I See You

A short story by Bekah Ferguson.

The morning after Maggie and Evan moved into their clapboard home in the woods, they unpackaged a new 55 inch flatscreen TV and set it up on the stand in the livingroom. The house, formerly a rental, had been sitting on the market empty for ten years. Some kind of misfortune took place, the real estate agent said, a missing child or such, and no one wanted to live there, least of all the bereaved mother. But Maggie didn’t believe in ghosts and thus hadn’t minded. Instead, she and her husband jumped on the chance to buy their first home for a fraction of its worth.

After successfully connecting the TV to the Internet through a device she’d bought online, a little black box, Maggie went about unpacking books and figurines while Evan went upstairs to work; the occasional sound of his footsteps shuffling above reminding her of his presence. A faint blue light blinked in and out on the device—Bluetooth she supposed—though she hadn’t connected it to anything besides the TV.

After a few minutes a screensaver switched on, presumably from the device, and an image filled the screen, drawing her attention: A grainy photograph of a girl doll sitting in a green wheelbarrow, a cluster of wildflowers at its side, and overgrown shrubs in the background.

How quaint, she thought. And sucky quality too.

Retrieving the remote, Maggie fiddled around until she found the screensaver settings and picked out something else—a crisp, high quality mountain scene. She shut off the TV.

But seeing a wheelbarrow had reminded her of something.

“Evan,” she called up to her husband from the base of the staircase. “I forgot to ask, did the lawyer give you a key for the back shed?”

“No,” he called down, “didn’t have one. We’re going to have to break the lock.”

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The Canadian Lizard Man of Vancouver Island

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As Retold by Bekah Ferguson

In the Vancouver Island, evergreen wilderness of the first regional conservation area in Canada, there is a shimmering, cobalt-blue body of water known as Thetis Lake. In the summer of 1972, the Victoria Daily Times reported on a spine-chilling encounter two local teens had with a monstrous humanoid creature. Robert Flewellyn and Gordon Pike, 16 and 17-year-olds, were alone at a beach on Thetis Lake on August 17th, when an isolated section of water began to swell—drawing their eye.

As they watched, transfixed, a spiky head with barbed fins appeared, water streaming down a silvery-blue, scaly face. The creature moved toward the shoreline, leaving the deep, and more of its body emerged; revealing additional barbed fins on its scaly arms and legs. It reached its full height of five feet in the shallows, where it suddenly turned and looked at the boys.

The two young men stood dumb-founded until it gave chase. Spinning on their heels, they ran from the beach as the creature lunged for them—slashing the hand of one of the boys with sharp, webbed fingers. Luck was on their side and they managed to outrun it, peeling away in their car, and leaving the monstrosity staring after them in the dust.

Heading straight to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to report their bizarre story, they stated that the lizard-like monster had roughly resembled Gill-man from the classic film, Creature from the Black Lagoon. The police actually investigated, believing the boys to be sincere and clear-headed. But the case was eventually closed when a local man called in to say he’d lost a pet Tegu lizard a year prior and wondered if that might be the explanation.

The police were satisfied that this missing lizard was indeed what the boys had seen, despite two particular incompatibilities: one, that a Tegu lizard wouldn’t have survived a Canadian winter, and two, such a lizard only grows to four feet in length and does not walk on its hind legs.

Sources:

Below BC

Fandom – Cryptidz

Exemplore

Cryptopia

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La Corriveau of New France, Quebec

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As Retold by Bekah Ferguson

In 1761 Saint-Vallier, New France, fifteen months after the mysterious death of her first husband, Marie-Josephte Corriveau married a second farmer. Two years later he was found dead in the barn with his head smashed in. At first, his death was deemed accidental—multiple kicks from a horse’s hooves—but rumors of murder quickly spread about the town. The local British military authorities soon charged Marie-Josephte’s father, Joseph Corriveau. His daughter was thought to be an accessory only and given 60 lashes; the letter M branded onto her hand with a hot iron.

Joseph, however, admitted that his daughter was the murderer, claiming she’d killed her abusive husband with two blows from the back of a hatchet while he slept. Thus, thereby found guilty by the tribunal, she was put to death in Quebec City by hanging. Her corpse was fastened into an iron cage-gibbet and dangled from a tree branch at the crossroads of Saint-Joseph Street and De l’Entente Boulevard in Lévis. There it rotted on public display for an entire month; feasted upon by flies and maggots, torn asunder by crows.

