Photo cred - shotgunshy
For a city that's over 300 years old, there's bound to be a fair share of historical baggage. Montreal has seen all kinds of crazy stuff over the years, and while we'll never know just quite everything this island has seen, there are some stories that have lived on and have become the stuff of urban legend. Some spooky, others quite absurd, the following urban legends partly make up the very fabric of Montreal's history and are worth being shared, if only to serve as cautionary tales.
Resolving the age-old battle between myths and facts, below you will also discover the truth about the Mont Royal volcano connection.
The Headless Ghost of Mary Gallagher
Back in June 1879, two Montreal prostitutes, Susan Kennedy and Mary Gallagher, were drinking in a Griffintown bar with a john named Michael Flanagan. Despite the three spending the night together, Susan Kennedy became overcome with jealously, and in a drunken rage, brutally hacked at Mary Gallagher with an axe, eventually decapitating her. Legend has it, that every seven years since her murder, the ghost of Mary Gallagher has walked the streets of Griffintown, visiting her old address on the corner of Rue Murray and William, searching for her lost head. Now, the building on William Street was torn down long ago, but in case you consider yourself a ghost hunter, the next sighting of Mary Gallagher is set for June 27, 2019.
Is Mount Royal A Dormant Volcano?
While there is evidence of minerals that only derive from an ancient volcano, the truth is, Mount Royal is just a regular old mountain that makes up part of the Monteregian hills. However, if you've ever wondered where the name comes from, it's not due to any historical royalty tapping it on the shoulders with a sword and knighting our modest hill. Le Mont Royal is actually rich in a mineral, first discovered in Montreal, called montroyalite. Thus, Mount Royal. Go figure!
The Ghost Of McTavish
Speaking of Mount Royal, according to legend, back in the 1800's, the jovial soul of Simon McTavish was said to be seen tobogganing down the slopes of our almost-volcano. And not just on any toboggan or cheap dollar store crazy carpet, but on his own coffin! McTavish once had a castle on the top of Mount Royal that was eventually demolished and served to bury his mausoleum deep underground. In later years, McGill students were known to break into his mausoleum, obviously.
The Haunting on Prince Arthur Street
According to legend, in 1929, mysterious knots starting appearing in the curtains of a house located on Prince Arthur Street between Parc and Sainte-Famille. The knots eventually started turning up everywhere in the house and was believed to be a tormented poltergeist leaving its mark. Some brushed off this notion, insisting instead that it was the youngest daughter of the family who owned the house, unconsiously trying knots everyhwere, but years later a new tenant maintained that he too would find knots in his curtains and bed sheets.
Photo cred - Martin Ujlaki
The H In the CH
Everyone's favourite hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens are represented by their infamous crest, the CH. Being nicknamed the Habs, you probably thought the H in the CH stands for just that. But you'd be wrong. According to Canadiens jersey history, the H simply stands for hockey. In fact, the early days of the logo actually featured CAC instead, standing for Canadien Athletics Club, and it wasn't until the team was purchased by the Canadien Hockey Club in 1916 that the H was added. Regarding the Habs nickname itself, other than its allusion to les habitants, a term for early French-Canadian settlers, the term was actually coined by former owner of Madison Square Garden, Tex Rickard who first told a reporter back in the 1920's that the “H” stood for Habitants. The name caught on has stuck ever since.
The Queen Elizabeth Hotel's Lady In White
Completed in 1958, the Queen Elizabeth Hotel is most famous for John Lennon and Yoko Ono's bed-in, protesting the Vietnam War in 1969. But along with many other notable historical figures that have stayed here over the years, there is one guest who has never left. There are stories of a wandering woman in white who's occasionally been seen roaming the halls and visiting the rooms of guests. People have also claimed to hear disembodied voices, mysterious bangs, knocks, footsteps, and being touched or pushed by unseen forces.