Photos: Mark Goudge
The temperature dropped.
That was my first sign we weren’t alone.
The second was a response to Margo Griffin’s question.
“Are there any spirits in the basement with us?”
A one-word typed reply came on Tammie Térèsa Saunders’ phone. “Child.”
I felt the tell-tale cliché shiver down my spine.
He, or she, must be standing close to me.
It was 2:30 a.m. and six of us stood silently in the Randall House Museum’s musty basement, our hearts beating with excitement.
Mark Goudge, the SaltWire photographer with his camera poised, stood next to Griffin. Across from them was Saunders and next to her was Krystal Tanner, museum curator.
We had all tramped down the old wooden stairs down into this small dark and dank basement with the hope that there would be something more than cobwebs and dust.
We had just hit the Halloween jackpot.
We even saw our new friend briefly. He was an apparition photographed against a window and couldn’t have been more than seven or eight when he died.
We then saw him in action. He gently pushed an old hoe once used by early settlers, causing it to sway lightly as if there was a gentle breeze.
I was more curious than scared. What would he do next? What exactly killed him and left his soul trapped here, unable to cross over to the spirit world? Why was he here?
But he never told us.
Instead, he left a series of one-word answers including ‘weak,’ ‘nodded,’ ‘lose,’ ‘whom,’ ‘solution,’ ‘each,’ ‘eaten,’ and ‘close.’
A ‘ghost radar’ app on psychic Tammie Térèsa Saunders’ phone recorded a string of answers that left me with even more questions as to who this boy was. Or was he even a boy? We thought he was, based on the short haircut in our only photo of him.
Towards the end he said ‘Bronwen’. Was that his name?
The whole encounter lasted maybe 15 or 20 minutes.
Two clangs and a ghostly whistle marked its end.
In another level of the house, a green-painted room covered in photos and sporting a 19th century penny-farthing bike is possibly home to another ghost boy, Eden.
“He likes to say ‘Pssst’ a lot,” said Tanner.
During previous investigations, Eden replied that he was a neighbour and followed the team around the house.
“I was giving a tour, I was chatting and he said, I’ll come back,” said Tanner.
But this night it remained silent. We kept trying to reach him, using tracking devices including a radio scanner, that loud crackle gave you a headache and a temperature sensor.
As Tanner, Saunders and I tried Eden, Goudge and Griffin set up shop in the attic trying to pick up more spiritual signals.
Goudge seemed unfazed even when Saunders’ phone radar picked up ghosts or when a sudden feeling of cold came over us.
We both walked in the dark outside, snapping exterior shots of the museum. I poked around running video but nothing untoward happened outdoors, unlike the incidents inside the ancient home.
Before we met our new friend in the basement, our six-strong ghost hunting team swept Randall House room by dark room for ghosts.
We had some fleeting encounters.
Saunders, who says she has a gift for seeing spirits, spotted a woman in a white dress on the ground floor.
Another ghost, a man, is said to live in the museum’s textile room at the top of the staircase.
Tanner warned us that he was grumpy, territorial and did not like people invading his space.
Especially reporters, it seems.
I entered the textile room twice. The first time nothing happened.
The second time I dashed up the stairs and back into his room, poking around between racks of white sheets. Suddenly I felt a shiver, sensed a presence, and startled, said something far too rude for print before leaving quickly as I had entered.
Saunders, ever the diplomat, tried a gentler approach.
“I’m not here to do anything to you. I just need to document some things in this room. I’m sorry to invade your space,” said Saunders. “I’m coming in now.”
By then, the grumpy man had retreated into a corner.
Located on Main Street in Wolfville, N.S., Randall House is an old farmhouse built in sometime in the late 1700s or early 1800s, no date specific date has been determined. It was home to three generations of the Randall family before being turned into a museum in 1949.
If there are ghosts here, they probably want to be left in peace and hate people trespassing in their space.
In this one sense, they are just like us.
Southwest Nova Scotia has a rich oral history, and part of that is the handing down of ghost stories.
This folklore has been passed through generations. Join us for a series of stories that look through our spooky past.
First stop, Clark’s Harbour, where we’re reminded to be careful what we wish for. Meet Myrtle.
Forerunners: A spooky indication of something to come. Glenda Bishop had an encounter in the middle of the night that signaled the death of a loved one. Our next stop on our ghost tour through Southwest Nova Scotia takes us to New Minas.
They say animals have a sixth sense, and black cats especially have been tied to otherworldly events for centuries. Read about this Yarmouth gravedigger’s encounter with one black cat that just wouldn’t go away in our third stop on our ghost tour.
We all know firefighters are dedicated to their jobs. Perhaps this one was a little too dedicated? Read about a haunted fire hall in Windsor in our fourth stop on our virtual ghost tour around Southwest Nova Scotia.
Invisible trains and fiery horsemen – it’s right out of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but it’s right here in Southwest Nova Scotia. In fact, New France, in Digby County, is quite a hotspot of paranormal activity. Join us for our fifth stop on our virtual ghost tour around Nova Scotia and hear the village turned ghost town.
From moving books to overheard conversations between spirits – and sometimes even spotting a spooky figure when no one else is in the building - the Queens County Museum staff know they’re not alone. And that’s OK by them. Check out the latest stop on our virtual ghost tour around Nova Scotia, where we learn about the multiple ghosts that roam the land.
Ebenezer Bishop leaves a legacy of love behind. He’s known as the Kings County man who trekked across the ice in the middle to winter to get to Parrsboro and propose to the girl he loves. His bones rest in the Old Burying Ground in Wolfville – but does he? Meet one of the ghosts that Jerome the Gravekeeper introduces Valley Ghost Walk participants to each week.
“Sometimes, people say they see her or hear her.” Miss Anderson – a bride of the sea, her husband and her own life taken by the ferocious Fundy Tides. Now she haunts the fish plant near where she lived.
The Mounce mansion was once filled with love and laughter, until untimely deaths cut that happiness short. Does Thomas Mounce still haunt the halls of this West Hants mansion? Read our next ghost story here
Did you know a couple that’s originally from Kings County now have a paranormal investigation business in Truro? They were recently at Randall House Museum in Wolfville. You might be surprised what they heard
There’s no shortage of ghost tales from Yarmouth – a foreboding knocking, a haunted ship and possible photo evidence of a ghost? Our ghost tour around Southwest Nova concludes today with this final offering. Click through to see the picture – do you believe it’s a ghost?