The mountain that moves once moved so much that seventy to ninety people were buried underneath it. On 29 April 1903 Turtle Mountain in Alberta had a rockslide that sent 90 million tons of limestone rolling down the side. It became one of Canada’s most deadly and largest slides in history. Now, as the eastern part of Frank, Alberta remains covered in limestone, it is an eerie and desolate place to visit. With the amount of bodies never recovered and the tragedy that occurred, reports of hauntings in the area are considerable.
Native Nations of
the Blackfoot and K’Tunaxa called Turtle Mountain, “the mountain that moves.”
It was said that they would not even camp near this mountain because of how
unstable it was. Yet, when colonization began, settlers saw that Turtle Mountain
was also rich in coal, a resource that was integral to the development of
Alberta. The town of Frank was then built right beside the mountain and a mine
was placed inside.
The structure of Turtle Mountain is incredibly unsafe. Limestone and coal are weak in structure and movement of the mountain caused an inverted V shape where water ran through. This opened up more fissures and gaps where water would freeze and unfreeze, causing more internal pressure. Added to the weak structure, the mining activity did not help the integrity. The winter of 1903 had significantly high amounts of snow and in April 1903 it was unseasonably warm, causing the huge amounts of snow to melt. On 28 April 1903 all the water refroze and the pressure inside the mountain was too much. The mountain broke and a rockslide occurred.
Seventy to ninety
people were buried and most remain buried to this day. Twenty-three people
survived, many of them children. The eastern part of Frank was buried, two
kilometres of track of the Canadian Pacific Railway was covered and the coal
mine completely caved in. The Frank Slide, as it is known, remains as one of
the most devastating avalanches in Canadian history. People, such as Lillian
Clark, had her entire family buried. Adults threw their babies to the surface
while they were being buried. Gladys Ennis, who was twenty-seven months old,
was one of these babies. Her mother had cleaned out the mud from her mouth and
nose before passing away. Gladys Ennis was the last known survivor of the Frank
Slide, having passed away in 1995.
As with any
tragedy, spiritual activity in the area is high. There can be a very eerie
feeling when driving passed a landslide where people remain buried. People have
reported seeing strange grey mist over the debris. Others have talked about
ghostly figures who wander the rocks. It is said that they are apparitions of
people who had survived the slide and are still trying to find their buried
loved ones. Whatever the case, Turtle Mountain is a place that is both
beautiful and creepy.
The slide that
buried up to ninety people was one of the deadliest in Canada. While the
primary reasoning for the avalanche points to the geological structure of the
mountain, weather and human activity within it also are high secondary factors.
Ghost inhabit the area as tragedy makes it difficult to move on. Now, Alberta
has a monitoring program to record the mountain that moves to ensure that
something like this does not happen again.
There is a creature that has terrorized many villages across Europe before it made its way over the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. This creature hides among regular humans during the day and most nights but on the nights of the full moon, it cannot hide any longer. It attacks livestock and takes the form of a giant humanoid wolf. In English it is the Werewolf, in French it is called Le Loup-Garou. In 1700s Québec le Loup-Garou was considered a very real fear and now it is considered an old French legend.
Le Loup-Garou terrorized the area of
Québec for years but 21 July 1766 the Québec Gazette reported a werewolf attack
at St. Rock, near Cap. Mouraska. Le Loup-Garou took the form of a beggar,
asking for work and promising to do things that he could not do. Then at night
a loup-garou would terrorize the village, destroying livestock all around the
area. 2 December 1767 le Loup-Garou had returned, this time in Kamouraska and
Québec City. Le Loup-Garou allegedly caused considerable destruction to the
city and when the citizens attacked it and hurt it, le Loup-Garou just came
What happened after that? Did le
Loup-Garou die? Were the citizens victorious?
No one seems to know. It was as if
the creature just disappeared. It was never reported again in a major newspaper
but rumours of it surrounded the province of Québec.
Now le Loup-Garou has become a
folktale in Québec and there a two popular stories involving a Loup-Garou.
