Updated: Sep 9, 2019
HI Everyone! Welcome back to the blog. This is part 1 of the big Haunted Homes episode, there is a lot to cover. Also as I had mentioned in this week's show, please let me know if you enjoyed hearing the non Canadian stories. If so, I think here and there I will add a story or two. Now Haunted houses are probably the most common type of haunting people think about and no wonder, we spend so much of our lives in our home. Usually our biggest milestones take place there. With a historical home that's been around for decades, you start to get the layers of families and experiences building up inside. Especially when you're talking about homes from so long ago where people usually passed away in their homes...and sometimes funerals were held in their home as well, now you have that added element. So let's take a closer look at the homes from Part 1! **Please note that if you click on any of the photos, you will be taken to their original site, if you would like to read more!
First up is Helmcken house in Victoria, B.C, when you look at the home, remember that it's up in the top windows that a young woman or young girl has been seen waving at children.
Here is a photo of Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken and the bronze statue that stands in front of his former home:
Here is a photo of Dolly (Helmcken) and her husband, who as you will remember, passed away tragically at the age of 30.
Dolly moved back home where she took care of her father, often playing the piano for him. When walking by the home there are often reports of hearing piano music coming from the home. Dolly was very close with her father and when he passed away she left all of his belongings right where they were, like a museum. At first she actually wanted all of his belongings and writings destroyed upon her passing but then eventually agreed to donate them. Thankfully she did, as he was obviously a very important man to the medical community.
The next place is Four Mile House also located in Victoria.
https://search-bcarchives.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/remodelled-four-mile-house-on-old-island-highway-near-victoria check out << this link to see a photo of what it looked like in 1920.
This is a stained glass window that pays homage to Peter Calvert's sister-in-law who is said to be the Lady in White who haunts the nearby Thetis Cove. This is still a part of Four mile house to this day, I believe it's in the pub. There have been reports that the Lady in White has been known to hang around the Four Mile House as well. If you stop by to have a bite, make sure to find this beautiful piece of art.
This is a nice photo of Thetis lake beach, which is another location that the Lady in White has been seen at night. This lake has actually seen it's share of tragedies, many drownings, they are actually toying with the idea of bringing life guards back to the lake. It's a stunning lake, I'm not 100% sure where the point that she stood is but it appears there is a rock face that people frequently jump from, it's possible that is where she stood waiting for her husband.
The lore of a Ghostly woman in white is actually quite common in the realm of the paranormal, you'll see even as we move across Canada...it seems like every province has a woman in white.
Next up is the Tod House in Victoria, check out the Tour/Maps Tab because most of these houses are very close, if you visit Victoria, it would be so easy to do a little day ghost tour...so check that out. Anyways, let's get back to the Tod house, this is the location where the woman in chains was supposedly seen.
I don't know about you but when I began researching the Tod House I pictured a big house...I was surprised to see such a sweet looking little home. This photo doesn't look all that different from how it used to look, it's been maintained really well.
Here is a photo of John Tod, I don't know why but this photo just really gives me the creeps. Not to be disrespectful, I just feel like his eye are just so intense. Let me know what you feel when you look at this photo.
So during the Tod House story I mentioned that part of the reason that people didn't much care for John Tod was because of his involvement in the Spiritualist Movement. He was in fact quite open about it. The history of this movement is really interesting and seemed to begin with the daughters of a family by the name of Fox.
I find this type of thing fascinating, I hope you do as well. It's hard to believe that an entire spiritualist movement, with upwards of eight million spiritualists by the 1880s, was essentially started by two sisters aged fourteen and eleven in their childhood bedroom in March of 1848.
How??? Yes...it's quite the curious tale.
March of 1848 was a trying and frightening time for the fox family as every night as the young fox sisters were ready to settle in for the night...they would begin to hear banging and rapping on the walls, floor and furniture. The sounds seemed to be made by some intelligent spirit, who would answer their questions through the sounds. One night they had their neighbour over to see for herself. She stood in the small bedroom while the two girls sat in their beds. Their mother Margaret began with..."count to five"... and there were five loud bangs that seemed to shake the house. She continued with..."count to fifteen" and the raps answered correctly. She asked if it could tell them what the neighbours age was and they counted out the proper thirty-three raps. How could this be!? The neighbour was mystified and word spread fast. One thing that Mama Fox hadn't considered...the date was March 31st...April Fools Eve. Did this have something to do with the sudden appearance of a miraculous phenomenon?
