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Pamela Bell's farmhouse ghost story

It was the Irish pagan festival of Samhain, a night when the dead and the living edged near one another, whence came Halloween. On the night of Nov. 1, and with the dying crops, souls returned to walk the earth. Spooked pagans bolted their doors and extinguished the cooking fires that attracted witches. A rap on the door came from villagers dressed as dead relatives: "Trick or treat?" Best give the souls a treat lest they do something rotten. Canadians have kept the ancient belief in souls haunting the living alive, telling frightening ghost tales for the past 50 years, and not just on Halloween.

media clip
In a farmhouse where the doors squeak and the basement is a place not often visited, Pamela Bell tells a ghost story by the fire. This is her farmhouse, but she does not live here anymore. She says a spirit haunting the home has forced her to leave. Even though Pamela feels very uncomfortable here today, she has returned to tell her chilling tale of shaking beds and an evil presence.
• The words "haunt" and "home" derive from the same root. Historically, a haunting is when spirits of dead people or animals return to earth to occupy homes of the living.

• Parapsychologists say some hauntings occur because spirits feel trapped on earth, don't know they're dead or are reluctant to leave. A gentle exorcism sends spirits from haunted houses to the afterlife.

• Ghosts sometimes appear on specific dates. In the British royal house Hampton Court, Christopher Wren's spirit is said to walk the stairs every Feb. 26, the date of his death in 1723.

• James I of England said ghosts were the creations of witches, demons or the devil.

• After the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the Protestant Church denied the ancient belief that souls of the dead walked the earth. The Catholic Church said ghosts were the souls of sinners waiting in purgatory. Post-Reformation Protestants rejected the notion of purgatory, believing the soul went straight to heaven or hell.

Medium: Television
Program: Conlon's Ontario
Broadcast Date: Feb. 27, 1979
Guest(s): Pamela Bell
Reporter: Patrick Conlon
Duration: 6:23

Last updated: May 14, 2012

Page consulted on February 27, 2015

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