Interestingly enough, both versions involve a man named Hubert who ends up
being the werewolf.
The first tale of le Loup-Garou
comes from a small unknown village. In this village there was a miller by the
name of Joachim Crête. Crête hired a stranger, who had shown up at his door,
named Hubert. Hubert was a reliable hard-worker who did not ask for too much.
After work every night the two of them would drink and play checkers, they were
known for being too excessive in their drinking. Afterwards, Hubert would leave
the house into the dead of night. Crête wasn’t suspicious of the behaviour, but
he did think it was a little odd.
Then a loup-garou began mauling
sheep around the town. Hubert asked the miller what he thought of these stories
and Crête just laughed, calling them silly rumours. It couldn’t be more than a
pack of wolves.
But one night the mill broke. The
miller and Hubert went to fix it but the mill just wouldn’t budge. The miller
lost track of Hubert and went back inside, deciding to fix the mill in the
morning when they had light. Then a huge black dog, the size of a human, with
massive fangs and glowing red eyes entered his house. Crête called for Hubert
and the dog responded. It was at that moment that the miller believed his
worker to be le Loup-Garou.
Crête fell to his knees to pray and that is when Hubert sprang on him. The miller grabs a sickle from the wall and cut off le Loup-Garou’s ear, as this is considered one way to kill a loup-garou. The beast disappeared and Hubert reappeared moments later, but he was missing an ear. The miller was hit with realization and Hubert fled from the area, never to be heard from again.
The second tale begins with a hunter and trapper named Hubert Sauvageau (French for savage) and his apprentice André. The two of them make a camp in the woods with a stranger name Léo. Rumours of a loup-garou were prominent at the time and Hubert asks André if he knows how to spot one and what to do if faced with one. Hubert tells him what he should do and gives him a good luck charm. If a werewolf attacks, André is to throw the good luck charm at the white spot in the middle of his head. The three of them tuck into their beds to go to sleep. Hubert leaves the camp when he believes the other two are asleep, but André is woken by Hubert’s movements.
There is howling and rustling in the forest around the camp and a massive white wolf appears. It drags a deer passed André and the sleeping Léo. It begins to eat the deer near the camp. As dawn comes, the wolf gets up and goes into the forest with Hubert reappearing moments later, instantly going to sleep in his bed.
André is convinced that his mentor is le Loup-Garou and wakes up Léo, telling him everything he had seen. He shows Léo the carcass of the deer but there are no tracks around it. It is said that a loup-garou never leaves tracks behind. Léo becomes convinced and they discuss what to do.
When Hubert awakens, the other two of them confront him. He admits that he is le Loup-Garou but he would never hurt them, they had proof of that last night. But Léo is not convinced and says Hubert can’t make any promises. Hubert asks them not to tell but Léo says he cannot keep it a secret and that he would kill a loup-garou if necessary.
The next night le Loup-Garou comes back and goes to attack Léo. André throws the good luck charm at the spot on le Loup-Garou’s forehead, drawing blood. It turns back into Hubert who thanks André for freeing him of the curse.
What do the Quebecois believe makes a person a loup-garou?
Well, it is said that anyone who misses their Easter duties seven years in a row is immediately cursed to be a loup-garou. In some cases, the only way to save this cursed person is to know who they are in their human form and draw its blood when they are a loup-garou. Or as previously stated, cutting off an ear of a loup-garou will destroy. A loup-garou can be very dangerous if it is not saved or killed.
In the area of Québec, it was truly believed that a loup-garou was terrorizing them and mauling the livestock. Whether it was a loup-garou or just a pack of wild animals is unknown for people who believe in the supernatural. Now le Loup-Garou lives as a folk legend in Québec culture. So when you go out in the wilds of Québec always be aware of the natural and supernatural dangers that lurk in the trees.
Oral traditions are important and our ability to listen, truly listen, to another person as they talk to us is something that is incredibly valuable. It can be respectful to truly listen to someone as it means you are learning about the person who is talking, their worldview and the wisdom they contain about topics you may never think about.
