June 2024
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Happy Spooky Halloween

Happy Spooky Halloween Dear Friends!

Halloween october 31 samhainI know its an old-fashioned holiday that actually dates back many centuries, but nice to recall that Halloween actually originates from Scotland.

Back then it was called Samhaina Gaelic and Pagan commemoration of the end of the harvest season. The celebration is mentioned in Celtic literature over two thousand years ago.

During Samhain, the link between the living and those who had passed on was heightened, and the belief is that the ghosts of the deceased could mingle with the living.

Samhain figured into the adventures of mythological Celtic hero Fionn mac Cumhaill when he faced the fire-breathing underworld dweller Aillen, who would burn down the Hall of Tara every Samhain.

Fionn was arguably the greatest hunter warrior in Irish mythology, and also makes an appearance in stories from Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Halloween Ghost woman in foggy forest
The superstition was that the visiting ghosts could disguise themselves in human form and knock on your door during Samhain asking for money or food. If you turned them away empty-handed, you risked receiving the wrath of the spirit and being cursed or haunted. This is essentially where the idea for modern-day trick-or-treating comes from.

It was expected that ancestors might cross over during this time as well, and Celts would dress as animals and monsters so that fairies were not tempted to kidnap them.



Arthur Rackham “Autumn Dancing Fairies”

Trick-or-treating is said to have been derived from ancient Irish and Scottish practices in the nights leading up to Samhain.

Carved turnips called Jack-o-lanterns began to appear, attached by strings to sticks and embedded with coal.

Later Irish tradition switched to pumpkins.

Halloween pranks also have a tradition in Samhain, though in the ancient celebration, tricks were typically blamed on fairies.

Samhain BBC
The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween Jean Markale
Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween Lisa Morton




Let’s go jaunting in philately…for spooky Canadian ghosts from across the country. These fifteen (15) beautifully designed stamps were issued with luminous sheen featuring Canadian ghost stories, haunted places and spooky legends.



Here’s a detailed look at each stamp, which were designed by Lionel Gadoury with illustrations by Sam Weber (the text is courtesy of Canada Post)


haunted canada la dame en blanc the white lady

Lady in White – Quebec

In Montmorency, the ghost is thought to be Mathilde Robin. In 1759, in the middle of the Seven Years War, Mathilde had found her true love in Louis Tessier, a local farmer and member of the militia who asked for her hand in marriage. Her father approved of the match and the two were to be married at the end of the summer in 1759.

However, this was a turbulent time in Québec and Louis was soon sent to fight in the Battle of Beauport, which took place at the base of the Montmorency Falls on July 31, 1759.  For poor Mathilde, the French were victorious but her beloved Louis was one of the 60-militiamen who were killed.

In her grief, it’s believed that she put on her wedding dress and threw herself from the top of the falls, where they had met the evening before. People have claimed to have heard her cries or to have seen her ghost in a white dress falling from the top of the falls.


Château Frontenac Hotel – Quebec

The castle-like Fairmont Château Frontenac Hotel, built in 1893 by William Van Horne (General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway), is said to be one of Quebec’s most haunted sites. The hotel’s most famous–and active–otherworldly resident is French Governor Louis de Buade, Count of Frontenac, for whom the hotel is named.

He has been spotted dressed in his 17th century garb, wandering the hotel halls, sitting on windowsills or floating through the ballroom–and apparently he gets agitated when renovations occur.


Bell Island Hag – Newfoundland

As the story goes, the German sailors would sneak inland on the island’s wooded western end. On one such day, the young serving girl spotted them. Before she could sound an alarm, the soldiers captured her and took her to a swamp near Dobbin’s Garden — a piece of farmland used by local families. The soldiers smothered her in the swamp, where her spirit lives on.

A paralyzing stench… She appears as a young girl dressed in white. As she draws closer, she falls to her knees and begins crawling. Her white clothes turn to tattered grey rags, her flesh falls from her skin. Worst of all, a stench fills the air and stops victims in their tracks.  Similar to folklore traditions in other Newfoundland communities, the person feels paralyzed and has the sensation that the hag is crawling over them.  “No one came to help me, now no one will help you,” she says. “Taste what I tasted. Smell what I smelled.”


