PEI

P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation shares the Island's spooky past for Halloween

The P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation is sharing some of the Island's most haunting local history in celebration of Halloween. 

'That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things moving around in the Yeo house'

The P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation's Matthew McRae says local ghost stories are a great entry point for those looking to learn more about Island history. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

The P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation is sharing some of the Island's most haunting local history in celebration of Halloween. 

As part of the foundation's Artifact of the Week: Spooktacular series, it's been showing off some of P.E.I.'s most creepy artifacts on its social media page — as well as the stories behind them.

I don't know if it's just worn off or fallen off, but its face is disfigured.— Matthew McRae

Many of the foundation's stories come from the Yeo House in Port Hill, P.E.I., which is believed to be haunted, said Matthew McRae, curator of history with the foundation. 

The house was built in 1865 and was originally owned by one of the Island's wealthy ship builders James Yeo Sr., McRae said. 

"It's Halloween and you know when you work for a museum and heritage foundation that has not one but two buildings that are supposed to be haunted and at least one object that might be cursed, it seems like a shame not to share that with the world," he said.

Supernatural experiences

Over time staff and visitors have reported what they describe as supernatural occurrences when alone in the house, he said. 

Some of these experiences include a 19th century toy, referred to by staff and visitors of the Yeo House as Wheelie — a disfigured stuffed dog on wheels. 

Wheelie was found inside the walls of the Yeo House while construction work was being done. The toy is estimated to be about 150 years old and is rumoured to be able to move independently, McRae said.

"It was just lying there inside the walls. It's got two little beady eyes and a nose which looks like its been, I don't know if it's just worn off or fallen off, but its face is disfigured. The fur is quite worn, it's got three of its original wheels," he said. 

He said at one point the toy most likely had a string meant for a child to drag around the house. 

McRae says Wheelie was found inside the walls of the Yeo family house while construction work was being done. The toy is estimated to be about 150 years old and is rumoured to be able to move independently. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

'It doesn't stay put'

Experts with the foundation believe the toy may have belonged to James Yeo Sr.'s son.  

"Now it's kept in a room so people can see it on display. The interesting thing is it doesn't always stay put. People will close up shop for the night and it will be in one place — and when they come back in the morning it will be in another place," McRae said. 

"And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things moving around in Yeo house," he said. 

Suddenly from upstairs on the second floor they heard a piercing shriek.— Matthew McRae

McRae said supernatural experiences in the house range from people hearing eerie sounds like footsteps when no one else is around to hearing what sounds like a baby crying. 

"Another one that I remember is that there was a tour going through, so this was a large group, and suddenly from upstairs on the second floor they heard a piercing shriek," he said. 

"Once a couple of them got the gumption up to go upstairs and investigate — again you can guess what happened — no one was there." 

While the house is brimming over with creepy tales from both staff and visitors, McRae is still encouraging Islanders to come and take a tour. 

"We've got so many great stories. The ghost stories are a great entry way into people learning about Island history because behind every ghost story, in every legend, is a wider story," he said.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Mainstreet

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