Urban Legend

The Vanishing Hitchhiker by Jan Harold Brunvand defines an Urban Legend as a “realistic story concerning recent events (or alleged events) with an ironic or supernatural twist.” The teller of the story believes the legend is true, and that the events actually happened to someone just out of reach–to a friend of a friend, for example, or to somebody’s relative.

An Urban Legend is not believed to be true by academics or investigators. This is often determined because the same events are said to have happened in several different geographical areas to more than one person. The stories will often be similar to one another, but will have contrasting details such as where, when, and to who the events happened to. Continue reading “Urban Legend”

The Pod Couple Interview: The Haunting of Vancouver Island

Hey everyone,

This week I was interviewed by The Pod Couple and indie videographer Jeff Carpenter about my new book The Haunting of Vancouver Island. The episode was made available today. If you’re interested in listening you can click on the link below or find it on iTunes. Continue reading “The Pod Couple Interview: The Haunting of Vancouver Island”

Haunted Locations on Vancouver Island

My new book The Haunting of Vancouver Island is now available. Many of these stories are told in full, complete with images.

Haunted Vancouver Island

Continue reading “Haunted Locations on Vancouver Island”

Haunted Locations of Victoria, Vancouver Island

My new book The Haunting of Vancouver Island is now available. Many of these stories are told in full, complete with images.

The following is a list of haunted locations in the Greater Victoria Area. There is a separate post for the rest of Vancouver Island.

The list is source based, meaning locations have been added as they’ve received published recognition. The list is organized geographically. It begins in the Oak Bay neighborhood, then proceeds downtown before crossing the Bay Street Bridge. The final haunted location listed is in the Langford area. At the end of this list, I’ve included other paranormal reports that may or may not be considered hauntings.

A lot of people have left comments about their own experiences at the bottom of the page. If you’d like to share yours, please feel free to do so. Subscribe to the blog if you want to be notified when new posts are available.

Ross Bay Cemetery photo by Brandon Godfrey. 2009.

Victoria Golf Course, Oak Bay An apparition has been seen that is believed to be Doris Gravlin. She is also referred to as “The April Ghost” due to her usual appearance at this time of year. Ghost lights are also reportedly seen. There are incredibly high witness counts as the apparition often appears to groups or several people at once. Unmarried couples who see her are said to never marry. Might be a good way to get rid of that clingy someone once and for all!

  • The Haunting of Vancouver Island by Shanon Sinn (2017)
  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Favourite Ghost Stories by Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria (1997)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Haunted Canada by Pat Hancock (2003)
  • Creepy Canada: Season 2, Episode 3

Tod House, Oak Bay (heritage site/private home) This site is no longer active. An apparition of a First Nations woman in chains was reported. Presence was also felt. A skeleton was later found on the property of a woman in chains believed to possibly be of First Nations descent. The haunting discontinued.

  • The Haunting of Vancouver Island by Shanon Sinn (2017)
  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Favourite Ghost Stories by Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria (1997)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)

Shelborne Street, Victoria (south of Hillside Center) There are claims that the entire street shifts to an earlier time, a phenomena known as “retrocognition.” Lone drivers have made this claim saying it occurred during the month of October.

  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999) 

Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria Apparitions have been reported that some people believe are those of David Fee and Isabella Ross. An elderly couple has also been seen. Blog post.

Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria (heritage site) The castle itself does not acknowledge that the building may be haunted but rumours persist. An apparition of a little girl has been reported by volunteer staff, as well as the image of a maid. Woman’s feet have been seen running down the stairs. Music has been heard and the odor of candle wax is said to occur inexplicably.

  • The Haunting of Vancouver Island by Shanon Sinn (2017)
  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Video (not on haunting)

Langham Court Theatre, Victoria (open) The apparition of “the Lady in the Loft” is reported. The theatre publicly acknowledges the ghostly presence.

