Tag Archives: ghost-stories

The Ghostly Tax Break

The Ghostly Tax Break




There is a tale that has been told time and time again that a local man insisted he receive a tax break because his home was full of ghosts. He argued to the town tax collector that the existence of ghosts lowered his property values. Of course the home owner didn’t sleep there, but two of his tenants agreed with his story and said the ghost downstairs did silly things like holding the door open or holding people. But one woman sits night after night in the kitchen hearing things that she does not see, and in all honesty she is quite bored of the whole ordeal. The woman is certain the ghost downstairs is an elderly woman as she has seen her outside in the summer and wears a headdress and costume of the Queen Anne period.

The house was built for a former mayor and secret passage ways have been found behind decorative panelling, queer spaces under the bedroom floors, and great cupboards have been traced that lead from one floor to another. But every footstep is distinct, some louder than others, especially the hollow sounding ones that come from behind the stone walls in the basement. The tenant said that after all these years she would give anything to catch him or her, but each time she has crept up behind the noises there is nothing. She really thought she had one the other night when the ghost pushed her up against the wall and she felt a powerful hand in front of her.

So the owner decided to take the town to court and brought one of his tenants as a witness for the ghost infestation of his home. She told the court that one night she went to sleep and awoke seeing two bare arms coming out of the wall above her head. People began to shake their heads and the town asked her what she had to eat that night.

She simply replied, “A Cheese Sandwich.”

During the investigation it was also said that the ghost of a large horse called  Black Bess lived with the rest of the spirits. After some private discussion the appeal for lower taxes was denied. So did the ghosts continue to haunt the home? As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes”.


Author’s note– some of this story is true, including the tax break story. But, the author has added some embellishments.

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.




Update on the Time Capsule in Springside Hall

Time Capsule in the ‘Hi Diddle Day’ House?


The Morphy Cram House — Springside Hall

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

The Ghost Lovers of Springside Hall – A True Love Story

Do You have an Archaeological Find in Your Carleton Place Basement?

Feeling Groovy by the Lake Ave East Bridge

October 13, 1977 George W. Raeburn of Lake Ave East— Artist and C. P. R. Man

What if You Had a Fire and No One Came?




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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–https://www.facebook.com/events/489742168060479/

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True Ghost Stories–Who was the Burgess Ghost?

True Ghost Stories–Who was the Burgess Ghost?


he photo on the left is the Quinn home as is was in 1967. The photo on the right of a number of personalities who made the “Burges Ghost” come to life in 1935. (L-R.) John Quinn, Mrs. Quinn, Inspector Oliver, Patrick Quinn, Sergeant Story and James Kinlock

Strange occurrences were happening in 1935 at a farm in North Burgess just off the Narrows Locks road. Mr. John Quinn, his wife and two children, Michael, and Stanley, ages 13 and 11, reported innumerable phenomena taking place in their home. Stove lids, according to the Quinns, “danced” in the air, the teapot “jumped” off the stove into the wood box, three flat irons “walked” down a staircase and dishes “pranced” on the dining-room table. Word of this mysterious goings on spread quickly throughout the district. Although, perhaps skeptical, hundreds of persons from miles around flocked to the Quinn home. Read the rest here…Did You Ever Hear About the Burgess Ghost?

So who was it? Yesterday I found some newspaper clippings you might enjoy about the whole ordeal….

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  17 Jan 1935, Thu,  Page 4

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  22 Mar 1935, Fri,  Page 1

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  04 Jan 1972, Tue,  Page 5wordpres seccaspina

Read the sequel on what happened-

True Ghost Stories–Who was the Burgess Ghost?


The Ghosts of the Mill of Kintail

Love, Lanark Legends and Ghosts

Walking With Ghosts — The Accidental Addiction

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How Sweet is the Highway to Hell?

