Sparkles of gold, scarlet and lavender embrace and awaken the visual senses as you cross the double-door threshold into a magical world of allure and elegance. The sound of crackling logs quietly linger as a rustic, musky scent fills the air from the wood-burning hearth in the living room. A library on the left heeds welcome and you can't help but notice the remarkable antique piano nestled in the corner of the room, and the long, cozy chaise that entices you to curl up with a good book from the shelf's vast collection.
It was around 4:30 p.m. on a chilly February day, and the sun was just setting. Daniel and I were running a bit behind as we spent the entire day birding in "Owl Woods" on Amherst Island and seemed to lose track of time. We departed the mainland in downtown Kingston on the Wolfe Islander Ferry and arrived on Wolfe Island about twenty minutes later. We were quite eager to get to the place where we were going to spend the night but little did we know that the spirits of Wolfe Manor were anxiously awaiting our arrival.
Our hosts, Rod and Martha, graciously greeted us and helped us settle in to our room quite comfortably. We were taken to the East Suite on the second floor, a large, lavish space that featured its own wood burning fireplace.
On the other side of the fireplace was a luxurious spa-like retreat, complete with a huge soaker tub surrounded by candles, and steps that led up to an elegant, glass encased shower. We freshened up and unpacked our bags before gearing up with some of the ghost investigative tools we brought to use on the house tour with Rod and Martha. We were both very excited and couldn't wait to learn more about this mysterious and secluded home that is full of energy and rich with history.
I remember every winter as a child, my family would take a trip to Kingston. This wasn't a regular vacation of sorts, oh no. My family was much more different. Each year we'd gear up on big huge Bird Watching trips to various places around Canada and the U.S. but my most favourite of all was always going to Wolfe Island in hopes of seeing several hundred different owls!
We never left the island disappointed as memories of a Great Horned Owl sitting atop a post or a Snowy Owl soaring past our car lasted with me to this day. My family also enjoyed seeing all of the historic farmhouses and barns that were left abaondoned and empty, imagining what life must have been like back then.
Wolfe Island, near Kingston, is the largest of the 1,000 Islands and is situated in Lake Ontario at the entrance of the St. Lawrence River. To date, the earliest known inhabitants of the isle were the Point Peninsula Indians who resided there from about the time of Christ until 800 AD.
The Iroquois resided on the island around 1200 AD and were followed by European settlers in the late 1700's. It is said that the first white man to set foot on the island was Samuel de Champlain. They were returning from Sackett's Harbour in the winter and crossed the island.
King Louis XIV of France referred to the island as "Ganounkouesnot" in 1675 as an Indian word roughly translated to "long (island) standing up". The French referred to the island as "Grande Ile" however the name Long Island was used until relatively recent times. "Wolfe Island" became the official name on July 16, 1792.
During the early 1800's, about fifteen families lived on the island, not including the Indians that remained. The Indians were very peaceful and supplied the settlers with brooms and baskets and other items, as well as information on the making of sugar and maple syrup.
Marysville, the island's village and center of town was also established in the early 1800's and was named after Mary Hitchcock, the first postmistress of the island who was also a nurse and mid-wife. Ferry services between Kingston and Wolfe Island and Wolfe Island and Cape Vincent, N.Y., were also both first licensed in 1802.
Currently, Wolfe Island is home to over 1,300 full time inhabitants with its population doubling in the summer months with its many cottagers. There are over 40 operating farms and 70 home-based businesses on the island and the community is very close-knit, friendly and independent.
Marysville is also home to three churches, the most impressive is Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church which was built in 1917. Up until the early 1800's, islanders had to travel to Kingston to take part in any kind of religious services, only two settlers of these were Catholic. One of the first Catholics on the isle was Doctor McCrae. He and his wife donated some land and in 1852 for a cost of $20,000 the first Roman Catholic Church was built. People came a long way by horse, foot and boat to attend services.
The first pastor was Rev. John Foley (1854-1861) and during his pastorate, a residence near the church was purchased for the priest and was used until it was destroyed by fire in about 1863. Shortly after this another house was purchased by Rev. Michael Stafford.
