A haunting in Antigonish


The Blue Nun and other ghostly legends

On the surface, Antigonish County seems like a lovely and welcoming area; the place is scattered with friendly locals, incredible sites, and a picturesque university campus. It holds a classic Maritime aesthetic, moments away from the ocean and surrounded by sturdy forests. However, Antigonish is also home to haunting stories, dark secrets that hide just below its beautiful persona, if only one has the courage to pull back the veil.
            On campus, the tale of the Blue Nun and her haunting counterpart, the Red Priest, is told widely, scaring frosh and seniors alike. Word has it that years ago, when Gilmora Hall was an all-girls residence, a nun lived there. She got caught up in an affair with a priest and – due to the guilt of forsaking her vows and shaming herself – she jumped off the balcony of the building, falling to her death. There are other rumours of her being pregnant with the priest’s baby, a further visible sign of her treachery. Some go on to say that the priest went on to kill himself as well, due to the overwhelming guilt and grief he felt in both his lovers’ and unborn child’s death.

They are now known as the Blue Nun and the Red Priest, ghosts that inhabit and haunt the halls of Mount Saint Bernard. Moving cutlery and dishes, casting shadows and disturbing the otherwise normal lives of students, these ghosts remain active.

A recent resident of MSB had a particularly haunting experience. In her room, in the wee hours of the morning, about to fall asleep, she heard a crash. Turning her head, she saw that a cup had fallen to the ground, its plastic lid and straw separated on the floor. Too afraid to pick it up, she left the distinct pieces there. The next day, she recounted this story to her friend. Upon hearing, he remembered that he had borrowed a dish from her, and returned her cup – the same cup that she had seen fall in her room the night before and the same cup she had passed in order to visit this friend. A seemingly mundane, yet inexplicable event that can only be attributed to paranormal happenings.

One should not worry too much though; it is said that the Blue Nun is a protective spirit, only here to ensure the safety of residences. Her counterpart, the Red Priest, however, should induce feelings of trepidation and fear, as he is said to wreak havoc on the student population.

There is another spooky story that should not be left out of the Antigonish paranormal storybook. The story of Mary Ellen Spooks has many variations, but all involve some form of arson occurring at Caledonia Mills farm, located in Antigonish County. Legend has it that there was a man who was seeking shelter late at night, and so sought help from the owners of the farm. They denied him a place, thus he cursed their adopted daughter and disappeared. In the following years, Mary Ellen would be known to go into trances, with odd things happening while she was charmed. Sometimes the animals would go into a craze while she was in this demeanor, other times her father would go downstairs to see a fire lit where there wasn’t one before. The culmination of this story is a plethora of house and barn fires that only ended when Mary Ellen moved away from the farm. Many of the fires were known to start where there was no oven or pit, meaning no chance of an accidental flame erupting.

In more recent years, when individuals have gone to the site of the farm, strange happenings have ensued, such as sounds of farm animals where there are none and dying car batteries. Rumour has it, if you take a rock from around the farm, you too will be cursed, just as Mary Ellen and her family were.

            Don’t let Antigonish fool you; despite its rosy appearance, it is plagued by many more stories of ghost and ghouls. Be careful X-women and men – you never know what lurks around the corner.