  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Langham Court Theatre: About

Beacon Hill Park, Victoria At one time, an apparition of a blonde woman would appear to joggers. She would look to be struggling with someone, or something, and screaming silently. Reports came from NW corner of the park. Later, in the same spot, a woman was murdered with dark hair. The apparition is then said to have taken on her appearance after the murder and is no longer a blonde woman but a brunette. This apparition is often called “the Doppelgänger of Beacon Hill Park.” Also, an apparition of the lower half of a male – from the waist down – has been reported as well.

  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Favourite Ghost Stories by Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria (1997)
  • The Doppelganger of Beacon Hill Park (great blog post)

Emily Carr House, Victoria (heritage site) A presence is said to linger on the stairs as well as in the room of Emily Carr’s mother.

  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)

James Bay Inn, Victoria (open) Auditory phenomena is reported. Unexplained electrical occurrences are also said to occur. Apparition, possibly of Emily Carr.

Helmcken House, Victoria (heritage site) The apparition of a woman is seen in the upper floor window, believed to be Cecilia (Douglas) Helmcken. Piano music is also heard. Poltergeist activity is said to have occurred. This house is on the grounds of the Royal BC Museum.

  • Haunted Canada by Pat Hancock (2003)
  • Creepy Canada: Season 2, Episode 5
Haunted Locations of Victoria
British Columbia Parliament Building photo by Ryan Bushby. 2007

Parliament Buildings, Victoria An apparition has been reported and is usually believed to be architect Francis Rattenbury.

  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)

Empress Hotel, Victoria (open) Apparitions are reported in the hotel, the most famous believed to be architect Francis Rattenbury. The Empress is very near the Parliament Building. The apparition of a woman who is seen on the 6th floor is believed to be a former maid. An apparition of an older woman has been seen, as well. An apparition of a construction worker who was found hanging has also been seen.

St Ann’s Academy, Victoria (heritage site) The apparition of Emily Carr has been reported. She really does get around doesn’t she?

  • The Haunting of Vancouver Island by Shanon Sinn (2017)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • The Canadian Encyclopedia Blog: A Field Guide to Ghost Hunting in Victoria

Cherry Bank Hotel, Victoria (open) Apparitions of a woman and a little girl are reported. A girl has been seen running in the hallway. Poltergeist activity.

  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Creepy Canada: Season 1, Episode 4

Pioneer Square (Location of Old Quadra Street Cemetery) Apparition is seen who is believed to be Adelaide Griffin. Another apparition believed to be Robert Johnson – who committing suicide – is reported here as well. Also, the apparition of a dark-haired woman in a white dress has been seen.

  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Favourite Ghost Stories by Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria (1997)
  • Favourite Stories From Lantern Tours by Old Cemeteries Society (1998)
  • Creepy Canada: Season 2, Episode 6

Royal Theatre, Victoria (open) An apparition of a man has been reported. Witnesses also claim to feel “psychically stabbed.”

  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Ghosts: More Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (2006)

Roger’s Chocolates, Victoria (open) Claims that the apparitions of Charles and Leah Rogers have been sighted. Also, an unexplained child’s handprint was found.

Bedford Regency Hotel, Victoria (open) Two apparitions are reported by employees. Staff call them “Lady Churchill” and “Brady.” Lady Churchill has also been seen across the street at Camillo’s restaurant.

  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Canadian Ghost Stories: Volume 2 by Smitten, Thay, Jarvis & Oickle (2003)

Bastion Square, Maritime Museum & surrounding buildings, Victoria (open) An apparition of a bearded man is reported believed to be Sir Begbie the “Hanging Judge.” A lady in white is reported here as well. Bastion square in general, and Helmcken Alley, generate reports of various levels of activity. Tour guide John Adams gives downtown ghost tours every evening. Bastion square is the epicentre of many of these tours.

  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Favourite Ghost Stories by Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria (1997)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Ghosts & Legends of Bastion Square by John D. Adams (2002)
  • Creepy Canada: Season 2, Episode 3 (Bastion Square)

Old Morris Tobacconists, Victoria (open) Poltergeist activity has been reported. Unexplained sounds have been heard.