The Ghosts of Gastown – British Columbia

Reputed to be one of the most haunted neighbourhoods in Canada, Vancouver’s Gastown – named after riverboat captain turned bar-keep John “Gassy Jack” Deighton – is also one of the oldest and most storied neighbourhoods in the city – and incidentally, the location of “Blood Alley,” so named for its early proliferation of butcher shops.

Gastown’s Waterfront Station is believed to be home to many ghosts. Along with a dancing flapper from the 1920s and several others, security guards have long reported seeing a headless brakeman, said to have been decapitated by a train in 1928, still roaming the tracks, his lantern glowing in his hand as he searches for his head.


Dungarvon Whooper – New Brunswick

As the story goes, lumberjacks returned from work one day to their camp in Renous to find the young camp cook was dead and his money belt was missing — apparently the work of their boss.

With a snowstorm blowing in, the cook was quickly buried. In the night, whoops and wails were heard coming from the shallow grave, causing the lumberjacks to flee in terror and never return.

Some Miramichi residents claim to hear the Dungarvon Whooper’s whoops and wails to this day, even after a priest attempted to quiet the grave with an exorcism years after the suspected murder.


Caribou Hotel – Carcross – Yukon Territories

Originally called the Yukon Hotel and built in Bennett in 1898, the Caribou Hotel was later floated across the lake to its Carcross location and renamed the Anderson before it received its current name. Rebuilt in 1910, after a fire, the hotel is said to be haunted by one of the proprietors, Bessie Gideon, who died October 27, 1933.

A shy spirit, her ghost has been heard knocking on third floor doors, banging on floorboards, or seen looking out the windows with her parrot Polly. Although Bessie was reportedly buried in the Carcross cemetery, her grave has never been located.


Marie-Josephte Corriveau – Quebec

Born on a farm in Saint-Vallier, near Quebec in 1733, Marie-Josephte Corriveau was executed for murdering her husband in 1763. She was ordered to be hanged and her body suspended in an iron cage, or gibbet – a punishment usually reserved for those guilty of particularly heinous crimes.

It’s said that while still in the roadside cage, her corpse would open its blood-red eyes and reach out to grab anyone passing nearby with its claw-like hands. After the cage was removed, locals warned that she still walked the road at night, accosting travellers.


Grey Lady of the Citadel – Nova Scotia

According to security guards, the Grey Lady strolls the second floor of the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site at night, smelling of roses and wearing a 19th-century dress. She is believed to be Miss Cassie Allan, a young lady who was engaged to a soldier stationed at the Citadel.

On her wedding day, November 14, 1900, Cassie waited at the altar for her groom. He never arrived. Informed that her husband-to-be had shot himself, Cassie went into hysterics, unable to believe he was dead. It’s said her spirit still searches the grounds of the Citadel for her beloved fiancé.


Fort George – Ontario

Built by the British in the late 1790s, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Fort George was key to British defences, and headquarters for the British Army during the War of 1812. It was also once occupied by the enemy, and the site of some of that war’s bloodiest battles.

A young soldier is said to haunt the barracks’ top floor. A mysterious young woman brushes her hair then disappears into a mirror in the officer’s quarters, and a ghostly little girl follows tour groups–one daring to take the hand of a guide.

Phantom Bell Ringers – Prince Edward Island

In the wee hours of Friday morning, October 7, 1859, when all the good residents of Charlottetown should still be sleeping in their beds, a deep bell tone was heard from the bell tower in St. James Church. The somber sound rang out over the rooftops, waking many with the unexpectedness of its doom-laden ring. Then a second toll rang slowly overhead, followed by a third.

Bewildered by the unexpected tolling of the bell, two neighbors who lived near the church hurriedly joined forces in the road outside their homes and went to investigate. Above them, the bell tolled for the fourth time, and again for the fifth time.

As they entered the church yard, the bell tolled for the sixth time, and the front doors of the church swung open with a windy blast. Framed in the doorway were three glowing women dressed all in white. The men gasped, unsure if they were seeing real women, or angels. Overhead, the bell tolled for a seventh time and the doors slammed shut as quickly as they had opened. The men raced to the doors and tugged on the handles, but they were firmly locked. When they peered through the windows, the men saw a glowing woman in white ascending the stairs to the belfry.

