It appears not only did the early settlers of Belleville bring their superstitions, but also in many cases left behind spirits. In many of these cases, these souls are still found to be active.
Settlers in Belleville were mainly from Europe, and mostly from the British Isles. Many brought with them superstitions, which included concealing a child's shoe within the walls of their home. One theory suggests that this was merely a fertility charm. The connection of shoes and fertility is well documented, from nursery rhymes "There was an old woman who lived in a shoe," to persons tying shoes to a bride and grooms car. The most accepted theory suggests it was to ward off evil spirits, demons, and witches.
I found one example of this in an old east hill home located on George Street. The previous owner of this particular house uncovered the shoe when renovating. (Name and address omitted as requested)
Westgate Lodge Nursing Home
I have personally had a few accounts with the unexplained. My father passed away May 26, 2012, and just a few days before he passed, I was in visiting him at Westgate Nursing home. He barely acknowledged my greeting, when he quickly asked, "Jimmy, why is the Chinese woman in here bothering me?" Not thinking much of the question, I answered "She's just looking after you, dad" thinking he had an Asian caregiver. "No, no, why is she here?" My dad, for weeks leading up to this point, was in and out of reality. Many days were trips in his mind taken back to his grandparent's farm he grew up. These were fond memories for my father. It was for this reason. I thought my father was on one of those trips so to speak. I got concerned when I realized my father was more himself, then not and I asked him, "where is this woman" He pointed to the wheelchair beside the door. As I grabbed the wheelchair and turned it to face him, he said, "Oh, she's leaving" It rather gave me goosebumps, but I carried on with my visit.
It wasn't until a nurse, and an aid came in to check on my father, that I realized the complexity of my father's vision. During his check-up, my father bombarded the girls with questions in regards to the Chinese women visiting him regularly. It wasn't until he gave a detailed description of this women, the ladies turned to each other and went pale in the face. According to both caregivers, my father described a Japanese woman who passed away Feb 10, 2012. Her name was Kiyoshi Sato and her room while at Westgate was right across the hall from my fathers. Kiyoshi's husband, Tasaku, passed away a week to the day after my father on June 3rd, 2012. He too was being cared for at Westgate Lodge. I like to think, Kiyoshi's Spirit was helping my father's transition from the living, while waiting for her husband.
The second part of this story includes my sister and brother-in-law. Both left Belleville for a scheduled appointment at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto on May 25, 2012. My sister started off for Toronto, even though she felt our father's days numbered few. If it hadn't been for the importance of this scheduled appointment, she would have stayed. They got as far as Brighton when the transmission light came on. My sister concerned about driving such a long way took this as a sign to turn back home. It so happens, my father only lived another twelve hours, giving my sister and family a few more precious hours by his side. My brother-in-law took the vehicle in for repair that Monday following and the mechanic could not find a thing wrong. Devine intervention perhaps?
Belleville Cemetery Story 1.
My spouse (Mickey) and I often take our three dogs for walks through the Cemetery. Sometimes at unusual times, such as five o'clock in the morning, or late in the evening. This one particular time was roughly 9:30 pm (Twilight) on a warm summer evening in August 2014. We were approaching the back corner of section P and Q when Mickey and I turned at the same time to see a glowing sphere roughly five to six feet tall and hovering off the ground about one foot. It passed us about fifteen feet away moving North to South at a quick pace. It disappeared in the bushes along the shores of the Bay of Quinte. After it disappeared, I turned to Mickey and said: "You did see that, right?" She answered, "yes I did!" The odd thing about it, our dogs did not react to it. The whole incident gave us both goosebumps, and it was the topic of discussion for the rest of the walk and days to come. Picture at the right is an example of what we saw. It did not take on the full shape of a person's body as this picture does. Head shape etc., but it was roughly the same size.
Mickey and I experienced another incident at the Cemetery. This time it was Jan 1, 2015, about 5:30 pm (Twilight). Mickey was walking about ten feet in front of me with one of our dogs as we passed in front of the Mausoleum. It was at this time an overwhelming fragrance of perfume came over me. It was a fragrance I would expect my grandmother to use. I was left dumbfounded when it dawned on me Mickey does not wear perfume, it's January, and no one else was around. The odor lasted for only thirty seconds or about thirty or so steps.
I caught up with Mickey halfway down the next aisle between sections B and G. I noticed Mickey looking over her left shoulder several times, explaining she felt that someone was following.