Pounders Restaurant, Victoria (open) A female apparition has been witnessed on the stairs. Items have also been inexplicably moved.

  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Ghosts & Legends of Bastion Square by John D. Adams (2002)

McPherson Playhouse, Victoria (open) A male apparition and a lady in grey have both been reported at different times. Items are moved, and audible unexplained voices have been reported. Apparition of a “Frenchman”  is seen on the outside corner of Government and Fisgard on October mornings.

  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Ghosts: More Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (2006)
The Skull-Faced Bishop: The Horrific Image of One Vancouver Island Ghost. St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Victoria The Skull-Faced Bishop and the spirit of David Fee are believed to haunt this location. For the full story, click on the image above.

Fan Tan Alley, Chinatown, Victoria A ghostly presence pushes people aside. Sources claim that the entity is Chung, who once murdered a sing-song girl who scorned his affections.

Gorge Road Hospital, Victoria The apparition of a lady in white has been reported. White lights have also been seen.

  • Favourite Ghost Stories by Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria (1997)
  • The International Directory of Haunted Places by Dennis Hauck (2000)
  • Ghosts: More Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (2006)

Point Ellice House, Victoria (heritage site) The apparition of a woman in a blue dress has been reported believed to be Kathleen O’Reilly. The apparition of an older woman has been reported on the property believed to be Carolyn O’Reilly. A man’s voice has been heard. Poltergeist activity is often reported.

  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)

Old Point Ellice Bridge, Victoria Ghost lights are reported at the tragic scene where the old bridge collapsed. This incident claimed 55 lives. A red light is reportedly seen, hovering “18 inches” off of the ground.

  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Favourite Ghost Stories by Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria (1997)

The Princess Mary Ship Restaurant, Victoria (closed – no longer exists) An apparition of a woman had been reported. Unspecified unexplained occurrences had also been claimed at the time.

Spinnakers Pub, Victoria (open) An apparition of an older woman with longer grey hair has been reported along with unexplained noises. Presence is said to have become less active in recent years.

  • Ghosts: More Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (2006)
  • Ghostly Walks: Links

Ye Old England Inn, Esquimalt (open) An apparition of a man with a beard has been reported as well as that of “a beautiful woman.” Unexplained music has been reported and items have inexplicably been moved.

  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Ghostly Walks: Links
Haunted Locations of Victoria
Hatley Castle photo by Merry Kisses. 2006.

Royal Roads University/ Hatley Castle, Colwood (open) most activity is reported in Hatley Castle (aka Hatley Park). This includes the apparition of an old woman who is possibly Laura Dunsmuir. “Freezing cobwebs” have also been reported as well as the apparition of a man.

  • The Haunting of Vancouver Island by Shanon Sinn (2017)
  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Strange History: the Haunted Castle. Article (2014)
  • Creepy Canada: Season 2, Episode 11. Video
  • A Close Encounter of the Paranormal Kind. Video

Craigflower Elementary School, View Royal (closed 2013 due to road work) Doors are said to open on their own. Bells have been said to ring inexplicably. According to sources, manor is also said to have activity.

  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)

Four Mile House Bar & Grill, View Royal (open) The apparition reported in the gardens is believed to be that of Margaret Gouge. Another apparition of a man in a suit is also reported. Also, a ghost said to be Jake Matteson is seen. This is also the pub mentioned “near Christie Point” by authors who wrote of the apparition of a soldier crawling across the highway. Noises and poltergeist activity has been reported, as well as people claiming to have been touched. There is also a connection to the Thetis Cove Lady in White.

  • The Haunting of Vancouver Island by Shanon Sinn (2017)
  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Ghosts: More Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (2006)
  • Creepy Canada: Season 1, Episode 5

Thetis Cove, View Royal The apparition of a lady in white is reportedly seen on the beach. She is said to be a woman who died awaiting her husband’s ship to return. Apparently, she’d often spent time at the old Four Mile House Inn (above) where there’s actually a stain glass image of her. There is a stain glass image of the White Lady of Thetis Cove at the Four Mile Pub.

