PEI

Charlottetown ghosts commemorated on new stamp

The phantom bell ringers of the Kirk of St. James in Charlottetown are part of a series of ghost stamps issued this week by Canada Post.

Church ghosts featured in one of a series of five stamps

The incident of the ghosts happened at the original Kirk of St. James, which was built in 1831. (Kirk of St. James)

The phantom bell ringers of the Kirk of St. James in Charlottetown are part of a series of ghost stamps issued this week by Canada Post.

The story of the ghosts dates back to 1853. 

Women in the belfry

Ian Scott is a member of the St. James congregation, and knows all about the ghost story. He said the story is well known and loved within the church. 

In the early morning of Oct. 7 of that year, a sea captain was surprised to hear the ringing of a ship's bell coming from inland. He made his way to the Kirk of St. James, where he thought the sound was coming from.

"As he got close enough to investigate, he saw what he thought was three women, dressed in white, that were proceeding towards the church and entering the church," said Scott.

The captain and the church keeper went up the tower to see what the women were doing, found nothing except the bell, still vibrating.

The stamp features three ghostly women and the old Kirk. (Canada Post)

Later that day, the Fairy Queen mail steamer sank in stormy seas. Seven died including four women, three were members of the congregation of the Kirk of St. James.

'The bells have really never stopped ringing'

The commemorative stamp pictures three women around the original Kirk of St. James, which was built in 1831, and replaced by the current church in 1878.

The current Kirk replaced the original one in 1878. (Kirk of St. James)

Scott said he is happy to have the story commemorated on the stamp, as it shows that the story has lived on through generations. 

"I always say that you know, the bells have really never stopped ringing at the Kirk," said Scott. "Now it's the telephone bells that ring."

He said the church has received calls from people as far away as Australia who are interested in the story of the phantom bell ringers. 

Other stamps in the series feature ghost stories from Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec and Toronto.

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