Discover stories that will make your skin crawl!
South Eastern Ontario is world-famous for its rich history. Home to two UNESCO world heritage sites and the place of several significant battles; we are constantly standing where a nation was forged – more often than not: in combat. The story from then until now wasn’t always squeaky clean. There were times when public executions were not uncommon. Smugglers, cutthroats, and even the occasional pirate once stalked the St. Lawrence River. At one time an illness that is easily treated today – could be your undoing at the ripe old age of 35. Our forebears faced a daily gauntlet of ways to meet an early end. As a result, this entire region is a prime destination for paranormal enthusiasts.
Whether you’re a firm believer in the supernatural or a guarded skeptic, It will be hard to deny the icy chill you feel up your spine while exploring these fascinating and frightening locations.
The Prince George Hotel
Now home to a trio of pubs, this former hotel was once the home of the Herchmer family during the 1800’s. Their daughter Lily is said to have had a love affair with a rum smuggler and would leave a lit lantern in the window to signal for him. One night this caused a fire which set the building ablaze and claimed Lily’s life.
Her ghostly figure has been seen staring out her third-floor window looking for her lover. Also, during the building’s operation as a hotel – there are stories of cleaning staff encountering bizarre incidents such as radios turning on, whispers and more. Apparently, a former employee of the Tir Nan Og pub abruptly quit after a frightening encounter, according to an article in the Queen’s Journal.
It should come as no surprise that the Limestone City is a hotbed of paranormal activity – with generations of stories and testimonials from residents and visitors alike. Topping Kingston’s list of haunted places is Fort Henry. For over 170 years this fort has stood guard over Kingston and was never once attacked. Over the years, however, the fort has been the site of hangings, and even a prisoner of war camp.
The fort was even featured on an episode of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters. In the episode, staff members were interviewed, and the team recorded convincing evidence to support the countless tales of the Fort’s supernatural incidents. From summer to early September the Fort is also included in the Haunted Walk’s roster of tours.
The Haunted Walk of Kingston
The Haunted Walk of Kingston is most certainly a must-do for any paranormal enthusiast to visit the city. For over two decades this interactive and fun tour has operated and has remained a popular and educational attraction ever since.
Few urban locales send shivers up one’s spine quite like Kingston’s beautiful and infamous Rochleau Court. This picturesque series of alleys and carriageways is accessible from either Princess, Brock Street or King Street East and lead to the courtyard proper where Chez Piggy Restaurant and the Toucan Pub are located today.
The eerie tale tells of a woman named Theresa Ignace Beam who was strangled to death in the carriage-way by her lover (John Napier) in 1868. During a secret meeting; Theresa informed him that she was pregnant. Being a prominent entrepreneur, he was overcome with anger and panic. In a fit of rage, he murdered and later dismembered Theresa, burying her remains in random locations throughout the courtyard and alleyways. Some claim that her remains are buried in the basement of an adjacent building. Despite past efforts, her remains have yet to be discovered.
The alley is featured in the Haunted Walk tour and was also in a segment of Creepy Canada (Skip to 30:36). Does Theresa’s restless spirit wander the shadowy back alleys of Rochleau Court, eternally in search for her unceremoniously disposed of remains?
Built in the mid-1800s, the Rockwood Asylum was, you guessed it, a home for the ‘criminally insane’ and other like-minded patients of the time. With the ever-growing change in how mentally ill people were treated in the late 1800s made Rockwood the ideal institution to treat a variety of issues. Having been considered a “modern asylum” in its time, Rockwood looked to teach its clients the virtues of regular life, such as religion and work. While this sounds more humane than your average asylum story, it wasn’t without its traditional aids – drugs. Sedatives, like morphine and barbital, were used to calm patients and keep things orderly. Considering the lack of understanding of mental illness, you won’t be surprised to learn that Rockwood took part in some of the first lectures for psychiatry at Queens University, and it wasn’t uncommon for physicians to perform some of the first brain surgeries on patients at the asylum. With all of the sordid history, you can bet to feel a spirit or two while touring this historic site.
The grisly nickname stems from a rather dark and macabre history. The park that today hosts a playground, wading pool and basketball courts was once a massive cemetery with over ten thousand graves. Established in 1814 it was one of the City’s first and largest graveyards.
In 1864 the cemetery was closed and left more or less derelict. Over the next thirty years, reports of skeletal remains surfacing in the park and complaints of a horrid stench forced the City to eventually ‘clean up’ the mess. Grave desecration and robbery were also rampant at this point in history – as medical students attending Queen’s University were made to provide their own cadavers for exams.
Headstones were bulldozed and the only the bodies transferred to another cemetery were those whose families could afford it. Otherwise, thousands of corpses were left in the now transformed grounds. Human remains are still discovered occasionally to this day and what remains of gravestones can be found in the grass if you look close enough. There are several reports and witness accounts of supernatural incidents including terrifying dreams, strange visions, ghostly mists, and even physical apparitions.
