Ghost Walks Location ~ The Hermitage Ruins of Ancaster (Hamilton)
Article Written by Daniel Cumerlato
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The Hermitage Ruins, a legendary location in the small, historic town of Ancaster (now part of Hamilton).
For generations, many have visited these lands in search of ghosts. Used for the paranormal and home to dark ritual.
The mystery… why is this land cursed?
The Legend of Lover's Lane
Maybe it begins with a legend. Known in this region simply as “Lover’s Lane”. So famous, there's a street named after it, and at the start of this road is William's grave.
The Coachman William Black was denied true love because of his low station in life.
He’s unable to live with such a void in his heart and takes his own life.
Discovered by the man who denied him that love, William’s body is treated like garbage, cut down into manure and carted to where Lover's Lane begins.
At the top of this hill, William is tossed into a hole, noose still around his neck.
He's still at the Hermitage and often experienced.
Is it Black's ghost who curses the land, or maybe part of Ancaster's dark history? See The Bloody Assizes and read on.
The History of The Ruins
Another Hermitage house once stood here, just steps heading north-west from the ruins.
This smaller house was built by Reverend George Sheed in 1830. Sheed brought church to Ancaster,and just months before the church opened, he died. The first mass was his funeral.
The Players in the Legend
Then Colonel Otto Ives moves in. Ives an Englishman who fought in the Greek War of Independence. Ives was tired of the violence, wanted calm and a family.
He met and fell in love with a Greek woman named Magdalene.
They married and moved to Ancaster with Magdalene's beautiful niece.
Otto saw the niece, and protected her, as a daughter.
This family that would become the players in the famous Legend of Lover’s Lane, featured on the Ghost Walks at The Hermitage Ruins.
The Ruins Begin
The land is sold to the second son of a noble Scottish family named Leith.
And being the second son means George Leith got nothing.
He moved to Ancaster,
bought these lands, demolished the old house and built what would become the ruins.
They run the farm for about 50 years. George dies and his youngest daughter Alma Dick-Lauder purchases the farm.
Alma was a writer in Hamilton. Being a writer meant having many friends and being known for lavish parties.
During one party, a small fire started. Quickly stopped and everything was fine, but this served as an omen.
Years later in 1934, a bigger party and two fires. One is stopped as the other burns. Nobody was hurt, except the house.
Alma has no money and refuses to leave. She sets up a small tent in front of the ruins, just her and a crippled dog.
The people of Ancaster helped her, building a wooden cabin within the ruins.
Alma died inside that cabin in 1942.
The ruins are eventually given over to the city.
Crumbling walls secured with wooden supports meant as a temporary solution. That was over 60 years ago.
It's saved in 2015 thanks to the efforts of the Save the Hermitage campaign led by local activist Leanne Pluthero.
The cursed nature of The Hermitage lands
You don’t need to be psychic to feel it.
When walking up the hill towards the ruins. A heaviness weighs down on you . Us adults can push these dreadful feelings aside, tell ourselves it doesn’t exist.
Animals are different, with a sixth sense we’ve lost with science.
The ruins are on conservation land, but the animals stay away from the path and farm.
It should be crawling with wildlife, but the area so quiet.
You'll see them. Usually staring from the trees on dark nights, glowing eyes looking back. Not to scare, but maybe warn you.
My Amazing Experience & The only I saw a ghost
It's the only time I saw something I couldn't explain.
In 2006, leading a Ghost Walk, and at the end we allowed people to explore.
About 10 minutes later I walked around the ruins to the back. Had to gather the group and in the clearing I noticed two people walking towards me.
Thought nothing of it. Called out and they ignored me. Called out again, they turned and walked into the forest.
I freaked out. It was dark in the woods and they would get hurt, so I ran, just seconds behind them and shone a flashlight into the trees.
Nobody. The two people had vanished.
Digging into a Paranormal Experience
After this experience I found out a few things.
First, no matter how dark it gets at the Hermitage Ruins, I can see faces and clothing. Afterwards I realized the two people had no features, like shadows without a face.
Second, the area they walked into wasn't an overgrown nothing. This was the original location of the family's well. If you believe in residual energy (people doing the same thing over and over in life leave an impression), maybe I was in the right place at the right time.
And finally, my coordinator that night heard me yell out. She ran around the ruins to make sure everyone was okay. She watched me call out the second time.
I could easily see the people under that full moon, but she told me after... I was calling out to an empty field. Out of everything, that freaks me the most.
Take a Ghost Walk of The Hermitage Ruins
The Ghost Walks of the Hermitage Ruins
A quiet stroll into the haunted forest in one of Ontario's oldest communities. Soon arrive to a place filled with stories told over generations at this hidden historic gem.
Silence of the forest, being surrounded by dark woods with the ruins looming over you … all in a place causing paranormal experiences for generations.
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Have any personal ghost experiences at this location?
We'd love to hear them