Halloween is just around the corner and with it comes a revisiting of tales of the macabre. New Brunswick has more than its share of haunted places. Here are a few that will make the hairs on your neck stand up if you happen to find yourself there some dark, lonely evening…
The Algonquin Hotel – St. Andrews
The fabled Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews has attracted guests from around the world. Some never left. In room 473, legend has it, a ghostly bride who was abandoned at the altar can often be seen, sobbing at the heartbreak that follows her in the afterlife. The Algonquin’s tower has been closed for years, but visitors and staff alike have noticed mysterious lights and a woman dressed in white looking out its windows. The Algonquin’s paranormal history is so famous that the hotel offers special ghost tours.
French Fort Cove – Miramichi
French Fort Cove in Miramichi is a lovely place for a walk. But some nights, when fog fills its valley, a terrifying apparition makes an appearance – the Headless Nun. Sister Marie Inconnue was protecting a treasure from pirates intent on plundering the newly settled community in the mid-1700s. Sister Marie refused to give up the location of the treasure, and the pirates beheaded her in an act of ruthless vengeance that lingers in the otherwise peaceful place to this day. For centuries, Miramichiers have reported coming across the ghostly headless nun in French Fort Cove, searching in vain for her head so she can finally find peace.
The Fire Ship of the Bay of Chaleur – Bathurst
For many years, a flaming ghost ship has been seen patrolling the Bay of Chaleur. According to one telling, a pirate by the name of Craig visited a First Nations community there and attempted to kidnap two young women. A First Nations man on the ship helping it pilot out of the area discovered these girls and helped them escape. The women warned that a terrible misfortune would befall the ship. Sure enough, as the pirate captain attempted to leave the harbour the ship was swamped by a powerful wave and broke apart on the rocks. The crew including the dastardly pirate captain drowned. That night a huge fireball in the form of the ship appeared. Since that day, thousands of people have claimed to see the fire ship of the Bay of Chaleur.
Rebecca Lutes Grave – Moncton
It’s one of Moncton’s most popular ghost stories. Rebecca Lutes was only 16 when her special powers to see the future became known. Superstitious locals were frightened. A witch! In 1876 the judges of Moncton found her guilty of sorcery and she was hung from the branch of a large poplar tree. Rebecca was buried upside down and her grave covered in concrete so she could never dig her way out. Her grave remains home to many unusual occurrences, including strange lights, mysterious fires, a ghostly black cat and even claims of occult rituals.
Centracare – Saint John
Perhaps it’s not surprising that a place once called the “Provincial Lunatic Asylum” would be haunted. Centracare was first built in uptown Saint John but an imposing new building on a bluff overlooking the St. John River opened in 1848. One can only imagine the countless horrors that took place in this asylum in the century and a half that followed. It was finally demolished in 1999 and replaced with what is now known as Wolastoq Park. But despite the peaceful greens of the park, restless spirits still roam its grounds. People report hearing crying babies and disembodied voices in mysterious mists that descend on the location. Those strolling the park’s grounds often report feelings of being watched and strange lights.
The Dungarvon Whooper – Blackville
Some dark nights along the Dungarvon River, a horrifying howl is heard. They say that this is ghost of an Irishman named Ryan, who worked in one of the lumber camps in the area in the 1800s. Young Ryan was murdered in cold blood by one of the loggers for the money belt he carried. In the nights that followed the murder, a loud whooping noise could be heard at the camp – a murdered man’s howl of rage. Terrified by the sounds from the murdered cook, the loggers abandoned the camp and refused to return. It’s said Ryan’s ghost continues to howl to this day along the banks of the Dungarvon.
Grey Island Cemetery – Hillsborough
In the Grey Island Cemetery in Hillsborough there is a white stone statue, a likeness of the woman in the grave below it. She was murdered, and her devastated husband spent hours every day with the statue, as though in prolonged conversation. When he died, his body was found curled at its base. From that point on, it was said that if you were to walk around the statue three times and stand with your back to it, the statue would reach out and tap your shoulder. Many people suffered horrible shocks testing this claim. This happened so often, the story goes, that the cemetery removed the statue’s hand.