Tag Archives: Our haunted heritage

Young Hearts Run Free — Warning– Story Could be Upsetting to Some

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One of my Halloween posts from California in 2011.

WARNING SENSITIVE CONTENT

The city of Colma just outside of San Francisco has always been known to everyone as The City of the Dead. With an area of only 2.2 square miles; Colma holds some kind of record with 17 cemeteries. In 1900 San Francisco made a decision that no more burials were to be allowed as it was taking up space where people could pay rent. The city decided hands down that the non-rent paying dead could be shipped to Colma.

In 2010 two human hearts contained in jars were found partially buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery. There were two pictures of a young couple in their 20’s pinned to each heart in the jars buried side-by-side. The coroner’s office examined the hearts and agreed they had been surgically removed from dead bodies, autopsied, and also contained traces of embalming fluid.

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There was residue from candles and cigars and so it was thought that it might have been some kind of ritual that might be connected with Santeria. Where is Ted Danson and Gary Sinise of CSI when you need them? Having read a lot about Santeria I knew it had nothing to do with the religion. Sometimes the media like to play spin-the bottle with the reading public.

They had been placed near the graves of children that had died way too young. A horrible fire had claimed the lives of those two children years ago as they had been trapped in a home built  on hills too steep for firetrucks to reach them. The last time that anyone had seen them they were in the upper window waving frantically. Help did not come fast enough, and they tragically perished in the fire. The parents had been rescued but they survived with a heavy price. The had to live with the fact that they could just not reach the rest of their family in time.

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The two families rebuilt their home, but things were never the same. Both longed for the sounds and sights of the children that would never return. In the years to follow they expanded their family. One family had a boy, and the other a girl.The young children told their parents they used to hear giggling in the dark of night on both sides of the duplex. Everyone was positive their deceased children were still with them in spirit.

Years passed and their precious young additions grew into adults. Both the grown children had taken a fancy to each other and married. In their vows they promised never to forget their sisters that had died in the fire. A few months ago the now elderly couple had a car accident and both did not make it. True to their marriage vows they were cremated and their hearts were removed and put in jars.

So late one night when these jars were found no one quite understood. They thought it was a crime, or a Santerian love spell, that maybe gone bad. No one knew that the family was finally together. The mothers, the fathers, the daughters, and the son. Two happy families finally together again. Sometimes in the gloom of the night you can see them all sipping tea and singing grand songs. For in their own world they are all one again.

 

Howls in the Night in Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

The Devil You Say in Carleton Place? Our Haunted Heritage

Outside Looking in at The Eccentric Family of Henry Stafford — Our Haunted Heritage

The Funeral Train That Went Through Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions! Our Haunted Heritage

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

The Non Kosher Grave — Our Haunted Heritage

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling — Our Haunted Heritage

 Could the Giant Pike of Carleton Place Have Turned Into the Lake Memphremagog Monster?

Carleton Place Was Once Featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Our Haunted Heritage

Could the Giant Pike of Carleton Place Have Turned Into the Lake Memphremagog Monster?

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In July I wrote about the giant fish under Central Bridge in Carleton Place

It was the third week of June in 1898, and every single day for a week the townsfolk gathered on the Carleton Place bridge overlooking the Mississippi, to catch a glimpse of something big in the water. Some said a shark had migrated into the Mississippi, but no one could say how a shark could possibly do that. Each day the crowds assembled on the bridge to watch the movements of an extremely large fish that seemed to taunt all those that tried to capture it. Even though the gossipers said it was as a big as cow, in reality, the fish was over three feet long and some said it could weigh close to 30 pounds or more. What was it that had the townsfolk enthralled so much it made the newspapers? In the end it was reported by several fisherman that had been summoned to the bridge that it was nothing more than a large pike. There was no word after that in the newspapers if the fish had been captured.

 Would that fish have turned into a Mississippi Monster? Decide for yourself after you read this tale that I grew up with in my childhood and it still lives on.

The Lake Memphremagog Monster

Joe and Carole Dupont lived on the border that separates the province of Quebec from the state of Vermont. They and their 10 children made home on the hilly shore on the edge of Lake Memphremagog. The lake was like no other and held the local townspeople in fear as a rumored 30-foot- long monster called Manaloo was said to swim the cold waters.

The story was nothing to scoff at, said Dupont, who told anyone that would listen. His wife Carole had found a curious viking petroglyph with a serpent design at the top of the mountain one day when she was gathering blueberries. Carole’s mother had also lived with the local natives after being abandoned as child and always warned not to swim in the lake or you might never return. Dupont himself had seen the big beast and had held him at bay when the monster tried to grab one of the 10 children one day.