Words and writing contain a wisdom
as well and there is a lot that can be learned from written stories. An oral
story is different. It is personal. It is someone in front of you, someone
real, who has feelings and lives as you do. To hear someone tell a story is to
be a part of their life, their teaching and to provide them with an open,
listening mind. It is in this way that oral traditions are important.
There is time, effort and care put
into telling and listening to stories. A person can copy what is written and
place it in another book or on the Internet. A voiced story cannot be truly copied.
It is personal, it holds nuances specific to that person. It is not something
that can be duplicated.
Before Europeans colonized Canada
the tribes that lived across the land told their legends orally. They had
writings, drawings, pictograms, but the heart of the culture was the spoken
word. It was important to listen to the Elders and take in every word. It was
spiritual and it was respectful. The tales told were told with a reason and
were part of the life. While tales were changed from tribe to tribe, maybe just
in the spelling or in a critical part of the legend, they still held a
significant weight for the tribe it was being told in. Stories change but the
feeling, the spiritual emphasis and the cultural importance remains.
It was during the process of
colonization, and later assimilation, that Native tribes lost stories. Being
punished for speaking their mother tongue or being stolen from their tribes and
lands, legends could not always be passed down to the next generation. Now, in
the age of the Internet and an emphasis on academia, to fit in we read, write,
type and regurgitate information from one site to the next. It is difficult to
just sit down and listen to a story when reading alone is easier. Is it better?
I cannot answer that as it would be hypocritical of me as I type and share a
story online, but it is a thoughtful question.
The Beothuk was a tribe that was
wiped out from disease and killing. They are now extinct. Almost all of their
legends and culture is gone. Finding a religious or spiritual legend from the
Beothuk is next to impossible. It is as if they have been erased and that is
devastating. It is due to this that I have chosen a story from the Mi’kmaq.
What had happened to the Beothuk should never happen to any other people or
So now, I want to tell a legend from
the Mi’kmaq, specifically the Loon People of Newfoundland and urge us to go and
listen to the people living around us so memories and culture are not lost. To
hear from them is to not speak for them, but to listen. Listen to the culture
around us and open ourselves up. There is a lot to learn. I write this now, not
to take the story from them and to tell it my own way, but because I feel the
importance of it and I want to share what I have learned in my own research. However,
seek out primary sources, what I share is not exact and the memories are much
more precise coming from a primary source.
The Story of Glooscap and Winpe
In Mi’kmaq culture, the hero of many stories is The Great Chief – Glooscap. Glooscap was brought to life by Creator, a being who transcends the binary of man and woman, Creator is all. Creator struck the land of Wabanaki – the Atlantic Seaboard and home to the Mi’kmaqs, Malecites, Penobscots and Passamaquoddies – with lightning. Glooscap was formed, in the shape of a male human, out of the sand. Creator sent a second bolt of lightning and Glooscap was given life. He could see the world around him but he could not move, so he asked Creator to allow him to learn about his new world. Creator sent a third bolt of lightning down and freed Glooscap, allowing him to move. In another tale he is said to have come to Wabanaki on the back of a turtle. In any tale he comes to Wabanaki to watch and learn about the world around him.
Glooscap relied on the respect and
wisdom from his relatives and Elders. In doing so, they gave him great
spiritual strength. He passes this knowledge onto the Mi’kmaq and becomes the
central figure and hero in their legends. From tribe to tribe stories of
Glooscap are told.
Winpe on the other hand was a being of evil. In the majority of tales Winpe is portrayed as a man, however sometimes she is a sorceress. He is a sorcerer and the ruler of the Northern Sea. Winpe is most likely a giant. Winpe left suffering wherever he went and he was jealous of Glooscap who was more powerful than he was. Winpe either challenges Glooscap to a battle and then steals Glooscap’s family or just kidnaps his family outright. In the beginning of this tale, Winpe puts Grandmother and Marten in a large canoe and paddles away with his two captives, luring Glooscap into a challenge.
