Nanaimo has been hit with some pretty heavy snowstorms this week, which is okay, as I’ve been tucked inside writing like a madman. As the deadline approaches to submit the manuscript for the Haunting of Vancouver Island, my excitement to share it with you has been intensifying. Some of these stories have been years in the making. A comment on my blog. A conversation with a stranger. A chance discovery in an old newspaper. I would watch a tale manifest slowly before my eyes. Not contrived. Not embellished. But viewed the way that it was meant to be viewed: organically and without hubris. I am a researcher, a newswriter, a collector of unconventional stories from across Vancouver Island. Who am I to say whether these things happened or not? A balanced, fact-heavy approach will make — in my opinion — a much more frightening read than anything else I could hope to create. “Let Vancouver Island tell its own story,” that’s what I say.
Last week I posted an account of the first time that I saw the St. Louis Ghost Light / Ghost Train in Saskatchewan. Now I wanted to share some video of it that I captured from a couple of years ago. This is from December 31, 2014. I was home for Christmas and had a couple of hours free before my family’s New Year’s Eve get-together.
Navigator Newspaper graphic designer Zyre Hoskins created this image for the article’s centre spread.
The first time I saw the St. Louis Ghost Light I didn’t know what I was looking at. I was seventeen years old at the time and did not believe in ghosts.
Campfire Ghost Story: Keeha Beach Vancouver Island
This is a personal account of an unexplained experience I had on Keeha Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island during the late 90s. Keeha (sometimes Keaha) Beach is part of “the Graveyard of the Pacific,” a stretch of water that has claimed thousands of vessels and lives. To the south of the beach is Pachena Point, where people have reported seeing the ghost ship SS Valencia, and to the north is an abandoned First Nation village some have claimed is haunted as well. Many people have claimed to have had “spiritual” experiences here.
Towards the end of the video I also share the release date of my upcoming book!
For decades now, people have been claiming to see the apparition of a headless woman near the old Lenora town site on Sicker Mountain (1900-1907) There aren’t any buildings left standing any more — and the exact location is hard to find — but the ominous ghost story persists just the same.
The local legend says that an early miner found his wife cheating on him and killed her, either by accident – when he tried to kill the other man – or on purpose. The husband then cut the woman up and scattered her remains across the site. Ever since, it is said that she’s been searching for her missing head.