As we crossed in front of section V, the overwhelming fragrance came back. I quickly asked Mickey, "Do you smell something?" She answered, "Yes, a perfume smell." This time it lasted for roughly a minute or more. This incident did not give me goosebumps, but it did leave us both baffled. Our conversation for much of the day directed at a possible explanation for this event. We came up with none that made any sense.
Story 3 The story told as per groundskeeper who chose to be nameless. Roughly ten years ago this individual was preparing a grave in section H when he looked up and saw an old man in the distance crossing section H. At first glance he thought nothing of it because many persons visit the cemetery and are seen anywhere throughout the Cemetery. He went back to what he was doing when realized the man he saw was wearing dated clothing and a fedora. He looked back quickly only to find the man had vanished. He investigated thinking the man may have fallen, just to realize he may have been seeing things that weren't there. The old man could not be found anywhere. Later he discussed this unexplained sighting with his co-workers over coffee. Several days later, one of his cohorts approached him and asked the description again. His buddy told him he had to see something and that he should come quickly. He took him over to section H to a headstone with a man's picture on it. He realized right there and then the person he saw crossing section H was one in the same as the picture on the stone. Not only that but the day he saw this man, matched the death, month and day written on the memorial. Note: This groundskeeper also substantiated my experience with the perfume fragrance. Having too smelled the aroma of what he described as Chantilly Perfume on several occasions. The next story could be one of folklore. It told to me by an acquaintance, and I cannot substantiate its accuracy. On the east side walkway under the Dundas Street Bridge, pick a quiet time and use a recording device, one can hear a child's cry when playing it back. I am told a child once drowned in this spot sometime in the last 200 years.
The next experiences are as written at the Ontario Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society. Other than the first story, I take no credit for them, as other persons documented them previously. Story 1. An interview which included my father and me several years back. Written word for word from meeting and how it reads at GHRS of Ontario.
This two storey home located on a quiet back street in Belleville Ontario was purchased by the family in 1964 and remains in the family today. According to the son, who has done extensive research on the residence, the house was built between 1870-1875 by Marshal Bidwell Roblin, an insurance salesman and the proprietor of Belleville’s original “horse drawn” street cars until a fire in 1892 destroyed his fleet of cars.
The father, who was the main witness, states the activity started on “the very first day they moved in” and continued frequently throughout the 1960’s and 70’s. Amongst other things various sounds were commonly heard throughout the house. A ticking noise could often be heard emanating from the area of the summer kitchen where some boxes were stored. On one night, when the ticking was particularly dominant, he proceeded to open every one of those boxes, failing to locate the source even though he described the sound as “filling the room”. Of note, there was a dug well in the summer kitchen about 20 feet deep which was subsequently filled in in 2010. When asked by his son if perhaps the ticking was coming from the well he stated he “wasn’t sure, maybe”.
A further account tells of the father investigating voices heard at night downstairs. Thinking his daughter was staying up late with friends he checked her bedroom and then his son’s, only to find them both asleep. He then went back downstairs. As his foot touched the last steps he noticed the television in the living room was dying out in the way old television sets did when they were turned off.
Perhaps most interesting of all though, was the frequent, middle of the night sightings by the father of three apparitions seen together. He says he often saw them in the upstairs hallway at night but whenever he approached them, they would quickly disappear. He described the ghosts as being all well dressed, two of which were women in their early twenties, wearing circa 1900 dresses which flowed to floor length. The other ghost appeared as a gentleman who was slightly older, perhaps in his thirties.
The family believes the gentleman ghost is the original owner of the house, Marshal Bidwell Roblin. Through their historical research they found he had had two wives in life, one who died quite young (48), leaving them to speculate if the two female ghosts were indeed his wives.
The family took it into their own hands to rid themselves of the sounds and ghosts after living with the nocturnal disturbances for a time. By doing a “spiritual clearing” the activity quieted down considerably. At this point the family agrees that the home is no longer active.
Although the whole family experienced the unexplained noises, it was only the father and the son who saw the ghosts. The son was just 5 when he caught his first and only glimpse of the three apparitions. Not understanding what he saw at the time he still never forgot the unusual things he witnessed that night. It wasn’t until he got older that he realized what he had seen.
As written at GHRS of Ontario. I do not take credit for these documented events.