Glooscap calls out for his dogs, who
Winpe has now shrunken down to the size of mice, and Grandmother sets them in a
dish and floats them back to Glooscap. Glooscap waits, it is unsure for how
long, before he is able to go after his family. He goes to the water and chants
for a whale. The largest one, Bootsup, comes to the surface and Glooscap gets
on top. Bootsup carries him across the bay where there is a teepee with a man
and a woman. They tell Glooscap of Winpe’s evil doings and tell him to eat
cranberries around Winpe as it will help him to see a trail of Winpe’s magic.
Glooscap gets off Bootsup’s back and
continues on his journey. He comes across an old camp of Winpe where an old
woman is now camping. She complains of Winpe and the cold and begs Glooscap to
help her make a fire. Before he sets down to help her, he eats a cranberry.
Seeing that she is one of Winpe’s witches, he puts her in a deep sleep. After,
he continues on his way.
He meets two beautiful women. The two
of them try to seduce him and slip a magic noose around his neck. This noose
would take away his power and strength. While his dogs were still the size of
mice, they could grow as large as bears. The two dogs magically grew and
protected Glooscap from the maidens.
Glooscap may have met many more
obstacles along the way, it is not really certain. When he finally got to
Winpe’s camp he was angry to see how his family had been treated. Winpe was
cruel. Grandmother and Marten sat in tattered clothes and Winpe has starved
them. Glooscap tries to free his family without the sorcerer seeing him but he
is unsuccessful. When Winpe sees him the two of them begin a battle, or a game
of tokohon. Glooscap wins and destroys Winpe to not allow evil onto the world
and his people. Glooscap takes tokohon to teach his people, later it is renamed
The people of K’Taqmkuk –
Newfoundland – rejoice as Winpe is finally gone and they are freed from his
cruelty. They serve a large feast to Glooscap and his family, treating them
royally. As Glooscap and his family leave he tells the people of K’Taqmkuk to call
him if he is needed. The call is the call of a loon. This is why the
Newfoundland people are called the “Loon People” and how the Mi’kmaq learned
Arcturus Publishing. “How Glooscap Conquered his Enemies (Mi’kmaq).” In Native American Myths and Legends. London, Ontario: Arcturus Holdings Limited, 2017. Accessed April 3, 2019. Google Books Edition.
Augustine, Stephen. “Mi’kmaq Knowledge in the Mi’kmaq Creation Story: Lasting Words and Deeds.” Micmaw Spirit, (April 8, 1977). Accessed April 3, 2019. www.muiniskw.org/pgCulture3a.htm
Partridge, Emelyn Newcomb. “How Glooscap Conquered His Enemies.” In Glooscap the Great Chief and Other Stories: Legends of the Micmacs, 247-256. New York: Sturgis and Walton, 1913. Accessed April 3, 2019. archive.org/details/glooscapgreatchi00part/page/247
Newfoundland was the last province to join Canadian Confederation in 1949, but it was one of the first areas to hold colonizers. Newfoundland, in particular St. John’s, was a rough place to live in the nineteenth century. There was a low population, alcohol was cheap, there were always people arriving and leaving, and unwanted bodies were piling up in the streets with no one dealing with them. No one until Nancy Coyle prepared and buried the unknown and discarded. It was not long until her good deed turned against her and she was called a sorceress, shunned by the society she had been helping. Although the 1840s have been over for a long time, no one is really certain if Coyle has left with it.
In the early 1800s, St. Johns had a
small population and relied heavily on a single industry economy – the fisheries.
