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
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