Aficionados of haunted places have probably known it for a long time: the Old Aylmer area of Gatineau, Outaouais, is no place to be when it comes to ghosts and thrilling stories.
These stories go back to the time of the first inhabitants of Aylmer, at the beginning of the 19th century.
We visited there with Lynne Rodier, a doctoral student in museology who is very interested in the history of the Outaouais and who was able to enlighten us on the mysterious aspects of the place.
The Symmes Inn, first.
“This place is regularly prey to the ghost of Anna, daughter of Charles Symmes, founder of Aylmer, says Ms. Rodier. Symmes hid her daughter in the attic because she suffered from an intellectual disability. One particularly freezing winter evening, while a party was taking place downstairs, she froze to death there. We could hear footsteps upstairs from there…»
Having stopped in front of the inn, we could see at the penultimate window on the right, on the top floor, the recreated silhouette of the little girl looking out, a sign that the owners are well aware of the past of their building.
Second stop. Walking up Principale Street, we come to the British Hotel, where a rather disturbing incident took place.
When Robert Convoy, the owner at the time, died in 1868, his body was laid out there, and a final tribute was paid to him. But, to everyone's surprise, four strangers arrived on the day of the tribute to Mr. Convoy. No one knew where they came from. Then, it was learned that Thomas D'Arcy McGee, one of the Fathers of Confederation, had been assassinated that day, not far away, in Ottawa. It is believed that the impromptu visitors may have been the politician's assassins.
A few hundred meters away, it is a place where you could hear a woman crying that attracts the attention of history buffs, and ours. This is the house adjacent to Café Mulligan, a well-known café in the area today.
“Legend has it that James Mulligan had a wife who gave birth to several infants who died , our guide explained to us. Disappointed, he would have started to abandon her. Extremely saddened, she cried every afternoon in the same room. Some even say that she would have hung herself there!”
At the end of the journey, Lynne Rodier points her finger at the former prison of Aylmer, which, she says, presents its share of events sordid.
“History has it that in 1885 Mr. Flatters, the bailiff, while taking away a prisoner, Daniel Ardell, was coldly murdered by his passenger!”
Haunted Old Aylmer has been the subject of a series of podcasts that can be listened to at https://transistor.media/balados/marche-hantee
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128