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Carbonear summer students share local ghost stories

Student interpreters who worked at the Rorke Store Museum and Carbonear Railway Museum over the summer include, back row from left, Loretta Oates, Sara Clarke, Michael Clarke, Kaleb Swain-Carpenter, Mark Burke, Kaitlin Clarke, and Kaitlynn Hedd; front row, from left, Brooke Piercey and Rebecca Sellars.
Student interpreters who worked at the Rorke Store Museum and Carbonear Railway Museum over the summer include, back row from left, Loretta Oates, Sara Clarke, Michael Clarke, Kaleb Swain-Carpenter, Mark Burke, Kaitlin Clarke, and Kaitlynn Hedd; front row, from left, Brooke Piercey and Rebecca Sellars. - Contributed photo

KAITLIN CLARKE
SPECIAL TO THE COMPASS

CARBONEAR, N.L. — Student interpreters who worked at the Rorke Store Museum and Carbonear Railway Museum over the summer spent several weeks compiling local ghost stories to share during the second annual Shadows in the Loft.

Hosted Aug. 16 the Rorke Store Museum in Carbonear, this year's event drew more than 100 guests. Shadows in The Loft has become an annual event at the Rorke Store, and a way for the students to showcase their hard work throughout the summer.

The students not only gathered the stories, they were also responsible for reading the stories on stage, providing sound effects, and acting as ghosts in the crowd.

Dressed in all-black clothing with costume makeup giving them a ghastly appearance, their sound effects worked well to frighten the audience, sending some people out the door from fright.

The story of John Moxley was the night’s opener. The tale was told by volunteer Bert Parsons; Moxley was portrayed by student interpreter Mark Burke. Moxley’s tale is an unfortunate one as he was buried and dug up several times over. It is said that he still haunts the location of one of his final resting places.

The students presented 11 other readings throughout the night, compilations of Newfoundland ghost stories written by authors like Dale Jarvis and Edward Butts. The students selected tales from Carbonear and its surrounding areas.

One story from Carbonear involved the appearance of a lady in red. It was said to be a true account, told by a friend to one of the interpreters.

After some research, it was discovered this sort of apparition is a common one. According to legend, a lady in red is attributed to a jilted lover, a woman killed in a fit of passion, or a woman of vanity.

Another story spoke of the fair folk or faeries, the more common term in Newfoundland. Volunteer Loretta Oates, who presented the reading, swears it was a true tale.

Other stories included a poltergeist in the neighbouring community of Flatrock, a mysterious creature on the Hearts Content Barrens, and a girl who haunts the railway trestle in Clarke’s Beach. The stories were a mix of real-life tragedy and the unknown.

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