Who was the Almonte Ghost of 1886?





It was the Victorian era, of course, when ghosts proliferated most obviously in fiction – as well as on stage, in photographs and in drawing room seances. In 1886 the residents of Almonte were disturbed for almost a month over the appearance of a ghost that some said had horns and walked along the street nightly to the music of clanking chains. The population rose up in arms. Some said a vigilante group must be formed to catch and punish whomever was frightening some out of their senses on Farm Street.

“Someone had to catch this veritable inhabitant of an infernal region. The apparition has been seen by several of the residents of the street, and is described as a most hideous looking object. The appearance of this visitor from the lower regions is ascribed to various causes, but only one of these seems to come within the range of probability, and that one, if correct, should brand the human dastard who lends himself to such ghoulish work as fit only for the regions from which he would make it appear he comes.  A vigilance committee s waltz, with tar and feather accompaniment, would be a fitting termination to such an inhuman drama”. Almonte Gazette December 1886

The popularity of ghost stories or apparitions was strongly related to economic changes. The industrial revolution had led people to migrate from rural area into towns and cities, and created a new middle class. They moved into houses that often had servants, when the nights were drawing in early.  New staff found themselves “in a completely foreign house, seeing things everywhere, jumping at every creak”. Servants were expected to be seen and not heard – actually, probably not even seen, to be honest.

There were ghosts under the bed, and more and more, in people’s heads. The Victorian era was impressive in many ways. They made things solid and functional, but beautiful and mystic at the same time, buildings or stories- it didn’t matter.


Did you know the south/west side of Lower Mill Street, and several homes on Farm Street, were destroyed by fire in 1906?


Photo- Almonte.com-Mill Street fire, 1906


Related Reading

Is Samuel Shaard Lying in the “Cement” of the Thoburn Mill?

The Almonte Fire of 1909


Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun



About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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