Tag Archives: evil eye

I’ve Got a Hex on You — Jaan Kolk and Linda Seccaspina –Historic Rabbit Hole Series

I’ve Got a Hex on You — Jaan Kolk and Linda Seccaspina –Historic Rabbit Hole Series
The buildings, which are designed in a Gothic Revival style, officially opened on June 6, 1866, about a year before Canada’s Confederation. On February 3, 1916, a fire. … Confederation. On February 3, 1916, a fire destroyed all but the Library of Parliament. Reconstruction began later that year and was completed in 1927. When the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings was rebuilt in 1916, teams of horses hauled six-ton loads of Nepean sandstone blocks from a quarry near Bells Corners. Each team could make the roughly 30-km. round trip just once a day. LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA / PA-130624

Linda Seccaspina

A few weeks ago I wrote about Mrs. Lowney who lived near Bishop’s Quarry who was recorded in the Ottawa Daily Citizen that her cows would not give milk because someone working in Bishop’s Quarry had the “evil eye”. It seemed to be the norm on those days as those that hailed from Ireland in the 1800s brought over their beliefs in hexes and the dreaded evil eye.

Catherine Lowney, a widow, who lived near Bishop’s Quarry, attributed fear of the “evil eye” on her property because her cows would not give milk, even though it was the height of the milking season. Of course one would think there was a very logical explanation of the absence of milk from Mrs. Lowney’s cows, or was there?

At that period (1860s) stone for the Parliament Buildings was being quarried near Mrs. Lowney’s house and many strangers were employed in Bishop’s Quarry in Nepean. So when gossip starts you know that maybe thirsty strangers from the quarry sneaking into her farm and milking her cows would be a valid excuse. Of course she failed to see anything but some bewitching Hocus Pocus taking root in the neighbourhood. Her belief held firm that a certain neighbor or quarry worker possessed the “evil eye’ and was getting back at her for some imagined wrong. We all know how that goes.

Of course my interest wheel piqued to HOT and I began to wonder where the former Bishop’s Quarry was. As I searched for information I came across Bruce Deachman’s article in the Ottawa Citizen. Q is for Quarry: Forgotten, overgrown quarry provided the building blocks of Ottawa

Since I could find nothing about Bishop’s Quarry I somehow knew after reading his article that this forgotten Campbell’s Quarry in Nepean was one and the same. Campbells quarry closed in 1962, when the National Capital Commission expropriated the land for the Greenbelt. Situated right beside Highway 417, just west of Moodie Drive, lie overgrown remains of the former Bishop’s/Campbell’s Quarry that supplied building material for the Parliament Buildings, the Dominion Observatory and the Canadian Museum of Nature.

(We love comments and input–this from Tim Cartwright)

(Tim Cartwright Campbell’s quarry is not the site directly beside the 417. It still exists within the property of Natural Resources off of Haanel Dr. This is why they objected to having it reopened in more recent times.

So, just to make sure I wasn’t going in the wrong direction and steer my readers into reading a fish tale I contacted my historian friend Jaan Kolk. Actually it’s more of a Facebook ‘pity” PM that begins with: “JJJJJJJJAAAAAAAAn, can you help me please”?

Jaan Kolk

Yes Linda, it must be Bishop’s quarry to which Bruce Deachman refers. Henry Bishop owned 200 acres of farm land with a stone quarry: Lot 6, Conc. II OF. The 1879 Belden Atlas shows his house and “white sand stone quarry” on the south side of Corkstown Road, about midway between Moodie Drive and Eagleson. The Canadian County Digital Atlas Project gives the year settled as 1821.

The 1965 aerial photo layer at GeoOttawa shows the bright scars of what looks like quarrying on both sides of Corkstown Road about 2 km west of Moodie (halfway between Moodie and Eagleson.) Zoomed in, one can see a road along the strip stretching south. Google maps shows traces of the same features, and shows the pathway identified as Greenbelt Pathway W. / Trans-Canada Trail. I believe the Citizen photo is of the area in the woods where the trail bends south away from the Queensway. That was Henry Bishop’s quarry in 1861; the quarries north of Corkstown would have been Keefer’s. Campbell began operations on that extended sandstone ridge in 1916, and shut down when it was bought out by the NCC about 1962. I can’t say exactly where they were operating then; there appears to have been a second roadway into that general area from Hazeldean Road

Henry Bishop’s was not the only stone quarry in the area, and may not have been the biggest supplier of stone for the Parliament Buildings. In “The City Beyond”, Bruce Elliott writes: “In the spring of 1861 nearly a hundred quarrymen and stonecutters were boarding in and about Bells Corners. Henry Bishop boarded about 30 of the quarrymen who were working at Keefer’s quarry on the Corkstown Road. He also ran a tavern, which he came to regret because of the insobriety of some of the workmen.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Jul 1960, Sat  •  Page 35

Nevertheless, his fine stone house was built with the profits. Maps show A. Keefer as part-owner of the lot on the north side of the Corkstown Road, directly across from Bishop’s. Elsewhere, Elliott notes that fine stone house (“Bishop’s Palace”) was built with stone from Bishop’s own quarry.