Landowners were often absent and no one wanted to pay municipal taxes, so,
Newfoundland and St. John’s were reliant on their colonial government to take
care of things. The military garrison and the clergy were essential for keeping
peace and taking care of the citizen safety. Only a handful of police constables
had even been hired in 1812, were paid from tavern licenses and had minimal
responsibilities. The military was also essential for fire control, even though
a voluntary fire brigade had formed in the 1820s with compulsory payments from
landowners and businesses. Their equipment was poor, only getting slightly
better in 1846 when private brigades developed, tied to churches and business,
who helped pay for the equipment. Newfoundland had no real social structure
during this time and without it, it was hard to properly give care to its
citizens. It was not even until 1855 that Newfoundland was given full
St. John’s was a particularly
difficult place to live in the early nineteenth century. The social help and
authority was severely lacking. One significant social service missing was
morgues and a place for preparing and burying the dead. Burying the dead was
left to families and for those who did not have families, well, they just began
piling up. No one wanted to deal with them. The bodies mainly belonged to those
who had died on ships – there were a lot of foreign vessels where the dead did
not have their family on it or just could not be identified, so they were left
on the street. Prisoners who had been executed, or died in prison, had no one
who wanted or could bury them and no morgue, so they were piling up. Patients
from insane asylums who had passed in the mental hospital’s care, were dumped
on the street, no one took care of them. These were the common bodies left on
the streets of St. John’s.
In 1840 the Colonial Government
hired Nancy Coyle, with a standing salary, to prepare the bodies for burial.
Coyle was skilled at her job and would prepare them right in her own home. Some
said she was so skilled that she could bring people back to life.
While there is some truth to people
“coming back to life,” it was more likely that the people waking up had been knocked
out, drank too much, had sick or something else that may have been
scientifically unknown at the time. The population at this time was also
incredibly superstitious so they pointed at her and called her a sorceress. It
was not long after the first two bodies “came back to life” that she was
ostracized from St. John’s society.
The first body to rise again was a
Dutch sailor who coffin she had been nailing closed. He woke up suddenly and
sat up. Stunned and not knowing what else to do, she gave him a drink of
whiskey and he went on his way. The second one was a mental patient from the
insane asylum, John Murphy. She had laid his body on the table in her parlor,
intending to work on him the next day, before heading to bed. Unable to sleep
due to the noises coming from that area of her house, she went to investigate.
It was John, he had woken up. As soon as she opened the door, he fled from her
house. For days after he was seen walking the streets of St. John’s yelling and
talking to himself.
Once these two events transpired,
Nancy was no longer welcome with the living. She died friendless and alone in
her house. All the time she spent on unwanted, discarded bodies, no one did the
same for her. No one even really knows what happened to her body and if she was
buried, she does not have a marked grave.
Now she is said to just wander.
People see her wearing an old-fashioned red cloak, going through the cemeteries
of St. John’s, most often of Trinity Church. Sometimes she can even be seen
pulling a hearse drawn by a horse. These are the places she supposedly haunts. It
is said that even in death she continues to watch over the people buried in the
cemeteries. She never interacts with the living, not since being ostracized,
her only concern seems to be the dead.
Nancy Coyle cared for those who had
no one else left to care for them. It was a time in Newfoundland that lacked
basic social necessities to offer proper services for their population.
Individuals often did the work that present day governments oversee. In Coyle’s
case, the work she did made her an outcast. She lived and still “lives” taking
care of the unwanted and forgotten. Something no one gave to her.
The city of Québec is one of the
oldest cities established in Canada by colonizers. Québec City was founded in
1608 by the French and since that time, it has played a significant role in the
formation of Canada as it stands today. For a city that sits at over four
hundred years old, it is not a wonder that it holds a great deal of history and
tales of hauntings. One haunting in particular has captured the minds of
citizens and visitors alike. It is the story of Marie-Josephte Corriveau, or La Corriveau. Marie-Josephte Corriveau
was a young woman who was found guilty of the murder of her second husband and
was sentenced to death in 1763. While her story has become inflated with magic,
witches and dozens of murdered husbands, the tale of her life and execution
seems like a normal story of the law doing its job – right or wrong. That does
not mean her story lacks anything interesting but it is the idea that she lives
on after her execution that makes it just that more eerie.
Marie-Josephte Corriveau was born in
Saint Vallier, Québec in 1733 to Marie-Françoise Bolduc and Joseph Corriveau.
