ghosts

Spookytown! My Haunted Hometown

Welcome to Spookytown! A weekly blog post about, you guessed it… all things spooky. Ghost stories, books, hauntings, movies, music, history and so much more!

The town I grew up in holds many ghosts. Some personal, some spooky. As kids, there were a few houses in town, that we either decided were haunted or they were the products of grownups telling us they were. Whether or not they are, is yet to be determined.

A couple houses that I personally thought were haunted (one of which was confirmed for me) was a house on Frank Street, near Taylor Street, the huge house on the top of the hill on Mary Street (corner of Mary and Gould) and the Inn on Bayview Avenue. The latter is the one I heard many creepy ghost stories about. (photo below) The Inn (not to be mistaken for the restaurant by the same name on the main street) has had many transformations over the years and was apparently, at some point recently, a restaurant.

Over the years I have searched online and read many books about ghosts in Ontario, yet, rarely find any about my hometown, which I find strange. Even the story of the famous Spirit Rock is rarely found in print. All that aside, the best of the stories, were always the ones told by my family.

One ghost story that always stuck with me, is the one about the footprints in the mud. This story was told to us by Grandpa Jim and Great Grandpa Bill. Both of their stories are told identically, neither straying from the details.

Before I tell this story, you will need a little bit of background. Grandpa Jim and Great Grandpa Bill were farmers. In addition to their farm, they owned a huge bush lot and in the middle of that bush lot was a massive field where they planted crops. I’m sure a few of you are asking, why is there a field in the middle of a bush lot? I’ll get to that.

Every spring, they would plow the fields a few times to prepare them for planting, often leaving them muddy. The freshly turned soil, hungry for the seeds they would plant. When my Great Grandpa/Grandpa acquired the bush lot, they knew there was a story, a very spooky and quite unsettling one, however, they left it to rumour, to them it was just a story. That was until that first spring.

After doing the first turn of the soil, they returned for its second plowing. When they reached the top of the field they saw something that confused them both. They weren’t completely sure if it was exactly as it seemed. Could the story be true? They decided to do their daily chores and laugh it off.

A few days later they returned only to see it again and in the exact same spot. This continued on each time they plowed. Same thing, same place. What were they witnessing? A very young child’s footprints that started at the top of the field and ran diagonally off towards the side of the field, then they disappeared into no where.

They tried to come up with a rational explanation. Maybe it was an animal. Maybe it was someone playing a trick. But how? The prints were the exact same each and every time, disappearing into nowhere. There were never any other footprints near it. It was impossible. Or was it?

A few moments walk from the field is a disintegrating foundation of a house. The forest reclaiming it. There once stood a small house on the masonry and close by, a small barn. The earth has long devoured it. A young family once lived there, but only for a short time. That was well over a hundred years ago now.

As with many families during that time, they were excited to buy their own land, build a house and eventually grow their own food to eat and crops to sell. Unfortunately, for that family, the dream was short-lived. One day, someone came across the darkened house, only to find its residents deceased. There are many versions of this part of the story. Some say their death was accidental, while others say they were murdered. Either way, there is a child that continues to play in the nearby field, just as they would, while they watched their parents work.

Every year, that my Great Grandfather and Father worked that field, they knew they would see those footprints and every spring, they were not disappointed.

Chunks of that bush lot have since been sold off to other people, so I’m not sure if that field is used to grow crops any longer. If it is, I would love to know if the new owners still see the footprints.

That bush lot has always creeped me out and even before hearing that story. I have always felt like someone or something was watching me. As kids, we spent a lot of time there, either with my Grandpa Jim as he worked, spending time in the shanty with my parents, or going to Thanks Giving cookouts with our entire family.

I have other spooky stories about that bush lot and may even write about them at some point.

Below are a few links to information on alleged hauntings in my hometown, and the Bruce Penisula.

