It is now officially Fall, and that means sweaters, beautiful fall colours, and spooky vibes. Now I’m not a big horror fan, but ghost stories are awesome, and Nova Scotia is full of them. Below you’ll find thirteen spooky places across the province where you can spend a fall evening looking for ghosts. And even if you don’t see them…that doesn’t mean they don’t see you.
Annapolis Royal is one of the oldest settlements in Nova Scotia; in fact, it was the original capital. It’s not surprising, therefore, that there are several ghost stories in and around the town. You can take the Candlelight Graveyard Tour for ghostly guidance, or set out on your own adventure. Wherever you walk, bring a comfy sweater and a good flashlight…don’t let the shadows play tricks on you. Details
If you want to have a ghostly experience even in the daytime, what better place than a ghost town? Only 19km outside of Sydney, Cape Breton, Broughton has been a ghost town since 1916. There are still a couple of people who live nearby…and if you believe the stories, there’s a few spirits ‘living’ there too. Bring your ghost-hunting equipment and day or night; you’ll find the experience eerie. Whether there’s ghosts nor not, Broughton is haunted by the potential it once held to become the big town it was designed to be.
Address: 1179 Broughton Road, Cape Breton
The Caledonia Mills holds a mysterious history that dates back to 1899. The MacDonald family consisted of Alexander, Mary, and their foster daughter Mary-Ellen, who was 16 when the fires began. Thirty fires sprang out of nowhere in the end, and even with increased vigilance, they never caught the arsonist. Suspicion was placed on Mary-Ellen: both suspicion, because she was a teenager and teenagers, do weird stuff, and supernatural suspicion, as people thought she might have been possessed by a poltergeist. The MacDonalds eventually moved away, but visitors through the decades have reported that the fire-spook seems to be around still. According to legend, you shouldn’t take anything from the property with you—it might cause fires in your own home.
Ah, Citadel Hill, home to an old fort, lots of great tobogganing, and a decent place to walk if you want to get in some hill time. But at night, you’ll find that all its history might not have been left in the past. The Citadel Hill ghost tour takes you around the fort to see if you can spot the most frequently sighted ghosts…or maybe even some of the rarer ones. Parts of the fort can be spooky during the daytime, so venture out at night…only if you dare.
Address: 5425 Sackville St, Halifax
Cossit House Museum
This house is one of the oldest, and perhaps the oldest on Cape Breton Island. Now a museum, you’ll find interesting tours with costumed guides surrounded by period décor (the period being the 1780s). But there will be things going on there that you may not be able to see. Ghost hunters and mediums alike have made trips here and reported strange sounds and energy around the place. As this is a stop on the Old Sydney Society ghost walk tour, you can get a feel for this place both in the daytime and the nighttime.
Address: 75 Charlotte St, Sydney
Five Fishermen (Halifax)
Five Fishermen is a wonderful restaurant, but you just might get a show with your dinner. Built-in 1818, it was a public school and then a morgue before it was a restaurant. It was a morgue during the Halifax Explosion and dealt with the bodies from the sinking of the Titanic, so it’s no surprise that there are some ghostly happenings. There have been multiple ghost hunting expeditions to the restaurant, and most claim to have contacted the ghosts. Come and have a wonderful seafood dinner, and keep your spirit box and camera ready—you might just find a fellow diner a bit more…transparent.
Address: 1740 Argyle St, Halifax
Fortress of Louisbourg
Built in the 1700s, the Fortress of Louisbourg is a wonderful place to visit whether you’re interested in history, culture, or the natural beauty surrounding it on both land and sea. With almost three hundred years of history, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of spooky stories about echoes from battles and peacetime still roaming the grounds. Paranormal investigators from Haunts of the Cape have reported sounds of footsteps and singing (caught on tape!) on the multiple occasions they’ve slept over at the fortress.
Address: 259 Park Service Rd, Louisbourg
Lunenburg is a town designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and (super)naturally there’s a paranormal side to that heritage. The Haunted Lunenburg Tour will take you all the way from the Mariner King Inn and up to Hillcrest Cemetery on Gallow’s Hill (which sounds like the perfect hill to place a cemetery). From hangings to sightings, the tour will give you an extensive look at the haunted history in this pretty town.
Address: 97 Kaulbach St, Lunenburg
Stories of ghost ships have existed as long as humans have been using boats, and Nova Scotia is no stranger to sightings. The most famous ghost ship can be seen in the Northumberland Strait. Stories about the flaming three-masted ship have been told as far back as 1903, so there’s a long history of people seeing the ship from both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island shores. In fact, it’s one of the most well-travelled ghost ships in the world, potted from Shediac to Charlottetown to Pictou. No one’s quite sure what ship it is, and there are some killjoys who argue for a natural explanation. Whichever side of the argument you support, you’re in luck—it’s most often spotted in spring and fall, the perfect time for exploring spooky claims.
Riverbreeze Fear Farm
So the fear farm is different from the other sites on this list—it’s created by Riverbreeze, and the legend is entirely a work of fiction. Once you get into the haunted houses or you’re running through the mazes…well, that may not seem to matter. The show’s put on every fall, and participants get to enjoy the rush of spookiness and the rush of being part of a performance tradition. And in some ways, isn’t that the experience we crave from haunted places anyways?
Address: 660 Onslow Road, Truro
St. F.X. University
Most of the universities in Nova Scotia have a ghost story or two attached—after all, most of them are over 100 years old. St. Francis Xavier University (or St. FX) is no exception, and if you’re already in Antigonish County to see the Caledonia Mills (see above), you should see what you can learn here. The two most ‘popular’ ghosts are the Blue Nun and the Red Priest—the Blue Nun is a protective Spirit, and the Red Priest…not so much. There’s even more ghostly activity going on at this campus, some of which doesn’t seem to be either of the named ghosts’ work…so maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get to name another of St. FX’s spirits!
Address: 4130 University Avenue, Antigonish
The Annapolis Valley is well known for being beautiful and pleasant, especially during harvest seasons. However, there’s a darker side, and you’ll find it at night in Wolfville. Home to Acadia University, Wolfville has adapted its ghost tours to the quarantine by creating sunset Sit Down shows where you’ll hear all the amazing valley ghost stories, all told by Jerome the Gravekeeper. If you’re interested in taking your bubble on a longer tour, you can find information links on their website about locations from past (and future) tours in different communities around the valley.
Address: Annapolis Valley
Yarmouth Ghost Tour
Yarmouth is another old settlement with plenty of ghostly history, made creepier by the hundreds of kilometres of open water just outside its harbour. The Eerie and Ominous tour takes full advantage of the creepy by combining true crime stories with supernatural stories, leaving you with an appreciation for the darker side of history. Look out to sea when you can…you might just see a ghost ship.
Address: 417 Main St. Yarmouth
Disclaimer: There’s no concrete proof of ghosts at this time, so you might as well look for some!
By: Adrienne Colborne