Mike Brandy Boss emailed me today with the following information:
The hair salon across he way from the town hall used to be the old fur trading post this is a story from wandering Wayne from when I was around 13 years old. If you go on the bridge and look down at the side of the building get you will see a door down there it was used for the natives to enter and trade there furs and pelts that about as much about I can remember.
Author’s Note-I wrote about the Natives and I can’t seem to find the post- so if anyone has information to add please comment. Here is a story I wrote a few years ago and the small door is mentioned.
George Dummert arrived in Carleton Place, Ontario with his wife and children from England around the year of 1872.  Dummert was a baker and built a home and shop on the land that would later house Patterson’s Furniture and Robbie Probert’s building. Bread was delivered from the Dummert’s Bakery Shop to Ashton and Franktown one day a week. Those deliveries alone would take up the entire day.
Constantly worried about the possibility of his children drowning,  he chose to tie ropes around their waists when they went out to play. Whenever the natives would come to knock at the small door by the water’s edge to trade items for baked goods, George locked his children away for fear they might be taken.
One of George’s specialties was “Bulls Eye” toffee.  For many years it was offered at the St. James Anglican Church’s yearly Christmas bazaar. Extremely popular with the local crowd,  it was hand pulled, and took a lot of time and skill to make.
The baker retired in the late 1880’s and chose to live in Ottawa as their son Albert lived there, working for the Canadian Pacific Railway. George died in Ottawa on October 20, 1902 and was buried at St. James Cemetery just outside Carleton Place.
The day after his funeral, a family member went to the cemetery to check the grave. What he found drove him to fright! Pieces of clothing were strewn near his grave, and also on another nearby. The places of rest had been recently opened and the bodies had been removed.
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That very same day, James Dolan, a close family friend of the Dummerts, was driving visitors along  Highway 15 to Smiths Falls. In Numogate, he overtook a wagon traveling in the same direction with two body size Traveller’s Trunks on it. Upon seeing Dolan, the wagon drivers got off the wagon and walked their horses along the side of the road until Dolan was out of sight.
Later, it was presumed that this very same wagon was carrying the two freshly dug up corpses to Queen’s University in Kingston, to be used in the training of future doctors. Unfortunatly, it was a somewhat common practice at the time and noted later by the townsfolk that the crime had not occurred to keep his Bullseye candy recipe sacred for evermore.
Gluten Free-Bulls Eye Candy
2 cups Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Condensed Milk
2 cups Light Corn Syrup
1/2 cup Water
2 cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, softened
Cream Filling:
1/8 oz unflavored Gelatin (1/2 an envelope)
2 tbsp Cold Water
1/2 cup Shortening
2 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Powdered Sugar, for dusting
1. Prepare a 9×9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine the cream and condensed milk in a small saucepan and place the saucepan on a burner set to the lowest heat setting. Do not allow to boil, just keep warm.
3. In a medium-large saucepan combine the corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar over medium-high heat.
4. Stir the candy until the sugar dissolves, then use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming and making the candy grainy.
5. Insert a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and cook until the thermometer reads 250°F.
6. Add the softened butter and the warm milk-cream mixture. The temperature should decrease about 30°F.
7. Continue to cook the caramel, stirring constantly so that the bottom does not scorch. Cook it until the thermometer reads 244F, and the caramel is a beautiful dark golden brown.
8. Remove the caramel from the heat and immediately pour into the prepared pan. Do not scrape candy from the bottom of the saucepan. Allow the candy to sit overnight to set up and develop a smooth, silky texture.
9. When you are ready to cut the caramel, place a piece of waxed paper on the counter and lift the caramel from the pan using the foil as handles. Flip the top of the caramel onto the waxed paper and peel the foil layer from the bottom of the caramel.
Cream Filling:
1. Dissolve unflavored gelatin in cold water.
2. Set in heat proof cup in pan; Simmer until clear.
3. Let cool.
Related reading-

The Invasion of the Body Snatchers of Lanark County

The Natives of Carleton Place — Violins and Deer

A Tale From the Patterson Funeral Home — Carleton Place


Mike Brandy Boss–If I remember correctly Wayne told me that native used that door and where only allowed in the basement because of the towns people didn’t want them on the streets or something along those lines.

John Stinson–Little door by the river at the Patterson store was called the”Indian Door” It was also used to put stuff on boats for people to take up lake…groceries, furniture and so on. I am pretty sure there was a piece in the Then Canadian sometime, likely in the 80’s (I lived in C Place b/w 69 and 94 and remember reading it Susan Fisher may have written it.)

