WELLANDCANALS.COM - a source for historic discussion and research

Photo by Kevin Valencourt

Good friend, and fellow paranormal investigator, Gord Westwater has created a rich and dynamic resource for persons interested in Welland Canal History, as well as the history of the Niagara Region.

The web site features, histories, monumental amounts of photographs, research and historical data. In addition, the web site hosts a forum where Niagara history and historical locations are discussed.

And diving into history and researching historical locations is an essential element when investigating suggested haunted locations.

I encourage those interested in Niagara History to visit www.wellandcanals.com and also join in the forum.

Cropsey Trailer - investigating an urban legend

What if an Urban Legend was True?

Check out this scary documentary:

Investigating Rose Hall, Jamaica

Investigating Rose Hall, Jamaica Part One
The legends and haunting of Rose Hall in Jamaica is known world-wide. Its reputation as an active haunted location has been documented and showcased by several prominent teams of ghost investigators and individuals researching the paranormal. Rose Hall has come to be known as the most evil, the most haunted and the most scariest place on earth.
I was about to investigate and come face-to-face with The White Witch of Rose Hall. My investigation and research will, no doubt, shock some of the readers.

The Legend of Rose Hall and The White Witch
The Legends and Hauntings of Rose Hall surround one Annie Palmer, matriarch of Rose Hall and the surrounding sugar plantation.
In the 1700s, a woman's route to wealth and power was usually via marriage, and Annie Palmer was no exception. Born in France, Annie was a petite woman (barely 4 feet tall, it is said) who moved to the beautiful island of Jamaica to be the wife of a powerful man who owned Rose Hall and thousands of acres of sugar plantation. Little is known of her early days at Rose Hall but it is said she visited Haiti before arriving in Jamaica and studied Voodoo. We do not know if she came to the island already imbued with a streak of cruelty, or if she cultivated it under the demands of her husband and her duties as the mistress of The Great House. It is said that she pined greatly for the bright lights of Paris, and found life on the island to be a hardship.
Whatever the cause, Annie was feared by the slaves who lived on and worked the plantation. She ruled with an iron fist, and defiance, or even perceived insolence, was answered with public whippings, torture in the dungeon, or even death. Annie started her day by stepping to the small bedroom balcony and issuing the orders of the day to the assembled slaves in the yard. Her orders often included punishments and executions.
Perhaps out of boredom, or sheer wantonness, Annie started taking slaves to her bed. When the Mistress of the House lavished her attentions on a slave, that man's days were numbered. When Annie tired of her lover, she would murder him and have him buried in an unmarked grave. We know little of her first husband, John Palmer, except to say that she murdered him in his bed as well. Perhaps he caught her in the act, or maybe she just tired of him too.
These were rather lawless times, and the sudden death of the master of the estate seemed not to cause any investigation. Regardless, Annie cultivated the image of being a tough and merciless mistress, at least in part to keep her from appearing to be easy prey. These were difficult times to be a woman, particularly a rich widow in a country frequented by pirates and the like. Annie found another way to remain independent and in control – she practised Black Magic.
Many of the slaves were practitioners of the art, and in order to curry favour and live longer, they taught Annie everything they knew about magic, particularly Voodoo. This was to include human sacrifice, particularly of infants, whose bones she used in practising the black magic. Soon Annie was known far and wide as "The White Witch of Jamaica". Her reputation for ruthlessness and magic powers served to keep her safe from those who would normally consider her a target. Even so, Annie found time and reason to marry two more husbands, which she eventually dispatched in a similar manner, acquiring their wealth in the process. One has to assume they were foreigners, unacquainted with Annie's reputation on the island.
Annie's Overseer was a slave known to be quite a powerful Voodoo practitioner, a fact he managed to conceal from Annie, at risk to his own life. The Overseer had a daughter who was engaged to marry another handsome young slave on the plantation. Unfortunately, Annie's lustful eye fell upon the young man, and he was soon called upon to pleasure the mistress of the house. The Overseer knew what to expect, and began to make preparations to protect the young man from Annie's "disposable lover" policy.
However, Annie did not follow her usual pattern, and she killed the young man that same night, instead of playing with him for a week or so. Perhaps he objected to her attentions and declared his love for another. Whatever the reason, the young man was dead, the Overseer's daughter grief-stricken, and the Overseer was filled with helpless rage. Annie must die, at all costs.
A special grave was prepared in the woods, within sight of the Great House, using Voodoo ritual and markings. The Overseer then entered the house, confronting the White Witch, and engaged her in magical and physical battle. He succeeded in killing her, sacrificing his own life in the process. Slaves who were privy to the Overseer's plan entombed the body of the White Witch in the specially prepared grave... a grave designed to keep her from rising and walking the plantation again. But they failed to complete the ritual properly, and the White Witch is said to roam the Great House to this day.
That is the Legend. That is the story told.