Haunted Wiarton

https://www.torontoghosts.org/index.php/the-province-of-ontario/central/706-wiarton-bed-and-breakfast

https://brucemuseum.pastperfectonline.com/bysearchterm?keyword=Spirit+Rock+Conservation+Area

Ghosts of the Bruce Peninsula

https://jamesmac.ca/curious/page/3/

https://www.trueghosttales.com/paranormal/creepy-ontario-cottage/

Ghost towns: https://www.ghosttownpix.com/ontario/towns/spry.html

https://juliekinnear.com/blogs/ghost-towns-ontario

Google Map of Ghost Towns: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?ie=UTF8&t=m&oe=UTF8&msa=0&mid=1gmYBD-AOQvZnItg2D0DaK5XR5Y4&ll=46.75902195463678%2C-83.950281&z=5

Welcome to Spookytown!

Welcome to Spookytown! A semi-regular blog post about, you guessed it… all things spooky. Ghost stories, books, hauntings, movies, music, history and so much more! My plan is to post weekly, but I will see how that goes!

As of the posting of this blog, it is nine weeks until Halloween! That is right NINE WEEKS! If you are doing a daily countdown, it’s 64 days! Why the excitement? It’s only the end of August you say. Because I am a Child of Halloween. The most wonderful time of the year!

How does one become a Child of Halloween? It can happen a few ways, but generally, you have either been once since childhood or you became one as an adult. The latter is usually because you’ve discovered it through a group of friends who are also Children of Halloween! I am the former. My Mother LOVED and still loves Halloween. Halloween has always been way more exciting for her than Christmas.

When we were little, my mother would sew our costumes, always making sure they were a few sizes too big. I grew up in a small town in Southern Ontario and the chances were pretty high that it was going to snow or rain on Halloween. Since she put a lot of work into our costumes, she wanted to make sure they went on the outside of our snowsuits. As we got older and started to give input or wanting to make our own costumes, she would help us put them together using whatever was available. One year I made a vampire costume out of a lace table cloth dyed black, my mother’s lipstick, eyeshadow foundation, and baby powder. I continue to make my Halloween costumes to this day. My mother has lots of photos of us dressed up and one day I need to get copies, so I can post part two.

I’ve never stopped loving Halloween. I love walking around my neighbourhood, looking at the decorations, and am always inspired by the themes that our neighbours come up with. A few blocks from us, there is a house I call Halloween/Christmas house because every year they go all out and include animatronics. Heck, the interior of our own home is Halloween all year long!

One of my concerns with COVID 19 is the fact that kids won’t be able to trick or treat this year, thus losing the spirit of Halloween, we need to keep this alive or rather undead. We need to keep the joy of the most spookiest time of the year. This year, even if you don’t normally decorate, go all out. We will be.

I also have a bunch of favourite Halloween cartoons that I will be starting to rewatch soon. Oh yes. I don’t wait until October. I have so many favourite Halloween activities I do each October, if I waited, I wouldn’t fit everything in. The ones I am posting below are from YouTube. I will be talking about some other favourite Halloween cartoons I love in another blog post.

Day 28

Day 28! And I feel great! {could turn this into a dirty limerick – maybe later}
For a couple of weeks, I wasn’t really losing inches, which is odd, because along with long brisk walks, I’m doing yoga every day and I’m still eating healthy. I am keeping track and I noticed that I will lose, then two weeks nothing, then lose, then two weeks nothing. Apparently, this is how my body loses weight. This time it was 3 weeks before something disappeared. I also wonder if it’s because I’m starting to build some muscles. (being hopeful here)


Here are the current stats on inches gone:
Arm = 1
Bust = 1
Waist = 4
Stomach = 9.5
Hips = 6
Thigh = 4
Calf = 1

I LOVE ghost stories. Reading them, writing them, watching movies and documentaries about them and you guessed it, even those reality-style TV shows about them like Ghost Adventures. If it goes bump in the night, I want to know about it. Do you like ghost stories?


Who else made it to day 28? Two more days to go in this challenge for me!

Day 8

Day 8! I’m really loving Yoga With Adriene. I’ve never had an instructor quite like her. She is amazing. Today’s practice was about healing. Something I’m trying to do right now.


