Make it a frightful fall to remember at these spooky sites in Hamilton, perfect for exploring on your next haunted day trip… if you dare.
THE HERMITAGE RUINS – WALK INTO ANCASTER’S HAUNTED FOREST
The Spooky Story: Legend has it that in the 1830s, Hermitage estate coachman William Black hung himself in the stables after he was denied the estate owner’s niece’s hand in marriage. He was buried at a nearby crossroad now known as Lover’s Lane, where some can still hear his cries and see his ghostly figure.
Visit If You Dare: Feel the goosebumps as you explore the ruins of this once lavish estate, including the mansion and outbuildings like the stable and laundry. Then explore the surrounding community of Ancaster, one of Ontario’s oldest towns.
DUNDURN NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE – HAIR-RAISING HISTORY
The Spooky Story: Sir Allan MacNab’s family is said to still haunt the halls of this historic mansion. There have been reports of ghostly singing, mysterious drafts blowing out candles, objects moving around, and feelings of chills outside the room of MacNab’s second wife, Mary, where she died of tuberculosis.
Visit If You Dare: It’s not all frightening: families can take a fear-free and fascinating tour of the 40-room historic home, led by costumed interpreters. Across the street is the Hamilton Cemetery, the city’s largest and oldest burial ground, with tours available.
ALBION FALLS – AKA LOVER’S LEAP
The Spooky Story: In the early 19th century, a heartbroken, young Jane Reilly threw herself off the waterfall after her love, Joseph Rousseau left her at the encouragement of his mother. Right before Mrs. Rousseau died years later, she said she felt Jane’s hand on her shoulders. The area was also a gruesome site where the victims of notorious bootlegger Rocco Perri and accused murderer Evelyn Dick were discovered.
Visit if You Dare: Albion Falls is one of the city’s most picturesque and popular waterfalls – but don’t let the beauty fool you. During quiet nights, some claim to hear the cries of the late Jane.
CUSTOM HOUSE – HOME OF THE DARK LADY
The Spooky Story: Legend has it “The Dark Lady” arrived in Hamilton on an immigrant ship and was murdered by the captain who buried her body in the tunnels under The Custom House on Stuart Street. She has since gone on to become one of the city’s most famous ghosts, haunting visitors for well over a century.
Visit if You Dare: The beautiful Custom House, built in 1860, is one of the oldest remaining federal public buildings in Canada and an architectural landmark. It’s been home to everything from a school to a pasta factory and now houses the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre which hosts exhibits on working life in Canada and beyond. It’s steps from West Harbour Go Station with its all-day GoTrain service so easy to reach. Explore downtown and nearby West Harbour.
AUGUSTA STREET – BEER WITH A SIDE OF GHOSTLY SIGHTINGS
The Spooky Story: This popular downtown pub and restaurant strip is a great destination for a night out with friends – just beware! Sightings of a man in a suit and top hat have been reported near the washrooms of The Judge. Across the street at Pheasant Plucker, several apparitions have been reported: both a little boy and an elderly man, as well as “a woman with fiery red hair.”
Visit if You Dare: Besides all this paranormal activity, Augusta Street is a go-to for pub lovers. Just some highlights include The Ship, famous for its burgers, craft beer and heated patio, and Odds Bar on the corner on James Street South, a casual sports bar co-owned by Arkells frontman Max Kerman.
BATTLEFIELD HOUSE MUSEUM – HAUNTED BY MARY GAGE
The Spooky Story: Once home to the prominent Gage family, you might spot the ghost of widow Mary Gage during a visit to Battlefield House — or just notice her moving objects around. Her homestead was taken over by invading American forces during the War of 1812.
Visit if You Dare: Explore and relax on the parkland surrounding the house and look up at the 100-foot-tall Battlefield Monument and moving Eagles Among Us sculpture. Nearby, visit the Devil’s Punchbowl, a deep multi-coloured gorge along the Niagara Escarpment.
JACK THE RIPPER – A HAMILTON CONNECTION?
The Spooky Story: Legend has it the infamous Jack the Ripper, who tormented London in 1888 could actually have been Francis Tumblety, a con-artist “doctor” who sold elixirs for cures. Tumblety, who lived in Hamilton in 1856, was known to assault and even kill his patients in alleyways, like the one behind King William near James Street.
Visit if You Dare: The area of King William is now known as “Restaurant Row“. The only scary thing here now is just how much food you’ll want to devour in one sitting.
COACH & LANTERN – THE THIRD OLDEST BUILDING IN ANCASTER
The Spooky Story: The original building of this authentic British pub in Ancaster was built in the 1700s and rebuilt in 1823 after a fire burned it down. War of 1812 traitors were sentenced to death here and there have been reports of a resident ghost: an old man in his sixties wearing plaid who was believed to have died in the fire.
Visit if You Dare: You might hear whispers in your ear as you enjoy your dinner (no, it’s not the drinks talking) but the pub fare here is worth it. Think chicken wings, meat pies and curries done right. There’s also live music and a European hideaway-inspired patio.
SCOTTISH RITE OF FREEMASONRY – A MEMORABLE MANSION
The Spooky Story: Stories of ghosts have surrounded this iconic Hamilton mansion for over a century. In 1913, George Tuckett left his home to visit his love interest where she murdered him in her bed. His Butler found him there and moved him back to his home office. A lady in a white dress is often seen on the stairs, and some people feel a bump in their back as they walk down.
Visit if You Dare: The former Tuckett Mansion is now the meeting place of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. It has the largest Masonic Cathedral in Canada (built in 1922), hand-painted backdrops, a pipe organ, majestic chandeliers, plus a spooky “dungeon” in the basement that terrifies the guards on patrol. Spot it in filmed-here shows like Umbrella Academy and Murdoch Mysteries.
FIRSTONTARIO CONCERT HALL – SEE THE LADY IN RED AT YOUR NEXT CONCERT
The Spooky Story: The mysterious lady in red haunts FirstOntario Concert Hall, formerly known as Hamilton Place. Staff and theatre-goers have reported seeing her, sometimes weeping red tears, in the haunted walls and tunnels.
Visit if You Dare: Catch a concert, dance performance, or live theatre performance at this gorgeous concert hall. It’s home to the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and is known for its spectacular acoustics.
MORE SPOOKY STORIES AND TOURS
- Haunted Hamilton
- Ghost Walks
- Local Ghost Stories (Hamilton Public Library)