There is much more to the small village of Sydenham than meets the eye. Take a self-guided tour through this mysterious village to gain a true perspective of the history it holds. Be sure to look for the location of the former Foxton Brickworks, which legend says deceased family members were bricked into their graves to prevent grave robbers from stealing their corpses to sell at nearby Queens Medical School. The most popular story has a particularly hilarious end, as the two grave robbers decided to stop for a drink and leave their cold companion sitting upright in their wagon. A passerby noticed and decided to play a prank on the crypt pillagers by removing the pilfered body and taking its place in the wagon. While driving the wagon later that evening, it is said that this corpse copycat stayed silent for a long while, and then at some point on the journey said “Cold night”, horrifying the crooks so badly that they immediately stopped and ran off into the night, leaving the wagon on the wayside.
Prince Edward Heights / PRZ Paintball
As far as freaky ominous buildings go; they don’t get much freakier than abandoned government asylums. Technically, the Prince Edward Heights facility was not an actual asylum – but that doesn’t make this place any less scary. Originally a military barracks and then converted to a “hospital for the mentally disabled” in 1971 the building and images from within invoke spine-tingling reactions.
There are several unconfirmed stories of patient abuse and even fatalities while the hospital was in operation. Supernatural investigators: The Paranormal Seekers visited the complex in January 2014, and their gallery is full of menacing images of the derelict asylum’s interior. Another group by the name of PROO(f) TV conducted an extensive event – which they posted on YouTube.
Today, Prince Edward Heights is an ideal destination for paintball enthusiasts more than ghost hunters. Current tenant: PRZ Paintball has turned this massive complex into what is undoubtedly the most epic competitive paintball arena ever. So if you want to shoot your friends, while being simultaneously scared out of your wits, this is the place for you.
The Macaulay Heritage Park is the home of the Macaulay House as well as the historic ‘former’ church of St. Mary Magdalene, which now stands as the Museum, surrounded by the cemetery, gardens and carriage house. The museum itself has a permanent exhibit that shares the story of Indigenous peoples in Prince Edward County, but what many dont know is the harrowing story of Peter Laziers murder, and the double execution that followed over 100 years ago. The story begins with Mr. Lazier was shot to death during a robbery in December of 1883, and with the community in turmoil they were looking for someone to pin the guilt on. It wasn’t long before two local men, Joseph Tompsett and George Louder went to trial, having been accused based on evidence of shoe prints in the snow (Tompsett). In May of 1884 both men were convicted and sentenced to death, and even in their final days both men maintained their innocence. It wasn’t until after the two men were hanged on June 10th, that the community began to feel guilt as it was never confirmed that both men had committed the crime. What is worse is that it took the men between 5 and 14 minutes to die as the community looked on. Is it possible that Joseph and George still haunt the grounds where they were executed? Or has Peter come back to seek justice for his untimely death? You will have to visit to find your answers.
Historic SDG Jail
In the 1800’s the justice system was a much different version of what is in place today. In addition to murderers, thieves, and other villainous criminals – jails were also a repository for the insane, mentally disabled and other unfortunates that society would deem undesirable.
In addition to this – women and children of similar disposition were thrown into the mix. The ‘Gaol’ as it was called then, was often over-populated. Suicide, horrific diseases, and violence were rampant within the confines of incarceration.
The SDG Jail opened in 1834 and was in operation until as recently as 2002. Today it is open to the public as a museum. Needless to say, this is an alleged hot-spot for paranormal activity. The jail’s current location was where an army barracks once stood during the war of 1812. In 1826 it burned down while several soldiers and livestock were trapped inside.
Various unexplained encounters, sights, creepy sounds and even ghastly odours have been reported by visitors and staff. Phones that have been disconnected for years will often ring. Ghostly apparitions appear, and doors slam. Visitors even claim to have even been ‘touched’ by cold and unseen hands. Over the years, these chilling tales have inspired scores of ghost hunters and supernatural detectives to explore and investigate. Should you possess the bravery – this notorious building belongs on your itinerary.
As one of Ontario’s oldest houses to date, the Sir John Johnson Manor House was built between 1784 and 1792 in the little village of Williamstown. Built by Sir John Johnson, an extremely wealthy American loyalist who took part in many of the affairs between the government and ‘Indian Affairs’ at the time. Built along the Raisin River, Sir John built not only his house but a milling complex to become the central area to which the surrounding village would be built. The property was sold in early 1819 and then kept in the McGillis family until the end of the 1800s where it was sold to Murdoch McLennan. Over the next century many three more families would come to own the historic estate and finally in 1971 Parks Canada took over to ensure the site was cared for and maintained for years to come. It has been said that because of its rich history that there are many ghostly apparitions to be seen at the manor, you may just have to find out for yourself.
The Lost Villages consist of ten hamlets, villages; and an entire farming community which no longer exist. These communities were not lost due to natural disaster – but rather they were authorized by the government to be ‘disposed of’ in the interest of expanding the St. Lawrence Seaway.
As a result, over six thousand people were displaced and lost their homes and very livelihoods. Today, they are commemorated at the Lost Villages Museum located in Ault Park on Fran Laflamme Drive, a short drive East of Long Sault, Ontario. Visitors can (seasonally) participate in Ghost Hunting sessions alongside a group of seasoned paranormal investigators. Perhaps you’ll make contact with some lingering earthbound spirits lurking within their former dwellings.
