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Spookytown! It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

As I mentioned in my last Spookytown post, I like to get warmed up for Halloween by watching classic spooky cartoons. My ALL TIME favourite and a tradition I follow every single year is to watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Every single year, since I was a child, no matter how many times I’ve watched it, I still keep hoping…. oh… no… in case you haven’t watched it, I’m not going to spoil it for you. Why haven’t you watched this yet? I grew up with three, THREE television channels and I even managed to watch it every single year. Go watch it!

Who is The Great Pumpkin for those who still haven’t watched it? Linus explains it best!

A ways back we got a projector (thank you Heather Babcock) and we have been planning on projecting the movie from our front window on Halloween night (same with A Charlie Brown Christmas). We just bought ourselves a proper screen, so…. if all goes as planned (I’m talking to you weather), we may attempt to do it out in the front yard! We were inspired by others in our neighbourhood who project Halloween cartoons from their own front windows. We may also throw in a few of our other favourite Halloween cartoons.

If Linus and The Great Pumpkin had their way they would make sure Halloween happens, but sometimes it’s even out of their control.

Because of the plague, I’m pretty sure trick or treating won’t be happening this year, but we all need a bit of joy. Halloween is such a special time for so many people, children and adults alike. Even if you can’t give out candy this year, plan on decorating like you never have before, do fun events for your own kids so they don’t feel like they are missing out. Don’t let 2020 be a rock in your candy bag! Maybe this will be the year that Linus gets his wish!

{The below clip is a spoiler, if you haven’t watched It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and why haven’t you, don’t watch below.}

Spookytown! Haunted Toronto

I grew up in a small town that has lots of ghost stories. A few of them have inspired my novel Freaks & Grimm (will be released at some point). I also come from a family of storytellers and a good portion of those stories were about ghosts. When I moved to Toronto at the age of eighteen, the very first thing I did was dive into it’s haunted history. I bought books and eventually joined online communities. When I discovered haunted walks, I was in my element. Oh yes I was.

If I remember correctly, Bruce Bell was one of the first names I heard in relation to haunted Toronto. The other first for me was I dove deep into learning about Toronto and Canada’s Spiritualism history. It was a little harder to find information for Canada. There are lots of articles about the US, especially, the Fox Sisters. There were a lot of fraudsters and I often wonder if that embarrassment is why it’s harder to find information here. Nonetheless, I was able to find articles on Mary Melville and a few other spiritualists. To learn more, please click here.

It you want to learn more about Spiritualism or Occultism in Toronto, there are a few really good books at the Toronto Public Library and the Canadian Encyclopedia has a great article (see below). This is one of my favourites. The Secret City: An Occult History of Toronto

Spiritualism in Canada. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/spiritualism

Haunted Places Now let us move onto haunted places in Toronto. There are many haunted places in this city. There are also lots and lots of articles about it. Rather than rehash everything, I am going to link sources below. I was so incredibly obsessed with hauntings, that every time I moved to a new neighbourhood (that was a lot), I would investigate if there were any hauntings. At one point I had a book that I logged all of the information into, but it is long lost. I really wish I still had that book.

I currently live in the west end of Toronto and am very close to several cemeteries and well known haunted places such as Colborne Lodge, but I can also easily get to places like McKenzie House, Black Creek Pioneer Village (which holds a seance), Spadina House and the old Don Jail.

There are several books about Haunted Toronto, this one is by far my all time favourite. Haunted Toronto by John Robert Colombo

https://www.toronto.com/things-to-do/haunted-places-in-toronto/

https://dailyhive.com/toronto/haunted-places-toronto-2018

https://juliekinnear.com/toronto/haunted-houses

https://www.blogto.com/city/2016/10/12_haunted_places_to_get_spooked_at_in_toronto/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/haunted-toronto-a-paranormal-primer/article559802/

https://dailyhive.com/toronto/haunted-places-toronto-2018

Haunted/Ghost Walks One of my favourite things to do when the weather is agreeable is go on Haunted or Cemetery walks. Unfortunately, due to Covid not many of these are happening right now. I have a few friends who run some of them and I will list any of the other ones I know about as well. Once they are up and running again, please join them!

The Haunted Walk: https://hauntedwalk.com/toronto-tours/

Ghost Walks of Toronto: www.ghostwalks.com

Toronto Ghost Walks: https://www.torontoghostwalk.com/

Haunted High Park. They do a walking tour every Halloween, but not sure about this year.

Montgomery’s Inn and the Islington Pioneer Cemetery also host haunted walks, but again…. who knows with Covid.

Cemetery Tours: Toronto also has some really cool cemetery tours. I kinda feel like Covid is ruining a lot of our fun so I’m going to stop repeating the phrase… due to Covid. Eventually, all of these cool things will be happening again.

Muddy York Tours: https://muddyyorktours.com/?page_id=57

Toronto Cemetery Tours: https://www.facebook.com/TorontoCemeteryTours/

For my birthday this year, I was going to do a haunted back walk, that of course included ghost stories…. but that didn’t happen. Next year?

If I’ve missed any, please post them in the comments below.

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.