The aquatic reptile was seen coming from the American border and had a head that looked like a horse. As it edged its way through the mist Dupont told the children to get away from the waters edge, but in one fell swoop Manaloo tried to grab sweet Odette. With the strength of 10 men Joe grabbed Odette out of the great beast’s mouth to safety and hit it with his cane. It wasn’t the cane or Joe’s anger that made the big beast flee for its life that day. No, it was the sound that came out of young Odette that drove it quite mad, as it was a scream that rocked the mountains all the way to Owl’s Head and then on to Jay Peak.

All eleven of them ran home with Odette leading the way.

As Carole served the hot pea soup to warm them; Joe’s hysterical words prevailed all through lunch. She asked Joe if he had been drinking and then talked to her girls. Of course she knew of the monster, but early in the morning the vapor rises off the lake and visibility can be low. Not one of her girls wanted to go near the lake again except Odette – and she noticed the child’s interest had peaked. Odette had always been the different child and Carole knew she was not her forever child, but she must be watched none the less.

The next morning Carole rose and needed wood for her cold wood stove. Joe had drunk himself into such a stupor that the children must be asked to help. As not one, but all ten marched down the stairs; she asked them to get dressed and fetch her the much needed wood. The woodpile was next to the shore and the children were leery of having to perform such a task. But they could not disappoint cher mama and off they went all looking much the same in their matching snowsuits. As Joe snored on; Carole watched through the window and then saw them all march back. There was Manon, Celine, Adele and Agathe. The youngest Chantal was holding hands with Corrine and Danielle. Helene and Jacqueline pulled up the rear, but where was Odette?

Their faces were solemn as they came through the door and Carole asked them nervously what happened to Odette.  As they sat on the floor with tears in their eyes they said that Manaloo had finally captured Odette and they spoke how a thing called Quantum Physics had come into play.
As their mother sat there with wide open eyes; they explained that natural waterways like Lake Memphremagog were gateways to the parallel world where monsters like Manaloo came from, with the intention of recruiting others of course. After that fateful day Carole and Joe never questioned the story for the rest of their lives as everyone, including Manaloo needs world peace.

To this day the story has been told and re-told every single day, as we all need a few unsolved mysteries, because it adds spice to life. Some say the story began to attract tourism to the town, but really monster gawkers aren’t the spending type. Really, what good is a lake if it doesn’t have a monster, and isn’t the perfect man like the monster of Lake Memphremagog?
Has anyone ever seen one?

 

 

Yes, there is a monster in Lake Memphremagog– or so they say. I changed the name of the monster as there is a certain gentleman who does not hold kindly to anyone using a name he holds the rights too.

Our Haunted Heritage Event Page- but tickets soon! October 15th

St James Cemtery Ghost Walk Event Page- October 28th

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Howls in the Night in Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

The Devil You Say in Carleton Place? Our Haunted Heritage

Outside Looking in at The Eccentric Family of Henry Stafford — Our Haunted Heritage

The Funeral Train That Went Through Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions! Our Haunted Heritage

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

The Non Kosher Grave — Our Haunted Heritage

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling — Our Haunted Heritage

 

 

The Funeral Train That Went Through Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

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Photo from the collection of Colin J. Churcher, National Archives of Canada PA-207507.

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This is the train which conveyed the casket containing the remains of Sir John A. Macdonald from Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario, on June 6, 1891. It is standing in the Canadian Pacific Queen Street or Broad Street station, originally opened by the Canada Central Railway on September 15, 1870, and which was subsequently destroyed in the great Ottawa-Hull fire of April 26, 1900.

The locomotive, #283, was a 4-4-0 built by Hinckley in August 1883. It was subsequently wrecked in a collision with #354 at Stittsville, Ontario, in October 1897. On this auspicious occasion Jack Hollyoak was the engineer and Harry Fraser the fireman.

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That day all engines on Canadian Pacific were decorated with black crepe. The casket was conveyed in an express car which was completely covered with black crepe, both inside and out.  Stops were made at Carleton Place and Smiths Falls on the way to Kingston where crowds of our townsfolk pressed around the funeral car that was draped in purple and black. A floral offering was offered at Smiths Falls by a contingent of local Liberals and Conservatives. The train stations all through Canada, including Carleton Place, had black mourning displays for one week.

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Funeral train leaving Buffalo- Mourning President William McKinley 1901

So why did they have funeral trains? A funeral train is a train specially chartered in order to carry a coffin or coffins to a place of interment. Funeral trains today are often reserved for leaders and national heroes, as part of a state funeral, but in the past were sometimes the chief means of transporting coffins and mourners to graveyards. Funeral trains remain mostly steam locomotive hauled, due to the more romantic image of the steam train against more modern diesel or electric locomotives.

