At around 9 pm, Marie-Josée was putting her daughter to bed when she heard what sounded like laughter coming from outside. She opened the window to see if there were rowdy teenagers in the neighborhood, but could not see anyone on the street or in the park across the street. While she could not place the laughter, she recognized the voice as male. The laughter got louder, and soon transformed into a mixture of snickering, giggling and cackling. Unimpressed, Marie-Josée closed the window and secured its latch. Unfortunately, she could still hear the deranged laughter, albeit more muffled.
Haunted Montreal is extremely excited to report a very special event. Canada's most haunted city, Montreal, is nervously awaiting its most infamous ghost. Prostitute Mary Gallagher was brutally murdered and beheaded in a filthy Griffintown tenement on June 27, 1879 on the corner of William and Murray streets. The case shocked Montrealers, especially when Mary's best friend, Suzy Kennedy, was sentenced to hang for the gruesome crime. Since then, Mary's headless ghost is said to return every 7 years on the anniversary of her death, still searching for her head.
One afternoon, I went into the kitchen to refill my coffee cup. Standing there alone, pouring hot java into my mug, I had an intense feeling that someone – or something – was staring at my back. When I spun around, nobody was present. Suddenly I heard a loud clanging noise and I nearly jumped out of my skin! I whirled around and saw that three metal pots, which had been on the kitchen counter waiting to be used to prepare the evening meal, were rolling around on the floor, creating a metallic echo throughout in the kitchen.
For those familiar with horror novels and movies, there is a common trope that it is never a good idea to build upon ancient Indigenous burial grounds. Unfortunately for the City of Montreal, a large section of its Downtown core exists on the site of a former Indigenous city and cemetery, resulting in all sorts of speculation that the modern city is haunted. Furthermore, since remnants of the Indigenous city were unearthed in 1859 on the corner of today’s Metcalfe and de Maisonneuve streets, a debate has raged on among scholars of European ancestry about whether or not it is the site of the fabled lost city of “Hochelaga” visited by French explorer Jacques Cartier in 1535.
“The famous cathedral where Brother André worked has had several visitors from beyond the tomb apparently. Some tourists have indeed seen priests in tunics, and when they approached them… they evaporated into thin air! In addition, it is said that Brother André himself appears from time to time in the little chapel where his heart is exposed.”
While Dublin City, Ireland has around 15 haunted pubs and Savannah, Georgia, "America's most haunted city", has around 25 paranormal bars, Montreal is clearly the best metropolis to mix booze with creepy ghost stories. With over 40 haunted pubs and other drinking establishments, Montreal is an ideal city to pour back some libations while pondering the paranormal.
Meanwhile, in Victorian Montreal, there was no shortage of ghost storytelling during the Yuletide season. Indeed, Montrealers embraced the winter with fantastic carnivals that featured giant ice castles, mock battles involving hundreds of participants, skating parties at the opulent Victoria Rink and magnificent fireworks displays. When revelers arrived home after a day at the Winter Carnival, the hearth was stoked, mulled wine and brandy were prepared, and Victorian Montrealers gathered around to listen to and tell ghost stories as the flames crackled, casting eerie shadows across so many a parlor throughout the city.
At other times, staff have found the faucets running when they were positive the taps were closed. In one case, a dishwasher turned off the kitchen's tap and went to the bathroom. When she returned, she could hear the water running and spotted the ghost of a young girl who had just turned it on again. The ghostly girl looked directly in her eyes and then vanished into thin air, with the water still running at full blast.
Ravenscrag is a prominent Pine Avenue mansion that is currently used as McGill's psychiatry department. Now known as the Allan Memorial Institute, it is a very creepy estate and is also rumoured to be extremely haunted. Tortured, disembodied voices are known to echo the corridors and not only do caretakers often refuse to clean the terrifying morgues in the building, but sometimes at night a mysterious light appears in the cupola of the main tower overlooking the McGill campus.
Horse-drawn carriage rides in Montreal have been a long-cherished tradition for centuries. Since the 18th Century, horse-drawn carriages, also known as calèches, have been ferrying tourists around Montreal to take in the sights and attractions. Those driving the carriages include a cast of colorful characters who have a long history of unveiling some of Montreal’s most unusual and darkest secrets. This long-enjoyed tourist tradition is about to come to an end in 2020, on orders of Montreal’s new mayor, Valerie Plante. While most people believe her decision was influenced by animal rights activists, a few speculate that she decided to ban them due to one particular reason: a paranormal carriage known only as the Phantom Calèche was putting tourists in serious danger.