Here is an Apr. 30, 1966 Citizen note on the demolition of Bishop’s hotel for the Queensway -Jaan Kolk
Linda Seccaspina

Actually, it was recorded in the History of the Ottawa Valley that Mr. Henry, father of Mr. Bishop of Wellington Street had a fine place, Bishop’s Palace. Their sandstone quarries out which much of the ‘decoration’ of the parliament buildings of the city was produced was located between Courtney’s and Pollock’s.

The Irishmen like Henry Bishop’s family who founded Nepean’s Corkstown not long afterwards are believed to have started settling there as early as the 1840s. It became a substantial community, partly due to the flourishing quarry works established nearby that employed as many as 100 men at a time, and provided much of the fine Nepean sandstone used in the first Parliament Buildings.

These men had many hardships to deal with, and one of the first houses along the old Corkstown Road was soon turned into a tavern where the weary workers could raise their flagging spirits. Henry Bishop owned it, and his comfort station was known far and wide as the Bishop’s Palace.

The two-storey stone structure, built in 1861 was known before, the turn of the century as “Bishop’s Palace” when it served as an inn for travellers, area farmers and workers from nearby Nepean Sandstone Quarries.

In April of 1966 National Capital Commission awarded a contract to Alfred Beaulne Construction for the demolition of Bishop’s Palace on the south side of Corkstown Road. It had also served as a private residence from the early 1900s until 1938 when it was acquired by NCC. News of impending demolition was greeted with “regrets and resignation’ ‘by Nepean Township Historical Society.

In an odd note, maybe there was a hex of some sort in that area near the quarry. Today, Campbell’s/ Bishop’s Quarry now sits abandoned, and years ago it stopped being able to provide sandstone. According to Deachman’s article on the abandoned Campbell/ Bishop’s Quarry-” repairs to the generally neglected stonework of the Museum of Nature required many tons of replacement sandstone (approximately five per cent of the museum’s stone had to be replaced), architect Barry Padolsky and the Department of Public Works attempted to have the quarry re-opened. Their efforts ultimately failed, however, when Natural Resources Canada objected, noting that the heavy machinery needed for the quarry would throw off the calibration of the instruments at their research laboratory adjacent to the quarry.” (Q is for Quarry)

What was once a historical workplace for 100s of men now fades into the sandstone so to speak. So thanks to Jaan Kolk for his help– another historical area like the Pure Spring Ginger Ale water spring is documented for generations to come.

Pointing to the sandstone buildings around us, some of which had stood there for several hundreds of years, she commented on how old everything in Oxford looked. Can’t they afford anything new? she asked earnestly.”-In the Light of What We Know

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
01 Dec 2018, Sat  •  Page A2
Henry Bishop

Legislature of the Province of Ontario

Descriptive Catalogue
of Ontario Minerals
Henry Bishop–Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
05 Apr 1851, Sat  •  Page 2
Campbell's Quarry--Archie Campbell

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Jan 1932, Sat  •  Page 13
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
14 May 1960, Sat  •  Page 44
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Jul 1949, Fri  •  Page 15
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
02 Sep 1959, Wed  •  Page 21

Q is for Quarry: Forgotten, overgrown quarry provided the building blocks of Ottawa

The Marvellous Jaan Kolk

Talking Through Your Hat? Jaan Kolk

So Where Was Caldwell Mills? Thanks Jaan Kolk

The Thrift Store Couple – More Information-Jaan Kolk

The House on the Hill — Up the 8th Line of Ramsay — Jaan Kolk Files

Britannia Boat House Doomed— April 1907 Ice Jam –Jaan Kolk Files

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign–Dr. Winters 154-160 Bridge Street Carleton Place –Jaan Kolk Files

Please take the Devil Out of Me? Rev. James Wilson of Lanark

Did You Know we Once Had a Grand Hotel? The Grand Central Hotel

The Cholera Epidemic of 1911

The Ashton Hotel– Questions Questions Flemmings and McFarlanes

Benoit & Richardson Photo– a Mystery

Before there was Baker Bob’s There was The Almonte Bakery

Does Anyone Remember Cohen’s in Lanark Village?

Was the Butter Tart Really Invented in Barrie, Ontario? Jaan Kolk Files

The Evil Eye of Lanark County

The Evil Eye of Lanark County




August, 1929

A pretty bride recently went to the Perth Court and asked for a separation, charging that her husband believed she possessed the “evil eye” and could bewitch him. In the enlightened year of 1929, and in the civilized village of Lanark,  the pretty young wife told the judge that her husband believed her eyes could exert an evil power over him.

When, the amazed judge heard the Mrs. tell how she was forced by her husband to go to a witch in order to be “exorcised,” he granted the separation. In doing so he made this final comment: “It seems strange in this day that such a matter should be in litigation or that such testimony could be heard from the lips of witnesses”. But, strange as the case was, investigation later disclosed there had been many others, in the area wherein witchcraft and the “evil eye” played an important part. I would think we should have just labelled that “Lanark County Gossip”.