  • The Haunting of Vancouver Island by Shanon Sinn (2017)
  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Ghosts: More Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (2006)

Six Mile Pub, View Royal (open) An apparition of a man has been reported. Unexplained footsteps have been heard.

East Sooke Road, Sooke An apparition of a lady in black has been seen along the side of the road and is believed to be May Stiff – although some have said it cannot be her. A pretty young woman in white has also been reported.

  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Ghosts: More Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (2006)

China Flats Highway, Sooke The highway described in accounts is likely #14 Highway, Sooke Road. An apparition of a Chinese man has been reported and is said to jump into traffic. No one is present when vehicles stop to investigate, however. He is believed to have been a man who was struck and killed in the 1940s while trying to get medical attention for his wife.

  • A Gathering of Ghosts by Robin Skelton & Jean Kozocari (1989)
  • Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters by Robert C. Belyk (1990)
  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)

Ma Miller’s Goldstream Inn, Langford Retrocognition has been reported at this site. Old Inn has been seen, even though it was no longer physically there.

  • Ghost Stories of British Columbia by Jo-Ann Christensen (1996)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)

Other Miscellaneous Reports from the Victoria area:

Burning Ghost Ship, South of Vancouver Island A burning fishing vessel with a UFO-type object above it was observed and reported by the Japanese ship Meitetsu Maru in 1957. There were also several other reports of unidentified lights in the area at that time. No missing boats were ever reported, nor was any wreckage ever found, even after a large-scale American and Canadian Coast Guard search.

  • Canadian UFO Report: Volume 2, Number 5 (1972)
  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)

Thetis Lake Monster Victoria, Vancouver Island Generally believed to have been a hoax, a monster was reported similar in appearance to the Creature from the Black Lagoon. I so want to believe this actually happened!

  • Ghost Stories & Mysterious Creatures of British Columbia by Barbara Smith (1999)
  • Canadian Ghost Stories: Volume 2 by Smitten, Thay, Jarvis & Oickle (2003)
  • Wikipedia entry

Sea Serpent Caddy, Vancouver Island Coastline A sea serpent is said to haunt the coasts of Vancouver Island, having been reported by multiple witnesses since at least 1932. Some speculate that the sightings may be of a surviving creature such as the plesiosaur, others that it might be an oarfish (video) There have been multiple reports of the serpent from all around Vancouver Island. “Caddy” is named after Cadboro Bay in Victoria following an early account. The bay was named after an early HBC vessel the Cadboro.

For a list of other Vancouver Island Haunted Sites please visit Haunted Locations on Vancouver Island This other list includes Sasquatch Sightings (which have also occurred in the Victoria area), and UFO reports as well. 

If you know of any other haunted locations in the Victoria area, leave a comment, or send me a private message. Thanks to you who already have!

Until next time, darkest nods!

Wildlife Biologist Dr. John Bindernagel on the existence of Sasquatch

Sasquatch

According to wildlife biologist Dr. John Bindernagel, a process of discovery has been occurring throughout North America for well over 150 years. This process of discovery validates the belief that there is an uncategorized great ape living in the wilds of North America that is commonly referred to as Sasquatch. Primate footprints that have withstood scientific scrutiny in all but a few cases have corroborated thousands of unrelated sightings. The taboo nature of the Sasquatch, however, as well as a media focus on exposed hoaxes, uninformed and unqualified statements made by sceptical scientists, and an unwillingness of the scientific community to exam existing evidence has continued to delay this discovery process to date.

“Considering the way the sasquatch has been portrayed in the mass media, it would be surprising if anyone in North America at this writing in 2010 was not skeptical regarding the proposition that the Sasquatch is a North American mammal.” – The Discovery of Sasquatch by John Bindernagel.