The minister and the sexton arrived at that moment, demanding to know what the disturbance was about. The neighbors told the new arrivals what they had seen, and the minister unlocked the door to the church. As they entered the vestibule, they saw no sign of the women the neighbors had seen in the doorway. A quick glance through the church revealed not a living soul.

As the men ascended toward the belfry, the bell tolled for the eighth time. They ran up the stairs, determined to confront the culprit and demand and explanation. When they reached the top, they found the belfry empty and the bell rope tied firmly in place, though the metal of the church bell was still vibrating slightly.

Puzzled and frightened, the minister and his companions searched the church from top to bottom, but it was completely empty. As the bell gave no further sign of tolling, the men left the church, mystified by what had happened.

That evening, the local passenger steamer between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island – called the Fairie Queene – failed to arrive. The people of Charlottetown learned a few days later that the ship had sunk, killing the eight passengers who had boarded her that day. It is said that the bell of Saint James Church tolled eight times on the day of the disaster, thus foretelling the doom of the five men and three women who would board the Fairie Queene later that day.



Red River Trail – Manitoba

There’s no telling how many souls perished in a valley battle or along the lonesome ox-cart trade routes connecting the Mississippi River with the Red River Settlement and Fort Garry. In 1903, a soldier on sentry duty outside Lower Fort Garry saw an ox-cart driven by a Métis man and woman approach his post a little past midnight.

After the cart passed by several times, he ordered the travellers to halt. Immediately the man, woman, oxen and cart disappeared. Unwilling to believe his eyes, the sentry blamed the regimental cook for giving him indigestion. Until another sentry saw the phantom cart the next night.

Northumberland Strait

With more than 4,500 shipwrecks in the Northumberland Strait, which flows between Prince Edward Island to the north and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to the south, it’s a water grave for countless seafarers.

For the past 200 years, locals have claimed to see a burning ship in the strait. On several occasions, onlookers have tried to rescue the ship, thinking it real and on fire. But as soon as the would-be rescuers come close, the ship disappears into the mist.


The Ghost Bride of the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – Alberta

Built in Alberta in 1888, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel‘s paranormal offering includes the mysterious missing Room 873, a headless bagpiper seen roaming the halls, and Sam, the ghostly bellhop. But its most haunting tale originates in the 1920s, when on her wedding day, a bride caught the heel of her shoe on the long train of her dress and tumbled down the stairs to a tragic end.

There are reports of noises from the vacant bridal suite, and a figure with a long, flowing dress descending from the stairs.


St. Louis Ghost Train – Saskatchewan

For more than 80 years, on an old rail bed north of St. Louis, Saskatchewan, a ghostly glowing light has appeared out of nowhere. Believers claim it’s the ghost of along dead CNR conductor who literally lost his head back in the 1920s to a passing train, while examining the tracks with his lantern.

Despite the fact that the rail line was closed and tracks were removed, locals will tell you that the blazing Ghost Train of St. Louis can still be seen almost every night.


Winter Garden Theather – Ontario

Staff and patrons of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre on Yonge Street in downtown Toronto have been witness to some spine-tingling appearances from the ghost of a well-dressed Edwardian woman and a musical specter named Sam, who tends to hog the spotlight.

Is she real? You’ll have to find out for yourself in this video:

“Plunge into Quebec’s Montmorency Falls with a grief-stricken ghost bride, shudder at the terrible cries of the Dungarvon Whooper, and take a front-row seat in Toronto’s historic Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, where apparitions of all sorts try to upstage the cast.

halloween haunted canadaPrepare to cringe at a foul-smelling hag who paralyzes terrified men in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Bell Island marshes and feel your heart race at the phantom tolling of the bell at the Kirk of St. James in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

The five-colour stamps feature holographic foil effects, making them as spooky as the terrifying tales they depict!

This stamp synopsis sums up the fear-inducing stories at the end of Canada Post’s three-year Haunted Canada series.

halloween frog pumpkin

Best witches for a haunting All Hallows Eve!


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