Haunted Montreal recently received an anonymous letter from a former Westmount High School student who had a terrifying experience in the graveyard. The letter-writer claims that a spirit followed him or her home following a visit to the cemetery. After going to sleep, the author was woken up by a ghostly male figure who was quietly uttering his or her name. Drenched in sweat from fear, the letter-writer found the strength to flick on the light switch, only to realize there was nobody present. In telling Haunted Montreal his or her story, the author joins a long list of others who have experienced ghostly and paranormal activity in the Protestant Mount Royal Cemetery.
There are many theories about who the ghostly soldier might be. While some online rumours suggest the military apparition is of French stock, others believe he is British. One feasible theory takes us back to 1885, when Montreal was in the midst of a smallpox epidemic. During the era, smallpox was seen as the worst possible disease. Not only was it extremely infectious, but it could disfigure and even destroy people within a week or two. Infection was caused by breathing contaminated air or touching something that had been in contact with the variola virus.
Many lovers, tourists and students celebrating their high school graduation have reported strange sightings on the cliff behind the lookout, which is actually the border of the Protestant Mont-Royal Cemetery. While the most recognized ghost is that of an Algonquian warrior, undead apparitions of all sorts have been known to appear on this haunted cliff, terrifying the sight-seers on the Camilien-Houde Lookout below. To make matters worse, there have been several mysterious deaths at this location caused by people falling down the steep slopes of Mount Royal.
In another story, the local toll-gate keeper, an old man name Quinn, had the fright of his life one moonlit night. One of his cows had strayed away from the toll-booth and wandered towards the Trafalgar Tower, prompting the owner to go retrieve the animal in the beautiful moonlight. Quinn had heard about the haunting from several people, but he thought it was a joke and had no fear. According to Quinn: “I had just found my cow at the foot of the haunted summer-house and saw, with my two eyes, a beautiful form of a woman looking out of one of the windows. I was transfixed to the spot and could not take my eyes off the vision. She was in white with her hands clasped, as if in prayer, looking upwards. I remember falling down on my knees and crossing myself, and I remember nothing more.”
Allegedly the 6th floor of the McLennan Library is haunted by the ghostly apparition of an elderly man who wears a strange old coat. He is known to float quietly above the floor, sometimes towards students who are deep in a book or librarians stacking the shelves. Once he selects his target, the apparition is known to glide up behind a person, then lurk, almost perfectly still. He stares intently at his victim until he is noticed. When the startled person reacts, usually by screaming and jumping up from their chair, this ghost is known to vanish into thin air, leaving the victim embarrassed for having disturbed the quietude that makes the McLennan Library famous.
Schoolgirls enrolled at Villa Maria have been whispering about the hauntings for decades, often to the disapproval of religious officials who were once involved in the school's administration. Despite the school offering a more secular education nowadays, the hallowed halls are still said to be haunted by various ghosts. Certain locations are said to be extremely haunted, including the main lobby, where as mysterious rope sometimes swings on its own accord, and the fourth floor, where students often experience flickering lights and gusts of cold wind, not to mention phantom footsteps and disembodied weeping sounds. Delving into the site's history of the site can provide clues as to what may be causing the hauntings.
The building is currently used by the Department of Education. At some point during the 1990s, a female Graduate student had a terrifying encounter in Duggan House. She was scheduled to have an important academic meeting her professor in the large foyer of the building. When she entered, she found him in a plush chair, awaiting her. The student sat down opposite him, put her purse on the ground to the right of her, and flipped open her notebook. She was in the process of explaining some new avenues of research, when suddenly she froze and stopped speaking. Her mouth agape, she stared at the shadowy, spiral staircase to the left behind the professor. The student appeared to be in a state of panic and started pointing at the staircase and screaming. She witnessed the ghostly specter of a woman, clad in a 19th Century petticoat, who materialized on top the spiral staircase and then begin descending into the foyer. The girl was now shrieking hysterically, causing the professor to panic. He immediately spun his chair around to see the imminent danger that was terrorizing his student. There was nothing there.