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Our Haunted Heritage Event Page- but tickets soon! October 15th

St James Cemtery Ghost Walk Event Page- October 28th

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Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions! Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

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During the London Olympic Games, various London funeral parlours were very concerned that the masses of extra traffic on the London streets would make negotiating roads difficult for their horse drawn hearses. Victorian style horse-drawn hearses can be hired in the UK and in other countries for funerals, even Canada and the USA. While some of the Victorian accouterments and social customs have long since been discarded like giving out jewellery, braided hair art, scarves and gloves along with hired mourners, pall bearers with batons, pages, mutes and feathermen, the use of horse-drawn hearses remains largely the same today. Then you can also rent something like this.

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Bill Matthews of Carleton Place had such a horse driven hearse in his undertaking business. It had very high wheels and looked to be quite top heavy. Inside were draped black curtains with a heavy silk fringe. For years Bolton Culbertson with his beautiful black horses drove the hearse. The horses wore throws or blankets in black also large tassels were positioned on the horses ears.

Joann Voyce said Patterson and Sons also had one in Carleton Place. It was stored for many years in the old Hearse House on Bridge St. She remembers back in the 50’s dragging it out onto the road and getting the boys to be their horses. They did get into a bit of trouble over that and  never saw it again! Thanks Joann!

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Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

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In some cemeteries there are outside stairs with 13 steps. These were also traditional stairs that went to the underground catacomb burial sites of the wealthy. In some cases they were supposed to reference the 13 Steps to Hell. When some descended the stairs they reported they saw a vision at the bottom. A small chair was sometimes placed at the bottom of the stairs, and once you sat on that chair, it meant you had sold your soul to the Devil. Some graveyard stairs have only 12 steps and the 13th one is said to appear at night. Personally, I would rather see Heaven than Hell– but how many steps are there leading into St. James Cemetery in Carleton Place? Thankfully, only 11. I made sure today– darn sure!

The St. James Cemetery can be entered on Industrial Road or on the Townline side by a gate, or a short flight of elevated concrete steps leading in when locked.  The cemetery dates back to circa 1834, the date of the founding of the Parish. Sometime between 1871 and 1890, George Dummert (more about him later), who had emigrated from England in 1871, was asked to draw up a plan of plots for the cemetery. Prior to then there wasn’t an official plan.

 

Grave robbery by the “Resurrectionist Men”, often doctors themselves, was a problem in the 19th century as medical schools (in Brockville and Kingston) needed fresh cadavers for dissection classes.  “Bricking-over” a grave was a way of guaranteeing some security after death. Having the elevated stairs like St. James might also be a deterrent for the grave robbers. I cannot imagine going up and down those stairs with a hoop skirt. No siree Bob!

There were so many superstitions about death, and burial you don’t know what to believe. Just remember one thing. The Irish settlers always prayed for rain when the burial funeral procession entered the cemetery. Rain was a good omen, as surely the departed would go to heaven-and the rain might slow down the body-snatchers.

 

Series:

Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

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It’s Photo Friday! If you’ve been to St. James Anglican Cemetery you may recognize these steps!
St. James Cemetery can be entered off of Industrial Road or from the 8th Concession of Ramsay through the gate, or by climbing these elevated concrete steps.

The cemetery dates back to circa 1834, the date of the founding of the Parish. Learn more on our guided cemetery walks at St. James Cemetery on October 24th!











If You Die in Canada Do You Die in Real Life?

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From XKCD

Some Americans think Canada is like Mario World but with hinge-headed people. Canada isn’t quite a mythical place, but it’s certainly a magical place. If you watch the weather channel, there is a difference between Canada’s temperature and those to the south of us. I would also like to assure you we are not zombies, but member of Parliament John Baird has already assured us that Canada is ready for a Zombie attack. Some have said Canadians can stand the cold because they’re already dead. So if you die in Canada do you become a zombie? Just watch out for Hockey…it’s a deadly sport.

Haven’t you seen all those zombie movies?

Where do you think all these zombie movies were made?

Most of them were made in Canada!

We Canadians have a natural lifestyle and national pride that doesn’t let our spirit die. Unless we stop eating maple syrup and being really nice to everyone, maybe things will change.  But really, who could be that polite? Not all Canadians are like that, but there`s just enough of us to keep it in motion. Actually 4 in every 10 Canadians have either an English or a Scottish background. As you know, the British are very polite, and because so many immigrated here in the early 1900’s, they sort of passed down their manners to their families.

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“Died. In Lanark July 31, ’84. Mrs. James Kellough. In her 54th year.” Photo-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

I’m Canadian, and some of my American friends think I’ve been killed multiple times by beavers, moose, polar bears and other psychotic Canadian animals, only to come back to life. I once came back to life in Vancouver and needed a really really really big bag of money to live there, so whatever you do, don’t die in Vancouver. Or maybe even Toronto for that matter.

