Everyone has heard a ghost story, and many have first hand experiences with the spirit world ranging from brief glimpses to full-on encounters. I find it fascinating and am always up for a good story; the freakier the better.
Next time I’m in Victoria overnight, I plan on going to the Visitor’s Centre on the corner of Wharf and Government Street around 7:15pm; I’ll be looking for a tall, bearded fellow dressed all in black. John Adams is very much alive and has been doing the city’s Ghostly Walks for several years now. He is a local historian, storyteller, and writer and has been seen on OLN’s Creepy Canada and Ghosts and Ghoulies. He is a fountain of paranormal info, so this is a great chance to meet him in his element.
How to Take the Haunted City’s Ghostly Walk
The Ghostly Walks run from October 18th to November 2nd and there has been an addition to the itinerary called Ghostly Walks Extreme, which is appropriately scary and not recommended for children under 16. Reservations are needed for the Extreme tour and you can call to book at 250-384-6698.
Rates for the Ghostly Walks are $14 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, $10 for kids 6-11. The Extreme Tour runs for $22 per person. Group rates are also available; call for the rate on your party size.
The Ghostly Walks will take you to places with a ton of eye-opening history behind them, and once you know a little bit more about Victoria’s shady past, you’ll wonder why the whole place isn’t haunted. There are areas that hold a lot of human trauma, like Bastion Square. The Maritime Museum is the former jail and gallows site, a prime target for paranormal activity. A lot of stuck souls permeate the whole area and one of the reasons why it could be is that there apparently is quite a few bodies of the prisoners still left under the square. Other places to learn about in that immediate surrounding is Trounce Alley and Garrick’s Head Pub.
The Haunted City’s Downtown Hotspots
For those who do not have an evening free for the tour but still want to feel some otherworldly vibes, you can easily find most of the reported hotspots on your own right in the downtown area. I find it extremely difficult to walk past Roger’s Chocolates on Government Street without walking in for one of those huge and delectable pink and white gingham-wrapped handmade chocolates. I’ve never had a bad one yet and I’ve tried flavours that normally I’d never be interested in. Once you are in this Art Nouveau historic building, keep on eye or ear out for the former founders, Leah and Charles Rogers. They still like to run the shop their own way.
The nearby Old Morris Tobacconist Shop is in a beautiful period building as well. There have been reports of footsteps from the second floor when the room was empty and the sound of cupboards opening and closing. A former employee did pass away quite suddenly upstairs in the workshop, so it could be his spirit being heard.
Murchie’s Tea and Coffee is another architectural beauty and has had some poltergeist action, like the elevator running on its own and other disturbing movements. Also on Government Street, your visit here will give you the opportunity to try some of the best tea and coffee in the city.
If you continue your walk south a few blocks, you’ll be at the world famous Empress Hotel. I love it here, and have stayed overnight and enjoyed breakfast in bed. But back then I was not aware of the hotel’s creator Francis Rattenbury strutting around the halls, swinging his cane and surveying his domain, or I would have made a point of getting up in the middle of the night to check him out. Sadly, his wife’s young lover murdered the architect in England by clubbing him on the head. So I hope Mr. Rattenbury is remembering happier times when he is at his hotel.
Of course there are a ton more haunted places in Victoria, and I haven’t even taken you to Ross Bay Cemetary yet. But this would be a great and exciting tour to explore with John Adams, or just explore the darker side by walking around the old downtown part of the city on your own, if you are feeling brave.
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