Filed under: ghosts, top-feature, Tours, weird and unusual
Haunted Niagara, An Unofficial Tour
Niagara has been reputed to be one of the most haunted places in Canada. Now whether or not that’s true, I can’t say, but I can attest to the fact that there are definitely some places in the area that appear to be very haunted. Personally, I’m a chicken, so I would only ever visit these places during daylight hours, but if you want to add a little thrill to your vacation, why not go on an unofficial tour of haunted Niagara?
Keefer Mansion (map) is now a bed and breakfast, but throughout the years it has served as a private home, a bar, a hospital and a mental institution. Footsteps can often be heard coming from the rooms upstairs at this beautiful old mansion . Faucets also turn themselves on and off and the smell of pipe smoke sometimes lingers in the basement. People have also reported seeing various ghost like figures making their way around the home.
Mahoney Doll House Museum (map), was originally known as Bertie Hall, and used to be a safe house for refugee slaves on the Underground Railroad. It is said that a tunnel in the basement of this building leads directly to the Niagara River, where free slaves would get off the ships, and run down the tunnel into the safety of the building. The tunnel is now sealed off, as it is rumored that at least two people died because of flooding associated with the tunnel. Many people have reported apparitions, the most common being one of a woman standing on the stairs holding a bouquet of flowers.
The Screaming Tunnel (map) is an enduring legend in the Niagara Region. The tunnel goes underneath the railway tracks that link up Niagara Falls to Toronto. As the legend goes, back in the 1800s, a farmhouse located close to the tunnel caught on fire one night, and a young girl, her clothes engulfed in flames ran towards the tunnel in an attempt to put out the fire. She didn’t make it; she collapsed and died on the tunnel floor. It is said that if you stand in the middle of the dark tunnel at midnight and light a match, the match will be blown out and the screams of a young girl will be heard. That’s just way too creepy for me, but ghost hunters from all around have come to visit the tunnel, and it has even appeared in a movie.
Drummond Hill Cemetery (map) is another place in Niagara that is reputed to be quite haunted. Being the grounds for the Battle of Lundy’s Lane in the War of 1812, it makes sense that the apparitions seen here are those of injured soldiers limping their way amongst the gravestones. Soldiers holding guns and marching has also been seen.
The Olde Angel Inn (map) is said to be haunted by Captain Swayze, a British officer in the War of 1812, who was bayoneted to death by American soldiers in the basement. He is supposedly a friendly ghost, provided the flag of the British Empire remains flying outside the establishment. He is also known to occasionally mess with the kegs of American beer.
Fort George (map) is said to be extremely haunted, and they even have their own ghost tours that run on a nightly basis in the summertime. This Fort served as headquarters for the British military in Niagara during the War of 1812. It has been bombarded, burned and destroyed, and it makes sense why the place would be so haunted!
The Merritt House (map) is another building in the Niagara Region that has seen it’s fair share of weird activity. The building is now a radio station, but in the past it was used as a military convalescent home, a brewery and an inn. Tons of odd stuff happens here, included the names of staff members being whispered to them when they are alone, the random locking of doors, t.v’s and other electronic equipment turning itself on and off, and cold spots throughout the house. This is one of the most haunted buildings in Niagara, and you can learn all about it on the Full Moon History and Haunts Walk in Downtown St. Catharines.
As you can see, Niagara definitely has it’s fair share of ghosts, and whether or not these legends and stories are true remains to be seen, but it sure is a fun way to spend a night of your vacation!
Photo 1, Megan Pasche
Photo 2, Joe Gurney, Flikr