Last night I had a dream about a crow. It was mad at me and was flying around and following me, telling me that. I couldn’t figure out why or what I’d done to make it mad. When a crow appears in your dreams and it’s flying and following you it means that you need to let go and move forward. This dream and Adriene’s lesson today go hand in hand.


I lost two friends this year. One was a toxic friendship that I finally walked away from for the final time. The second was a beloved friend who we all lost to cancer. In one situation I am grieving deeply. My friend was young and restarting her life and cancer is a horrible, horrible disease. In the other situation, in the beginning, I was mad at myself for letting it go on for so long. The friendship was unhealthy for both parties. It was a good thing to walk away, but I still beat myself up over it when I shouldn’t have. Today I realized I need to heal from not only my friend who died but from the toxic friendship I ended. It’s also ok to talk about it, because… this girl… doesn’t like to do that.


Today’s photo is of a ghost. I believe in ghosts. I write ghost stories. We all have emotional ghosts. It’s ok to tell them to go to the other side.

But… You promised bats!

Where have the bat posts gone? You promised us bats! Yes. Yes I did, however, life got in the way. Since my last post I had a bad reaction to all of the mosquitos bites I got and things in general got really busy! Due to all of that, I haven’t had time to get out for our regular dusk strolls. But do not fret, I have a new adventure that I will be posting about soon.

During the glorious month of Halloween, my Gomez (aka my husband) and I will be heading off for an adventure in Japan! I’ve been dreaming of this trip for many years and I’m beyond excited that we will finally be going! One of the best parts (besides seeing family and visiting all of the things on my crazy ‘to visit’ list) is that our first few nights we will be staying in a hotel with a giant Godzilla head on top of it! GOJIRA!!! Ask me how excited I am. No really. Ask me!

Back to bats for a moment. Japan has a lot of bats and I will be taking our bat detector with us. To find out more about The Ryukyu Flying Fox click here and for the Japanese House Bat click here.

In writing news, I am doing my (I swear it this time) final read through of Freaks & Grimm and then it is off to a couple more readers. Once I get their feedback, it is being sent to a publisher. I loved writing this book, but I have another story scratching at my brain currently (a 1930s based novel), as well as another novel idea for the continuing story of Freaks & Grimm.

If we are able to fit in a few more Bat Adventures before the cooler weather drives them into hibernation I will do a blog post .

Redheads Writing in Cafes and Chantilly Lace

Do you believe in ghosts? I sure as hell do. I believe there are many kinds of ghosts, some that can’t leave this realm, those who don’t want to pass over and those who show up once in a while like right now, to check in on you. I know this is fact because I just got a whiff of Chantilly Lace.

My Grandma Betty smelled of baking and Chantilly Lace. Whenever you hugged her you would always breathe it in and as a kid, I just assumed that was how she smelled, until the day I found the little pink box with the fluffy white powder puff. The minute I sat down this morning to write about her, I got a very scent of her perfume surround me. I’m now feeling extremely nostalgic, I miss that woman so very, very much.

874_101182740724_8544_n

Elizabeth Smart was more than just my grandmother, she was a force. She emigrated to Canada from Scotland, got married, had fourteen children and who knows how many grandchildren followed after that, however, she was more than that. She was neighbourhood warrior, standing up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. I’ve heard many stories about people being chased by the cops for minor occurrences hiding out at her place, she’d then talk the cops down from arresting them. My grandma was a badass. You also didn’t mess with her family. Oh no, you didn’t! Was my grandma Bonnie Parker, no, pay attention, she was a Betty!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The older I grow, the more I realize how much I am like her. When you met Grandma, she was welcoming, chatty and her laugh would fill the room. She loved to help her community, was loving and was always there if you needed comforting. She also relished time on her own, reading, knitting, sewing and of course, baking. Like myself, she was an Extroverted Introvert. She made the most incredible, melt in your mouth shortbreads, currant cake and pies. To this day, I’m the only one who has nailed her currant cake recipe. The one main thing we have in common, try to corner us, and we come out fighting. My Grandma put up with zero crap.

