Ghosts of Mount Tzouhalem and Stone Butter Church

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”

Cowichan Elder Della Rice Sylvester’s Medicinal Plants Workshop

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend a Plant Medicine Workshop taught by Cowichan Elder Della Rice Sylvester. It was held in the Skutz Falls area near Cowichan Lake and hosted and organized by Rebecca Christofferson. Auntie Della (as I have been taught to refer to female elders) describes herself as a cultural keeper and healer. Continue reading “Cowichan Elder Della Rice Sylvester’s Medicinal Plants Workshop”

Search for the Headless Woman of Sicker Mountain (w Video)

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.

Continue reading “Search for the Headless Woman of Sicker Mountain (w Video)”