Castle Ghosts of Victoria

hatley Castle2.

This was my offering to Ed Mooneys spectacular Spooktacular for Halloween. The castle and grounds are a perfect afternoon haunt.

Colwood is an area outside of Victoria and there, in a beautiful setting by the ocean, sits Hatley Castle.  Built by  architect Samuel MacLure for James Dunsmuir, the son of coal baron Robert Dunsmuir,  it lies on 565 acres of beautiful gardens and woodlands.  James Dunsmuir,  was the Lt. Governor in 1906 when he commissioned MacLure to design the castle for himself and his wife Laura.  After the death of James, the property was eventually sold to the Government in 1939.  It was turned into a  Military Academy which remained in operation until 1995 after which it became Royal Roads University.

During those Victorian times The Dunsmuir family achieved great status.  Robert Dunsmuir, emigrated from Scotland in 1851, and made a fortune in coal on Vancouver Island.  On top of a hill overlooking the town of Victoria, Robert also built the first castle, a baronial mansion called Craigdarroch, which is visible as you drive up old Fort Street.  The family dynasty ended with the death in 1966 of the youngest grandchild, Dola Dunsmuir, who had become somewhat of an alcoholic recluse. All the grandchildren succeeded in burning through a family fortune that had taken two generations to amass.

Ghosts

Hatley Castle and grounds have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada and have also been declared haunted by the Paranormal Society of Vancouver Island. Over many years there have been strange occurrences and sightings that are well documented by both those who experienced them, and those who investigated them.Two documented sightings involved a young woman whom several cadets at the military academy claimed to have seen walking in the halls before disappearing through a door or window.

annabelleAnnabelle was a young parlour maid who wanted to marry a man who had been courting her. Mrs. Dunsmuir was very fond of the girl and offered to pay for the entire ceremony and celebration. On the day of the wedding Annabelle was jilted at the altar. Apparently her fiancee was already married with two children. Annabelle was shocked and humiliated.  She went back to Hatley Castle and jumped to her death from an upper window.

Ghosts of Hatley Castle
Garden

There are other ghosts. James Jr, the beloved younger son of James and Laura was a soldier who was killed during the Great War. He had the misfortune to be travelling on the RMS Lusitania when it was torpedoed by a German U- boat.  His body was never recovered and the family was devastated. He was later seen many times by his sister Dola in the Japanese Garden but he would never answer when she called his name and would vanish into the woods. Over the years many people who didn’t know of the younger James  or what had happened to him, claimed to see a man in a WWI military uniform wandering on the grounds, He is sometimes  still spotted sitting in the gardens or walking up from the lagoon.

annabelle-haunted-fountain

Much more frightening was an experience that a young cadet attending the Academy had back in 1941. He awoke to a woman trying to drag him out of bed. In a panic he ran to a superior officer to report the incident.  The halls were searched but she was not found and there were no women attending or working in the academy at that time. Perhaps the young man had just had a very vivid dream. The officer later mentioned the incident to Dola Dunsmuir.  Dola was adamant that the woman was her mother, who had never recovered from her brother’s death. Though Laura had died five years before, her distraught spirit had returned to look for James among the young officers preparing to go to war.

my next ghostly post will be about the haunting of  the O’ Reilly house in Victoria.

Bibliography: The Dunsmuir Saga by Terry Reksten

47 Comments Add yours

  1. I have really missed your blog, Dear Cybele! Sorry, I’ve been so busy, but insha’Allah, I’ll be making more time now – I have to go back through your posts, I love your work so much!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ;^)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much for dropping by for a visit Aisha!! I always love your posts too and hope to see more of them so I can dream of Egypt in the cold dark winter here!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Allah brighten all your days with big smiles, dear friend! ❤ ❤ ❤ ;^)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. thank you so much for that blessing!! And for you too my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. themofman says:

    Your forest photography is absolutely perfect for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. many thanks themofman!

      Like

  3. i love royal roads and it is almost always one of my stops when i’m over in victoria. as usual, your images and stories will add a whole new dimension to my next visit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so glad Eliza!! it is a wonderful spot!! Thanks!

      Like

  4. Peter Nena says:

    I wouldn’t go near that castle. But the ghosts of whom you speak do not seem dangerous. I know of vicious ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh do tell those stories Peter. The Chinese believe most ghosts to be malevolent. Hatley castle ghosts are not wicked!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. DG MARYOGA says:

    Absolutely engrossed by the beautiful photos and your compelling narrative,dear Cybele!Moved by Annabelle’s sad story,loved the photo of the castle with the slightly tinted bluish skies and the purplish blossoms by the pathway!The sepia tonalities of the haunted fountain are also beautiful 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. the stories of ghosts are so sad! And I also think of the young soldier coming back to the gardens he loved and where he grew up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. DG MARYOGA says:

        Indeed,they are,and James’ story is so convincing …
        Can’t wait to read about the haunting house of the O’ Reilly,in Victoria.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I may not get there quickly – our weather has been horrible- wind and rain!!

        Like

      3. DG MARYOGA says:

        M.R.James and James,jr … ? Any connections ?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. M.R. James was an old writer of ghost stories. We had a book in the library. Always hideous toady things that came out of deep wells and murder in the doll house kind of stuff- lol. To give us nightmares etc!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. jannatwrites says:

    I love the little bit of sun on the castle. Sad stories of the ghosts reportedly haunting the grounds. I thought Annabelle was especially sad. To give her heart and have that happen was obviously devastating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh yes, I can’t imagine her grief !

      Like

  7. Love the story and the lovely treatment you give your images. It all goes so well together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so pleased you read it and enjoyed Sherry!! Thanks!!

      Like

  8. Beautiful images to accompany the stories! I’m enjoying this series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you are enjoying them Deborah! Thank you!

      Like

  9. Maverick ~ says:

    Perfect images to match the story, beautifully done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Maverick!

      Like

  10. Norma says:

    Oh the castle and their ghosts. The last one gave me goosebumps. Apart from these photos I liked your new gravatar pic too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ann says:

    Reblogged this on Ann Cavitt Fisher and commented:
    Beautiful images from the haunted Hatley Castle near Victoria in Canada, just in time for All Hallows Eve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so pleased you enjoyed this post Ann! Thanks again!

      Like

  12. What fascinating stories of this castle. It’s so beautiful and now it’s really spooky! Your photos are wonderful and convey both aspects perfectly! Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Linda!! These places are so interesting as well as beautiful!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ali Isaac says:

    Outstanding post Cybele! A spooky Spooktacular for the season indeed, Ed will love it. And your images are beautifully haunting in themselves, even without the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So pleased you liked this Ali- coming from you – an honour!! Thanks so much for commenting!

      Like

  14. Amy says:

    Love these photos, Cybele! The place is so spooky…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for popping by to visit the ghosts Amy!! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. sheldonk2014 says:

    Great castles
    Happy Booalloween
    As always Sheldon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 thanks Sheldon!! You too!

      Like

  16. Kerena says:

    There is such a care and tenderness in how you present your stories, Cybele. Are you aware of it? Love the photos that correspond so well with the mood your words paint.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and as presented in your comments Kerena! Thank you!

      Like

  17. Very spooky images and stories, Cybele. I’ll try not to think about them when i go to bed tonight. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. brrahaha! something about spooky castles!! Thanks Sylvia!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. so glad you came by and read it!! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Sue says:

    Wow, what a place..thanks for the info! Love your most atmospheric images, as ever 😱

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so glad you enjoyed it Sue!! thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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