Out of the ten children birthed, Marie-Josephte was the only one to survive to
adulthood. Not much is known about her childhood, except that her father had
enough wealth for his child to live comfortably. Her story really began at age
sixteen when she married her first husband Charles Bouchard, a farmer from
Saint Vallier. Together they had three children, two daughters and a son. Most
people agree that they had an average marriage with some arguments but
generally a happy one. So when Bouchard passed away in 1760 no one really
thought much of it. Although it was a bit of a surprise that fifteen months
later she got remarried to Louis Etienne Dodier, another farmer from Saint
Vallier. At this time in history a woman relied heavily on a man to provide for
her, so Marie-Josephte was desperate to remarry for the sake of her children.
However, her choice of suitor proved to be a poor one.
Dodier and Marie-Jospehte had a very
problematic relationship, Dodier was said to be extremely abusive towards his
wife. Marie-Josephte had even begged to be allowed to separate from her husband
to no avail. Two of her three children even went to live with their
grandparents, who also disliked their daughter’s new husband. Joseph Corriveau
is especially noted for his immense disapproval and dislike of Dodier. Joseph
and Dodier had many altercations and people of Saint Vallier considered them to
both be very violent men. The British officer, James Abercrombie, in command of
the occupying British troops often took the side of Dodier, the Corriveaux had
become a thorn in Abercrombie’s side. They always seemed to be making trouble,
not that Dodier was much better.
In early 1763 things came to a
climax and Dodier was found dead in his stable. His head was caved in and he
had lacerations all over his face. While rumours immediately spread that
Marie-Josephte and Joseph were somehow involved, it was swiftly ruled an
accident. Dodier was said to have had his head kicked in by one of his horses.
Captain Jaques Corriveau, nephew of Joseph and peacekeeper for the area, wrote
a report to give to Abercrombie, who immediately disbelieved it, it was all too
suspicious for Abercrombie. Also Dodier was buried hastily on 28 January 1763,
only a day after he was found dead, this added on another layer of suspicion.
Abercrombie did not let the issue lay and investigated further into Dodier’s
death. It was ruled foul play when Abercrombie talked to a regimental surgeon
who stated that the wounds could not have been made by horse hooves, especially
ones who did not have horse shoes like Dodier’s. There was no doubt in anyone’s
mind that Marie-Josephte and Joseph Corriveau were the ones involved. The two
of them were arrested and sent to a jail in Québec, where they would await an
English military trial.
1763 marked the year when New France
was handed to Britain at the conclusion of the Seven-Years-War and citizens
were now tried by a court structured similarly to English law. Since British
military occupation began in Québec around 1760 citizens were tried in martial
courts by the British army. It was not until 1764 when news that New France was
officially under English rule that civil courts, modelled after English civil
courts, were established. Due to this, Marie-Josephte and Joseph were tried in
a military court in front of thirteen officers.
It took eleven days to come to the conclusion that the two of them were guilty. According to both Captain Corriveau and Claude Dion, a labouror for Dodier, Joseph had told them ‘some kind of misfortune would befall Dodier soon.’ Dion also stated Marie-Josphete had said something similar, to which, Dodier had responded by slapping her several times in the face. A cousin of Marie-Josephte, Isabelle Sylvain, was also asked to be a witness but committed perjury and was subject to thirty lashes and branded with a P on her hand. All the evidences and witnesses pointed to Joseph being the murderer and Marie-Jospehte being an accomplice solely due to gossip about her offering to pay soldiers to beat up her husband, telling Dodier she preferred Bouchard and being a drunkard. Although neither one could be placed at the scene of the murder. Joseph was found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang. Marie-Josephte was found guilty of being an accomplice and sentenced to sixty lashes with a cat of nine tails and branded with the letter M on her hand. It seemed as if everything was wrapping up with a neat little bow on top.
