- MTL Blog got an exclusive interview with Donovan King, a Montreal ghost expert, and he told us about all the haunted locations around the city.
- Montreal is home to many wandering, tormented spirits that continue to lurk around our streets.
- Do you think your apartment is haunted? Read below to discover how you can find out!
Stories of ghosts, hauntings and other paranormal activity seem far removed from our reality but, as it turns out, Montreal is the most haunted city in North America. This is according to Donovan King, author of the Haunted Montreal Blog and the foremost expert on Montreal's ghosts.
Montreal is old in North American standards, and it has experienced a gruesome, grizzly history. Indeed, from plagues to body snatchers to the violence of colonialization, the city's violent past has laid the foundations for hauntings, says Donovan.
Much of this history has never made it into the history books. Instead, it remains a sort of "big secret," according to Donovan. This is surprising considering how many ghosts the city is home to.
Indeed, the ghost expert estimates that the city has over 300 ghosts lurking in the shadows. And he knows exactly where to find them. Mr. King has spent much of his life researching the paranormal history of Montreal, and he shares his knowledge during the Montreal Ghost Tours, which take place all over the city.
King spoke to me about where Montrealers are most likely to find a ghost, the most chilling events in the city's history, and how to find out if your home is haunted.
Where You're Most Likely To See A Ghost In Montreal
By far and away, the most haunted place in Montreal is Saint-Antoine cemetery, which is now known as Dorchester Square. The Saint-Antoine Cemetery was a cemetery for cholera victims for over 50 years back in the early 19th century, many of whom where buried in mass graves.
This cemetery was the background of a host of horror stories. Because of the heavy dose of opium given to those suffering from cholera, some unfortunate victims who were simply in an opium-induced coma were buried alive. Many years later, when workers were digging in the soil, they found coffins that had sustained quite a bit of damage as unfortunate victims struggled to get out of their underground prisons.
Furthermore, pregnant, dying women would ask that "infant baptisms" be performed at the ceremony. They believed that for their child to get to heaven, it needed to be baptized. Priests would, therefore, cut open the women, exposing the child, and then sprinkle holy water on the baby before both the mother and the infant died.
Many people have heard screams of agony in this square late at night. Strangely, one particular spot of this square, Place du Canada, has an above-average number of medical emergencies: particularly panic attacks, heart attacks, and strokes. To this day, the only thing that commemorates the mass graves right under our feet is small crosses on the pavement.
This isn't the only place where ghosts are rampant. Ravenscrag, which is home to Montreal's chilling MK Ultra experiments, is another place where you're likely to encounter ghosts.
Ravenscrag was the site for psychiatric experiments that is rumoured to have involved brainwashing, hallucinogenic drugs, and electroshock therapy. These CIA-sponsored experiments hoped to find out how to erase patients' memories, according to CTV.
Some sources believe that there may be an unmarked children's cemetery on the grounds. Late at night, people have heard children crying on the slopes of Mount Royal.
Hauntings In Unexpected Locations
But some of Montreal's most haunted locations are hidden behind seemingly normal exteriors. Take the Grey Nuns Residence, for example, which is the home to Concordia freshmen each and every year.
Few who move in have any idea it was once a motherhouse, hospital, and orphanage. The bodies of 232 nuns still lie in the basement of the student residence. Many of these nuns died of highly contagious diseases, so their bodies were never moved for health reasons.
If the nuns' corpses aren't spooky enough, know that the orphanage once burnt down. The horrible incident caused the deaths of over 50 children. Many residents say that they've heard trampling footsteps and terrified screams at night.
Montreal is also home to a ton of haunted bars and clubs. Donovan King estimates that there are over 40 haunted drinking establishments in the city (which you can tour on a haunted pub crawl if you wish).
Out of these, one of them is particularly infamous: Club LeCinq. Before becoming a trendy club, it was a funeral home and used for decades by coroners. Many patrons of this club have had terrifying encounters with the spirits that haunt the place.
There is apparently a ghostly figure with a Y-shaped scar on her forehead that haunts the women's bathroom in the basement.
The owner of the bar once had a frightening encounter with a woman who had no face, and one table in the bar occasionally flings itself across the room.
How To Find Out If Your Home Is Haunted
There's only one tried-and-true way to find out if your home is haunted, according to Donovan King, and that is to speak to someone who is in touch with the spirit world. Whether that be a medium or a priest, they have different ways of discovering paranormal activity and banishing it.
Donovan King has never himself had an encounter with a ghost, but that doesn't make the stories that he uncovers any less fascinating.
Ghosts are created because of events that were so awful they cannot move on from them. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, remembering our sordid past is not only thrilling, but it also serves as a useful reminder of the awful things that have happened in our city that should never be repeated. From abandoned cemeteries to experiments gone bad to colonial violence, it's important to remember our past so as not to repeat the same mistakes.