The Haunting of Vancouver Island is four years old! It’s hard to believe. Interest in the book–as well as my perspective on local ghost lore–hasn’t waned as much as I thought it would. This Halloween, I was interviewed for two podcasts and will be doing a large Zoom presentation for kids for Vancouver Island Regional Library on October 26th.
The Missing and Unexplainedinterview with Tyler Hooper was a lot of fun. It was the first time I’ve spoken about the Valencia story almost exclusively. The Valenica is a legendary West Coast phantom ship. There’s a chapter about her in The Haunting of Vancouver Island. In the interview, I explain the difference between a ghost ship and phantom ship and talk about the haunted vessel the Melanope–as a teaser for the sequel I’m working on, The Haunting of British Columbia (working title). Continue reading “The Missing and Unexplained Podcast with Tyler Hooper”
Hi everyone, Here’s the poster for my reading at Vancouver Island University on October 27th at 5:30 pm. That’s the Friday of the Halloween weekend. The Arbutus Room is above the cafeteria in building 300 (campus map). For those of you unfamiliar with the Nanaimo Campus, the Cafeteria, Library, and Theatre are all situated around the central courtyard. This is not a closed event. Everyone who can make it is welcome! Continue reading “Vancouver Island University Book Reading & Launch”
The Haunting of Vancouver Island has officially been sent to print — and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the finished product. The book will be released on October 10.
TouchWood Editions has turned my manuscript into something truly beautiful. The font is darkly spellbinding, the images have been carefully inserted, and the cover boldly captures the otherworldy spirit of the book. My mouth literally fell open the first time I saw it.
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.
Stories claiming that the century-old Heriot Bay Inn is haunted can be traced back for decades, but strange tales have always been a part of the inn’s colourful past.
In QuadraStory, author Jeanette Taylor says that it was Hosea Arminius Bull who first established the Heriot Bay Inn in 1895. After only a few years, however, a fire burned the original building down to the ground. The Heriot Bay Inn was soon rebuilt, but it was consumed by a second fire in 1911. The current Inn was then built in 1912. In the late 1920s, owner Charles Webster removed half of the building for unknown reasons. The other half remained in place, and is now the dining area and the loft above it. When Webster lost the property, residents rejoiced and immediately brought back either the same piece or a similar piece restoring the inn to its original glory.
Ghost stories describing a Lady in White emerge from cultures all over the world. From Thailand to South America, Australia to Russia, a lone woman’s spirit wearing a white flowing dress has been described, and re-described, over, and over again. According to Wikipedia contributors, what is consistent in most of these tales “is the theme of losing or being betrayed by a husband, boyfriend, or fiancé.” This classic White Lady phenomenon is also said to only occur in rural or secluded spots, as well.
These specific qualities are what apparently differentiate “White Lady” tales from the countless other stories told of female-apparitions who are dressed in white gowns. In fact, these rigid requirements effectively disqualify many women-in-white-apparitions found on Vancouver Island. Victoria, for example, reports several non-rural spirits wearing white dresses. The rest of Vancouver Island can add a few more women who don’t quite meet the criteria, as well — including one lonely maid who even appears without her head!
…a tale, of course, for another day…
Strictly speaking, however, according to the rigid rules of qualification set out by these same sage-like-non-attribution-quoting Wikipedia contributors, Vancouver Island only has two White Ladies. Interestingly, both of these stories hail from the Greater Victoria area.