Sackville is a small town with a big history, and with any big history, comes a list of unexpected mishaps and resulting spooky tales. From Hart Hall to the tunnels that run beneath the Mt. A campus, ghosts have been attracted to this beautiful town for ages, and reports across town and across history have been nothing but intriguing and downright spooky.
Anyone who has spent time on campus has heard about the Hart Hall ghost. What you may not know are the nitty gritty details. This spirit is allegedly the ghost of professor Ethel Peak, a well-known mezzo-soprano who trained under knighted conductors during World War I before teaching voice at Mt. A’s conservatory. She died in 1954 at the age of 69. Peak’s first reported paranormal occurrence happened at her funeral, where guests heard a voice singing two octaves above the organ after the eulogy. After the demolition of Allison Hall, which connected the Conservatory and Hart Hall, things seemed to go awry. Most stories are small, creepy, seemingly harmless incidents: doors closing randomly, objects moving from one place to another, and odd sounds echoing throughout various rooms. The only seemingly malicious story follows an alum who was studying in the hall late at night when an apparition pushed him down the stairs, resulting in a broken leg.
Several years ago, a film was released, titled Spectres of Shortwave that documented odd radio occurrences throughout Sackville. People in the Sackville area reported channelling radio waves through their kitchen sinks and other metal objects around their houses. While some tuned in to music stations, others would wake up in the night to hear voices speaking in other languages like Russian, implying that the radio waves had travelled quite a far distance. Adding to the spookiness factor, the local radio towers had been erected in World War II, which made people curious about the multilingual voices. Whether these were the voices of long-dead war ghosts or simply a modern fluke in radio wave travel, the fact remains that these stories were quite creepy.
The Tunnel Ghost is a relatively unknown campus ghoul. For students who live in Thornton House, the Tunnel Ghost is a regular visitor. The lounge has a locked door that leads into a tunnel system that stretches out beneath the school grounds, with strange sounds emanating from the tunnels at odd times. During the day, it can be chalked up to construction, but after midnight, the sounds no longer have that excuse. In addition, every locked door in the house has a keycard reader, including the door to the tunnel. In moments when no one is near the door, it will beep as though someone incorrectly used a keycard, almost as if something is trying to get in. A Thornton House Social Chair, Lexie Chappelle, explained her experiences with the tunnels. “When I sit by the tunnel, the banging gets closer and usually hits the door,” she said. The sounds have been enough to scare people from the lunge at times.
One second-year Thorntonite, Jackson Couturier, reported that during last year’s pre-orientation tunnel tours, the guides explained that deaths occurred during the construction of the tunnels. “I don’t know how many actually died,” he said, recalling the story that his guide told students during the tour. “Some construction workers died when they were building it because they didn’t have the right equipment.” Many believe that the tunnels are populated by one or more ghosts from these construction conundrums. This could explain both the strange clanking and the door, which may be a sign that the ghost is attempting to enter and exit the tunnels at will for various breaks and supplies.
There are a great many more ghost stories in our small town, and an even greater number in the greater Tantramar area. Expanding from Tantramar to New Brunswick, and from there to the Maritimes begins a never-ending peek into the world around us and the long-lasting effects of that history on our landscape. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, the fact remains that we find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a wide-reaching system of interconnected personal histories throughout the globe.