It wasn’t long before the hauntings began. Travelers soon learned not to take the river road leading past the cage at night, lest her vacant eyes should glow blood red and her shackled, leathery arms should stretch out towards them. Even after the gibbet was taken down, her body buried within the cage, the hauntings continued; her spirit rising from the grave each night to torment travelers.

One such night, a well-known citizen named Dubé was walking alongside the St. Lawrence River when the air turned chill. He stopped short just as a pair of bony fingers closed in around his throat from behind. Tendrils of greasy black hair tickled his cheeks and a ragged voice whispered, “Take me across the river.” Dubé swung around, glimpsing over his shoulder a set of red eyes and yellow teeth within a face of putrefied flesh. He fell to his knees—tearing at the slimy hands that refused to let go. “Leave me!” he screamed, then passed out from fright. The next morning his wife found him and shook him awake on the vacant road. His story spread and a curate was called in to exorcise the spirit.

A century later, the cage was dug up during an expansion project and put in the church cellar. It was stolen and sold to an American who put it in his museum in a glass display case with a placard that read simply: “From Quebec.” In time it was returned to Canada and placed permanently in the Museum of Civilization in Quebec City.

Sources:

Wikipedia

American Folklore

Strange Horizons

Spooky Canada

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

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It Was Never My Nightmare

By Guest Author, Natalia Ferguson

It’s dark, and quiet. The tips of trees cannot be distinguished from the darkness of the sky, and I can’t see my feet as I place them on the cold, hard ground. The crunching of leaves and twigs as I walk is jarring, and I fear something might be watching from the cold abyss of the forest. In a haze, I finally see a light. It’s a cottage, casting a warm orange glow into the emptiness.

I make my way, hoping for shelter from the shivering cold. I stumble to reach the door and I knock. No answer, so I let myself in. And oh, how warm it is inside! I feel as though I’ve walked into the air of July. There’s a soft orange glow coming from a fire in the main room.

“Hello?” I call out. “I’m sorry to walk in unannounced, but I really need a place to stay for the night.”

There is no response, and while I’m supposed to be feeling warm, a chill consumes my body. Why would someone leave their toasty cottage in the middle of the night, with the fire still roaring? With further exploration, I discover that whoever was here must not have been gone for long. There’s soup on the table, and it’s still warm.

Without warning, the front door bursts open, releasing gusts of cold wind that drown the glow of fire. Fearfully I rush to shut the door, and realize I must not have shut it properly when I entered. I breathe a sigh of relief, the only sound in a now dark and quiet cottage.

After awhile of scavenging kitchen cupboards, I manage to come across a flashlight. I flip it on and decide to look for a place to rest. I mean, whoever was here thirty minutes ago certainly isn’t here now, and I am definitely not going back into that cold.

There are three bedrooms. Two of them have beds with neatly tucked sheets and blankets that look softer than snow. The third’s bed is not made. Its blanket has been thrown onto the ground, and it’s as scrunched up as my brow. A long mirror resides on one wall, and there’s an open book sitting on the bedside table, as well as a half-empty glass of water. The light in here is off, but pale moonlight trickles into the window. Just enough for me to catch my reflection in the mirror.

My face. My face! That’s not my face! Someone else looks back at me, someone with sunken eyes and peeling skin and the most horrid look one could imagine. I take a step back. I’m terrified. What has happened to me? Suddenly, there’s a sound. A scuffling, from under the bed.

I creep closer, and lean down to look. A woman. There’s a woman hiding under the bed, and she’s looking at me with the rawest fear I have ever seen. My vision fades to a nothingness darker than the forest, with the silent scream of the girl’s face imprinted in my mind. It’s in my last moment of wakefulness I realize that it was not my nightmare at all.

Image by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay

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The Lost World of the Nahanni Valley, NW Territories

(4 minute video version)

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As Retold by Bekah Ferguson

The Nahanni River winds its way through a mist-shrouded gorge known as “the Valley of the Headless Men,” in the Canadian Northwest Territories. The national reserve is filled with canyons, caves, geysers, towering peaks, untouched forests, and a waterfall twice the height of Niagara Falls. With its wailing winds, the mysterious valley can only be accessed by foot or plane. What’s more, it is believed by Indigenous peoples to be haunted, whose oral history speaks of lurking spirit creatures.

