The Hermitage Ruins, a legendary location in the small town of Ancaster (today part of the city of Hamilton). For decades, many have visited these lands in search of ghosts and negative energy, for paranormal investigation and as support to dark and evil rituals.
The mystery is… why? Why is this land cursed?
Maybe it begins with the main star of the “Legend of Lover’s Lane”. The story of failed love which leads to death – a story so famous, a street is named after it.
The Coachman William Black is denied true love because of his station in life. He’s unable to continue living in a world void of this love and takes his own life. Discovered by the man who caused his death, William’s remains are treated in a less than respectful manner.
His anger remains with those ruins, and is experienced often. However, is it the ghost of William Black who curses this land, or can that be drawn from the combined experiences of history?
Another Hermitage house and farm was once located on this land.
Built by Reverend Sheed in 1830 as his home while he brough church to Ancaster. And only a few months before the church was set to open, Sheed dies. The first mass is held in his honor.
Colonel Otto Ives moves in after Sheed. Ives was an Englishman who fought in the Greek War of Independence. It was in Greece he met and fell in love with his wife, Magdalene. Together they moved to Ancaster, along with Magdalene's niece. Otto saw the neice as his very own daugher and was protective of her like one. It’s the Ives family that would become the players in the famous Legend of Lover’s Lane (featured on the Ghost Walks).
The land is then sold to the second son of a rich Scottish family named Leith. George Leith demolishes the old house and builds what would one day become the Hermitage Ruins. They run the farm for many decades until George’s dead. His youngest daughter Alma purchases the farm.
Alma was a local Hamilton writer known for lavish parties. She would invite many friends from the city, and on one night a small fire broke out but was stopped before it could spread. This was an omen of what was to come, when a fire broke out during a large party held here in 1934. This one would not be stopped. Thankfully nobody was hurt during the fire... except the house itself.
Alma refuses to leave her family home, living in front of the ruins in a tent, just her and her crippled dog. The people of Ancaster took pity on her and built a wooden structure within the ruins. This is where she would die in 1942.
The ruins are given over to the city. The crumbling walls are now secured with wooden supports that will hopefully keep it standing for generations to come.
You don’t need to be psychic to feel it. When stepping through the wooden fence marking the entrance of the Hermitage farmlands, heaviness surrounds the air around you. As adults, we are able to push the dreadful feelings aside, tell ourselves it doesn’t exist, and force ourselves forward with an uneasy feeling that follows.
Animals are different. They have a sixth sense we’ve lost over the years.
The Hermitage Ruins are in the middle of a dark forest, and should be crawling with wildlife. Strangely, the area around the ruins is void of animal life. Not completely, but very much quieter than it should naturally be.
This is the one time I can truly say I've seen something paranormal that can't be explained away as natural.
It was the end of a Hermitage Ghost Walk I was leading. We used to allow people a couple of minutes to walk among the ruins and take pictures.
This was the night of a full moon, so I could see everyone when walking around the ruins. I went back to tell the group that we need to go or the security guard would lock us in the for the night. And as I came around the side wall I noticed two people walking towards me.
Thought nothing of it when calling out to them. They ignored me, so I called out a second time. They walked into the forest and I freaked out. It was pretty dark there and I was afraid they would fall and get hurt, so I ran seconds behind them with my flashlight to find nobody. They had vanished.
After this experience I found out a few things. First, I realized what I was looking at had no features, almost like they were black shadows without a face. Also, the area they walked into was the original location of the Hermitage farm's well. This would lend proof to a residual energy in that space. Could they have been energy of former residents of the home?
And finally, my coordinator for the night ran up when she heard me calling out to them. She watched me call out to nobody, not seeing the figures I so clearly saw.
Children are also believed to have psychic energy most of us loose when growing up. This was proven during one of the Ghost Walks. A baby brought on the tour was being easily rolled along the paths in his carriage. He peacefully slept the entire trip up to the ruins.
The group was heading through the wooden fence and towards the house when the baby started crying and screaming. The mother was embarrassed, and quickly rolled the carriage away. The moment she turned the baby away from the house, he stopped crying.
Thinking nothing of it, she turned the carriage back to rejoin the Walk, and when the baby is faced to the house again it screams and cries. The family left the tour because they were unable to cross that fence without scaring their child.
It’s this same cursed energy that brings about a specific group of people seeking assistance in the rituals that will only bring them closer to their god. Satanists have been seen and confronted by security guards often roaming the lands at night.
These dark groups go to the ruins to perform rituals that include fire, chanting, summoning, and even the sacrifice of animals. If you’re unable to believe this happens in Hamilton and Ancaster… believe it! Experiences by some security guards have changed their lives.
We believe the Coachman William Black is only a part of the cursed energy that makes up this legendary location. His story, the most famous legend of Ancaster, is featured on this Ghost Walk.
AREA IS CLOSED AT NIGHT: The Hermitage Ruins lands are closed at night. To visit after dusk would be considered trespassing, and may result in a fine. The Ghost Walks have SPECIAL PERMISSION to be there at night.
Article Written by Daniel Cumerlato
Didn't anyone tell you not to go into the woods at night?
Ignore them with this ghost walk to the remains of a haunted mansion! Ghostly encounters are common as it's just your group alone in the dark. Features the Legend of Lover's Lane, the ghost of Woodend, cults, and the coachman who still walks the woods at night, and more!
Have any personal ghost experiences at this location? We'd love to hear them at firstname.lastname@example.org
:: back to ARTICLES
:: back to THE GHOST WALKS