There are only a few days left until Halloween. To help get you in the spirit I thought I would round up some “allegedly” true stories of Nanaimo’s haunted history. Beware, though – Nanaimo does have a dark side…
One of the most well-known ghost stories of Nanaimo is the hauntings at Beban House. Once the home of a wealthy sawmill owner, Frank Beban, the house was featured on Creepy Canada in 2001. There have been stories of people hearing balls bounce down the hall, children talking and playing with a boy that no one else can see but them, sights of women passing through the halls, sounds of tea cups and chatter upstairs when the house was empty, and unexplained doors locking & keys going missing. Rumours say that a young Chinese servant was accidentally killed in the house or on the property – no one is really sure. Having worked for Tourism Nanaimo when we were located at Beban House, I know firsthand of the haunted history that still lurks in the house. Working late nights or going down to the basement was best done in pairs. The house was beautiful, but there was definitely a ghostly presence. Read more about our experience with the Vancouver Island Paranormal Society here.
In the 1860’s, Kanaka Pete (real name Peter Kakua), was a Hawaiian coal miner living in Nanaimo. His story goes to tell that after a late night of drinking he came to find his wife committing adultery with her father. In a fit of rage, he went after his wife, murdering her along with their baby, her mother and her father with an axe. He attempted to escape to Vancouver by canoe but was captured when spending the night on Newcastle Island. He was promised a fair trial but one never happened, and he was hung at Gallows Point on Protection after being held in the jail in the Bastion. He vowed to return and shouted “vengence will be mine!” Neither the Europeans or the First Nations wanted to bury him on his land, so he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave on Newcastle Island in what’s now known as Kanaka Bay. He apparently haunts the eastside of the Newcastle Island, and some have even gone to say that he was responsible for the mining disaster on the Island in 1887 that killed 150 people.
Some also say they have heard screams and chopping sounds late at night in the forests on Newcastle Island. There are also stories of people disappearing after going to the far side of the Island at night; it’s no wonder that camping is prohibited on that side of the Island…
There are so many more ghost stories about Nanaimo. Some take place in hotels, some in bars, and others in ordinary Nanaimo homes. So the next time you are wondering the streets of Nanaimo, take a minute to look and listen. That blast of cold air, an eerie feeling, unexplained noises and the goose bumps on your arm may be telling you that you’ve been joined by an unexpected travelling companion nearby.
For more interesting stories on Nanaimo’s haunted history check out these links:
- Kennedy House B&B – http://kennedyhouse.ca/about/a-ghost-story
- Beban House – http://www.vanisleparanormal.ca/beban-house-nanaimo/
- The Legend of Kanaka Pete (Newcastle Island) http://www.secondhand-souls-4occult.com/haunting-of-kanaka-pete.html
- The Best Western Dorchester (Mrs. Mcreedy is rumoured to haunt a room on the 3rd floor…ask the staff for stories)
- The Bastion – http://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/nanaimo-bastion/
- The Nanaimo Courthouse, Gallows Point, Brother XII & more – http://www.nanaimobulletin.com/lifestyles/tourism/160194775.html
- Other Nanaimo & Vancouver Island Hauntings – http://livinglibraryblog.com/?p=899
Also be sure to visit the Nanaimo Museum for one of their Lantern Tours. You’ll hear more details and get a chance to visit some of these historic sites. The last Lantern Tour is October 30th, 6-8pm. Be sure to book ahead.
Have a safe and spooky Halloween!