When I was fifteen, I went through a really shit time in school. I was the weirdo, the girl who dressed all in black, had the weird hair and carried books about ghosts everywhere she went. There were four particular girls who would verbally abuse me. As much as you interacted or ignored them, this still wears you down, especially if you are a teenager. Being told one too many times to basically suck it up, it can’t be that bad, I stopped talking to anyone about it and let it silently eat away at me and it really did. After one particularly horrible day, I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I started crying during my walk home after school. Little did I know, Grandma Betty was walking right behind me. I have no idea how long she was behind me, but I know it was long enough for her to figure out something wasn’t quite right, because her fifteen-year-old granddaughter rarely cried and especially not in public.

Then she was standing beside me. Just like every time I’ve needed her.

I told her what had happened and she listened without interrupting, then these words… the words that have always stuck with me, the words that I repeat over and over whenever anyone tries to belittle me, talk down to me or insult me.

Grandma: Why do you care what they think.
Me: (starts to explain again what happened)
Grandma: Yes, but why do you care what they think.
Me: (starts to explain again what happened)
Grandma: Why do you care what they think.
Me: (getting it) Oh.
Grandma: Those girls aren’t worth it. Who cares what they think.

My grandma stopped and hugged me. I finally got it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You need to be yourself, do what makes you happy. Be the person you want to be. This is a hard message for a teenager to grasp and it did take me a while to accept it, but when you repeat it to yourself over and over, it does eventually sink in.

Did the verbal abuse stop. No. But I not only found a tool to handle it better, I had someone to talk to that would actually listen to me and not brush it off as teenage angst. For those who are wondering, why didn’t the school do anything? It was the late seventies/early eighties and trust me a small town high school… didn’t understand that bullying was a horrible thing for a kid to go through. That said, I did have one teacher who was also one of my heroes. One day I will write more about Mr. Bob Rix.

Grandma Betty is my badass, give no shits hero. I miss her every day and when I get that whiff of Chantilly Lace I know she is checking in on me to make sure I’m doing ok.

 

 

Redheads Writing in Cafes – Bring on the gloomy weather

What weather helps to motivate you to write? Some will say, especially in the summer, being able to sit outside in the sun on a clear, hot day. I prefer gloomy days. I love thunderstorms and the dark gray weather. It not only helps to inspire me when writing ghost stories, it also allows me to not burst into flames when I go outside. If you are reading my blog for the first time, I’m not a vampire, but I do consider myself a ghoul. A ghoul who glows in the dark and will be burnt to a crisp if left out in the sun. I don’t enjoy bursting into flames.

scary-vintage-halloween-creepy-costumes-48-57f665867ba34__605

When most are celebrating the arrival of summer, my heart is already aching for the fall. If we could only have late spring and early fall weather all year long, I would be in my version of heaven. I love late spring, with its warm days and cool nights. Everything is growing and alive. Early fall also has warm days and cool nights along with crunchy leaves under our feet, the reds, and golds of the tree leaves and Halloween. In my case, Halloween is all year long, but the month of October will always have a magical feeling.

vintage-halloween-pinup1

Around mid-July, I start to feel a pull of nostalgia and longing for the crispness of fall. I start peering through store windows, wondering if I am going to catch my first glimpse of Halloween sales items. I anticipate being told to shut up about my constant chattering around the subject of the spooky season since I should be enjoying summer. Ghouls don’t particularly enjoy summer. Please see above comment about bursting into flames. I am currently enjoying the cool breeze blowing through my window at the moment. Bring on the fall I say!

bbf7d56a8d41753c2b75be259ec8541c.jpg

I have been reading up on the subject of zero waste and am not only interested in reducing my carbon footprint, but want to research more on when our society went from zero waste to the creation of landfills for all of our unnecessary garbage. I’m sure it will be hard for many to wrap their heads around the fact that there was a time when we weren’t creating garbage. Is that time prior to 1900? 1920? 1950? This is something that will definitely inspire a short story, a horror-themed short story.  There is a town in Japan that is almost zero waste. Check out this video from YouTube. It would be amazing if Canadians could set the same example.