Indeed, the “Headless Valley” namesake came about due to several unexplained deaths during the Gold Rush of the early 20th century. In 1906, the McLeod brothers set off in search of gold, but their bodies were later found by a creek: both decapitated, heads never found. In 1917, the headless body of a Swiss prospector was found near a river. Then in 1945, the body of a miner from Ontario was found in his sleeping bag—again without a head. While some speculated the deaths to be the work of a serial-killing hermit, others disagreed; too much time had passed between each killing to be the work of one madman.

The Dene, Dogrib, and Inuit tribes of the area had a different explanation altogether. For centuries they had feared a violent race of ape-like humanoids they called the Nuk-Luk, as well as a large canid creature called Waheela. In 1964, John Baptist, a European, along with his trapper companions, reported a frightening encounter with these Nuk-luk, describing them as a hairy, bearded Neanderthal race, less than five feet tall; dressed in moose-skin and carrying clubs.

But the Waheela are more terrifying still. Believed to be evil spirits that protect the land against human intruders, they travel alone, taking only the heads of their victims. Looking like snow-white wolves with the broad face and clawed paws of a bear, they resemble the long extinct bear-dog known as Amphicyonidae. Thus it has been said that the Nahanni Valley may well be a “lost world,” a remote land stalked and guarded by surviving relics of a far earlier time. Those who dare venture into the unknown depths of this vast reserve do so at their own peril, for many who have gone did nary return.

Sources:

The Outdoor Journal

steemit

Strange Outdoors

Macleans

Wormwood Chronicles

Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

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The Grey Lady of the Cavalier, Nova

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As Retold by Bekah Ferguson

In the heart of the star-shaped Halifax Citadel in Nova Scotia, is a three-story Cavalier building made of stone with multiple chimneys and a colonnaded verandah. On November 14th, 1900, a young woman named Cassie Allen waited at the altar in a nearby church for her beloved groom to arrive: a soldier from the Citadel. The sergeant was so long in arriving, however, that she eventually sat down in a chair; growing more and more anxious by the minute.

At the clip-clop sound of horses’ hooves she jumped up in expectation as a carriage pulled up to the open church entrance. The carriage was empty. The driver stepped down and took his hat into his hands, meeting Bessie’s eyes with a pained look of sympathy. He explained in somber tones that her groom had been found dead that morning in the Citadel. Cassie’s lover had taken his own life when it came to light that he was already married—to a woman living in an asylum in Bermuda. Cassie’s hysterical wails of grief and dismay echoed throughout the church; she refused to believe what had happened.

Much later, when the church was in time torn down, the chair Cassie had waited in was donated to the Cavalier Building in the Citadel. Several decades after Cassie’s death in the 1950s, an employee often sat in that very chair in the Cavalier; greeting visitors as they entered the building. One day a woman dressed in a 19th century, greyish-white dress stepped through the door and the scent of roses filled the hallway. The employee stood up to greet her, blinking; but when his eyes opened the hallway was empty. He glimpsed her several more times throughout his employment, dressed the same, but she always vanished right before he could speak.

Other employees saw her too. One night a security guard on the grounds below looked up to see a woman in grey staring vacantly out a third floor window. And another night, a guard stationed on the fort with a view overlooking the second floor balcony, watched slack-jawed as a woman in a long white dress moved along the veranda before turning at the corner and disappearing around the side of the building. It is believed that this Grey Lady of the Cavalier is indeed Cassie Allen, searching in endless grief for her long lost lover.

Sources:

Caretakers Paranormal Investigations

CTV News

Parcs Canada | Parks Canada

Halifax Magazine

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay, altered by Robbie Ferguson.

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The UFO of Falcon Lake, Manitoba

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As Retold by Bekah Ferguson

On the May long weekend of 1967, an amateur geologist named Stefan Michalak journeyed into the wilderness of Falcon Lake, Manitoba, in search of quartz and silver in an outcropping he’d scoped out the year before. Tools in hand, he was near a veiny section of Precambrian shield rock when a flock of geese spooked him with their harsh honking. Looking up, his heart jumped to his throat at the sight of two glowing hovering discs about 45 meters above. One landed on a flat section of granite and the other flew away. After calmly observing it from a distance for a while, believing it to be a secret military craft, Stefan decided to approach.