Until the night before Joseph’s
execution. He confessed that he did not murder Dodier, it was his daughter who
had done it. In exchange for the truth he was to be set free with no
punishment. So began a second trial where Marie-Josephte confessed to hitting
her husband twice in the head with an axe while he slept. After, she begged her
father to help her drag Dodier to the barn where it would look like an
accident. Charges were dropped against Joseph and Marie-Josephte was sentenced
to hang and then to be gibbeted as a warning. This was a sentence from English
law, usually only reserved for males committing petty treason. Since Québec was
under military law and during this time a woman was considered subservient to a
man in both civil and criminal law, it seemed like a fitting punishment for
her. Not only that but it seemed as though the British wanted the French to
know that they were now in charge, crimes would not be tolerated.
Marie-Josephte was executed around 18 April, 1763 on the Buttes-à-Nepveau
beside the Plains of Abraham.
After being hung, Marie-Josephte was
gibbeted in a “cage” that she had to pay for, at Pointe-Lévy, present day
Lévis. Her cage was more like a metal harness that measured about five feet in
length and was used to hold her body straight. Her body hung at a crossroads in
Lévis between Bienville and Lauzon, most likely present day Rue Saint Joseph
and Rue de l’Entente, for about thirty-eight to forty days, less than what was
sentenced. Her corpse was likely removed due to complaints about the sight of
her blackened and peeling skin, her hair falling out, and animals picking at
her. It was a grotesque sight mixed with an even worse smell, so her body was
taken down. She was buried, cage and body, in the cemetery by
Saint-Joseph-de-la-Pointe-Lévy Church. Her story seemed to lay forgotten, only
ghost stories and rumours surrounded her until 1849 when work on the cemetery
began. Her cage was unburied and put in the church’s cellar for storage. After,
it was to be reburied but what happens next is a bit hazy and not at all
It is said that the cage was stolen
by the P.T. Barnum who brought it to his New York Museum. It was later acquired
by The Boston Museum with a place card that simply read “From Québec.” After,
the cage ended up in yet another museum, this time it was in Salem
Massachusetts. Société d’histoire de Lévis negotiated with the museum and
brought the cage back home to Québec where is sits on display at the Musée de
la Civilisation to this day. Thus, the conclusion of Marie-Josephte Corriveau
and her cage is here, but her story lives on, inflated and intertwined with the
Marie-Josephte Corriveau, or La Corriveau as she is generally referred to, is said to not rest in peace. At the crossroad where her body was left to rot people are said to hear sounds of metal scrapping, bones clattering, and moans. Sometimes they even hear their name being spoken by a female voice, begging them to carry her across the Saint Lawrence River. Not only are there sounds but there are physical sensations such as cold spots, the smell of decay, feelings of being watched and being rushed at by someone with decaying hands. All of these combined with the rumours and elaborations of her story have made a sensational tale. People claim she has had more than just two husbands, who she killed and was only caught after Dodier. They claim she has done many more crimes and added more and more gruesome details to her stories. Some also consider her a sorceress or a witch, especially after her cage ended up in Salem, saying she killed her many husbands for magic. While her story happened a long time ago and accusing women of witchcraft is common, there is no denying that she is considered a charged murderess and possibly a restless spirit.
The haunting of La Corriveau may be contentious but there is no arguing that she
remains one of the most famous murderers and murder stories in the city of
Québec. It is a tale that is told and retold again and again. Warnings of a
ghost are whispered to each other when walking in Old Québec and Old Lévis.
There may have been a time that Marie-Josephte Corriveau would not have been
punished so harshly, she was subject to the laws of her time. Now her story and
possibly her spirit live on to tell their tale in the streets of Québec and
Murray and Boissery, Beverly. “The Many Trials of Marie-Josephte Corriveau.” In
Uncertain Justice: Canadian Women and
Capital Punishment, 1754-1953, 39-59. Toronto, Ontario: Dundurn Press,
2000. Google Books version.
“Legislation, Magistrates and Judges: High Law and Low Law in England and the
Empire.” In The British and Their Laws in
the Eighteenth Century. Edited by David Lemmings, 59-79. Woodbridge,
Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2005. Google Books version.