HAUNTINGS ABOUND IN LOCAL REGION
By: Yvette D'Entremont - The Weekly News
Published: October 27, 2004
Whether it's the devil's footprints, a fleeting white block, a mysterious man-beast or UFO sightings, Beaver Bank is a hot bed of activity for anyone fascinated by unexplained phenomena.
"The reason we hear so many stories from this region is that Nova Scotians in general, and certainly people in the Bedford-Sackville-Beaver Bank area, are is connected to their roots, folklore and history," said Lower Sackville resident Elliott Van Dusen."I think a lot of stories are spread and passed around so often that people often think about it. Folklore is part of our culture."
Van Dusen heads the Paranormal Phenomena Research & Investigation group, which investigates stories of paranormal phenomena. When looking into a haunting, PPRI members use devices like night-vision scopes, cameras, electro-magnetic field devices and thermal scanners.
Thermal scanners detect rapid changes in temperature, while electro-magnetic devices detect environmental changes. Van Dusen also said that they use voice recorders to pick up electronic voice phenomena.
"Beaver Bank has a lot of unusual reports," says Van Dusen. "It's a UFO hotspot for Nova Scotia because a lot of UFOs are reported by the old abandoned military base."
This past spring, he said he and several members of his group saw an unidentified flying object hovering in the sky above the abandoned base.
"It was a solid red object that was just hovering there. Then it would move, drop down and go back up," Van Dusen recalled "It would flash white, go back go red, then it moved to the left and two seconds later, disappeared."
Although he and another group member used their video cameras to tape the incident, Van Dusen said none of the unusual activity - roughly 20 minutes and 3 seconds - was missing from one recorder that seemed to have "lost time." Van Dusen's batteries quickly died even though he'd fully changed them before heading out that evening.
"It was too bad we weren't able to get most of what we saw on camera. On my camera, you can see an unusual object for a couple of seconds but that was it," he said. There have been a lot of unusual sightings over the years. They vary but usually involve triangular-shaped UFO reports."
Reports about a white blob that flies across the road are occasionally reported on Beaver Bank Road near the decommissioned military base.
"People have seen it when driving on the road. It seems to start at the corner of the eye and goes across the top of the windshield," Van Dusen said.
In 2001, hunters reported an eight-foot tall creature in the same area. Because there was only ever one reported sighting of the creature, Van Dusen is dubious. "It could have been someone in a suit pulling their legs," he laughed.
There is a local legend that the "devil's footprints" can be seen in parts of ground near where the military barracks were once housed on the base.
"Because of a lot of blasting, most of these foot-prints were destroyed. They looked big, about two to three feet in size and shaped like hooves with three claw marks," Van Dusen said. "It's hard to say whether they weren't just made by an animal or the way rocks formed, but it is an interesting legend."
For those who enjoy an old fashioned ghost story, Van Dusen said Beaver Bank and its surrounding communities also have many of those. The historic Uniacke Estates in Mount Uniacke and Sackville's Fultz House Museum are considered haunted by those who have reported unusual sights and sounds at those locations. Reports of a mysterious glowing light that appears in an area along the Windsor Highway at Jubilee Lane are also common.
One of Van Dusen's favourite local ghost stories centres around a female ghost who wonders the tracks near the Cobequid Road railway crossing. The apparition is believed to be that of a young woman who, at the turn of the 20th century, was walking along the train tracks near what is now the Enviro Depot. She was struck and killed by an oncoming train.
Since that time, local residents and several children have occasionally reported seeing a strange lady in early 20th century clothing walking along the tracks. She usually disappears while witnesses are staring at her.
"We still hear reports of a ghost restlessly walking the same path we assume she took the day she got hit on the tracks," said Van Dusen. "It's just human nature to be interested in unexplained phenomena. People are curious about the unknown so they have a passion to hear about it. That's not limited to Halloween People are interested in this year-round.