Fulford Place is a turn-of-the-century Edwardian (1901) mansion famous for its lavish décor and rich local history. It is an incredible edification to Canada’s industrial elite. Originally built as the summer home of George Taylor Fulford, this illustrious manse was designed by then-famed Architect: Albert W. Fuller of Albany New York. Today the home is a museum featuring original furnishings, rare antiquities, and the stories of her former inhabitants.
Mr. Fulford was the proprietor of a drug store and later came into pharmaceutical fame after patenting Pink Pills for Pale People. Mr. Fulford’s wife Mary (nee Mary White) was reportedly fascinated with spiritualism and the occult. It is said that many séances were hosted by Mrs. Fulford after her husband’s untimely death in a car accident at 53 years of age.
Mary was close friends with Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King – who was a well-known paranormal enthusiast. King attended the home to participate in several of Mrs. Fulford’s séances. Along with their own personal mediums King and Mrs. Fulford would ‘commune with the dead’. In fact, Mr. King was known to stay at the residence long after Mary’s death as a close friend of the family.
Does the lonesome spirit of Mary Fulford roam the mansion’s grand halls in search of her lost husband? The presence of once cherished furnishings and belongings within the house – coupled with the history of spiritual communication certainly make this a must-see location. Several of the paintings seem to watch your every move – especially a portrait of Mrs. Fulford on the grand staircase. It’s unimpressed facial expression and dark eyes seem to stare right through you.
The Blinkbonnie House
For over 170 years the Blinkbonnie has stood as an icon of 1000 Islands culture, heritage, and the subject of local legend. The property was first inhabited by Charles MacDonald who was a prominent businessman and co-founder of the town itself. Later, in 1920 the house’s owner William; son of Charles II died of an unexpected heart attack. He left no will behind – which left his father suddenly displaced from his own ancestral home.
In 1923 a local schoolteacher: Rebecca Edwards bought the home and turned it into a lavish hotel. Charles II begged her to allow him to live out his remaining years in the home. She agreed and ensured that the 86-year-old MacDonald was made comfortable. She re-purchased some of the home’s original furnishings in order to please the aging progenitor of the home. He remained at Blinkbonnie until his death in 1928.
The house has been visited by psychics, and there are theories that Charles II never left his beloved family home. There have been accounts of disconnected taps running, slamming doors, unexplained footsteps, and other odd occurrences.
Today the Blinkbonnie sits vacant with only the dust and echoes of her long and near-mythical history within. The future may be bright for the house, however. A recent article in the Gananoque Recorder reports that the house has been purchased with the intent of restoring it into a bed & breakfast or pub. It would appear that soon this house could be a prized landmark attraction once more.
Prescott – Fort Wellington National Historic Site
Fort Wellington was first commissioned during the War of 1812 by the British. The garrison’s construction was integral at the time, to guard a major artery of Upper Canada’s shipping and commerce.
Today, the fort is open for the enjoyment and education of the public. According to a study conducted by the Toronto & Ontario Ghosts & Hauntings Research Society: The historical reenactors aren’t the only soldiers who roam the fort today. Based on their findings and testimony provided by staff, there is a ghost who inhabits the second floor of the blockhouse. Reportedly a lost soldier from the War of 1812 by the name of Terrence Anderson, this alleged specter is known to slam doors, startle staff members and is particularly active during fife practice.
Allan Macpherson House – Napanee
Allan Macpherson was a prolific entrepreneur and member of Napanee’s budding society in the mid-1800’s. Today his former home is a landmark for local tourism and potentially a spiritually active building. The mansion, which is now a museum – has been investigated multiple times by at least two paranormal groups. The Canadian Haunting & Paranormal Society (CHAPS) conducted a search in 2014 which rendered ‘inconclusive’ results. Another group: Bytown Paranormal investigated MacPherson House around the same timeframe.
One thing I can say for certain is that this house has always given me the creeps. This could be partially due to the fact I lived next door to it while in high school, and while arriving home at night I’d always get an uneasy feeling as though I was being watched. Maybe it was the cardboard cut-out of Sir. John A MacDonald blankly staring out from the upstairs window that overlooked our driveway… You be the judge.
The Old East Hill neighborhood of Belleville is home to many historical houses that have been said to have been the locations of seances and spooky happenings in the 19th century. Back in the late 1700s United Empire loyalists moved to what would later be known as Belleville and built their homes on a settlement close to what is now known as Belleville’s Downtown District. With 34 stunning historic properties, this neighbourhood is a special and unique place to walk through, featuring classic townhouses, stunning estates and the Corby Rose Garden. It is said that with history comes phenomena that cannot be explained. Learn for yourself what the ghosts of the past want to share with you by taking a walking tour of the Old Easy Hill Neighbourhood.
Do ghosts still linger in some of these places today? You decide! We dare you to take a guided (or self-guided) tour around local haunts to revel in the intrigue!