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.
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.
"It was a young girl, perhaps around ten or eleven, dressed completely in white - from the ribbons in her hair to the dress, which had a very old-fashioned appearance, white gloves, white socks or stockings, white shoes, and an almost blue coolness around her. She was bent forwards at a strange angle. She had a very determined outlook, as though she was being forced to walk by someone who was threatening her, if this makes sense. It was so out of place on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the summer. She walked quite fast, and was heading towards the bridge to take you off-island, and Brigitte and I watched her until she was completely out of sight. The dress was not of this day and age, and at first we thought it to be some sort of fancy dress day for a party perhaps."
In August, 1942, workers engaged by the Kennedy Construction company made a ghastly discovery while digging a passenger tunnel under the city approach to the Victoria Bridge. They unearthed twelve “coffins of rotting pine wood, blackened by time, in a long trenchlike grave at the foot of Bridge Street. The Irish community reburied the deceased at the site of the monument, in plain grey caskets, during an All Saints Day ceremony on November 1, 1942. The discovery put to rest any denial that the site was, in fact, a cemetery.
With the passing of the New Year, the fantastic legend of La-chasse galerie is still fresh in the minds of many Montrealers, if only for the fact that it is the most famous Québecois story set on New Year's Eve. According to local lore, those who hear a noise in the sky on New Year's Eve should look up because they just might spot a canoe flying through the air full of terrified lumberjacks on their unholy journey to Hell.
Gisèle then noticed a commotion on the bed. She looked over and saw that her frenzied mother was being viciously attacked by two small boys who were both ghostly and naked. Their bodies shook with soundless laughter as they pounded their fists into Denise’s bloody and bruised face. Gisèle immediately ran to the neighbor’s house, crying incoherently for help as she tried to explain what was happening. Unfortunately, the damage was already done. Her father was already dead and her mother was found to be in a coma. In a catatonic state, Denise was taken to hospital. The doctors were unable to awaken her from the coma and she died three months later.
Fearing this might be some kind of warning or preemptive signal, hotel management immediately contacted the police. Francois Lippe was the first police officer to arrive at the hotel. Baffled, he contacted his superiors and asked them to come and look for themselves at the object that was floating above the City of Montreal. The Chief of Police, Robert Masson, soon arrived at the scene and he immediately spotted the bizarre object in question.
Following an incident with a student from McGill University in his dressing room, Houdini’s health began to fail. While he attempted to continue touring, he died just over a week later in a Detroit hospital – on Hallowe’en, no less! Today, rumours swirl that Harry Houdini's ghost haunts various locations throughout North America, including Montreal!
In one frightening instance that occurred around 2005, a drunken girl was warned by staff not to go into the attic. Ignoring the warning, when staff had their backs turned, she went anyway. A few minutes later, people heard a loud, hysterical screaming. Hollering at the top of her lungs, the girl dove out of the attic window facing the street and then jumped off the balcony, in a state of complete terror. Luckily, the bouncers below were able to catch her. They tried to calm her down, but were unable to. The girl had to be taken away in an ambulance.