Canadian Ghost Stories


248 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-55105-302-0
DDC 398.2'09105




Reviewed by Joanne Wotypka

Joanne Wotypka is a branch library assistant in the Cameron Library and
the University of Alberta.


Looking for some new (and old) ghost stories? These three volumes may be
lacking in blood and guts, but the creepiness factor is right off the
charts. All manner of paranormal activity, from haunted houses to
possessed beds to benevolent spirits, are found within these pages. The
tales in Canadian Ghost Stories show that, despite our love of all
things multicultural, paranormal events seem to be the same the whole
country over. To be sure, the coasts have their share of nautical
mysteries, while the prairies are home to more landlocked
happenings—yet the unexplained element remains the same. Thanks to
this book, I now know that my neighborhood possesses a haunted bar (a
former funeral home). This is a wonderful selection of just a few of the
doubtless thousands of weird stories about our country’s
“spirited” side.

One might expect the Maritimes, as the oldest part of Canada, to have
more than their share of paranormal activities, and Vernon Oickle’s
collection of tales confirms this. Tales range from the well-known lost
treasure of Oak Island to the more obscure (such as “Roaming
Ralph”). For those who prefer their ghosts at sea, there are many
stories of ships haunted and ships phantom (plus tales from the Titanic,
whose Halifax connection is often ignored). Ghost Stories of the
Maritimes offers a glimpse into the mysteries of Canada’s East Coast.

The long and unfortunately bloody history of Texas makes for great
ghost stories, and Jo-Anne Christensen’s Ghost Stories of Texas
delivers. Native American spirits still protect their land, and remnants
of long-dead Spaniards still make their presence known. “Legends of
the Stampede” recalls a time when frontier justice ruled (and resulted
in more than one angry spirit). Other stories are more modern: a
nurse’s 1997 on-the-job encounter with the Grim Reaper shows that some
things never change. Among the three volumes, the Texas stories seem to
be the most violent, which is perhaps in keeping with the state’s
rough-and-tumble reputation.

All three books are divided into sections. This facilitates comparison
between regions and hence classroom discussion. For example, how do
haunted houses in Texas differ from those in the Maritimes? Nova Scotia
poltergeists are just as scary as their counterparts in Brandon,
Manitoba, aren’t they? Here are three great books for lovers of the


Smith, Barbara., “Canadian Ghost Stories,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed October 26, 2021,