Continue reading “Wildlife Biologist Dr. John Bindernagel on the existence of Sasquatch”

The Changeling

Changeling
Detail from The Legend of St. Stephen. The Devil steals a baby and leaves a changeling in its place. Martino di Bartolomeo. 15th century

 Changeling. The widespread belief that fairies or other malevolent spiritual forces might secretly substitute one infant for another is amply represented in Celtic oral tradition. Irish corpán sídhe, síodhbhradh, síofra; Scottish Gaelic tàcharan, ùmaidh; Manx lhiannoo shee; Welsh plentyn a newidiwyd am arall (Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology).

The Fairy Changeling

(Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland. Lady Wilde. 1887.)

ONE evening, a man was coming home late, and he passed a house where two women stood by a window, talking.

“I have left the dead child, in the cradle as you bid me,” said one woman, “and behold here is the other child, take it and let me go;” and she laid down an infant on a sheet by the window, who seemed in a secret sleep, and it was draped all in white.

“Wait,” said the other, “till you have had some food, and then take it to the fairy queen, as I promised, in place of the dead child that we have laid in the cradle by the nurse. ‘Wait also till the moon rises, and then you shall have the payment which I promised.”

They then both turned from the window. Now the man saw that there was some devil’s magic in it all. And when the women turned away he crept up close to the open window and put his hand in and seized the sleeping child and drew it out quietly without ever a sound. Then he made off as fast as he could to his own home, before the women could know anything about it, and handed the child to his mother’s care. Now the mother was angry at first, but when he told her the story, she believed him, and put the baby to sleep–a lovely, beautiful boy with a face like an angel.

Next morning there was a great commotion in the village, for the news spread that the first-born son of the great lord of the place, a lovely, healthy child, died suddenly in the night, without ever having had a sign of sickness. When they looked at him in the morning, there he laid dead in his cradle, and he was shrunk and wizened like a little old man, and no beauty was seen on him any more. So great lamentation was heard on all sides, and the whole country gathered to the wake. Amongst them came the young man who had carried off the child, and when he looked on the little wizened thing in the cradle he laughed. Now the parents were angry at his laughter, and wanted to turn him out.

But he said, “Wait put down a good fire,” and they did so.

Then he went over to the cradle and said to the hideous little creature, in a loud voice before all the people–

“If you don’t rise up this minute and leave the place, I will burn you on the fire; for I know might well who you are, and where you came from.”

At once the child sat up and began to grin at him; and made a rush to the door to get away; but the man caught hold of it and threw it on the fire. And the moment it felt the heat it turned into a black kitten, and flew up the chimney and was seen no more.

Then the man sent word to his mother to bring the other child, who was found to be the true heir, the lord’s own son. So there was great rejoicing, and the child grew up to be a great lord him-self, and when his time came, he ruled well over the estate; and his descendants are living to this day, for all things prospered with him after he was saved from the fairies.

In Nature

Parasitic cuckoo birds regularly practice brood parasitism, or non-reciprocal offspring-swapping. Rather than raising their young on their own, they will lay their egg in another’s nest, leaving the burden on the unsuspecting parents, which are of another species altogether. More often than not, the cuckoo chick hatches sooner than its “stepsiblings” and grows faster; eventually claiming most of the nourishment brought in and may actually “evict” the young of the host species by pushing them out of their own nest (Wikipedia).

Other

According to Katherine Briggs in Fairies in Tradition and Literature (1967), the changeling is more often male than female. This stolen child usually has blonde hair and a fair complexion. Briggs says it’s believed the dark fairies steal human babies in order to use them for breeding; thus introducing “fair” blood into their fairy gene pool. Most accounts of changelings in the fairy tales can be traced to Lady Wilde’s Ancient Legends. Several other sources are given in Brigg’s text, however. Either book can offer insight into how to retrieve a stolen child if need be, or how to protect one’s own child from being stolen in the first place.

I’ve written about the Bridget Cleary case previously in the Hawthorn Ogham post. To recap: In rural Ireland in 1895, Bridget Cleary’s husband, neighbours, and relatives, murdered her and burned her body. The motive? They were convinced Bridget was a fairy changeling. The active participants of the murder (9 initially charged) maintained their story throughout the entire court case.

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