The scent of rotten eggs filled the warm air around him, and a whirring, hissing noise grew louder. In the side of the seamless, metal saucer was an opening. He thought he heard muffled voices but when he called out to offer his assistance, they fell silent. Stefan crept closer and tried to peer inside but the lights were so blinding, he had to pull down the welding goggles resting on his head.

Without warning, three panels slid shut across the opening. He reached out to touch the metallic casing and the tips of his gloves disintegrated–nearly burning his fingertips as well. The saucer began to move and exhaust from a grid-like vent blew into his chest, setting his clothes ablaze. As he was tearing his shirt from his body, the craft flew away. Stefan ran from the forest, disoriented and vomiting, but managed to make his way back home. His burns were treated in hospital and later formed a distinct grid pattern on his torso.

For many weeks afterward he was sick with an unknown illness, and little pieces of metal collected from the cracks in the rocks where the incident took place were tested by the authorities and found to be radioactive. To this very day, the circular landing site remains bereft of moss, even though it grows abundantly in the outcropping all around.

Sources:

CBC News

Atlas Obscura

Image by PhotoVision from Pixabay

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The Fort Saskatchewan Wendigo of Alberta

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As Retold by Bekah Ferguson

Swift Runner crouched down in the trampled snow next to the dead body of his hunting partner. After weeks of being stranded in ever-accumulating snow drifts with nothing to eat, Runner was starving. Now, having made up his mind, he pulled a knife from the sheath of his belt. When the feverish deed was done, he fell asleep with a bloated belly next to the stripped bones of his partner.

He awoke in the murk of dawn to a hissing sort of breathing–like a man whose lung has been punctured by an arrow. The sound came from a tall form standing in the gaps between trees, snow falling heavily all around. It moved out into the clearing, leaving bloody footsteps in its wake, and peered down at Runner with glowing eyes in a deer-like skull. The smell of decaying flesh wafted from its desiccated body as Runner heard a voice enter his mind, saying, “You have become me.”

In the spring of 1879, years later, Swift Runner’s estranged Cree community began to question the whereabouts of his wife and five children, who had not been seen by anyone since the early winter. Unsatisfied with Runner’s explanation (he claimed they’d all starved to death that winter) and noting his rounded torso—they sent the police in to investigate.

After days of searching the woods, a pit of charred wood and ashes was discovered, with human skulls and weathered bones scattered about. A tiny Moccasin shoe had been stuffed inside one of the skulls; a beading needle protruding from the eye socket. The police gathered the remains together and determined them to be Runner’s missing family; accusing him of cannibalism. He denied nothing, saying, “I did it,” and became the first man to be legally hung in the Canadian Northwest Territories.

Sources:

Wikipedia

Legends of America

Murderpedia

Image by Tomasz Manderla from Pixabay

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The Red River Ox Cart Ghost of Manitoba

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As Retold by Bekah Ferguson

“Ghost Scene at the Fort: Nightly Vigils of the Sentries Made Hideous by an Apparition” was the title of a newspaper article in the August 29, 1903, issue of the Morning Telegram. In the 19th century, the Red River Trails in Winnipeg, Manitoba, were a trade route of ox cart roads that connected the Red River Colony and Fort Garry in British North America all the way to the Mississippi River in the United States. In those days the area was inhabited by Scottish settlers and the Métis—who at the time, were disparagingly referred to as “half-breeds” due to their French and First Nations heritage.

The land was not shared mutually between the two groups, and thus, regarding the haunting at Fort Garry, the newspaper speculated that “the first owners of the Red River Valley [were] resenting the intrusion of the North-West Mounted Rifles upon the grounds sacred to their dead and making their displeasure severely felt.”

One ominous summer evening, in the wee hours of the night, a lone soldier standing guard outside the Lower Fort Garry saw something dark and looming approaching in the mist. Next came the rhythmic clip-clopping of hooves. An ox cart appeared from the gloom, driven by a Métis man and woman. Though puzzled by the out-dated look of the lot, the soldier shrugged it off and said nothing as the cart slowly lumbered by.

