By Marina Sacht
What are your favourite haunts?
With the season of Halloween approaching, we asked our readers to pick some of their favourite haunts. Our community is steeped in history, so it isn’t surprising that some people believe spirits abide in our heritage homes, streets, buildings and even waterways! So without further ado, here are our top 12 spirited places:
- Ladysmith’s Black Nugget Museum. At the top of the list, the century old home and private museum was once the Jones Hotel brought here from Wellington at the turn of the century. In an interview with CTV owner Kurt Guilbride said people have heard footsteps and have seen an apparition of an old man with a handlebar moustache in the upper window. The Black Nugget ghost is musical and likes to redecorate. The piano has been known to play three notes by itself, and a elephant on a mantle occasionally spins 180 degrees.
- Mount Sicker. This area has two claims. One is the apparition of the Headless Woman of Mount Sicker. Dressed in old fashioned clothing, she has been seen crossing the road by the old town site of this mining community. Eyewitnesses such as Andrew Deewal, interviewed on the History Channel’s “Bigfoot: The Definitive Guide” also claim to have seen and heard a Sasquatch (big foot) on a clearing near the top of the mountain, The legend of Bigfoot (also known as Sasquatch) is a creature said to inhabit forests, especially in the Pacific Northwest, and is described as a large hairy, wild man-ape. The term Sasquatch comes from the Halkomelem word sásq’ets.
- Ghost ships. Slack Point area, with sunken and abandoned boats galore, is a ship’s graveyard. When there is a fog, who knows what ship may sail in? And Coffin Point/Island? Come on – just the name gives you the chills.
- The Timberland Pub. A few years ago, a server reported paranormal activities. Not surprising, as who knows who may show up at “last call.”
- The grounds around Art Williams and former property on Westdowne Road. Locals report strange sightings and occurrences. Williams, known as the Wizard of Ladysmith, became notorious when while facing drug manufacturing charges, the plane he was flying crashed, and his body never found. A while later his wife Margaret Catherine Williams, disappeared. Her personal belongings were still in the house, but there was no sign of her. The property was sold, but shortly after, mysteriously burned down.
- Cassidy Inn. This century old hotel became dilapidated and after being slated to be demolished mysteriously burned down.
- The Heritage Manor. This landmark building was once the convent school, and now is an attractive apartment…with strange sounds.
- Ladysmith Urgent Care. Once a hospital, the basement housed the morgue. Strange footseteps have been heard in the hallways.
- Mahle House. This heritage building, now a popular restaurant, is said to have a ghost upstairs. While on the way to the bathrooms, stick your head in the front room, if you dare. This ghost has a taste for good food and fine “spirits”!
- Ladysmith Cemetery. Many of the miners from the tragic 1909 explosion at Extension mine are buried here. The accident occurred October 5. Thirty-two men were killed, leaving children and women grieving.
- Cedar By the Sea Brother XII was the leader of a cult known as the Aquarian Foundation, based in Cedar by the Sea area. Some say that there are still people following his cult — and his reach goes “beyond the grave.”
- Dogwood Dip. This picturesque road passes the entrance to historic Holland Creek Trail. The trees cast eerie shadows, and jack-o’-lanterns mysteriously appear alongside the road every Halloween.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, we hope this list gets you into the spirit of Halloween. Happy trick or treating!