Paranormal Hauntings of the Rideau Canal and other Unsolved Ghost Stories


 All Photos by Linda Seccaspina– visit the
Blockhouse Museum

 Merrickville and District Historical Society–PO Box 294–Merrickville, Ontario K0G 1N0
email: info@merrickvillehistory.org                      


The Story of Oliver’s Ferry


There is a legend told at Rideau Ferry, Ontario of murder most foul, where travelers disappear,  and of human bones found. In the early 1800s, a Mr. Oliver set up a ferry business at today’s Rideau Ferry. His ferry, a rough hewn raft, linked roads leading from Brockville and Perth. Mr. Oliver had one unusual quirk. He would refuse to take travelers across to the far side after dark, preferring to put them up in his house overnight and send them on their way at first light in the morning.


His neighbours seldom saw the travelers in the morning. When asked about them, Mr. Oliver would simply say “They went on their way at first light and you must have been asleep”. One strange thing kept happening though. Many of the travelers who had stayed overnight at Oliver’s house did not arrive at their destination; the neighbours thought victims perhaps, of murderous highway robbers.


Years later, long after Mr. Oliver has passed away, a bridge was to be constructed to replace the ferry service. When the outbuildings on the Oliver property were dismantled to make way for the bridge, human bones were found under the floors and in the walls. The travelers had never left the building.


                                           Sam Jake’s Inn

The 33-room Sam Jakes Inn in Merrickville, On. has a history of non-threatening ghost encounters mostly involving unexplained noises and objects being inexplicably moved. Only a few have been visual sightings and here is one of them.


Some say the ghost is the first wife of Sam Jakes who died in her early twenties but was unable to rest in peace because soon after her death because her husband rushed to the altar with another woman. One staff member, however, believes the ghost is Sam Jakes himself and recalls seeing him late one night walking along one of the hotel’s corridors wearing a stove-pipe hat and an outfit consistent with the period in which he lived.


They were unable to determine whether the ghost that paid a visit in Room 305 one night was male or female. What I did hear was that the apparition was truly real but it did not reappear during a friends recent stay.


Their travel companion however,  who was lodged in a room across the hall said her sleep had been disturbed by the noises coming from the floor above. “Sounded like they were moving furniture or something,” she said. One was gently reminded that their rooms were on the top floor and there was nothing above them but roof. 




Davidson’s Ghost




WARNING: Not for the faint of heart!


There is a tale told at Chaffeys Locks of a ghostly apparition on Opinicon Lake, a solitary paddler in a dugout canoe, the ghost of Old Davy Davidson.

Shortly after the canal was built, a man by the name of David Davidson arrived in the area, building a cabin at the far end of Opinicon Lake. He made his living as a trapper, fisherman and hunter. Although he only made a modest living, rumours circulated that he had a nest-egg stashed away.



By the 1880s, old Davy was a fixture on the lake. In that era, the area was overrun by pack peddlers – men who walked the trails and/or travelled along the canal by boat, stopping at every settlement to sell their wares. It was later rumoured that one of these peddlers got wind of the money Davy was reputed to have hidden near his cabin.

The last person to have seen Davidson was a neighbour from across the lake, a fellow by the name of Thompson. Davidson had come over and visited him in late November. Thompson says that in the days following the visit he hadn’t seen Davidson. A week passed and Thompson became worried, there was no smoke from Davidson’s cabin and no sign of Davidson himself. It had turned cold, there was now ice on the lake, so Thompson had to walk around the lake to get to Davidson’s cabin.




Thompson stopped at the house of another neighbour, a fellow named Buck. After explaining what he was up to, Buck agreed to accompany Thompson, and the two men continued on to Davidson’s cabin. There was a light covering of snow on the ground, but when they got to Davidson’s cabin there was no sign of any footprints other than the ones Thompson and Buck were making. Davidson’s dog was at the door. Thompson called the dog by name, and it allowed the men to approach the cabin.

When they opened the door they were greeted with a grisly sight. Old Davy was dead, tied to a chair, his head beaten in, his face slashed. Davidson’s dog ran into the cabin and wouldn’t let the two men approach old Davy’s body. So the men retreated, heading off to get help.



They returned a few hours later, after dark, with several men and boys carrying lanterns. One of the young lads knew the dog well and had come prepared with a haunch of venison. He coaxed the starving dog outside and tied it up. The men then entered the cabin.

It was a horrifying scene that greeted them. There was blood everywhere in the cabin. Someone had gone to a lot of effort to try to get old Davy to divulge the location of his horde. He had been beaten, burned with hot poker and strangled. Some of the men had to leave when they looked down to see that the killer had even nailed Davy’s feet to the floor.





