The Ghost of Black Rapids

The Ghost of Black Rapids

Daniel SmallLost Ottawa
February 5, 2018  · 
A hot summer day at Black Rapids, c1960, Grandpa having me jump in off the pier.

Today, a certified ghost story, one of the hair-raising creepy, sort, and told by Mr. John Boyd, who lived just south of Carlsbad Springs. Mr. Boyd lives in Gloucester, but the story concerns the township of Nepean opposite Black Rapids. The chief actor in this exciting story was Mr. Boyd’s father, a north of Ireland man, who came to Canada in the 1830s, and settled near Black Rapids on the Gloucester side of the river.

Recollection of Drowned Lands on River Sticks (Styx), Rideau Canal

In the1850s there began to sift into Gloucester strange stories about a ghost that was being frequently seen across the river in Nepean, on a vacant farm on the edge of what was known as the “drowned lands”. The stories grew clearer and more circumstantial. Many persons were seeing the ghost, or whatever it was.

One night at the Boyd home representatives of the Padgett, Davidson, Mulligan, Nash, Stratford and Collins families discussed the supposed ghost, and came to the conclusion that the matter should be investigated. Alex Boyd volunteered to do the investigating. It was winter at the time. The next night, being full moonlight, Mr. Boyd decided to make the trip, and make it alone, so that the ghost would not be scared away by too many people. Mr. John Boyd says his father after getting across the river into Nepean went to the home of Allck Mulligan. It was near Mr. Mulligan’s that the vacant farm was and besides Mr. Mulligan was stated to have frequently seen the apparition.

When Mr. Boyd arrived at the home of Mr. Mulligan, Mr. M. confirmed the statement that he had often seen the apparition. He showed Mr. Boyd the spot where the ghost was always seen at aspot near the edge of a marsh. He, however, advised Mr. Boyd not to go alone. One could never tell what might happen. Mr. Boyd said that he was not afraid and that he came alone by choice. Leaving Mr. Mulligan’s comfortable fireside, Mr. Boyd started alone for the deserted farm, and took up a position at a point near the line of the spectre’s regular progress.

He waited with an afterwards admitted nervousness. Shortly after 12.00 (midnight) Mr. Boyd became aware of the approach of a white spectral object. He could observe the form of a man, but there were no features, and the limbs were not clearly defined. But the object moved. It sort of glided along. There was no sound of crunching snow, nothing, but a deadly silence an uncanny silence. Mr. Boyd’s hair began to literally rise on his head. But he fought back the fear that began to assail him.

He had felt himself in the presence of something supernatural. As the white indefinite object drew near Alex Boyd steeled his nerves. He aeciaea to speak to tne tning. ae in a often heard in Ireland that if one spoke to a ghost, it would be set at liberty from its wanderings. As the spectre came within 50 feet the Gloucester man called out: “Who are you and what do you want?” There was no response. When the ghost was nearly opposite him, Mr. Boyd again called out: “Speak, what troubles you?” Again no answer, but the apparition glided slowly by.

Archives of Ontario
Lock, Dam, &c at the Black Rapids – Men pumping Water out of the Lock, to hang the Gates &c, 1830

By this time Alex Boyd was fully convinced that he was talking to a ghost. Cold perspiration broke out over him. He decided, however, to follow the apparition in the hope that it would lead him to the source of Its trouble. The ghost kept on its course, skirting the marsh and heading towards the river, the direction in which Mr. Boyd would have to go to get home. The pace of the ghost accelerated, but the man managed to keep up with it, plowing through deep snow and climbing over obstacles. He noticed that there were no marks on the snow where the ghost moved. He knew then that the thing he followed was supernatural.

In due time the apparition cane to the Rideau River. It descended the bank, and went out onto the snow, covering the river. As Mr. Boyd got to the top of the bank, he saw the appartion go into thin nothingness and just disappear. Mr. Boyd went home that night full of wonder as to what it was an about. Had there been a murder committed on the vacant farm or had some former occupant of the farm been drowned In the river? Later other people from both sides of the river saw the appartion,, but Alex Boyd did not have any desire for a further sight of it. He agreed with Mr. Allck Mulligan that ghosts were good things to leave alone.

From Lost Ottawa

Kris GibbsMy father was the Lockmaster at Black Rapids for the better part of a decade. If memory serves me, it was from the early to late 90s.

Jimmie EllacottWhere I learned to swim in the 50s with my sister Bev.

Eileen MahoneyI remember going there a lot with my parents so my Dad could put his boat in

Geoff Baker

February 9, 2018  · This undated photo of Black Rapids shows the ‘beach’ area in the lower right, with the boat tie up jetty beside it. The beach, in my experience, has very little sand and is grass right to the water, and the water is more swampy than beachy. The weir and chute are on the left in this image, and there is no beach there.

Above the dam is also without beach, but there’s a nice grassy picnic area — on my experience it’s that picnic ground that is the attraction.

David Delaneyused to go fishing there as a kid , while dad sat in the lockmasters house sharing a bottle with the lockmaster , remember an incident when a muskie pulled a little kid off the dock into the river

Margaret McNarryLoved Black Rapids! Mom and Dad would take us there for picnics and swimming. I learned to swim there. My youngest brother was always looking for the “Rabbits”!

Brian NortonRipped bathing suits sliding down that weir.

Betty PilbrowSpent so much time at Black Rapids in the early 50s. As soon as Dad got home from work we’d pack up the car with our coolers, blankets and everything else beach related! We three girls would jump off the locks when Mom and Dad weren’t looking…so much fun

Micheal KostenukIn the early 60s, my friends and I would bike there in the summers from City View. Loved Black Rapids, especially the side with the little dam/falls that we’d slide down.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Aug 1925, Sat  •  Page 26
John T. Robertson Obituary- Caldwell Bookeeper Rideau Canal

Did Anyone Find the Lost Barrel of Silver Coins That Lies at the Bottom of the Rideau Canal?

When One Boat Filled the Rideau Lock–Rideau King

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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