Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Cornwall Jail, Ontario, the jail had it’s last official prisoner in 2002, before the war of 1812 the original courthouse was used as barracks, the courts were held in St John church and local taverns. 14 years later it burnt down, the new jailhouse was completed in 1834. It has a plan for 50-60 prisoners but was often over capacity with around 100.

Only 3 guards were on duty at any time and exercises in the courtyard for example, could not be controlled. It’s possible this led to some of the suicides in the jail. One of the suicides took place in the building, belts and shoelaces had been removed but he still found a way to hang himself from the bars, after his suicide Plexiglas was installed. The second was a suicide that took place overnight in a busy prison, and it seems strange that even with it being overcrowded it took a while for anyone to find them, did they have a cell mate I wonder?

Ten inmates were hung at the gallows before executions ended in the courtyard in 1954. Peter Balcombe, a 24 year old man, was the last hanging at the jail on the 25th May 1954, he had been found guilty of murder. Many of those executed were buried in the courtyard, a new section was added in the 1960’s, three ‘cells’ were laid in the ground, supposedly they were used for punishment but there appears to be no record of their existence.

In 2005 the jail opened as a tourist attraction for Ontario, whilst it is there for a historic purpose there are also those who are interested in the paranormal side too. Reports have included hearing the sounds of trolley movement, cell doors that were closed the night before would be found open the next day; or vice versa. Numerous orbs have been caught on photography or film, staff have reported hearing a humming from a male, some believe that woman and children also haunt the jail. TAPS investigated and aired a show from the site.

Cornwall Jail

The St Louis Ghost Train is a reported occurrence from St Louis, Saskatchewan in Canada. It’s story has been featured on the series Unsolved  Mysteries. The story entails a light that continues along the route of an old rail line at night, the light varies in colour and brightness. The lines tracks were removed, it used to run between the south of Prince Albert and north of St Louis, however reports of this phenomena keeps coming in.

Explanations for the lights are a ghost train, or perhaps that is it the ghost of a drunken brake-man who lost his head to a passing train. He now wanders the track with a lantern attempting to locate his missing top part.

The effect was replicated to a degree by two 12th grade students using the diffraction of distant light vehicles. The only sang with that theory is that reports apparently came in before the invention of cars. It has also been pointed out that other lights are seen in the trees. However the students may well be on to something regards some of these sightings.


From the 1920’s onwards, stories has been told from North America (and Canada) of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch which is a giant 6-10 foot tall humanoid with shaggy hair, and a repulsive smell.

A miner claimed to have been abdusted by one another man said his group were attacked by an ape-man. The stories were dismissed as hoaxes.

Hoaxes about this seem to come up fairly regularly. In 1958 paw-prints were found at Bluff Creek but were made by wooden feet. A famous film from 1967, by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin showed what looked like a hairy female humanoid that rushed off into the woods. Was it a genuine cryptid, unknown animal or a hoax?

Raymond Patterson (1918-2002) was a big-foot hunter and his friend, Bob Heironimus, claimed it was a hoax as he was the man in the suit. Patterson and Gimli refused to retract the claim as valid footage and the debate goes on.

In 1973 in Illinois a couple parked up were scared out of their wits and described the creature they saw much like that of a Sasquatch. With slime-dripping from it’s body and a foul stench.

In 2008 a Youtube video surfaced that claimed to show a dead Bigfoot, it was found in Georgia. TV networks clustered around the freezer containing the corpse but it turned out to be another hoax, with a hollow head and rubber feet.

The search continues.

The infamous Dr Crippen, 23rd November 2010 marked his 100th year since his execution. Hawley Harvey Crippen supposedly haunts the Pentonville Prison where he was hanged and interred for the murder of his wife. They say a “bespectacled, sorrowful figure” is seen standing around the unmarked grave.

Crippen was a homeopathic physician and salesman, he was convicted of the murder of his wife Cora Henrietta Crippen. He was also notably the first criminal to be caught with the use of wireless communication. His first wife died of a stroke and his son was entrusted to his parents care. He met Cora in New York, who had the stage name Belle Elmore and had very open affairs.

In 1897 Crippen and his spouse moved to England, he was not however considered qualified to practise in the UK and so worked as a distributor of patent medicines. He was sacked by his manager in 1899 as he spent more time working on his wife’s stage career than doing his job. Having moved around various places they settled in Holloway, London where a lodger was brought in to supplement the meagre wages. Cora decided that the lodger was appealing and in turn Crippen took Le Neve (young typist in the firm he worked for) as his mistress.

January 31st, 1910 there was a party at their home and Cora disappeared, he claimed that she had returned home to California and later on added she had died and been cremated. Le Neve began to wear Cora’s clothes and jewellery, the police first became aware of the disappearance when Cora’s friend (a strongwoman known as Vulcana) reported it. Friends in high places led to more requests for investigations and a house search was made but nothing was found.

