As a long time paranormal investigator and proud Canadian, I’ve been lucky enough to have had the chance to spend the night inside many of Ontario’s most infamously haunted locations, and while there are many amazing places that stand out in my mind, Niagara’s Fort George will go down in history as one of the most fascinating and frightening investigations I’ve ever conducted, and the spooky evidence speaks for itself.
In 1802, the octagonal fort was built on the opposite shore from the American Fort Niagara, and housed local militia, the aboriginal warriors, and the British army. The fort was massive, and made up of guardhouses, blockhouses, a hospital, kitchens, barracks, and completely surrounded by a dry ditch to keep it protected from the Americans. Unfortunately all the precautions didn’t stop Fort George from being ambushed and destroyed by the American army in May of 1813
There were many losses of life on both sides, but Fort George saw its fair share of death and violence during the battle of 1812, and during the fighting, all but one of its buildings suffered extreme damage. Once captured, the American army used the fort to plan their invasion of upper Canada. Fortunately for lovers of poutine, hockey, and universal healthcare, the fort was retaken by the Canadians in December of 1813, and the American solders were forced to retreat.
“The U.S. forces used the fort as a base to invade the rest of Upper Canada, however, they were repulsed at the Battles of Stoney Creek and Beaver Dams. After a seven month occupation by, the fort was retaken in December and remained in British hands for the remainder of the war.” – Parks Canada
British soldiers began the long process of rebuilding the structures, but by the end of the war, Fort George had been abandoned and forces sent south to Mississauga. By the 30s reconstruction of Fort George began, and it was officially deemed one of Canada’s National Historic Sites. Though the fort would no longer see battle, it was used by the Canadian military as a training base during WWI and WWII. Through the years, Fort George has seen thousands of soldiers filter through its stone walls, but ghost hunters can tell you with a great degree of certainty that not all of them left.
Chasing down the spirits inside Fort George is quite a task, because the location is absolutely massive. There are structures spread out all across the grounds, and nearly all of them have their own unique ghost stories attached. Pick a building, and there’s a good chance it has a spooky legend with plenty of eyewitness testimony to back it up.
Some of the most active places inside the fort are the blockhouses which once housed the soldiers stationed at Fort George, and many times during my own investigation, I was aware of the sound of footsteps that trailed along behind me, though there was no one following. I got the distinct impression that I was being monitored by a presence that was not exactly happy I was there. As it turns out, I’m not alone in the feeling.
This phenomena has been experienced by countless people who’ve spent time in the blockhouses at night, and it’s most often associated with one of Fort George’s most famous ghosts. Though he doesn’t have a name, many guests often describe him as being a tall, balding man with wispy grey hair. The Tall Man is often spotted skulking around the blockhouses, peering out from behind the bunk-beds, and following guests to and from the living spaces.
Another of the fort’s famous ghosts is the Man in White, a quiet, peaceful spirit who’s most often seen lounging on the beds, silently watching guests as they pass by. Also reported are a number of playful child spirits that interact with startled visitors by tugging on their clothing and stroking their hair.
One of Fort George’s most active locations is in the Officer’s Quarters, and it’s also one of the most overlooked. Fortunately, this is where I spent most of my time.
Hanging on the wall in the sitting room of the Officer’s Quarters is a large mirror that once belonged to a General’s wife. For years, visitors to the fort have glimpsed the apparition of a beautiful young woman with wavy blonde hair in the mirror’s reflection. No one is quite sure it she’s the General’s wife, but the ghostly woman has been seen so often that she’s garnered a nickname: The Gilded Lady.
Amazingly, during my investigation of the Officer’s Quarters, we managed to capture a strange reflection in the haunted mirror, one that resembles the face of a stern woman peering back at us. Could it be the Gilded Lady?
During my night investigating the hauntings of Fort George, I lost track of the amount of times the doors would open and close on their own the Officer’s Quarters. No matter how you shut them, lock them, or prop them open, the doors would mysteriously slam shut, resulting in more than a few dropped flashlights and ruined EVP sessions.
The highlight of my Fort George investigation, though, was came during evidence review. While scrolling through the footage of my investigation of the Officer’s Quarters, one of the editors of Girly Ghosthunters noticed something strange. Peering through a window was a slightly deformed figure of a man dressed in what appeared to be a soldier’s uniform. For several seconds, the man can be glimpsed in the window as we walk by completely unaware of his appearance. The fort was completely empty for the purposes of filming, and no crew were permitted near the perimeter of our team’s investigation locations.
Others have reported their own run-ins with disfigured spirits in this part of the fort, some with no limbs or heads, leading some to believe that during the battle, many soldiers may have been killed by cannon fire in this area.
There’s a reason that Fort George is know as being one of the most haunted places in Canada, and I was lucky enough to have the spirits of the historic fort prove it to me themselves. If you’re planning a paranormal trip to the land of maple syrup and you’re looking for a perfect place to experience some haunted history, I can’t recommend a visit to Fort George enough. If you’re lucky, you might even meet a ghost or two.