3450d7ac5727ea510911cfe119ef7496--creepy-vintage-halloween-vintage

I’m making huge progress on Freaks & Grimm. I had a huge AHA moment this week and am now working out how to write the next few parts of my novel. I am finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  The ending hasn’t quite written itself, but I do feel it forming. I was beginning to worry that I might have a War & Peace on my hands.

vintage-halloween-pinup1

Each time I think it might be safe to head to a cafe to write, there is the treat of rain. I love my red couch and that I am able to sit here an write, I would however, also enjoy sitting in a cafe and sip a coffee while I work on my novel. Maybe that will also have to wait till fall. For now, I will continue to pretend that I am in a spooky cafe.

Until next time… keep dreaming of Halloween.

Redheads Writing in Cafes except when they are on the road again

I’m on the road again and now saying that, the ‘on the road again song is stuck in my head. Why do I do this to myself? I’m on my way back to Toronto, back to my fella and my own bed. Don’t get me wrong here, I will miss my parents. I am thankful that as a full-time writer, I could be there for my Mom to help her after her surgery. What I won’t miss, is the futon bed/couch torture device. I have the sore hips and bruises to prove it.

Vintage Circus Photos (5)

The bus from Owen Sound to Toronto leaves hella early. We were up at 6 am, to ensure I was packed, fed and to the bus by 7:30. I’m not a morning person, this was and always is a struggle. Yesterday my Mom kept apologizing that we didn’t get to do more things while I was there. I reminded her that I wasn’t up there for a vacation, I was there to look after her. Why must parents feel bad when we look after them? Being there was just like being a kid, my parents couldn’t remember which child I was and my Dad kept mixing Flash and me up. I know I have puppy-dog eyes, but I don’t think my ears are quite that floppy.

e922ce236baa1700b797748f0de24b2c

One of the advantages of being at my parents was the lack of distractions the city has. I was able to get a lot more writing and research done. I am hoping to keep up the same pace with I return home. I’m incredibly disciplined and work hard, however, it is easy to procrastinate when you live in a really amazing neighbourhood and have incredibly interesting and fun friends. Being at my parents and my hometown also gave me incredible amounts of inspiration for my novel and reminders as to why ghost stories will always be my favourite genre.

f255905c49fb9ece5f2530a6ec52b29c

I’m hoping we get a chance to head back up to my parents again at some point this summer. I didn’t get a chance to hang out near the water this time around but would love to find an opportunity to sit by the water and write. Living near High Park, I can do this whenever I like. Grenadier Pond is a stunning body of water and I always feel inspired when I am near it. I’m sure it has it’s own ghost stories to tell. We are also very close to Lake Ontario and can walk to it in about thirty minutes.  I’m never that far away from water.

d75d39ac1c9047035f6bbb7000b1484f

Today is also the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. Fortunately, it is also sunny (enjoy it, it’s raining again tomorrow). Unfortunately, I will be spending the first half of the day on the bus. I would normally go out today and enjoy the extra daylight, but I am likely going to spend it relaxing, on the couch with my fella, finishing off season two of Twin Peaks (refresher for me, newish for him) before we start watching season three. I’ve made it this far without seeing spoilers. I’ve also been spending less time on the book of faces these days, that could explain why. It’s good for the soul to take Facebook vacations. Tonight might also be a good time to watch Jaws again. Always a fun summer movie favourite.

I’m signing off, until next time…. SHARK!

Redheads Writing in Cafes — why are the crows avoiding me?

Today is the day. If I don’t get a photo of the crows or the Raven, I will need to find somewhere in Toronto where they congregate. Why must they torment me? I can hear them and see them in other people’s yards. When I try to make my way towards them to take a picture, they take off. All I ask is you come visit our front yard and let me get some good photographs of you. What I wouldn’t do right now for my DSLR right now and a zoom lens.

vintage-crow-gothicolors-images

My intention today was to sit on the covered porch to write, but the temperature suddenly dropped and big, gray clouds started rolling in. I moved to the kitchen table and can actually see a wall of rain heading towards us. Have you ever been outside when this happens, especially when you have nowhere to go? I have, it’s not always a fun experience. I’d much rather be watching it from the safety of inside.