The Fox's sent their daughters to stay with their older sister Leah in Rochester. Community leaders were so entranced by this story, they send investigators to the little farmhouse to investigate the rumour that an old peddler was murdered years earlier and he could in fact be the one communicating with the girls. The team found strands of hair and bone fragments in the basement, which only served to fuel the hysteria that was growing around this story. The sisters then went on to perform their 'act' for different local people and eventually for a four hundred person crowd at the largest hall in Rochester. Unbelievably, their older sister Leah turned out to be a medium and became part of their group (what luck!). When a committee of skeptics couldn't figure out how this could be happening, it only solidified their legitimacy in the community and the growing Spiritualist movement.
The sisters eventually embarked on a professional tour, where they would perform in hotel parlours, halls and even privately for the social elite. Eventually Maggie moved away from the performances and was married. When her husband passed away, she renounced spiritualism and converted to Catholicism, she went a step further and decided to publicly renounce her past in 1888. She was paid $1,500 by New York World for the tell all article. While Maggie had separated herself from this movement, Kate had continued to refine her act as a medium adding more to her bag of tricks so to say. Unfortunately, she had also tragically become quite the alcoholic.
The confession from Maggie was a blow to the institution of spiritualism, she confessed that she and her sister tied an apple to a string and would move the string up and down, causing the loud thumping sound. They then learned how to use their knuckles and toe joints to make the rapping sounds that so many heard. This coupled with people's imaginations, made it easy to convince their audience that what was happening was real. She even took her shoe off and demonstrated the rapping sound with her big toe. She recanted her confession years later...but then did a talk under a pseudonym giving away more secrets of spiritualist methods.
She never reconciled with her sisters, Leah passed away in 1890, Kate died two years later from alcohol and Maggie eight months after that. What started as a practical joke, blew up into something I'm sure they could have never imagined. Taking advantage of grieving people, obviously took it's toll, it would have been hard to keep up the charade for as long as they did. This time in history is very interesting, seances, Ouija boards and the art of ectoplasm boomed at this time. I know I went on a bit of a tangent but I think it's so interesting and gives you a bit of insight into what John Tod was into at this time. A lot of people were afraid of this type of involvement and belief, so it's not surprising that people who didn't believe, would have not understood and were maybe even a little afraid of him.
Moving on! I didn't find any articles about the body of the woman in chains being found under the Tod home years later. Like I've said before, that doesn't mean that it didn't happen, but you would think that would have been big news, especially when linked to a paranormal even. Paranormal evidence is always big news.
The last home that I spoke about is the Villisca Axe Murder house in Villisca Iowa, this is the first time that I'm including a place from outside of Canada, please let me know if you like this or if you want me to stick solely to Canada for now. Anyhow this is the home as it looked then and as it looks now!
As you can see, it looks very similar to what it was back then...minus the giant sign with bloody letters. Truthfully..kind of in bad taste as 8 people did die here, I think sometimes people can forget that. It might be interesting to be able to go in there but it's also a place where multiple people brutally lost their lives. We need to remember these things and be as respectful as we can.
It's so heartbreaking to look at the photos of this family and those two little girls and know that they have yet to have justice and most likely never will.
Now as I said in this episode, there have been many investigative teams in and out of this house for years now as this place has been restored and is open to the public. I talked about the most compelling EVP's that I've ever heard and I will link them below...keep in mind, they are very disturbing and I think that they are just as described, which are tortured screams. You can tell these were not heard as a normal scream would have been, the sound is obviously turned way up, in order to hear any sounds not otherwise detectable...listen with caution.
Let me know what you think of these and if you want to hear more, all you have to do is search on Youtube, there are many, many EVPs and investigation videos inside the house.
I hope you have enjoyed this weeks episode, don't forget to tune in for Part two where I will be talking about Point Ellice House, Beban House, Fairacres Mansion and the Myrtles Plantation, another U.S location. Thank you for listening this week and make sure you enter the contest on Instagram for some Real Scary Merch! Until next time...