Since 1969 the Belleville Theatre Guild has operated out of the former D.L. Storey Centre in Belleville. Since the building has become the Pinnacle Playhouse, there have been many reports of supernatural occurrences within the walls. The members of the Guild have nicknamed their spirit "Ophelia" after Hamlet's love interest in the famed Shakespeare's play. There have been many reports of hearing "Ophelia" talking within the walls of the theatre, as well as staff and guests seeing green eyes within the air vents. Voices and lights have been seen and heard from the backstage area when no one was there. A lady in black is often seen in the control booth, and there are also sightings of people sitting in the seats of the playhouse who just disappear. In the female washroom - people have been terrified hearing a disembodied male laugh who people theorize is a dead janitor who used to work within the building. Did all the renovations that occurred on the property converting the old D.L. Storey Centre to a playhouse wake the dead, or is this the result of creative minds working late hours in an old, dark, historic building.
The Wilmot house which is located at 293 Dundas Street West in Belleville, Ontario is the former residence of S/L Charles Eardley Wilmot, A.F.C. Mr. Wilmot was a skilled military pilot who passed away during the afternoon of October 15, 1941 which was two years to the day from the time he enlisted in the R.C.A.F. He was born July 12, 1892 in Newcastle, Ontario, and earned the Air Force Cross for his service in the military. After the first World War, he moved to Belleville where he was elected mayor. In 1931, Mr. Wilmot moved near Branford with his family, and became deeply involved in the community. After the outbreak of World War Two, Mr. Wilmot joined the R.C.A.F., and was commissioned as a flying officer. He soon after became Commander of G Flight at Camp Borden (C.F.B. Borden). It was from here he moved to the Uplands where he met his untimely death. How that death happened is up to debate. On October 15, 1941 documentation states that Mr. Wilmot was walking out to his plane across the tarmac. Another pilot did not see him, and the other pilot's propeller decapitated Mr. Wilmot. But according to some relatives - he died while racing across the tarmac, and ran into the propellor. No matter how this poor soul met his death, local tales tell of Eardley Wilmot spirit still roaming his former home on Dundas Street in Belleville
I'm writing about one of my childhood homes that my family resided in from 1978-1989. The house on (deleted by webmaster for privacy) was once a single family structure that my father had converted into apartment in the 1960s. The apartments were rented out to numerous tenants over the years until my family lived in the whole house again as one unit; that is using all the units for our own use. During that time my family had experienced some things which make us believe to this day that there is someone else sharing the apartment house. Most of the sightings were in the back half of the house on lower and upper floors. My mother claims that some old tenants of the apartments said that they would see a woman with short hair wearing a dress and a shawl. My mother never had seen the woman herself however had an experience while removing dishes from a kitchen cupboard she had dropped plates as she had felt as if someone/thing had forced her arms downward. My sister saw the woman in the back apartment on the second floor which use to be a bedroom in the original layout of the house. During the conversion to apartments my father had added on to the back and had created a 2 story addition where access ways to new rooms were once windows or doors. My sister used this room as her bedroom. She had seen the woman in the room and had something loom over her while in bed. She had seen her many times while she lived in the house until she moved out and married in 1981. One time she had seen the woman during daylight hours in the kitchen, pointing to her with my brother and mother in the room but they could not see her. Myself, I had seen a dark shadow on the wall in that room while was going up to sleep one night. I had to pass through the room to access my room through a new doorway where a window would have once been. The shadow was strange as the light source into the room came from behind the wall I on which saw the shadow on. It was a huge silhouette of a woman with short hair. A few years later my Grandmother had moved in with us and had used a room at the back on the main floor as her bedroom. Let it be known that my Grandmother had all her mental faculties and had told past stories of her encounters of with ghosts and thus claimed to have had no fear of them. It's also important that I emphasize my father restructuring of the house to explain what my grandmother saw. My grandmother in the middle of the night saw the woman standing by her bed looking at her. My grandmother motioned her to shoo and she watched the woman walk through the wall where a doorway once was. The next morning after my grandmother telling us of the event, my mother phoned my sister and confirmed with her the same woman in appearance and dress. My Grandmother passed away peacefully in her sleep while living with us in 1982. She never doubted that there was someone besides the family in the house. My mom's father had moved in with us in the mid 1980s. Unfortunately he did not have all his faculties but would every once in a while say that That woman came by again last night . Grandpa used the same room that my Grandmother had used as a bedroom. Before the conversion of apartments this room was an enclosed like porch/pantry that my father used as the base of the two story extension built onto the back of the house. The doorway which was now a wall with shelving unit instead of door would have been a well traveled path in the house by previous residents to the back garden and garage. After moving out of the house in 1989 my father resumed renting out the units. My brother and his family lived on the main floor for a few years. He doesn't claim to have seen anything but always talk about how there is the feeling of being watch in stairwell going upstairs (original stairway of original structure) the two upper apartments. He claims that a tenant had claimed to see things in back unit where my sister and I had seen the woman/shadow. It has been many years since my family lived in the house. My father sold it in the mid 1990s. But it still is a topic discussion with my family. In fact it was topic of conversation over the past holiday with my sister, brother and mother. Events that have must have made a big impact on me as I still think about it 20 years later. There are many theories and other stories. But the appearance of this woman to my sister and grandmother where actual events. I'm sure that it would be interesting to know if other people living there have seen the woman. The apartment house is still there.
