Ancestor of Salem –Rochester Street Witch

Ancestor of Salem –Rochester Street Witch





This is an update to the The Witches of Rochester Street


Want to attract a ghost? There is a well known method that worked for the Victorians and still works today. Simply buy an old house, add a vivid imagination and watch things happen.


They say on Rochester Street in Carleton Place there is a home that pots, pans, kettles, and logs once flew about the rooms. In the late 1800s the ghosts were exorcised by a local clergy and also by a local medicine man for good measure. In later years when a former American bought the house he nailed a horseshoe to the front door, but this gentleman spent more time in the gaol than he did at his home so nothing out of the ordinary was spotted. In his later years small fires broke out in his stove and the pots and pans began to fly, so cooking became out of the question.

By this time they were convinced they were victims of a spell cast by a witch. Their youngest granddaughter in their care was sent off and the household went back to normal. Months later she returned, and things began to fly again and the granddaughter retorted that the ghosts didn’t like her Grandfather.



Former opera Hall –This woman (and tractor) are posing in front of the stone building at the corner of Bridge and William Streets – once the Opera House, a mica factory, and later, Brewer’s Retail. A mica-splitting industry of the General Electric Company was being carried on in J. R. McDiarmid’s Newman Hall in 1906 at the corner of Bridge and William Streets. Photo- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum



Sensing a way to make money he rented out Pattie’s Opera Hall advertising his Granddaughter and her gifts. The place was crowded that evening and his granddaughter showed up, but the ghosts did not. Wisely after that fiasco he kept to himself and the family grew accustomed to the daily shenanigans although it was still unnerving when a plate fell off the rack, or a door slammed for no apparent reason.

The family never realized their great great granddaughter was an ancestor of a witch they were never able to burn in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem was going through a rough patch and refugees flooded into the town following England’s war with France on American soil. The war displaced many people living in New York, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, and the extra mouths to feed in Salem put a strain on the town’s resources. This, in turn, stretched the division between Salem’s rich and poor, causing heated arguments which the local Puritans blamed on the Devil.

Even though three suspected witches were put away, the people of Salem became paranoid. In a fit of mass hysteria- and probably a dash of simply taking advantage of the situation to get rid of enemies- fingers were being pointed at supposed witches left and right, even for the mildest of offences. When the hunt ended, some 200 people had been accused of witchcraft. However, only 20 people were executed, and years later one of the witch’s ancestors became known as one of the Witches of Rochester Street, which story later came to folkloric fame in Carleton Place.

Believe it or not!


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.



Coffee Talk– Coolidge’s Penny Candy and Rochester Street– For Tom Edwards

Winter —Rochester Street Looking North– Before and After

My—- How House Values Have Changed in Carleton Place —- 10 Rochester Street

The Witches of Rochester Street

Plum Hollow Witch and The Mountain Man of Pakenham

An Interview with the Witch of Plum Hollow–Mother Barnes— The Ottawa Free Press 1891

My Grandmother was Mother Barnes-The Witch of Plum Hollow

A Bewitched Bed in Odessa

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

Different Seasons of Witches in Lanark County

Local Miracle Story– Woken From a Ten Week Coma

The White Witch of Lanark County–Having the Sight




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Friday October the 13th– 6:30.. meet in front of the old Leland Hotel on Bridge Street (Scott Reid’s office) and enjoy a one hour Bridge Street walk with stories of murder mayhem and Believe it or Not!!. Some tales might not be appropriate for young ears. FREE!–




Here we go Carleton Place– Mark Your Calendars–
Friday October the 13th– 6:30.. meet in front of the old Leland Hotel on Bridge Street (Scott Reid’s office) and enjoy a one hour Bridge Street walk with stories of murder mayhem and Believe it or Not!!. Some tales might not be appropriate for young ears. FREE!–

Join us and learn about the history under your feet! This year’s St. James Cemetery Walk will take place Thursday October 19th and october 21– Museum Curator Jennfer Irwin will lead you through the gravestones and introduce you to some of our most memorable lost souls!
Be ready for a few surprises along the way….
This walk takes place in the dark on uneven ground. Please wear proper footwear and bring a small flashlight if you like.
Tickets available at the Museum, 267 Edmund Street. Two dates!!!

OCT 28th
Downtown Carleton Place Halloween Trick or Treat Day–

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About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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