The police seemed satisfied but Crippen and Le Neve did not seem to know this and fled in panic to Brussels. They went on a pacific liner the SS Montrose destined for Canada. Inspector Water Dew then ordered a further three searches of the house, and on the fourth they found human remains buried under the brick floor of the basement. The body contained traces of a calming drug, the corpse was identified by a piece of skin but the head, limbs and skeleton were never recovered.

Meanwhile Crippen and Le Neve were disguised on board the ship when a wireless telegram was sent out to British Authorities saying they suspected Crippen of London cellar murder and his accomplice was aboard the ship. Perhaps if he had travelled third class he would never have been spotted but Dew boarded a faster White Star liner and headed off to intercept them. Dew boarded the ship disguised as a passenger and followed him over to Canada. Canada meant that they could arrest him without the need for extradite as they were still part of the English Empire at that time.

When Dew announced who he was Dr Crippen was relieved and had expressed how the suspense was really too much. He held out his arms to enable the handcuffs to be placed on him and Crippen was returned to England on the SS Megantic.

Both suspects were tried separately at the London assizes and stated that they could not formally identify the remains as male or female but they had been able to locate abdominal scar tissue that matched Cora’s medical history. The drug found in the remains matched one that Crippen had brought from a local chemist.

The defence maintained that Cora had fled to America with another man, Bruce Miller, and suggested the previous owner could be something to do with the remains in the house. They also stated the marks on the skin were just folded tissue. The prosecution continued with a pyjama top that Crippen owned, it was not found but the bottoms were in his bedroom and a fragment of the fabric was found with the remains, the prosecution stated that the type he wore were not made before 1908 and so it would not have been the former owners to blame for the human remains.

Throughout the proceedings Dr Crippen showed no sign of remorse, he also showed no concern for his wife but showed concern for his lover’s reputation. After only 27 minutes the jury returned with a verdict of guilty and he was hanged. His grave, as previously mentioned, is unmarked and perhaps one of the reasons his ghost still lingers is that he is waiting for his innocence to be declared… however that is unlikely to happen as in 2009 the court of appeal said they would not hear the case to posthumously pardon him.

The 1962 feature film Dr. Crippen stars Donald Pleasance in the lead role.  His story is also retold in a Broadway musical One Touch of Venus.  He even boasts a waxwork model at Madame Tussauds in London!

Okay it’s not ghosts or supernatural but sometimes human beings love to leave us things we could use for our own imagination. Driving along roads at night can be lonely enough however there is also a great sense of imagination when you pass a half completed road or perhaps even half over-grown ones.

For instances in Portland, Oregan there is a section of unused ramp at the western terminus. How about heading on to Interstate 189 in Burlington Vermont, there are now lanes blacked by discarded electronics.

Older areas might well have been left behind when an amendment to a highway/road has occurred and it’s not longer needed.  A good example of this appears to be the Pennsylvania Turnpike where two-lane tunnels and four-lane approaches were bypassed. The old tunnels and roadways on this one were reused as a multi-use trail. There are also some where the road might have been a ramp up to a bridge that was demolished.

Sometimes it’s due to the road never being finished, perhaps they started and ran out of cash or someone managed to put a stop to it. In London (England) the M11 motorway has two unused slips at Junction 4 (Charlie Brown’s) which would have gone into the link for the M12 motorway going to Essex.

The A47 in Rutland, near Wardley has an unused stretch of carriageway that now only sees use as access to a transmitting station. The A2 in Kent ended up with part of the road being made into a public park then it was realigned back in 2009.

1000 Islands Parkway in Eastern Ontario, this is another interesting one as it has two Ghost Lanes down it’s 40km length, these lanes are now used pretty much as a pedestrian or cycle lane on a scenic area. Originally it was going to be an alternate route to the main inland highway and be a sort of divided highway. The plans were put in motion and began sometime in the 1930’s where the unnamed route was began, when the wartime shortages affected it part of the road was left as gravel and finished in 1945 when the war ended. Highway 25 was then added to the 1948 Ontario Maps. In 1952 the entire thing was then redesigned on another route by December 1952 as Highway 401 and the route was no longer in use.

The Highway was due to become part of the freeway route but public outcry would be huge and so in the early 1960’s the plans were abandoned and the restoration on the river road but it’s fully decommissioned status as a road was eventually logged September 8th 1970, King’s Highway was to be no more.  Whilst I have really skipped over many facts that could have been put up here really I just liked the story of the scenic parkway that sits there now.

So perhaps if you are out travelling and spot somewhere as a road to nowhere you might like to hit me with a reply about them.