The cabin itself had been torn apart. The trapdoor to the store room above the ceiling was open. The cupboards were all opened, drawers pulled out and the contents strewn all over the floor. The mattress had been cut to shreds and even parts of the floor had been torn up.

Several of the men stayed while others headed back to get the authorities. They returned the next day with the postmaster and county constable. The only conclusion that could be reached was that Davidson had been murdered by person or persons unknown. Although a pack peddler had been sighted in the area in about the presumed date of Davidson’s death, he was never found.

Davidson had no known relatives and his worldly possessions were few, some traps and guns. So after a few weeks of fruitless investigation, the matter was dropped, the crime unsolved. People say he still haunts the area with his dog in his canoe looking for his stolen money.



                                         The Lady in Blue



The red-haired lady in blue, Kathleen McBride, arrived in Burritts Rapids sometime in the 1860s on an early summer’s day, long after the Irish labourers and the British army had finished the Rideau Canal. Kathleen McBride took a room in the hotel beside the canal bridge. She rented one room and the maid reported that she had brought with her only one of everything- one blue dress, one pair of shoes, one brush, and one suitcase.




Throughout her stay, Kathleen spoke to no one. All summer and into the fall, her flowing red tresses and long trailing blue gown travelled slowly on the path from tip to tip. Many a long hour she spent, standing on the upriver hill at the end of the island. She would look out over the Rideau River where the water divides, part into the canal and part downriver to the dam. Often, she stood at the dam watching the water roaring down the sluiceway as it released the surplus water. Most other time was spent walking the mile along the bank of the canal and the river, searching the water. What was she searching for, a son, a husband, a lover? Where could he have gone? Was he one of the many killed by accident during the canal construction? Did he die of the dreaded fever? Had he wandered off, work done, to seek a new life somewhere in America?




Kathleen went out for her last search on the moonlit night of October 31st, with frost crisp underfoot and the water bright and cold. She searched and searched, we know not where or why. Two days later a torn piece of blue satin dress was found on the bank, where the new bridge crosses the river in the middle of the village. In those days most of the countryside was forest, and wild animals abounded. Kathleen McBride might have drowned or been eaten by the bears.



As the years went by, whispers spread that on moonlit nights on the tip to tip trail near the dam, and near the little hill at the top end, Kathleen appears. The red-haired lady in blue still searches, walking or floating through the air, with her torn dress clutched to her breast. Some have been close enough to feel the chill in the air as she passes by. Some have been close enough to hear a tiny keening cry as she searches on. As the decades pass, the sightings still continue. So, if by chance you venture out on a summer’s eve and she passes you by in the moonlight, please move to the side so you don’t hinder her everlasting search.



Connie Adams of the Merrickville Psychic Parlour claims to be a medium of exceptional power and ability. She offers tea leaf readings, tarot readings, dream analysis, séances and ghost walks.


People have sworn that they have talked to the dead in Connie’s Parlour so this could very well be a conduit to the world of the dead. Maybe a link to some of the ghosts of the Rideau Canal in Ontario.





The Rideau Canal, also known as the Rideau Waterway, connects the city of Ottawa Ontario, Canada on the Ottawa River to the city of Kingston, Ontario on Lake Ontario. The 124 mile canal was opened in 1832 as a precaution in case of war with the United States and is still in use today, with most of its original structures intact.


The construction of the canal was supervised by Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers. Private contractors such as future sugar refining entrepreneur John Redpath, Thomas McKay, Robert Drummond, Thomas Phillips, Andrew White and others were responsible for much of the construction, and the majority of the actual work was done by thousands of Irish and French-Canadian labourers.

The canal work started in 1826, and it took a total of 6 years to complete by 1832. The final cost of its construction was £822,000.


Most of the locks are still hand-operated. There are a total of 45 locks at 23 stations along the Canal, plus two locks at the entrance to the Tay Canal. The locks themselves are living history. The cranks (hand winches known as “crabs”) that open the locks, turn today, opening the wooden gates, just as they when first opened in 1832.




Images by Linda Seccaspina 2011

Images Shot in Merrickville, Ontario and Smith Falls.

Stories by Ken Watson and Clint Fleming- Tales of The Rideau Waterways and Donna Carter

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