When in Simcoe during the Old
Boys' and Girls' Reunion, I was asked by Rev. Mr. Newcombe why I did not
write a sketch on this well-known place, as it has more than a local
reputation as a trysting place for hobgoblins, sprites and nefarious
things in the uncanny hours of night, when evil spirits are supposed to
He told me that upon asking a
resident the best way to go to Normandale by train, he was told "by
all means go to Forestville station and not to go by Spooky Hollow," for
"I would not go through there afternight on a bet." So the
natives still have a supernatural dread of this rendezvous of spirits.
Mr. Chauncey Cook, who lived near
there for over 75 years, and Mr. Roney Davis, who is over 85, and whose
memories are as fresh as daisies about its history, when the pioneers
settled on the plains of Charlotteville, have told me how the spot got its
notoriety and cognomen.
On the hill just north of the
ravine was a house wherein dewlt a man who was supposed to have murdered a
pedlar for his wares, and his wraith or spirit still haunts the house and
its environs. It has been seen several times by those passing through the
ravine, which was so shaded by large trees on either side of the road
that it was almost dark in the day-time.
Mr. Cook saw something uncanny
himself on passing through one night. Five men seemingly were tying a
critter by the roadside, but he heard no sound nor was he molested in
anyway. No onc reported any cattle stolen.
Some young men went one night
into the house to play cards, and they heard old bones rattle and the
clink-clink of a chain. They made a hasty exit, but one went back next
day to ascertain the cause of the disturbance. A rat trap had been set
and a large rat was entrapped, and around it a pile of beef hones.
Several well-known writers
have given us vivid descriptions of alleged ghosts. Hamlet and Tam-o'-Shanter
has caused many sleepless night by those possessed of too vivid
A small stream of water runs
through the ravine, abounding in brook trout, but as no spirit can
pass over the centre of a stream, as we are credibly informed by
Scotland's bard, those who have been pursued known just what to do.
The late Calvin White (the
writer's uncle) had a close call. When he was a young man he went
accourting and on returning home rather late, he had an umbrella up to
protect him from the rain, when lo! he was on the back of some animal
going full tilt down the road. His ghost ride was short, and none too
sweet, for he was soon landed in a ditch on top of his umbrella. He
always thought it was a steer lying in the road upon which he had
Living near was a girl who had
a pet pig, and being a somnambulant, she would get up every night and
go feed her pig, and then retire again.
A man by the name of Bates,
who thought he had a call to preach, but like Jonah, refused to accept
the call. This did not serve the purpose of during his sleeping hours
he was often rouse up, give out a humn, sing, take a text and deliver
an oration or sermon. It was quite a craze to hear him and he was
induced to come to Charlotteville. As tjere were no reporters to take
down his discourse, the best account we have is from the late Simpson
Your scribe went through there
about two o'clock in the morning to let parents know that a son had
been drowned. It was a dismal place, and as the trees seemed to be
full of katydids that made an incessant, harsh shrill noise, one could
easily imagine he was being harassed by a legion of foul fiends.
An old resident by hie name of
Dorey Oakes has a goodly number of stories about the place and love to
relate the same. I am told he has some hair raisers about some buried
treasures. Any any rate this unique place should find a place in
history of Glorious Old Norfolk.