During the month of May, our featured Book Club 150 author was Christy Ann Conlin, and in her book The Memento, there are plenty of ghosts and superstitions, including one she made up that appears in the opening chapter (remember that mirror?). For our May contest, we asked people to tell us a favourite NS superstition or haunted place. We got some really interesting entries, so I thought I’d share some with you.
One of our gift bag winners tells this story: Her uncle’s house is “quite spooky – There’s a story that he was supposed to go out on a fishing boat but he didn’t this one night (he had to go search for a sheep that could be heard in the distance, but was never found). His friend did go out fishing, and died in a storm on the same boat.
From Annapolis Royal, a superstition that three Fundy Steamers before Christmas means a hard winter. I don’t really know what a Fundy Steamer is, unless it refers to a sort of ship, so if anyone can enlighten us, please do so in the comments. Is it a weather phenomenon? Is it something to eat?
Another superstition, from someone in Hantsport, is that “a squirrel running across your path brings good luck”. Also from Hantsport comes this bit of medical lore: “A preventative of toothache was to chew the wood of a tree that had been struck by lightning.” From Berwick, we have this bit of history: “Acadians believed if a child were to destroy a swallow’s nest, their cows would produce blood in their milk.” We are reminded that the first of the month, the first words you say should be “Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits” for good luck. And if you hear three knocks, beware — it signifies that someone will die.
The Valley is quite the haunted place. Someone from Waterville says there is ghost in their house. In Annapolis Royal, there’s “an entity that opens the front door and walks through the house and open the back door, or vice versa. We call him the Pear Man because there used to be a pear orchard behind where we built our house.” Annapolis Royal is filled with ghosts it seems, as we got several entries listing spots in that town as haunted. This entry is a chilling one: “My favourite ghosts are those I’ve seen going around corners and past windows. Always outside, never any detail, thin, wispy, and white.”
The Shore Road on the Bay of Fundy is home to the Gray Lady, who walks the shore. Her husband drowned at sea. Several people told us about her, one gave the location as Stoney Beach. There are other haunted places, such as Churchill House in Hantsport, the “Haunted Privey”, and maybe the strangest of all, the Haunted Haggis of Antigonish.
Thanks to everyone who entered our May contest! Your entries were a delight to read and share. Keep telling those stories!
—Angela Reynolds, Community Engagement Coordinator