August 22, 2012

I ain't afraid of no ghost

Since the War of 1812, numerous ghost stories have been told in the Niagara Region at locations where soldiers died. One story of ghostly encounters occurs at Old Fort Erie.

After the war, many citizens moved into the Fort Erie area to build homes and shops. Since these residents moved in many began reporting stories of ghosts haunting the grounds around Old Fort Erie. One image that was often reported centred around two figures walking on the grounds of the fort. One figure appeared to have no head and the other had no arms. Many wrote-off this story as fiction until a discovery was made in 1987.

During the construction of a home down the road from the fort 28 bodies were uncovered from the War of 1812. These men were once part of the American army that held Fort Erie during August and September of 1814. In this mass grave two bodies stood out. One skeleton was missing its head and another was missing its arms. The story of these two ghosts has a basis in fact.

Jarvis Hanks wrote about his experiences during the Siege of Fort Erie. Since shaving was mandatory in the U.S. army many soldiers would often pair up to shave each other. Hanks wrote of an incident when Corporal Reed sat down to shave Sergeant Wait. As the corporal began, a British cannon ball severed the corporal’s arms and the sergeant’s head. The sergeant was wrapped up in a blanket and buried while the corporal lived only for a few days after.

If you want to hear stories like this and more, make sure you visit Old Fort Erie on Friday, Aug. 24 for their ghost tour. Also, make sure you check out Fort George for their ghost tours on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and you can purchase tickets for their Halloween tours in October.     

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