The Blue Ghost Tunnel: Making of a Legend Review

 A review from the UK's Society for Psychical Research:

Reviewed for the SPR by: Tom Ruffles

The Merritton Tunnel, more dramatically known as the Blue Ghost Tunnel (BGT), is in the Niagara region of Southern Ontario.  It is often considered to be the most haunted place in Canada, and a considerable volume of myth and folklore has grown up around it.  Thanks to its reputation, enormous crowds have visited expecting paranormal activity, and the consequent necessity to separate facts from spurious accretions renders serious investigation difficult.

John Savoie has been researching the location for many years.  He traces its history from working tunnel through disuse to fame as a paranormal hot-spot, documenting the sad physical decline, natural decay abetted by vandalism; it is now considered a dangerous structure, one end is flooded and it has been fenced off.  It’s a complicated story, but the inclusion of a large number of photographs and maps helps to orient the reader unfamiliar with the saga or the topography.

The single-track tunnel, built to pass under a canal, opened in 1881 and closed in 1915, superseded by a double-track swing-bridge.  It was first investigated as a haunted site in the 1970s, but its reputation grew enormously from 1999, after a paranormal investigator coined the ‘Blue Ghost’ tag as a result of witnessing a “blue, fog-like apparition” – possibly his breath.  Despite a lack of experience (he was a teenager), he made bold claims for paranormal activity via the internet, which spread the BGT’s reputation much further and faster than would have happened in the old days, demonstrating the speed with which memes can circulate and mutate with very little in the way of decent evidence to support them.  We can see the narrative developing, and have a record of it.

What really seems to have made the BGT what it is today is an appearance on a paranormal TV show called Creepy Canada.   This boomed the location as “700 ft of Hell on Earth!” so it is not surprising that it attracted a certain set with fixed expectations.  Interest after the broadcast increased enormously via social networking sites, making the tunnel a victim of its own success.  Visiting the tunnel, which belongs to the Seaway Authority, necessitates trespassing, but this did not deter thrill-seekers.  How much serious psychical research went on is unclear and it became a magnet for partying youths as well as paranormal investigators possessing varying degrees of competence and contact with reality.

Not having much in the way of direct links to a paranormal aetiology itself, various tragedies in the area became associated with the tunnel, even if not directly related to it, creating a metaphorical black hole which sucked in those events to augment its reputation.  Added to such speculations were wild assertions that were patently overoptimistic, and occasionally faked.  Some ghost hunters were interested primarily in personal aggrandisement, preferring to focus more on potential media deals than in seeking the truth.

The BGT is thus a microcosm of all that is best and worst, but mostly worst, in paranormal research.  Savoie evaluates the various accounts that have accumulated around the BGT, considers whether there might be any truth in them, and looks at possible explanations for people’s experiences.  Apart perhaps from some dotting and crossing, it is unlikely that much of substance will be added to his study.  Clearly at some point the tunnel is going to collapse, but even then one suspects that the location will continue to exert a fascination, and attract further unreliable tales.

Advanced copies of The Blue Ghost Tunnel: Making of a Legend have been sent out for review. The first reviews to be published were Sue St. Clair and Matthew James Didier of Below are the reviews as well as the link to their site which has numerous reviews on books concerning the study of the paranormal.

Reviews of The Blue Ghost Tunnel: Making of a Legend, by Canadian author and researcher John Savoie
"When one reads any book, they have a hope that part of that book will resonate within their very being... that a small portion will literally become a part of their essence.  In this case, one hopes the reader of this brief tome will not find that part being a soiled mattress in a drainage tunnel that was said to be, potentially, where a ghostly prostitute plies her trade.  Welcome to the lore of the Blue Ghost Tunnel and the book, The Blue Ghost Tunnel Making of a Legend.

Author John Savoie delves into what has been an interesting and often frightening (for all the wrong reasons,) journey through the stories, myths, and legends of the now infamous tunnel and it's environs.  He digs through documents and quite literally knocks on doors finding out the sources of the history (that exists and is glancingly relevant,) as well as the ghostly myths that sprung up around this Ontario haunt... from its many claims of origins to where things stand at the time of his writing.

The tunnel, in the Niagara region of Ontario, first came to popular light online in the late 1990's and through the early 2000's gaining a strong reputation for everything from screams being heard from nowhere to the apparitions of women and dogs... and even sexual encounters of a very spiritual kind!

Everything from a flooded cemetery, various drownings, to a century old train wreck was blamed for all the events... and Savoie examines them all and the mythos from not only the tunnel itself, but it's surrounding areas.

From vandals to teenagers, questionable ghost hunters to potential movie deals, from skewed and misleading television programs to dead hookers, Savoie leaves few stones unturned.

This is a very lively book that at some points, both Sue and myself found ourselves in tears of laughter reading... and finding out even our "facts" about the tunnel needed work!  Without question, it is a "must read" for anyone interested in folklore, ghosts, urban legends, or all points in between... especially in Southern Ontario.