Canada has been a world leader in the advancement of rights for all and there are national programs to help people who need it. There is universal old age pension, national unemployment insurance, universal health care, and a year long paid maternity leave for all women, with job protection upon return to the work place. When I think of the difference in health-care for friends of mine who have cancer on both sides of the border it boggles my mind. No one would be refused cancer treatments in Canada because their health insurance refused them like in the United States.

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“Mary A. Mayhew. Died May 5th 1903. Aged 65 Yr’s 3 mos.”  Photo-Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

I think it has been said that we all have 3 lives–so if you die in Canada–game over! But I would like to reassure everyone that it is safe to die in Canada. Plus the beer content is higher here– that has to say something.

Author’s Note– Coffin plates are decorative metal panels attached to the top of a coffin. For a basic funeral, a simple lead plate would be lettered with the name, date of death and often the age of the departed, and nailed to the lid of a wooden coffin. 

Coffin plates go back as far as the 17th century and were reserved for people of wealth. By the mid-19th century, the cost of the plates decreased so much that almost every family could afford to have one put on the coffin of their loved ones. Later, the practice of removing the plates from the coffin before burial became the trend as they were often removed by the loved ones to be kept as mementos of the deceased.

 

Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling

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Linda’s Dreadful Dark Tales – When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling

 

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My mother had just packed my clothing in the old brown suitcase she had come from Ireland with. I had decided to leave school and was going to see if I could get a job at the Rideau Hotel in Smiths Falls. I had seen an ad in the local newspaper boasting about airy rooms, modern conveniences, fine food and I was sure I could find myself a place.

 

My mother kissed me goodbye as I boarded the old Pembroke local Arnprior #2518 and hoped we would make good time to Smiths Falls. The smell of the train was horrid as the wooden cars were overloaded with holiday travellers and the train was leaking. We stopped and stalled many times and the conductor told us we were an hour behind schedule and the groans in my car were louder that the roar of the train whistle.

 

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Finally we arrived in Almonte at approximately 8:40 pm, and I let out a sigh of relief but had no idea there was danger in the air. I had no thoughts that a 10 steel car troop train was heading our way and our train should not be at the station. No one knew that the local train crew did not send a flagman back along the tracks nor did anyone place a torpedo on the rail to warn the approaching troop train that was heading to Stittsville. Someone later said that they saw the light of the train as it crossed the trestle over the waterfall and by the time the engineer spotted the lights of the oncoming train some of our lives were about to be cut short. I was seated in the last coach as the powerful CPR 4-6-4 Hudson #2802 hit us dead on. All I remember was a loud roar, bright lights and then I was gone as the locomotive barreled through our car and on to the one ahead of us.

 

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Some say the brakes of the troop train failed and slid down the icy rails that night. Thirty-six of us died and over were 200 injured as the sleet and the snow came down like icy tears. As I  looked down over the train wreck 30 minutes later I saw what was left of my body being brought into the local Post Office. I knew my mother would be devastated to lose her only child and hoped they might find my suitcase so she would have something to remember.

 

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There would be no job at The Rideau Hotel for me or continuation of a promising life with family. All I could do was look down and sing, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” as I watched the death list mounting below me. I knew I would haunt the Almonte Post Office for the rest of my life as I was one of 30 whose life’s lamp untimely went out that snowy night on December 27, 1942.

 

Despite immediate emergency service from as far away as Ottawa, 36 people died and over 200 were injured. Bodies were packed into the basement of the old Town Hall and the Post Office. It’s said that the Post Office is still haunted by the ghosts of the dead – 64 years later.

Private photos were taken by Wilma Munro, of Almonte, with her “Brownie” camera in 1942.  She had many copies made and sold them in McDonald’s Store, Almonte, Ontario for 5 cents a copy.

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The Gazette
Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada
29 Dec 1942, Tue  •  Page 1

Howls in the Night in Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

The Devil You Say in Carleton Place? Our Haunted Heritage

Outside Looking in at The Eccentric Family of Henry Stafford — Our Haunted Heritage

The Funeral Train That Went Through Carleton Place — Our Haunted Heritage

Stairway to Heaven in a Cemetery? Our Haunted Heritage

Old Wives Tales of Death — Our Haunted Heritage

Funerals With Dignity in Carleton Place – Just a Surrey with a Fringe on Top —- Our Haunted Heritage

Death by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions! Our Haunted Heritage

Things You Just Don’t say at a Funeral— Even if you Are a Professional Mourner

The Non Kosher Grave — Our Haunted Heritage