is a Canadian Journeywoman who works as a web designer in
Waterloo, Ontario, and writes both dark fiction (poetry, short
stories, novels) and non-fiction. Marcy's travels often prove
to be a great inspiration and source of research, and after
many trips to the Niagara Region, she realized she had found
a ghostly jackpot. Marcy writes...
In the spirit
of Halloween, some travellers might enjoy finding some locations
that offer a spooky element. Have you ever visited a haunted
restaurant, or stayed in a hotel room that housed an extra
guest? My husband and I visited the Niagara Region on both
the US and Canadian sides to find stories of ghosts and death/daredevils
for my book, Spirits
and Death in Niagara. For those of you thinking of heading
to the Honeymoon Capital of the World, I’d like to share
a few scary locations with you that are not only rich in history,
but they might even make your hair stand on end.
is definitely not for the faint of heart! Do you have teenagers
living at home? This would make a terrific family outing.
The Olde Angel Inn...
beware! The Olde Angel Inn
(Niagara on the Lake) likes to boast about their ghost,
a British soldier named Captain Colin Swayze. Originally
built in 1789, this English style pub and Inn consists of
a restaurant, pub, and has a Snug Room (originally meant
for guests of high profile who didn’t want to be seen
drinking). There are rooms on the second floor, and they
also offer separate, historical cottages just steps away
from the Shaw Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
the War of 1812, Captain Swayze came to the pub, either
to visit his sweetheart Euretta, or to take a break from
the fighting. The American soldiers found him in the cellar
hiding in a barrel during a surprise invasion. That was
the end of Euretta's love. It is said that he still walks
around in that cellar, specifically in the women’s’
washroom where he died. He has been known to throw objects
in the pub when staff are fighting, or interfere with the
American beer taps. Some say that he also walks around the
upper floor where the rooms are, but he’s generally
happy as long as the British flag hangs over the front entrance.
Any guests that dare to stay the whole night qualify for
a Certificate of Survival. I would suggest booking as early
as you can, especially if you want to stay in the Captain’s
Room. Website: http://www.angel-inn.com/
An Uphill Battle...
to popular belief, very few cemeteries are haunted because
it is very rare for a person to pass away in a graveyard
unexpectedly. However, Drummond
Hill Cemetery (and Lundy’s
Lane) in Niagara Falls is the actual field
where Canada’s bloodiest and most brutal battle took
place on July 25, 1814 as the War of 1812 was coming to
an end. The Americans marched up the hill towards British
ground where they were ambushed in the dark fog. Soldiers
could not make out who the enemies or allies were through
the fog and gun powder smoke. The battle lasted six hours
leaving almost two thousand men dead. In the Drummond Hill
Cemetery you will find the graves of Lieutenant General
Gordon Drummond and some of the soldiers, as well as Laura
June 21, 1813, several American officers forced their way
into the Secord home and ordered Laura to serve them dinner.
Once the food and wine were served, the officers spoke of
their plans to attack the remaining British resistance.
At dawn, Laura snuck out of the house and travelled ninteen
miles on foot and risked her life to warn the British. On
some nights people have seen the red coats marching up the
hill, or five, old Royal Scot soldiers limping across the
field before disappearing. For more information you can
Do Us Part...
too far from Niagara Falls, NY, is the
Elmlawn Church in Tonawanda. It is unknown
what exact year the young woman married the love of her
life, but after the ceremony, tragedy struck. A
romantic carriage awaited across the street, ready to whisk
them away to a happy future. As she went out onto the street,
she was run over by a carriage and died instantly. They
say you can still see her in her wedding gown crossing the
road after dark, and others have seen strange lights between
midnight and three in the morning.
the summer months there are walking ghost tours of Fort
George. About sixty percent of the time,
guests and staff have reported paranormal experiences or
sightings. The tour guides lead the group through the fort
with a lantern, and do a wonderful job describing the history
of the people and battles that once took place. There are
so many stories about doors slamming shut, clothes that
are tugged, footsteps heard, people being shoved, and images
appearing all over the fort, that you really must experience
this tour for yourself.
less than a block from the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake,
you can see Fort Niagara on the other side of the water.
There are tourist plaques all around to show trajectories,
and how the battles were fought. Daytime staff members at
the park dress in period clothing and sometimes perform
re-enactments, and they are always there to lead historical
tours. There are places for your family to sit and have
picnics or bike along beautiful trails. Website: http://www.friendsoffortgeorge.ca/ghost.htm
Maid of the Mist...
people have heard of the Maid
of the Mist boat tours that take you right
to the foot of Niagara Falls. It’s an amazing experience,
and you realize very quickly that taking pictures from afar
does not give you a full sense of the enormity and power
of the falls. However, many people don’t know the
legend of the Maid of the Mist.
Indian tribes were inexplicably dying, they sent offerings
of fruit to please the gods, Hinum and his two sons. There
was no improvement, and they decided to sacrifice a beautiful
woman every year. Lelawala, the chief’s daughter,
was placed into a canoe and sent over the falls. Hinum’s
sons caught her, and she agreed to become the wife of one
of them under the condition that they save her people. Some
people believe they have seen a young woman’s shape
in the mist at the bottom of the falls; the spirit of Lelawala.
Fun Halloween Facts...
origins date back over 3,000 years to the Celtic celebration
of Samhain (Sow-en, not Sam-haain). The Celts believed that
on November 1, the disembodied spirits of all those who
had died throughout the preceding year would come back in
search of living bodies to possess for the next year. So,
on October 31, people dressed up as monsters to scare the
the evening before Halloween, the Celts left food on their
doorsteps to keep hungry spirits from entering the house.
There is also a tradition that in preparation for All Hallow's
Eve, Irish townsfolk would visit neighbors and ask for contributions
of food for a feast in the town. These lead to the childhood
practise of Trick-Or-Treating.
all canned fruits and vegetables, pumpkin is the best source
of vitamin A. Just a half-cup has more than three times
the recommended daily requirement.
Irish history of the Jack-O-Lantern goes back to the legend
of a man named Jack who met up with the Devil in a bar.
Later that night, Jack tricked the devil into climing up
a tree and trapped him by carving a cross in the bark. Jack
freed the Devil after a year, but only if he agreed to leave
him alone and not take his soul when he died. When God would
not allow such a soul into Heaven, and the Devil wouldn't
take him, Jack was sent away with a burning coal to light
his way in the darkness, which he put in a turnip to avoid
burning his hands.
it comes to spending money, Halloween is right behind Christmas.
Candy, costumes, decorations and party goods can add up
to over two billion dollars in the U.S. per year.
cats were originally believed to protect witches' powers
from negative forces.
candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters
with Snickers #1.
have believed for centuries that light keeps away ghosts
and ghouls. Making a pumpkin lantern with a candle inside
may keep you safe from all the spooky spirits flying around