Top 5 most haunted sites in Hamilton

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Published October 27, 2023 at 10:28 am

Scary Halloween photo Zachary DeBottis ghost
ZACHARY DEBOTTIS VIA PEXELS

Is it real or imagined? History or legend?

As Halloween approaches, we delve into the eerie and spectral accounts of five haunted places in Hamilton.


5. Albion Falls (Lover’s Leap)

Nearly 18 metres wide and 19 metres tall, the picturesque and popular Albion Falls has a dark history. Albion Falls is also known as Lover’s Leap. Local archives recount the tale of a young Jane Riley who killed herself by jumping off a 100-foot cliff near the falls in the early 19th century. The mother of her lover Joseph Rousseau had disapproved of the match, so he left her. Just before Rousseau’s mother mysteriously dropped dead years later, she was said to have felt Riley’s hand on her shoulders. Some said they heard Riley’s cries during quiet nights. Victims of infamous mobster and bootlegger Rocco Perri and accused murderer Evelyn Dick were discovered in the area, according to Tourism Hamilton.

Albion Falls waterfalls Hamilton RobCro Can

SCREENSHOT VIA ROBCRO CAN (YOUTUBE)


4. Coach and Lantern:

Ancaster’s third oldest building is today known as one of the best pubs in the city with live music and a European-inspired patio — albeit one with a frightening past. The original stone building of this British pub in Ancaster was built in the 1700s. But a fire decimated it, so it was rebuilt in 1823. War of 1812 traitors were sentenced to death here, according to Tourism Hamilton. A resident ghost reportedly haunts the premises. An old man in his sixties wearing plaid was believed to have died in the fire. Some may even hear whispers as they enjoy dinner.

Courtesy: Tourism Hamilton

The pub’s website also recounts numerous ghostly encounters that have been reported throughout the years. Former owners even feared being alone on the premises. More recently, a staff member took digital photos of patrons, some of which revealed peculiar orbs either on or near the guests. One waitress had an unsettling experience when she approached a man seated at a table with his back to her. Upon returning with a menu, she was startled to find that the mysterious individual had vanished.

They also said that several dishwashers had quit their job, and one cook with a temper was scared off by loud footsteps often coming toward him.


3. Woodend Mansion: 

Tucked deep within the Dundas Conservation Area is a mansion with a haunted past. According to Hamilton’s local archives, John Heslop, the treasurer of Ancaster, was woken up one night by his wife, who heard intruders in 1891. Armed with a lamp and a chair, he proceeded towards the front door. In the darkness, a shotgun blast echoed and his body was discovered by his wife on the stair landing. Despite investigations, no one was ever found guilty of the crime.

Courtesy: Waymarking

Legend has it that Heslop’s spirit lingers in the house, which now serves as the headquarters of the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority. Visitors have recounted hearing a dragging sound coming from the attic along with footsteps meandering throughout the residence. Local lore suggests that Heslop’s bloodstain remains on the stair landing, serving as a haunting reminder that justice has yet to be served for his murder.


2. Dundurn Castle:

The castle served as the residence of Sir Allan MacNab, who was the premier of pre-Confederation Canada from 1854 to 1856. Historically, the estate had a tumultuous and gruesome past. In 1813, 11 men were hung for treason across the street. Victims of cholera were also confined to plague sheds near the property. Legend has it that the ghost of Sir Allan MacNab and his family linger within the castle.

Bedroom at Dundurn Castle; Courtesy: Hamilton Public Library

According to local archives, next to the room where MacNab’s second wife Mary died of tuberculosis, a perpetual coldness persists and a breeze extinguishes candles. People have reported eerie drafts, object movements, and echoes of mysterious music and singing on the property.


1. Custom House:

This exquisite stone residence situated on Stuart Street, with its view of the West Harbour, is the home to Hamilton’s most renowned ghost — the “Woman in Black.” Numerous accounts have documented sightings of a woman peering down from a second-floor window.

Courtesy: Historical Hamilton

Historical archives from the Hamilton Public Library suggest that she may have been an immigrant who arrived on one of the ships and met her demise in the port, leading to her burial on the property’s grounds. Some claimed to have seen her in the basement near the vault, accompanied by an unnerving, bone-chilling coldness and heightened anxiety. One legend says she has been patiently awaiting the return of her sailor lover.

– With files from Christl Dabu

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