Chesterman Beach is a beautiful close-to-Tofino location everyone likes to surf and visit… While I was researching The Haunting of Vancouver Island I was told by a local woman she believed the beach was haunted. I included her comments in the chapter on Keeha Beach. Surprisingly, I recently read about a Spanish massacre on Chesterman Beach by the Tlaoquiaht and some other Nuu-chah-nulth allies. (Believe me, they had it coming.) As I read the story, I realized it seemed to validate the feelings of the woman I’d interviewed.
“When a soul dies in sin, or unavenged, it doesn’t rest, it stays and haunts a place. And what was evil in life is evil after, so we hadda leave some others who’d been strong and good in life to run herd on the Keestadore ghosts. Sometimes at night you can see them on the beach, caught in a fight as has been goin’ on for three hundred years, and there’s some as can’t sleep on Chesterman because part of their past is still fightin’ there, and some as can’t think straight while they’re there, and others just feel real sad and don’t know why.” This is a quote from a Nuu-chah-nulth elder in Daughters of Copper Woman by Anne Cameron, which was published in 1981.
Daughters of Copper Woman was a great read (shout out to Barry at Image West in Ucluelet for the recommendation). A lot of the stories are of a Secret Society of powerful women, many who were also warriors. Very cool. My only reservation was that because it was written at such a different time Cameron didn’t name her sources. So, the elders speaking aren’t attributed. As she’s a colonial woman this would be frowned on by today’s standards — though I believe her when she says she had permission to share them. I still recommend giving it a read if you get the chance. It’s worth it for the ghost story alone!
If you’d also like to read a couple of personal accounts of a haunting on Chesterman Beach, read the comments from @worrywhisps in my Instagram post below:
So the next time you’re taking an evening stroll on Chesterman Beach, you might not be so quick to dismiss your intuition as an overactive imagination. After all, there aren’t too many places on Vancouver Island where ghosts are said to have been fighting a battle every single night for hundreds of years. What could a person actually see if they tried? That’s something I’ll have to find out for myself.