Media Attention & Previous Ghost Hunts at Rose Hall

With such a rich heritage and such a dramatic legend it is no doubt that authors, musicians, radio personalities and television shows gained interest in Rose Hall and the said hauntings.

In recent times, Ghost Hunters International filmed an episode of their popular program at Rose Hall. Below are the full episodes for your entertainment.

And previous to GHI, Linda Blair's Scariest Places on Earth, featured Rose Hall. Once again, the episode appears below for your entertainment.

My Investigation Begins
With such media exposure I was tainted and knew the story of Rose Hall and the Legends of the Great House. I was excited and ready to begin when I was told I was not allowed to do an overnight investigation, but was welcome to participate in a daytime or evening investigation. I was told that many of the previous paranormal encounters took place in the afternoon and that I was sure to get evidence and to be prepared.
My investigation began outside, in a peaceful garden area. I moved slowly towards what the caretakers called The Dungeon of the Great House. Historically, I called The Dungeon a previous Root Cellar and now a modern gift store. I was told that people feared the location, smelled blood and felt the horrible crimes of the White Witch. I felt nothing and continued to the first floor.

Rose Hall is a spectacular piece of heritage and the curators have created a fantastic and accurate portrayal of what the Great House used to look like. The US investor spent $1.5 Million to repair and restore the Great House. There is no doubt it was a wise investment - individuals are charged $22 each to take a self-guided tour and it is one of Jamaica's top visited tourist sites.
"The Dungeon" held books, collectibles and trinkets for the tourists. The sad part is, average Jamaicans would not be allowed to visit the site, nor be able to afford any of the gift shop's offerings.
I sat on the first floor alone for several moments and decided to move on.
Several of the bedrooms were mentioned as having ghosts – the murdered souls of Annie's husbands. Each bedroom, I waited, recorded, and investigated. And again, my senses told me nothing. My equipment revealed that I was completely alone.
I was beginning to feel a great deal of disappointment and decided to call out for Annie out loud - to ask her to reveal herself to me...and to my surprise I met her.

Ghost Hunting? There is an App for that!

I received an Android Tablet for Christmas and was impressed with the amount of apps one can load up. Similarly, Smartphones are able to load up a host of ghost hunting apps and other essentials that may assist in your investigation and research.

Robin Pyatt Bellamy wrote an article on the subject for Psican. You can read a sample of the article below and read the full article here.

Ghost Hunting? There is an App for that!
Written By Robin Pyatt Bellamy

In the summer of 2010 I finally entered the world of Smart Phones with the purchase of an iPhone 3GS. My husband purchased the 4G a few weeks later. We’re both delighted with our phones, but have chosen very different applications to download.

As you might have guessed, many of the ones I have on my iPhone relate to my research into the paranormal. Some are more “handy” than others of course. The flashlight is a must have. I have found that the typical “battery drain” I get from AA-D batteries does not happen with my iPhone. I don’t have an answer to why, I just know that statistically I get far more sudden drain with traditional batteries than I do with my phone. The iPhone flashlight applications are generally not extremely bright and have relatively NO range like a traditional flashlight, but when I’m in the dark and my regular flashlight fails, this app is a real blessing. As there are several versions available, it’s a matter of personal preference. Typically these are free apps.

The iPhone app I use most would probably be the “Handy Level” app. This is simply a standard level. Most researchers I’ve come across don’t use a level at all, but my kit has two. I have found the iPhone level as accurate as the standard one. Why use a level? It’s common sense. If things are moving, first rule out slanted surfaces! If you have a witness reporting a glass moves across a table, and the table is not level, it is impossible to rule out natural causation. Especially in Toronto, with its heavy traffic and pubic transit systems, or any building anywhere near a train track. I do use the camera on occasion­ the problem being, of course, that it is digital and therefore creates no negative. But I almost always carry my phone, whereas I don’t always carry a 35mm camera..

About This Blog

Out of the Dark: The Ghost Hunting Chronicles is a blog providing detailed investigations of the Out of the Dark team, paranormal news and editorial.

It will also feature the past investigations of paranormal investigator and author John Savoie.