If the Family Bible Spins Three Times… You’d Better Run!

If the Family Bible Spins Three Times… You’d Better Run!



I have written about the Vampires in Wilno, the Witch of Plum Hollow, and let’s not forget the poor gal in Pakenham being garnished up to burn in the middle of town as no one could seem to churn butter. By the 1870s most of these folkloric tales from the highlands had disappeared, but Reverend Bell kept reminding them that witches or ghosts seen in Lanark County were always floating around in the old country– so in all honesty, no more fretting in Beckwith—just get on with it.

I think that was one reason the settlers held on to the St Fillans Crozier for so long in Beckwith (until the 1840s) as they deemed it to be powerful over any local witch who might pollute their water or god forbid- slow down the sap. Let’s not forget all those family bibles that were left on the table during times of toil and trouble, and if that bible spun around three times while someone was about– well, god help you.

In the 1840s and 1850 the Carleton Place Herald went on the warpath and held in “print contempt” those who still believed in the evil eye and witchcraft. In 1856 a young woman’s hacked up body was found in the depths of the Rideau River and James Stewart of the 7th line of Beckwith was arrested for her murder. James Poole editor of the Carleton Place Herald, not known for his quiet demeanour nor candour went off the hook that the local Sheriff had dared consulted the Witch of Plum Hollow about the case. Poole could not understand why a witch would be more powerful or know more than the local sheriff about a local murderer.

Similar to Pakenham, butter wasn’t churning at various times in Beckwith and Carleton Place and farmers would get rid of their cows and replace them with sheep as they were sure their aging neighbour put a hex on their livestock. There was big business in charms and hex removals in Lanark County in that era, all because they brought their ways with them from the old country. It got so bad that Beckwith began a bylaw for the preservation of public morals. Slowly they got rid of their superstitions except probably the one for getting rid of warts. That my friends, is still something that carries on to this day.

They say when you get rid of one thing people transfer their troubles to something else, and that they did. Religion and whatever church you attended to keep the bad morals out came next. Stories of the famous donnybrooks among the Presbyterians and Anglicans in Carleton Place made front page news. Pigs were thrown through the St. James Anglican window (open I hope) in August of 1852 with one Carleton Place resident deeming the town of Carleton Place as nothing but colonies of rats. Rats? Here is a fact for you– rats multiply so quickly, that in 18 months two rats could have over a million descendants. Now, there is genealogy for you.


With research files from Beckwith- Glenn Lockwood



Ted Hurdis If you can get an ” unbeliever ” to buy your wart it will disappear from you to them !! True story 



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.


Importing Vampires into Wilno


What I Did on Beckwith Heritage Days – Alexander Stewart – Ballygiblin Heroe

Different Seasons of Witches in Lanark County

The Witches of Rochester Street

Ancestor of Salem –Rochester Street Witch

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

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

Local Miracle Story– Woken From a Ten Week Coma

The White Witch of Lanark County–Having the Sight

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

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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