I worked there in 1997, and had some strange experiences. There are a few people who do believe what I witnessed/felt, including the son of a former owner and his wife. Not to mention several dancers who have worked there, have witnessed "things". My experiences are unique. It happened on a Saturday night in January of 1997. I had been sitting with friends, and I began to feel a sensation of someone stroking my hair. There was no one behind me as I had my back to a wall. My hair was full of static. There was no explanation. Later that evening, I went to retrieve a shirt from my room on the 3rd floor. I knew there was no one upstairs at the time, but when I reached the top of the stairs, I immediately felt as if someone were right beside me, and to be quite honest, it scared the heck right out of me. When I entered my room (last door on the right as you go east down the upstairs hall), my room was as cold as a walk-in freezer, yet the water heater was very hot to touch. I ran back downstairs and went to speak with the owner's son. At that time I refused to go back upstairs unescorted, and he informed me of three possible hauntings in the building, a little girl, an older man and a woman between twenty-five and forty. Each apparently on a different floor. At the end of the night, another dancer by the stage name of Sassy walked me to my room so I could get ready to go home. When we went into my room, Sassy also noticed how unusually cold the room was. I can't explain what happened after that, but the room appeared to develop a warm glow, and I immediately felt like I was being hugged, but Sassy was on the other side of the room. When I went to leave the bar, I had passed by the seat I had occupied earlier that evening. The shadow from the chair was what amazed me. The chair was empty, but the shadow showed a little girl sitting in it swinging her legs. Have you heard from anyone else about this building? I am very curious. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Update - November 2006: One of our readers writes:
I live right by the Doc's palace. It is now closed because of a fire a few years ago, but the building is still there. I used to live not even a block away in a corner house. One day I went outside for a cigarette and saw a little girl with long blond hair and a blue short set that had a ruffly sort of trim to them across the street. She was standing by a fire hydrant. I would say she was 7-9 years old. I looked away for a second and when I looked across the road she was gone. There is absolutely no way anyone could have ran away that fast. I'm wondering if it's the same girl from down the street at the doc's.
Do renovations stir up ghostly activity? Many people feel so and this historic (circa 1817) house may be yet another case of this. According to John Robert Colombo's Mysteries of Ontario, during the 1989 renovations, workmen claimed they heard "cries" over their own power tools and experienced one of the most 'common' type of reported poltergeist behaviour with things going "missing" only to turn up in strange and weird spots later. Were spirits 'disturbed' by the work? Could be... Has there been any other reports either more recent or from before 1989? That's, hopefully, where you come in!
We've had a few Belleville residents write to us for information on the mansion named Glanmore. Built in 1883 and a fine piece of Victorian architecture, the historic former home of the Phillips and Faulkner families now houses a museum and is a historic site open to the public. "The splendour of the Victorian period comes alive" in the house according to the book, Mysteries of Ontario by John Robert Colombo. Apparently, the house also houses something else... The painter, Phillipa Faulkner was born in the house and when she donated it to the city (1971), she noted that it has "peculiarities". Apparently, she was once visited by a soldier in a red tunic and white hat at the house. He was a benevolent apparition and smiled at her then vanished. She was certain that the apparition was an uncle who had passed in the Boer war. She was somehow comforted by this 'ghost' as she felt that 'he' had come to watch over her and protect her. Mrs. Faulkner reported as well that the piano in the drawing room has played by "itself" and her heavy bedroom door has opened of it's own accord. The widow felt that this was the 'ghost' of her grandmother, Harriet Phillips. Apparently, the phenomena at some points was so heavy that one just needed to spend a few quiet moments in the home and before long, they'd sense or experience "something". The phenomena was more annoying than 'scary' and in 1965, a Roman Catholic priest was summoned and exorcised the 'ghosts' of Glanmore. After that, the disturbances... at least the major ones... ceased. Minor ones, apparently, do continue. We have had reports come in from an 'eerie' sense of being watched while in the home to a witness that reported seeing a door swing open of it's own volition and then close... according to this witness, this was not the house settling or wind as they STRONGLY wished it to be but say they triple-checked all possibilities of something 'natural' with no success. Either way, the home/museum is a "must see" for any history buff and the 'ghosts', if they do remain, are still benevolent and seem to be causing no real harm.
