Local ghost folklore from a master storyteller

Merry Meet All,

Three times a bridge over these waves shall rise
built by the white man, so strong and so wise,
three times shall fall like a dying breath
in storm, in silence, and last in death.
Anonymous poem from the Halifax Herald


For every wave that washes ashore, there is a ghost story.

A local author and friend of mine, Steve Vernon, has published some excellent books on the local folklore of Nova Scotia. He learned the art of storytelling from his grandfather. He narrates the book well because he blends fact, history, and folklore into a collection of compelling tales. The books are about folklore, brought to life by the skilled author Steve Vernon.

The first book is Haunted Harbours Ghost stories from Old Nova Scotia. If you read the most recent posting, the ghost lore is connected to the local history. The book contains a map of Nova Scotia. Each tale is set in Nova Scotia. The map aids the reader to know where each tale is set. He writes with a bone-chilling believability that might keep you awake at night or on edge seated around the campfire.

What is great about his books is how he brings the stories to life. You are right there with the characters, living the stories as chills creep up your spine. Ghosts roam Sable Island, the ghost ship The Teazer haunts Mahone Bay, and phantom pipers lament for lost loves. When I read this, I was delighted to find an author after my own heart- by that, I mean, someone who loves spooky macabre tales and local folklore as much as I do.

His next book, Halifax Haunts- Exploring the City’s Spookiest Spaces, is another collection of wickedly delightful spooky tales of local lore. This excellent book focuses more on the local tales of Halifax. The previous book focused on the folklore from around Nova Scotia. For every wave that washes in ashore, there is a ghost story. One tale tells us of the window at St. Paul’s church. The window has been replaced numerous times yet always bears the silhouette of a man. One of the stories is about the cursing of the MacDonald bridge. The bridge was cursed three times from a Mi’kmaq man in a jealous passionate rage. The curse caused the bridge to fall twice. A chieftain removed the curse and he buried a hatchet on the site. We can hope the curse is removed for the wellbeing of those who dare to cross it. The quotation above relates to the tale here. Another tale that was a favorite of mine is the story of the famous haunted restaurant, The Five Fishermen. The Five Fishermen restaurant is successful. The hauntings are not stopping customers from dining on excellent cuisine. This book is well worth reading, whether you are from away or a curious Haligonian, you will enjoy these tales.

The next book is entitled The Lunenburg Werewolf and other stories of the supernatural by Steve Vernon. He has an uncanny talent for digging ghost stories up from their graves, so to speak, and telling them so well. The Lunenburg Werewolf is his best book yet. The cover is amazing. This book was snappy, scary, and spine-tingling. The tale of the foolish naive young girl in love who walks backward over a watery bridge in the middle of the night on Samhain, carrying a mirror, and bumps into the devil made me jump out of my seat. He knows how to set a reader’s heart racing with his imagination, pacing, and vivid imagery. These tale encompass most of Nova Scotia. I marvel at the way he can dig up so many stories and yet in all the books, every tale is unique and well told.

Maritime Murders is his latest book. Maritime Murders is his most bone chilling yet. I read books about local ghost lore by other authors. Steve Vernon grips you and keeps you gripped even as you are horrified. The book is about the nastiest crimes committed from 1770 to 1938 in the Maritime area. You can read about a woman who poisoned her children with matchheads or the man who was hung three times. The murders are grisly and even though you want to look away or stop reading, you can’t.

Steve Vernon does his research for each tale and it shows in the tales. The way he blends fact with the macabre in his stories make these books unique. So sit down on a misty foggy evening in a quiet old tavern for the appropriate atmosphere, and read these books. After, you may think you saw a shadow flicker out of the corner of your eye. Or is it your imagination?

Next, more local lore from another master of lore, Helen Creighton.