin said, canal workers were “despised in life and forgotten in death”.

Who knows what or who is behind the disturbances in the Bytown Museum. It could be a disgruntled previous worker as a manager, or it could be dozens of restless souls, rattling at the doors and stomping across the rooms.

Check out the museum here: https://bytownmuseum.com/

 Photo by Steinar Engeland

Photo by Steinar Engeland


IMG_7587.JPG

Rachel Small

Rachel Small is not small and she writes a bit. She crawled to life one night after midnight in the basement of a bookstore.

Whispers in the Woods

            In late October of 1959, Merle Newcombe and George Weeden planned a hunting trip over the weekend. They departed Chapleau, Ontario Thursday night, arrived at Newcombe’s camp, and had dinner. Friday morning, they woke, had breakfast, prepared some sandwiches for lunch, and left the cabin. They never returned.

 Merle Newcombe in July of 1956. Seen here being way cooler than you will ever be. Photo posted to Pinterest by Spiral Bay.

Merle Newcombe in July of 1956. Seen here being way cooler than you will ever be. Photo posted to Pinterest by Spiral Bay.

            Around 11:30 that day, a pair of trappers walking along the train tracks came across the men. These trappers continued on their way to a trap that needed attending. When they returned twenty minutes later, the men were already gone, never to be seen again.

            No one noticed that they were missing at first. When they did not return immediately following the weekend, Merle’s wife assumed they had decided to keep hunting a little longer. It wasn’t until a few more days passed that she grew worried and went to the camp herself. Snow had fallen on the Saturday and she found the snow around the camp undisturbed. They were not equipped to be outside in that time of year so she grew concerned.

            The next day George Weeden failed to show up for work in the rail yard in Chapleau. Being unmarried, this was the first time people took notice of his disappearance.

            An OPP constable out of White River was placed in charge of the search. Constable Bob King lead search efforts over the following week, but weather concerns in such a remote area quickly stopped them. No sign of the men was found at the time, even when Constable King resumed search efforts the following spring.

            No new breaks in the case came for ten long years. In September of 1968 a wallet was presented to the OPP in White River. It contained two dollars and some personal documents belonging to Newcombe. Allegedly, the wallet had been found under the mattress in the camp that the men had been staying in. How it had never been found before then was never explained.

 George Weeden. Photo posted to Pinterest by Spiral Bay.

George Weeden. Photo posted to Pinterest by Spiral Bay.

            Two hunters going missing in the woods might seem fairly typical, which is what the OPP and RCMP of the seemed to think. These were not typical hunters though. Merle Newcombe had been raised nearby, owned the camp in the area, was well versed in the woods, and had been living in the area for all fifty of his years: hardly the type of person to lose their way. This is especially true given his companion George Weeden. Weeden was 63-years-old and in poor shape. A train accident in 1941 had left him with a broken back and permanently damaged leg. He had told several people before the trip that he would do all his hunting from the area near the train tracks.

            Wild animals could have gotten to them, but bear and wolves are far from stealthy. They do not typically hide their crimes. If an animal had found these men and gotten to them, evidence would have been left for the searchers.

            Most involved in the search and the limited investigation suspected one answer alone: homicide. Why anyone would have murdered these men and then left their camp intact is anyone’s guess, but as more than half a century has now passed since the day the men went missing, it is unlikely we will ever know.


image1.jpeg

Joseph Alexander

Joseph is a homonculus animated by a need to solve mysteries. When no mysteries abound, crude mexican cuisine will frequently suffice. He grew up in a small, Northern Ontario community and is still suffering the consequences. Also, he writes sometimes.