Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

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A reader of the People From the Eastern Townships Facebook page -Pat Corbiere Clarke- kindly sent me some information about witches in Quebec and– while I sort that all out I thought I would start with this. For any of you familiar with The Witch of Plum Hollow I wrote about– gather round as they say– here is another adventure.

Another story in my Eastern Townships series.

 

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They say that the Narrows Covered Bridge that goes across Fitch Bay in the Eastern Townships was built in 1881 and spans 91 feet (28 metres) across the bay. You can’t go across the bridge anymore as it is closed to the public and it hasn’t been kept up in recent years.  But there is more that blows in the breeze in the picturesque village of Fitch Bay near Magog than the lavender smells. If you look closely at one of the buildings a huge wind vane of a witch riding a broomstick crowns the roof’s centre tower. One wonders what also turns in the breeze around the Chateau that is called Witchbay Castle. The history begins in 1880 when Mr. Timothy Byron Rider was a successful business man in Fitch Bay. The Chateau remained in the Rider family hands for most of its existence.

 

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triqtwiladar.blogspot.com

Like most older homes this property is not without its ghostly legends. Apparently  a mysterious Native American named Amanda lived along the river bank of the quiet village and wore an ample topcoat and a scarf around her neck. The townsfolk said that the ends of the scarf floated in the wind and would dart among the shadows. She was quoted by some to be a healer and would create lovingly remedies made from the native herbs and plants for those who needed it.

 

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Up to the eighteenth century, it was believed that behind every healer hid a witch or sorcerer. It was these ancestral healers, that began the foundation of modern medicine– and because of the lack of understanding, they were hung or burned at the stake.

Previously, women with mental or physical handicaps were suspected of being witches, but they were not persecuted because some could actually perform healing. But King James believed that they indulged in Satanism, and was determined to stamp it out. His decision was to set off a disastrous chain of events for the so-called Pendle Witches – reminiscent of what was to happen much later in Salem, Massachusetts.

Amanda was considered an outcast, and some were hostile towards her as they thought her potions and lotions were nothing but short of what they considered a powerful witch might create. Maybe she was a witch, and maybe she wasn’t- but the townsfolk quickly sealed her fate and she was hanged on November 1, 1800, near the bay.

More than a century later the spirit of Amanda came back and chose a successor to continue her work. A young girl who lived in one of the local villages Amanda used to visit became her replacement and this girl was guided by some unknown force to the site of Witchbay. This girl was not only overwhelmed by the soul of Amanda, but some said she renovated the old home and devoted herself to occult practises. Even after death, similar to Amanda, she can still be seen walking along the banks of the river bank at night.

Few homesteads remain in what was once the booming town of Fitch-Bay, in the 18 and early 1900’s- but the Witchbay Castle still remains. We have to ask ourselves- is Fitch Bay really filled with dancing and twirling witches on nights when there’s a full moon? All I know is: when the moon has awoken with the sleep of the sun–the light has been broken and the spell has begun.

So what has happened to the Chateau Witchbay?  Terry Michael Loucks wrote: “Nobody lives here anymore.  It is abandoned and for sale .…..and all yours for approx. 1.5 million!

 

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Photo–A LONG WAY HOMELe Château Witchbay–Address: 411 chemin Remick
Fitch-Bay, Quebec

 

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Photo by Terry Michael Loucks– February 2017

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Photo by Terry Michael Loucks– February 2017

 

 

historicalnotes

Read–A LONG WAY HOMEFriday, October 15, 2010

“In conclusion my Great Grand Uncle, Timothy Byron Rider who built “Le Chateau Witchbay” is related to John Proctor of Salem MA, who was put to death by hanging during the witch trials in the late 1600’s”.

Roger & Gwen Poitras owned it from 1967 to 1970 when they  ran the General Store on the corner and then it was sold again.

 

Related Reading

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – Minecraft Story of the Lake Memphremagog Monster

 

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

The Witches of Rochester Street

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

Sorry guys.. this is only in French–get your dictionaries out– but– you can see what it looks like in real time.

 

 


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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.

4 responses »

  1. As someone who was born and raised in Fitch Bay, I have to say I find this story to be quite entertaining and interesting. However, this is pretty much all fiction and made up. There is actually a much simpler explanation. First of all, all your dates are wrong. And when the Poitras family sold the house, it was purchased by a lady of considerable wealth, who proceeded to be quite “difficult” towards the local people, and was referred to not as “witch”, but the other word spelled the same way but starts with a B. She then took it upon herself to refer to it as “witch”, then even tried to have the town renamed to Witch Bay, which of course the local town people just laughed at the idea. And now here we are…in 2017 and my beloved hometown is “soiled” by a silly and false story like this, when the actual history of Fitch Bay is so much more interesting. This is nothing but a joke to those who were born and raised in Fitch Bay. I personally hate the idea that my hometown is now known for this silly, and false superstition and wish it would just fade away……which it could if people like you stop feeding this false tale. My grandfather, a long time resident of Fitch Bay share plenty os stories with me when I was a child, some of them a bit far fetched, but nothing as far fetched as this one. Don’t come to Fitch Bay hoping to see a witch, folks, because she has moved away already, and now her house is for sale.

    • Thank you Michael for your comment. Folklore makes up history and every town has many. The Poitras date was given to me by someone who dies local history but I will note your comment in the blog. Again thank you as we all contribute to history.

  2. Lotions and potions, I use that when mixing concoctions, and really it’s just using natural ingredients that have been tried and are true with a mystical side. Do you have an upset tummy? Shave ginger root into water, Ginger Ale settles an upset tummy so there is life to the “ole” ways. 🙂

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