Updated 2004 - Email from Ann Burrows Faulkner correcting mistakes in original story.
You have a link up to the history of the home at http://www.glanmore.org/glanmoreind.html which does contain a family history (the home was lived in by the Phillips, Burrows and Faulkner families, 3 generations, not 2). As well, it contains photographs that are a much more accurate representation of what Glanmore actually looked like when it was lived in as significant alterations (redecorating) was done subsequent to the sale of the home by my mother. The photographs that are on the link above were the photographs that my mother had taken in 1968-9 for submission to the Historic Monuments Board of Canada. The redecorating was undertaken subsequent to 1971 and before the opening of Glanmore in 1973 by the Museum Management Board of Belleville, Ontario. My mother sold Glanmore in 1971, not 1955. So those are the dates that need changing. (Editor's Note: Done!) As for the ghosts.. You have the story of the British soldier but it isn't quite accurate. Shortly after my father died in 1955, my mother was alone in the house with my brother and I and worried about how she was going to get on without my father, her father (Sandy Burrows) had died recently as well. She was worried about being alone with 2 kids to raise. My bedroom was the back upstairs nursery (where the Curator's office is). My mother was sleeping one night and I came into her room crying and woke her up (I was 3). When she turned the bedside light on, there was a British redcoat standing at attention beside her bed. He looked at her, smiled, and disappeared. She never saw him again. She did tell me that she was never afraid after that. Historically, my great-great-grandmother, Amelia Curran, married a Captain Phillips - either in Ireland or shortly after arriving in London, Ontario from Ireland c1840's - who served with Queen's Grenadiers (I'm not sure of the Regiment, this could be incorrect, the obituary is illegible). Their son was John Philpot Curran Phillips, who built Glanmore with his wife, Hattie. So, if it is true that there are ghosts, that is the probable connection :-) We had a British redcoat uniform in a trunk in the attic with the other Victorian clothes - my friends and I used to play dress-up in them when we were younger. After we moved back from Mexico c1962, my mother had a priest bless the house because it didn't "feel right". There was an oppressive presence felt. Apparently, this resolved it. I remember when she did that. I never heard anything further about it. I think I may have seen Hattie once. I play the piano and was practicing one day in the drawing room. I was in the house alone. I don't know if you play an instrument but.. I was in the.. "zone" and totally focused on the music. All of a sudden, someone was walking by me, enough to interrupt that concentration in that I stopped playing to see who came in the room. I just saw this tiny woman in a grey silk dress, wearing keys on a belt around her waist - who had red hair - walking by out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to say something (as in, "Can I help you?), there was no one there. Needless to say, I experienced somewhat of an adrenalin surge Shortly after, my mother came home and told her what had happened. When I described the woman, she said: "You've just seen Hattie Phillips" who was, in fact, a very tiny woman (4'7", etc.), had red hair and always wore the house keys at her waist. My cousin was visiting one year for Christmas. We were sitting - again in the drawing room - by the fire, late at night. All of a sudden, her face blanched and she - "moved" off that couch. I thought she'd seen a spider or something. I asked her: "What happened???" She said she felt someone put a hand on her shoulder, and there was no one there. I think that - if anyone haunts Glanmore - it is Hattie Phillips. Glanmore was very much her home and it always preserved as such while in the family's hands. She decorated the interior and was the original painter of the ceilings and most of the artwork that was there (in the photographs taken in 1886). It was her wish, always respected by the family, that the integrity of her home, Glanmore, be preserved. Sadly, this has not been the case. Given the redecorating - not restoration - undertaken between 1971 and 1973 - that do not accurately reflect her home, I'm sure she's not a .. happy presence. You are more than welcome to use the above without editing, it its entirety as this is the truth on which you may quote me as the family representative.. I look forward to the amendments to your page. (Editor's Note: We have! Thank you!) Warmest regards, Anne Burrows Faulkner
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