These cases usually involved immigrants or their descendants who still retained . superstitions and beliefs in magic. Even more amazing was the revelation that such superstition ascribed to a lack of education or undeveloped mentalities.

But until this woman went into court there was no suspicion that faith in witchcraft was so widespread. The witch was supposed to have passed out of the realm of belief after the Salem persecutions.

Her husband said that unless he was freed from the evil influence he would die and his wife would be to blame. A month after their marriage, she said, the husband forced her to go to live with a “witch” in order to be exorcised.

Authorities were jolted when the wife asked for a separation from her husband, charging him with cruelty because, she said, he regarded her, not as his wife, but as a witch. She told the astonished Court that her young husband, here nine years from Italy, had accused her of having bewitched him, his family and his house.

Four days after their marriage, she testified,  her husband accused her of having bewitched him with her evil eye into marriage. Coincidentally enough, she had, indeed a cast in the left eye. “My husband,” she said in court, “was continually pointing his finger at me.”

The defendant denied the charge about witchcraft, but had apparently was taken seriously by some in the community of persons among whom they live. The defendant said that if the woman whom they visited was a witch doctor he did not know it until the plaintiff’s affidavits were served on the motion for temporary alimony.

She had sustained her burden of proof, and that the charges, under the circumstances, were so cruel as to make it impossible for them to live together any longer. This case was all the more remarkable because of the otherwise high intelligence of those concerned. But authorities later discovered that fear of the evil eye prevailed among many “intelligent” people living in Lanark County.





Clipped from

  1. Akron Daily Democrat,
  2. 05 Oct 1894, Fri,
  3. Page 3Come 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.Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)


    The Witches Handcuffs

  4. The Witches and Spirit Communicators of Montague

The Remedy Women of Lanark County

The Remedy Women of Lanark County



Two years ago I bought this necklace in the photo above and had no idea what it was. Honestly, I just thought it looked cool. Doing research for this Lanark County folkloric tale I found out that it was a collection of Hamsa pendants, which was an old charm for protection against the evil eye.

There were many seers and those that dealt in potions and lotions in Lanark County that came from the old country. Some of these people who were said to predict the future on a regular basis were considered to be “special.”  These regular folk had visions of the future. They were said to be born that way as though it were an inherited genetic mutation or gifted with the skill through divine assistance. Either way, these people had a tendency to stand out of the general public and were constantly sought after– like the Witch of Plum Hollow. Of course there were others who thought they had a gift and actually did more harm than good.

In a case of continuous family bad luck they might bury strands of hair of every member of the family in the hen house, or with personal matters, a small muslin bag was made intended to be hung about the neck. On the outside of the bag there would be some meaningless characters and inside it contained a scrap of paper on which was written a charm made up, as well a personal possession and herbs. Varying in size, it could be small enough to wear unseen around the neck and protect them from whatever evil eye was after them.

The size of the bag was determined by how many items need to be carried. In historic times, a large medicine bundle that could carry numerous items such as seeds, herbs, pine cones, grass, animal teeth or claws, horse hair, rocks, tobacco, beads, arrowheads, bones, or anything else of relatively small size that possessed spiritual value to the bundle’s owner.

Last week someone wrote me about their great grandmother who dealt in such practises and was known far and wide in the county for her achievements. In those days if you had emotional issues you were sent off to the asylums and she had a young man visit who seemed to be upon the verge of becoming a maniac under most peculiar circumstances. Having some major significant troubles he came to consult her.

She told him that his condition was due to a young woman who had held a penny in her mouth on a certain occasion when he visited her, and that as a result he was doomed to have consumption and to die within a few months. This alarming statement threw the young man into a condition of acute melancholia, which seriously affected his health. His mental condition was really troubling, and he believed that he was actually afflicted with consumption.

When she examined him she found that someone had placed a small muslin bag on his chest, suspended by a piece of white tape around his neck. She removed it and found that it contained Assafoetida.  Assafoetida is a root which is part of the celery family and was used for breathing problems and also used for digestion.  He had been told the bag would drive away his ailment and afflict her with the evil eye who gave it to him.

The woman tried in every way to convince this young man that he need not worry, that his lungs were perfectly sound. The fact of believing what someone else said was all nonsense and not to be regarded in the least she said. He finally went away to visit a brother somewhere in the county, and under the influence of the change of scene he forgot his afflictions and  his health was perfect. But, had he had listened to the first woman he would have ended up in an insane asylum fearing forever the evil eye this young woman tried to cast upon him.


More to come…

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 and The Tales of Almonte


The Wizard from Lanark Highlands

The Devil You Say in Carleton Place? Updates!

The Boy Who Disappeared From Beckwith–Gordon Taylor

The Witches and Spirit Communicators of Montague

Different Seasons of Witches in Lanark County

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

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

Plum Hollow Witch and The Mountain Man of Pakenham

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

Barnes Buchanans and McCarten Family Photos–Doug B. McCarten

The Witches of Rochester Street

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

The McCarten House of Carleton Place