I’ve decided to give myself permission to take a few days off. Not sleeping well due to the futon from hell, I’m tired. When I get home tomorrow, I will likely take a long, hot shower, throw in my laundry and then watch 1950s, sci-fi b-movies.  Maybe I can convince my love to order in. I’ve been away from him for a week and a half and it will feel good to be with him again. I have to say I am incredibly lucky to have such a supportive partner. It doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes.

Blogging every day has been fun and a great way to wake up my brain each day, but I’m not sure I can continue to do it daily. I have realized that I definitely need to blog more often. I still have plans to vlog, but for now, will continue to blog. My priority is to get a solid first draft of my novel done, then I can figure out vlogging and the youtube channel I keep talking about.

The other thing that evades me are the books I am looking for. We checked a few places in town and was not able to find them. It looks like a trip to the Reference Library will be happening upon my return. In all honesty, I need to go there on a regular basis to research and write.

02e1fadadd2955970ef63f7f422b3f3b

 

Because of the pending rain, the crows have disappeared again. Off to find shelter and to stay dry. They are intelligent creatures and I’m sure decided that the redhead isn’t going to capture their image. You just wait crows, I may not capture your image today, but I will one day.

 

 

Redheads Writing in Cafes — there will be some swears, but for a change, it wasn’t me.

Oh. There you are! I’d wondered if I’d see a blue sky again. Of course, I feel a storm brewing, but not the weather kind. I’m currently sitting at the kitchen table, attempting to write and instead am listening to my father curse. I think he’s to the point of his tirade that he’s making up swear words. You see, at some point during the night, the basement sump pump broke and now the basement is flooded. This is what happens when your house is built beside a former swamp and it hasn’t stopped raining for days. There will be swears and lots of them. Mom and I are steering clear of him for the moment. Oh, the swearing!

Susan Strasberg in Seth Holt's SCREAM OF FEAR (1961). Courtesy P

My Mom had her staples removed and the doctor reported that things are AOK.  Such a huge relief for everyone. While staying here, I’ve been doing most of the cooking and we have figured she may also have a form of IBS. I have convinced her to take her diet down to the basics, keep a food diary and cut out foods that are likely the irritant, then discuss with her doctor. All was going well until last night when there was indulgence in greasy foods. Hopefully, the mostly whole foods, plant-based diet will get her tummy back on track. It would be awesome if she went all Vegan, but… baby steps.  We have found a few really good sources for an IBS diet and if she sticks to it, she should be back to normal quickly.

12920344_10209251565347284_2500409221703757017_n

Now that she is healing up and 75% more mobile than when I got here, I can return to Toronto. Look for another edition of Redheads Writing in Cafes except when it’s on a bus unless I fall asleep, the bus leaves here at 8 am and I haven’t been sleeping well. Remember that episode of Seinfeld with the pull-out couch that had ‘the bar’ — I’ve got the futon couch/bed, with ‘the bar’. I’m looking forward to being in my own bed and back to writing in actual cafes.

Carol Burnett in Once Upon a Mattress

02 May 1960 — Carol Burnett as Princess Winnifred in the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress, taken from the fairly tale of the Princess and the Pea. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I hope the rain holds off tomorrow. I want to make another trek to the Salvation Army to see if I can find some treasures. It was also suggested that the drugstore downtown may carry books written by Diane Madden. I’m on the hunt for her books titled Tale of the Unusual, More Tales of the Unusual and Yet More Tales of the Unusual. I’m not a 100 percent sure these are the books, but they sound closer topic wise to what I am looking for. Sometimes, when I can’t find these specific types of items, I often wonder if I dreamt them up. Anyone else do this? It’s incredibly frustrating.

They-Wait-in-Silence-4f6276864bf58_hires

The cursing has at least settled down a bit. I’m still at the kitchen table trying to will my laptop to charge faster. Seriously, charge faster, I want to retreat to the covered front porch. Hopefully, it will be quieter and I can get back to working on Freaks and Grimm.

Till tomorrow… stay ghoulish.

/nb A question for my readers. Do you read my posts via your browser or directly from your email?