Here’s a photograph I took of Graham Street tonight. I don’t want to spoil anything and say it isn’t anything supernatural. It’s too cool of a Halloween image for me to do that.
I was looking forward to Halloween this year. Being the end of the month, I only had 7 km left to make up my 100 km-a-month biking goal. Staying active has been good for me, though it is hard to make my goal some months with my nerve damage, and everything that is affected by that. But I knew tonight would be different than other month ends due to Halloween. If I timed it right, I’d probably get to see some Halloween displays, which to me are works of art. My greatest regret is that I didn’t bring my camera. Just my phone.
I haven’t altered any of these photos except to straighten two crooked ones. Two others at the end of this post are somewhat strange. If nothing else, they’re cool to look at.
I decided to take a route I like that goes through a golf course, to a thrift store, and then back home again. Near the beginning of it, I came across these snowberries. Elder Della Rice told us in a course that snowberries are used to wash your hands with before and after touching the dead and that they offer protection from ghosts. People on Folklore Thursday have shared posts about their association with the ghosts and the spirit realm in other parts of the world, as well. After I post this, I plan to go and pick two branches of red cedar tonight, as well. A few of them are in a park nearby.
This cat was a jerk. He didn’t even want me to take his photo. It was like he knew this was his night and that he knew that I knew it was his night. But my persistence prevailed. Black cats, of course, are associated with the spirit world and with Samhain specifically.
Some houses had signs like this outside. It was a good reminder that a lot of people were choosing not to recognize Halloween this year, at least not in the same way they have other years. Vancouver Island has had remarkably low numbers of Covid cases. Some parents felt it was safe enough to be out and were navigating their kids through all of these social distancing measures. It must have been stressful.
Once I got to the thrift store, I spent a few minutes looking at their used books before I started to head back. It was getting dark by this point. The jack-o-lanterns in this photo were pretty awesome. I like how these people put the candy out on the table for parents and kids to help themselves. I imagine they were watching nearby, and that they would resupply the table throughout the night if they needed to.
This ghost isn’t that scary, but it was blinking on and off. I liked the corpse figure by the house wall. The the lights and graveyard were great too. It would be fair to say that this house would be spooky and/or fun for a kid to walk up to.
I thought this guy was amazing too. It’s a lot bigger than it looks in the photo. I imagine that he would also be frightening for a young kid.
This guy standing on the left reminded me of the sacrifices that some dads must make for Halloween haha. He looked like he was just loving life. When he saw me taking a photo he asked if I wanted some candy. Pretty nice of him considering by this time I must have started to look like a creep riding my bike down streets filled with kids. A proper camera would have helped with that I suppose, but what do you do?
By the time I took this photograph, I was back in my own neighbourhood. I decided to go down Jackson and Graham Streets to check the houses there out. The age of the houses on this street, and the way they are lined up, always remind me of 1980s movies’ suburbia. This route is one I take to Cafe Fantastico.
The photo above didn’t turn out great. I liked the colours and can guarantee you it was filled with ghosts. I’m mostly sharing this photo for another reason, which will make sense towards the end of the post.
This house wasn’t overly decorated, but I liked the jack-o-lanterns and the ghost. Around this point, a woman nearby was excited and saying loudly to everyone that there was an owl in a nearby tree. I sort of listened for a couple of minutes before asking her directly if she was serious. She said she was and that she had seen it move.
I’m not sure if she was messing with everyone, or if there was an owl decoration in a tree, but she was pretty convincing. Before I moved here or knew where I was going to live in Victoria, I saw and took photos of an owl a few blocks away from this spot.
Here’s the photo again if you didn’t see it on social media last Halloween. I had been in Victoria for a book signing at Indigo. I saw this owl across the street and took photos.
Maybe because of this, I had a feeling that there actually was an owl in the tree and that it was watching me. It wasn’t goosebumps I felt, but more of a strange, eerie vibe. Owls, of course, represent the dead and the ghost world in general. They also remind me of my grandmother who was raised in an orphanage. To add to the strangeness, as explainable as the header image is, it was around this time that I took the header photo of Graham Street.
This house, I thought, was cleverly decorated. With just a red light and the existing stained glass window there was so much atmosphere. With just a couple of decorations it was minimalist, really. I bet they make a few miner changes for Christmas with similar results.
This house was amazing. That ghost you see flying through the air is actually a projected light spider. I should have said I don’t know what it was, but that would sort of take away from the photos at the end of the post. Which I’m honestly a bit confused about.
This car port was amazing. I had just passed what looked like three witches sitting around a cauldron in a dark front yard. Actual people in costume. I think. I felt sort of awkward by this point, ripping up and down the street on my bike, zigzagging around kids and parents, just to take photos on my phone. Again, if I had my camera, I could have taken better photos. I might have even peddled to some of those “Best Haunted Houses” in Victoria I’d seen on a map earlier this week.
I found that if I stayed in the middle of the street, I wouldn’t get too close to anyone who was worried about Covid (or homeless-looking guys on bikes taking photos). As I was at the end of the street, I decided I would head home in traffic on Quadra instead of navigating uphill through another residential neighbourhood.
I stopped at Quadra School to take a couple of photos. I probably should have straightened this image too. This school was built in 1914 and named after Don Juan Francisco Quadra, an 18th Century Spanish explorer. I’ve never heard anything about the school supposedly being haunted, but it looks like it should be. I’ve always taken note of the building as creepy af. It has that vibe. Like the nearby street, it looks like a school out of a horror movie, as well. There has to be at least one kid who is afraid to go to his or her classes every day.
I should mention, the Quadra Street cemetery I talk about in The Haunting of Vancouver Island is not really that close to the Quadra School. According to Google Maps, it’s 2.6 km away. An 11 minute bike ride for an ambitious ghost.
This was the first photo I took at the side of Quadra School. I wanted to get the full moon in the background. I’m not sure what the blue light is, other than probably a lens reflection inside my camera. I don’t really see anything similar in any of the other photos though, except possibly in the blurry one.
This is the second photo. If the light is a reflection in my camera, why has it moved so much, especially if I’m basically in the exact same position? Also, why does it look like it’s coming from behind the building in the first photograph? Why doesn’t it have the same sort of tail? Interestingly–to me at least–I’m taking a photo pointing the direction where the owl was supposed to be the next block over. I’m sure someone might easily explain these photographs away. But if nothing else, they gave me something to think about and a reason to share all of these photos. It is, after all, the best night of the year.
I am off to get some cedar. I hope everyone is having a Happy Halloween!