Is the tunnel bunk?  Is it caused by psi?  Is it the DPH (dead person hypothesis) at work? Savoie excellently goes about making cases for almost all the notions for what's said to be experienced at the tunnel, save for why so many female ghosts end up being named after the months of the year, but overall still leaves the judgment to the reader after all is said and done, The Blue Ghost Tunnel Making of a Legend is a worthy book for anyone to have a "boo" at."
~ Matthew James Didier
"This is a book that had to be written, and I can think of no one better to sort through so much chaff to get to the wheat or heart of the BGT (Blue Ghost Tunnel) legend than author/researcher John Savoie. Mr Savoie has spent extensive time visiting, and researching the Blue Ghost Tunnel location, and its history. He has exhausted many different sources from long-time residents of the area, to local historians, and archives, canal officials, ghost hunters, demon worshippers, bored teenagers, tour operators, and even found the originator of the term "Blue Ghost Tunnel." 
The Blue Ghost Tunnel: Making Of A Legend, includes numerous photos, and maps of the area both historical and current. It explores much of the mythos surrounding the tunnel, and sorts the facts from the fiction with numerous examples and sources that demonstrate the true history and origin of the legend. Both Matthew and I were happy to learn many new things about the BGT. 
Savoie also covers different ideas on what may or may not be occurring at the BGT and allows for the reader to make up their own minds on what is presented as clearly speculation, while at the same time giving good food for thought in regards to the potential of actual anomalies.  
This book is extremely entertaining, and a worthwhile read for anyone interested in ghosts, ghost hunting, history, urban legends, folklore, and the internet's role in creating, and spreading mythos with break neck speed.  While the Blue Ghost Tunnel became an internet phenomenon it is an excellent example of how urban legends begin, evolve, and how they can endure as folklore that will be passed through generations.
Long after the original BGTers have moved on to other things, younger generations will find this tunnel via Creepy Canada reruns or old internet forums, and long abandoned ghost hunting group's websites. Out of all the thrill seekers, ghost tourists, and people with nothing better to do on a Saturday night who will flock there, there will be one or two with a keen, and sincere interest in paranormal stories and research and Mr Savoie has now provided them with an excellent resource for this location. 
Thank you John for setting the record straight on this Southern Ontario haunt.  While it will surely be despised by some, it will equally and more importantly so, be appreciated by the many"
~ Sue Demeter-St. Clair

For more information please visit the author's blog

The Blue Ghost Tunnel: Making Of A Legend Facebook Group
All proceeds of The Blue Ghost Tunnel: Making Of A Legend will go to Dare to Dream Horse Rescue

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Review copies of The Blue Ghost Tunnel Making of a Legend are now available.

Review copies of The Blue Ghost Tunnel Making of a Legend are now available.

Please contact to request your copy. In order to receive an advanced review copy you must show that you have written book reviews and have a related web site.

In paranormal circles across Canada and the United States, the hauntings at The Blue Ghost Tunnel (BGT) frequent the conversation. Often referred to as "The Most Haunted Location" in Canada or a place where you are guaranteed activity, the tunnel is synonymous with historical haunted locations across North America.

 I've been investigation the tunnel as a possible haunt for the past 14 years as a solo investigator, with The Niagara Amateur Ghost Seekers and with members of The Shadows Project. In the late 1990s the tunnel, previously known under various descriptions became popularized as The Blue Ghost Tunnel, the name coined by a young paranormal investigator who is said to have witnessed a "Blue Misty Ghost".

A few years of intense interest on the Internet, multiple investigations and visits by paranormal enthusiasts prompted the once popular TV program Creepy Canada to film at the location. Together with a Ghost Tour Group Haunted Hamilton, questionable psychics and an impromtu "historian" of the tunnel, they exposed the location to tens of thousands of viewers solidifying the legend and suspected haunt. The episode depicted the tunnel as "700 ft of Hell on Earth!" As a result of their illegal trespassing and exposure of the location, the site became explosively popular and thousands of visitors each year come to visit the tunnel prompting the Seaway Authority to attempt to secure the location. Even with extensive security, people trek out to discover the BGT for themselves...

But who really discovered this long, lost tunnel? What is the truth behind the hauntings and experiences at the tunnel? Is the tunnel an Urban Legend, conjured-up by a young wannabe author? Are we simply developing our own experiences using our own minds? Or is the tunnel really haunted? And by whom? I decided to write about the tunnel, because I am fascinated with legends and lore and how they develop and what truth is hidden within.

The book includes interviews, photographs and documents from decades past including the first ever investigation in 1976. It includes historical accounts from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s with photographs and evidence supporting a number of theories. Photographs have been generously donated by residents including Kevin Valencourt, Niagara-area photographer. Please visit the Facebook Group Page for The Blue Ghost Tunnel: Making of a Legend and support and discuss this project.

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.