Due to the growing Catholic population on the island, a larger and more beautiful church was built and completed in 1872. In 1901, the sixth pastor of Sacred Heart, Father Spratt, planned to build a new rectory and even had plans drawn up. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1915 before they could be carried out. This rectory is still standing to this day, but we now know it as The Wolfe Manor Inn.
The property became a family home in 1980 when Rod and Martha purchased it. Previous to this, Martha remembers going on treks to see the "old haunted house" as her and her sister peered through the nearby forest trying to get a glimpse of the grand edifice.
The priest who lived in the rectory for 15 years before Rod and Martha came in was Father M. Farrell. He wasn't that popular amongst the islanders and this is when the rumours of the house being haunted surfaced as he was known to nail everything shut from the inside as if he was afraid that something or someone was going to come in.
Rod and Martha knew immediately that they weren't alone from the moment they stepped foot inside the home. The place was just filled with energy that they both could sense. According to Martha, "it's a very loving energy" and their "home is like a haven. Spirits stuck in purgatory would go there to get sent home - the god of their knowing was not that forgiving."
Sometimes Rod and Martha can hear the sound of footsteps walking upstairs when no one else is in the home, as if someone was wearing heavy, work boots, dragging their feet. The occasional door opens on its own or a light turns on right after Rod had made sure to switch it off.
One evening, exactly at 12 midnight, Martha was awoken by a large crash at the main entrance on the first floor. She ran to see what happened an noticed that a delicate angel decoration that was securely hung to the wall with several large screws fell off the wall, but oddly enough, didn't have one chip or scratch on it.
Events like this don't bug them anymore however. Both Rod and Martha have become used to the spirits in their home that they rarely pay attention anymore to the strange things that occur. Unless of course it's hard not to notice like the time their friends were visiting and decided to enjoy the scenery and spend the night under the stars in the backyard.
They were just drifting off to sleep when all of the sudden their camper began to rock back and forth, rather aggressively. It was a very calm and still night with no wind so there is no explanation for what happened.
Their son has not only sensed but also saw things right from the time he was a young child. At a birthday party taking place at the house some kids attending came out of the bathroom saying that there were 3 nuns in there with them.
Martha senses that the nuns like to follow their son around to protect him. There is also said to be the spirit of a little boy that likes to sit on the stairs with his head resting in his hands. The nuns like to keep him safe too.
There is a very old cemetery near the property of their home behind some bushes and might very well be the oldest cemetery on the island. When sitting inside the "Widow's Walk" at the very top of the house, you can enjoy the spectacular view and see almost the entire island. On occasion, Rod and Martha have seen very strange lights flickering at night in the dark cemetery.
After chatting with Rod and Martha for close to two hours and hearing all of great history and spooky stories, we were really intrigued and curious to see if anything cool would happen to us during our stay! We thanked them for their time and headed up the old wooden staircase to our suite. The first thing we did was use some of our tools around the room to see if we got anything interesting. The divining rods were really active and pointed out several spots in the room. Even some pictures we took produced some questionable "orb" shots that we can't explain.
After all the investigating, we decided to get comfy and enjoy our suite. Rob had brought us some wood to burn in the fireplace so we lit that and got comfy. After taking a lot hot bubble bath and warming up in our cozy pajamas, we crawled under the huge duvet covers and talked about our day.
Being the "scaredy cat" that I am (yes, Stephanie the invincible ghost investigator), I was a bit timid after all of the stories that were told so I asked Dan if we could leave one of the two lights on either side of the bed on. Dan agreed and in a matter of seconds, we both drifted off to sleep with the soothing sound and warmth of the fireplace crackling in the background.
About an hour later I opened my eyes and peered at the alarm clock that read 11:46 p.m. An intense ice storm had hit around that time too so I could hear the ice pellets belting across the window panes that surrounded our bed. Something was different.
I couldn't put my finger on it until I sat up and tried to look around the room. The only problem was that I couldn't see anything as the room was enveloped in complete darkness. I hastily began pushing Dan in his side and awoke him from his slumber. "Dan, Dan, the lights have all gone out even the fireplace too!"