A few minutes later, however, another dark form appeared in the distant mist and what seemed to be the very same ox cart travelled by again. The third time it appeared the soldier began to tremble; palms damp and sweat on his brow. He ordered the cart to halt but no sooner had his authoritative words rung out when the entire apparition vanished like smoke in the wind. Seconds later it reappeared in the distance and disappeared again when he hysterically cried out for it to stop. By now he was in a full-blown panic and threw his rifle to the ground, running away. Back at the fort his fellow soldiers laughed off his story; but the next night, another soldier on duty had the same experience. One by one it happened to them all until there was no left who could mock.

Sources:

Canada Post

Cision

WinnipegREALTORS

Image by Ron Porter from Pixabay, adapted to a nighttime scene by Robbie Ferguson.

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The Tunnel Monster of Cabbagetown, Ontario

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As retold by Bekah Ferguson

In the early 19th century days of Toronto there were many rivers, streams and creeks branching across the land like veins and arteries. Endless trees towered above the developing city rather than skyscrapers. And down in the riverbeds of these yet rural wilds lived a race of water spirits known in Algonquian mythology as Memegwesi (pronounced “may-may-gway-see”). These elusive humanoid creatures were elfish, small and hairy, with voices said to be like the high-pitched drone of a dragonfly. When city builders rerouted these waterways into solid underground tunnels that merged with the sewer system, it is thought that the Memegwesi were unknowingly buried with them.

By the early 20th century, Torontonians had long forgotten the existence of these vast tunnels—that is, until one summer’s day in 1978 in an area of the city known as Cabbagetown. A man named Ernest stumbled upon a secret entrance to the tunnels while searching for a lost kitten. Certain he had heard distressed mewling down in the alley beside his Parliament Street apartment the night before, he decided to army-crawl into the culvert about ten feet, flashlight in hand.

The tunnel gradually widened, its black depths like an abyss. Something skittered ahead and he steadied the flashlight beam, hoping to see his kitten. But it was no cat caught in the beam. A pair of slanted red eyes bulged at him above the gaping, large-toothed mouth of a hairy, grey, bipedeled creature about three feet long. “Go away, go away!” it screeched, then ran off into a side tunnel. Terrified, Ernest shimmied backward out of the tunnel and waited a full year before admitting to the Toronto Sun newspaper what he’d seen. However, when they went in search of the tunnel’s entrance, they found it collapsed in upon itself, and no one has ever admitted to such a sighting again.

Sources:

The 13th Floor

Fandom

Little People (Mythology)

Memegwesi

(Image via the archives of the Toronto Sun newspaper.)

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The Poltergeist of Baldoon, Ontario

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As retold by Bekah Ferguson

In 1829, in the Scottish settlement of Baldoon, Ontario, the John MacDonald family purchased a two-storey farmhouse and soon found themselves terrorised by a violent poltergeist. For reasons unknown, there was a land dispute over the sale; in particular, by an old woman who was very much opposed. Her threats and misgivings were left unheeded, however, and the MacDonalds moved in.

The hauntings began straight away: The lid of the kettle flying off as the kettle flung itself to the floor, the poker and broom in the hearth jangling in an unfelt gust of wind. Stones smashing through windows with no culprits in sight, and an Indian knife lifted from its mount and thrown at the window; piercing the casement firmly. Once John marked one of the stones with paint and threw it into a nearby stream, only to find it back on the floor of his house a few hours later. But the worst was yet to come. One day the house randomly caught on fire and burned to the ground. The family escaped unscathed, and after briefly living elsewhere, returned to the property to live in a tent, perhaps planning to rebuild.

At this time, a country witch doctor came along and spoke to them. He claimed that the Ojibwe who lived in the same Great Lakes area believed that it was not a poltergeist tormenting the family at all, but rather forest faeries. The house had been built on a faerie path and they were simply in the way: the hauntings were intended to scare them off. But as later recounted by John MacDonald’s son Neil, a local teenage girl with second sight had different advice for the family altogether. She told them to fashion some silver bullets and go in search of any unusual geese in the area.

John found a white goose with a black head near the river and proceeded to shoot at it. His aim was bad and he nicked only the wing; breaking it. So he chased after the wounded goose through the hillsides and forests until he lost track of it. It was then he discovered a cabin in the woods–the house of the old woman who had contested his purchase of the land. And there she sat in a rocking chair on her porch, muttering curses, and cradling a broken arm.

Sources:

Skeptoid

Mysteries of Canada

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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