"The Other Side" of Victoria British Columbia

Some of our history is Frightfully interesting....

Victoria, B.C. is such an eclectic environment that it can be hard to describe by using just one characteristic. With things like the Parliament Building, Inner Harbour, Wax Museum, Undersea Gardens, Butchart Gardens, Beacon Hill Park and multiple historical tours (just to name a few) it can be hard to take it all in. And that's not even getting me started on all the different places to go for scenic strolls or where you can shop until you drop!!

What many people do not know is that many of our historical sites and buildings are also the spots of some of the most notorious hauntings that the city hosts. While there are many tours available for someone to take if they'd like to stick to groups, there are some of those places that any individual can enter, at their own risk of course, and walk around.

The Courtyard at Bastion Square
The Courtyard at Bastion Square

Helmcken Alley and Bastion Square are known for dead men walking

The old jail, which was torn down in 1885, was located in the courtyard attached to Helmcken Alley. This passage, adorned with brick archways, along with the courtyard have been reported to echo with the sounds of shuffling footsteps and the rattling chains believed to belong to a prisoner that was beaten to death by a guard. A man has also been sighted wearing prison clothes following people into the alley or through the courtyard.

Helmcken Alley
Helmcken Alley
Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, a judge that had received the heinous monacher of "The Hanging Judge"
Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, a judge that had received the heinous monacher of "The Hanging Judge"

Maritime Museum of Canada under judgement

The Maritime Museum is built on the spot of the original gallows and was once the Provincial Courthouse. Being that the bodies of the men who were hanged had been buried beneath the building one would think that this would be the basis for the haunting here.

While there have been some reports linked to prisoners, the most popular and infamous resident spook here is a man by the name of Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, otherwise known as the Hanging Judge. Begbie died in 1894, having been knighted by Queen Victoria in 1875.

The Old Burial Grounds are a pioneer place for hauntings in the city

From 1855 until sometime in 1873, Pioneer Square was the "bone-yard" for Victoria where some 1300 people were laid to rest. While most of the markers lie beneath the structures and pavement, there are still a few from the Old Burial Grounds that can be found. Existing structures were erected directly on top of those interred there and the remains still rest there today. People such as Dr. John S. Helmcken and Charles Ross are just a couple who are mentioned.

In 1873, the Ross Bay Cemetery was opened and use of the Old Burial Grounds site was ceased. There are two specific specters linked to this site, Adelaide Griffin who died in 1861 and one of the founding fathers, Robert Johnson, who passed on in the earliest part of the 1870's before the cemetery was closed. Adelaide has been seen wandering around the Square and Robert Johnson, who is said to have committed suicide in a home across the street, has been seen with his razor blade in his hand mimicking his final act of cutting his throat.

Doris Gravlin who was murdered by her husband at the Victoria Golf Courses 7th Fairway on September 22, 1936.
Doris Gravlin who was murdered by her husband at the Victoria Golf Courses 7th Fairway on September 22, 1936.

Sightings at Victoria Golf Couse above Par

This haunting is one of the more easier to believe as it is fairly specific and can be traced back to a specific incident.  The Victoria Golf course was the scene of the murder of a woman named Doris Gravlin back in 1836. The history is that her husband strangled her on the 7th Fairway and then dragged her body to the beach below and hid it under some logs and driftwood. He was later found deceased after committing suicide.

Doris has been spotted wandering the 7th Fairway in all white dress, as a mist and as a floating orb of light, though her most common appearance seems to be wearing a brown suit tailored to the time. She's been known to cause problems on the street that runs alongside the golf course, walking out in front of traffic and on occasion appearing in a vehicle alongside the driver. Supposedly, if you and your beloved go out there and witness her spirit, it means your relationship is doomed to failure. Not saying that to be true, but my sweetie and I went out there for over an hour, never witnessed a thing and are still together....wink, wink, nudge, nudge!

Beacon Hill Park has been known for being a scream

Beacon Hill Park is another one of the more famous hauntings of the city.  The story behind these hauntings has been cause for much speculation.

Sometime in the 1970s a fair complexioned woman with long, blond hair was seen repeatedly, morning after morning, standing alone and still on a rock at the corners of Douglas and Southgate.  Seen by many witnesses, her behaviour was thought to be odd but she had never been considered to be anything other than that.  A lady acting odd.  After several months the woman stopped appearing and people in the area eventually forgot about her.  At least until 1983 when a woman with a dark complexion and long, dark hair started to appear behaving in the same manner.  Not long after these sightings had began, a missing woman matching the description of this dark haired lady was found in the bushes that are next to the rock, strangled to death.  Since then she's appeared to people  sitting upon the rock, arms outstretched, with her mouth agape in a silent scream.  Many people have come across her, asking her if she's okay only to be unacknowledged.  When walking away, they've looked back only to see her gone or in the process of fading away to mist.  While unfortunately the park has been the site for many deaths over the years due to drowning, suicides and natural causes, this woman is the most prominent and most often seen.

This particular haunting has brought up the question of the Doppelganger.  Many theorize that the earlier, fair complexioned woman was a Doppelganger of the poor woman found in 1983, foretelling of what was to be.  It actually isn't unheard of for a Doppelganger to appear as a photo negative-like copy of oneself and to see one's own Doppelganger is a warning of ones impeding death.

The entrance to Beacon Hill Park at Douglas and Southgate.
The entrance to Beacon Hill Park at Douglas and Southgate.

Have you ever witnessed a haunting?

  • Yes, absolutely, beyond a doubt
  • I've seen something unexplainable but am unsure if I it was a haunting
  • No, but I am open to the experience
  • No, I don't believe in such things being possible
See results without voting

The best proof is seeing for yourself

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, all of these places are rich with history and information as to the earliest part of our Provinces development. Interesting and fact filled, all of these tours are worth a peek and an informative way to spend a day.

So don't forget your camera and recorders, take a tour and learn about our stunning city. Who knows, maybe you'll just end up with a sensational story or eerie photo to share.

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Comments 3 comments

paul_gibsons profile image

paul_gibsons 6 years ago from Gibsons, BC, Canada

super natural BC eh lol... welcome!

Allyce 4 years ago

We were just in Pioneer Square this past weekend (Aug 24/2012) got got incrediable pictures of lighted spots, and we have on video an image of a person.

susanne71 profile image

susanne71 4 years ago from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Author

If you live in British Columbia, send you video the B.C. Ghosts and Haunting Research Society (you can find them online). A very good friend is the Director of the society and always interested in checking these things out. She isn't a skeptic, nor a believer, she's neutral.

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