I began freaking out as I knew that we both agreed to leave one of the lamps on for the entire night. Dan sat up and wondered what had happened. At first, we thought perhaps the electricity went out due to the storm outside, but looked at the alarm clock and realized that was still fine.
We turned the lamps on quickly and eyed the room for anything or anyone! We pulled out the camcorder and tried using our night vision feature to capture a spirit or entity that was obviously in the room as we both felt this incredible amount of energy right there with us.
After 10 minutes of filming the clock turned to midnight. We listened to see if anything strange would happen as it does so frequently to Martha at this exact time. Nothing happened and we were really tired so we decided we were going to go back to bed. That was until I asked Dan to leave the lights on again. Before we went to sleep, we decided to conduct a little experiment, one that we wont' soon forget!
We shut one lamp off and kept the other one all the way up (they were dimmer lamps). We asked out loud, "if there is a spirit here, please show us a sign" and at that very second the lamp that was on began to dim. Darker, darker, and darker it went until there was almost no light in the entire room. I started freaking out and grabbed ahold of Dan.
After taking a few deep breaths, we turned the light up again to it's brightest setting and asked out loud, "if there is a spirit here, please show us another sign that you're here". At that moment again, the light began to dim, but then quickly lit up and them dimmed again going back and forth, light to dark! We decided to leave it at that as this was freaking us out too much.
Dan went to the bathroom and turned on a lamp that was in there. We shut the two beside our bed off and went to sleep. We awoke the next morning with the bright winter light shining on our faces and talked about the previous night's events.
Both Daniel and myself highly recommend visiting Wolfe Manor Inn. It is a must see if you're going to be in and around Kingston. Our stay at Wolfe Manor was one of luxury, escape and retreat, and even a few cool ghostly experiences thrown in there too!
If you're coming to the Inn to relax and get away, this is the perfect place. The setting and atmosphere makes you feel like you're in a spiritual sanctuary or journey - and I don't mean paranormally related! Wolfe Manor Inn is a place to come and get in touch with yourself, to let your emotions go and enjoy all that is offered to your five (or even six) senses!
Rod and Martha are the best hosts you could ever imagine as they are there to help you when needed, but also allow you to enjoy the quiet and peaceful time to yourself, as if the home truly was your own. And when you visit, be sure to ask Martha about the mysterious room in the basement with the disappearing paint on the door!
The Violent Dream by Daniel Cumerlato
Many times over the years we've had strange dreams as part of investigations. Our trip to Kingston wasn't an official investigation, but this didn't stop an interesting dream, or maybe a warning related to the Wolfe Manor Inn.
This happened the night before we were set to leave for Kingston. The dream started out pretty normal. It was Stephanie and me walking down a wooded path leading to the old rectory house that would become Wolfe Manor. It was night-time, but in the dream this seemed to be normal.
Then I was out of my body and flying towards the house. I was inside the house and stopped beside a side door near the kitchen. That's when I heard the screaming. A man and woman screaming in pain and terror from the other side of that door.
I was on the porch watching one of the most violent scenes I've ever dreamed. The man and woman were tied by the hands, a rope looped into the ceiling of the porch, hanging by the wrist. They were scream because invisible hands were ripping away their skin. This couple was being skinned alive!
That's when I woke up.
This made me very uneasy about our trip. I didn't believe this was real, or that it ever happened during the history of this house, but I was unnerved by the thought that it may be an omen of terrible things to come. My hope was we were dealing with an angry spirit not wanting to be disturbed... but I couldn't be sure.
The worst part of this entire experience occured when we got to Wolfe Manor. We were getting the grand tour when I saw the sidedoor and the porch for the first time. They both were exactly as they appeared in my dream.
Islands": History of the 1000 Islands by Jennifer Hoeltzel
Island Official Website
The Long Island Standing Up!"
below for a map of Wolfe Island
** Images kindly used from the Wolfe Manor Inn website. (www.wolfemanor.ca) and other above sources.