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”
From carefully managed safety measures to mainstream COVID deniers, Tofino’s become a chaotic mishmash of policies and behaviours that feels more like a powder keg ready to blow than an anxiety-free tourist destination. This past Saturday, someone tried to pull my mask off in a gas station filled with maskless tourists. A mid-afternoon drunken attempt at humour.
Some of my favourite people live in Tofino. The town has always been supportive of my writing with many stores still carrying The Haunting of Vancouver Island. I first visited Tofino in the 1990s and returned often to surf and then paddle surf after a knee injury. I eventually purchased an old fishing boat in 2015 that had been converted into a living space. A thinking-outside-the-box way to have an affordable home and office. I then invested in an unsuccessful restaurant business, recently winning the subsequent lawsuit. Continue reading “Tofino in the Age of COVID”
On July 21st, I was in the Cowichan Valley for the filming of Harold Joe’s new documentary, Tzouhalem. Produced by Les Bland Productions and by Harold himself, the film will attempt to unpack the oral stories and urban legends surrounding the near-mythic figure of Chief Tzouhalem, who Mount Tzouhalem is named after.
What makes this project unique is that Harold is a Quamichan traditional Gravedigger. The Quamichan Nation acknowledges the existence of human and nonhuman spirit entities, so strict protocol is observed during funerals in order to avoid problems with either. Harold’s role often calls upon him to repatriate human remains and to help disembodied ancestors find peace.
Chief Tzouhalem had a complicated relationship with this same spirit world. So who better to investigate the legends surrounding him than someone familiar with his teachings? Tzouhalem was a member of the nation Harold is, as well, which means Harold has access to oral histories no other investigator would ever be able to acquire. Continue reading “Ghosts of Mount Tzouhalem and Stone Butter Church”
The following Vancouver Island bookstores are selling books online or by phone (free local delivery for some) while Covid-19 social restrictive measures are in place:
Munro’s Books (Victoria)
Bolen Books (Victoria)
Russell Books (Victoria)
Ivy’s Bookshop (Victoria) – now open for phone-in and online ordering
Camas Books (Victoria) – every book is washed with “75% solution of isopropyl alcohol”
Cavity Curiosity Shop (Victoria) – “no contact” pick up service only
Tanner’s Books (Sidney)
Salt Spring Books (Salt Spring Island)
Galiano Island Books (Galiano Island)
Talisman Books (Pender Island)
Volume One Bookstore (Duncan)
Strong Nations Gifts & Books (Nanaimo) – now “open for orders as usual”
Continue reading “Vancouver Island Booksellers Operating During the Covid-19 Outbreak”
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. 1843.
Christmas used to be the time of year to tell ghost stories, both in Western cultures and in many other parts of the world during those longest nights of the year. Charles Dickens’ tale of a miserly man who finds redemption through the help of undead spirits is a timeless holiday classic that has never been out of print. Lucky for the equally Scrooge-like amongst you, this haunting novella can be read for free online at several archive sites.
The Turn of the Screw and Other Tales by Henry James (1898). 2010.
Henry James is often said to have been one of the greatest writers in the English language and his ghost stories are still considered some of the best ever written. In Turn of the Screw, a governess looks after two children on a remote estate while their single father works in the city. She begins to see two apparitions on the property, and slowly comes to believe the children are communicating with the ghosts she feels are evil. This Broadview edition includes an introduction and appendixes that will probably haunt you for the rest of your days. Containing samples of James’ relevant nonfiction, his inspirations, reception, and “Study of the Supernatural in Nineteenth-Century England and America.” Continue reading “The Best Ghost Stories in Fiction”
The interview “The Haunting of Vancouver Island with Shanon Sinn” was released by Secret Door Podcast on October 17th. In this episode, I was interviewed by Melissa Martel about The Haunting of Vancouver Island as well as other regional ghost stories.
Melissa also lives on Vancouver Island — in the Courtenay area — so the interview was unique in some ways because she’s more knowledgable about Vancouver Island folklore (outside of the Victoria area) than anyone else who has interviewed me so far. Besides talking about Vancouver Island, we discussed our beliefs and/or skepticism in regards to ghost hunting devices and touched on several other topics as well. Continue reading “Secret Door Podcast: The Haunting of Vancouver Island”