Loving Local Ghosts: Ghost Stories from Across Ontario

Loving Local Ghosts: Ghost Stories from Across Ontario

Posted on May 20 by Mark Leslie
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Each of the places I have called home in Ontario are near and dear to my heart, filled with fond memories, and happen to be haunted -- not just with my vivid memories of them, but with spirits, ghosts and other unexplainable phenomenon.

It was during a ghost walk in Ottawa that I realized history could indeed come alive with ghostly tales. From the haunted downtown hostel on Nicholas Street that used to be the Carleton County jail to the Museum of Nature whose ghosts have a direct effect on the high turnover of security guards, Ottawa has its fair share of both ghosts and history.

My first book exploring the paranormal, Haunted Hamilton: The Ghosts of Dundurn Castle & Other Steeltown Shivers, was inspired by that fascinating combination, documenting not only historical landmarks that come with ghostly legends, such as the Auchmar Estate, the Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster and the Hamilton Armouries, but also the bar-fly ghosts that haunt both the Coach & Lantern and The Winking Judge. The combination of the creepy ghost stories and learning more about the people who had lived in Hamilton before me made me think of that book as a love letter to my city.

I had such fun taking a deeper, slightly darker look at both the history and the ghosts of Hamilton that I revisited them along with co-author Jenny Jelen in Spooky Sudbury: Eerie Tales of the Unexplained. Having both grown up in Sudbury, we had heard about the actor who haunts the Sudbury Theatre Centre, forever walking the planks from the afterlife, and the eerie experiences associated with the deserted site of the old General Hospital, in particular the echoes of a little girl’s laughter in the basement near the hospital’s morgue, but we were surprised to uncover even more interesting tales. We didn’t realize, for example, that Sudbury was a hotbed of UFO activity in the 1950’s and 60’s, nor that in the mid 1970’s the US Air Force actually sent 3 fighter planes to intercept unidentified objects that had been independently reported from eyewitnesses and radar support.

Following that exploration of things I love, I’m quite excited that in my forthcoming Dundurn book Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries, I get to explore not only ghosts from bookish places around the world, but ghosts in my own wonderful backyard, such as the ghost of the elevators at the Waterdown branch of the Hamilton Public Library, the ghost that accompanied a customer home from Rivendell Books in Barrie and the cigar-smoking ghost at Attic Books, one of Canada’s largest used and antiquarian bookstores.

Ontario, in particular the places I have been fortunate enough to call home, are beautiful on the surface, but there’s something intriguing, interesting and often creepy, lurking just beneath, staying hidden and secret until you shine the proper light on them.

Mark Leslie

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014

Mark Leslie

Mark Leslie is the author of Creepy Capital and Tomes of Terror as well as many other books on the fascinating and paranormal. He is also the editor of Campus Chills and Fiction River: Feel the Fear. Mark lives in Waterloo, Ontario.