I See Ghosts – Part 3

Maybe it’s just the influence of Hallowe’en approaching, but I have ghosts on my mind.  It seems that I’m seeing them everywhere lately.

It started last week in Picton when we drove past an old abandoned military base from WWII.

Camp Picton

There were tall, unfriendly fences surrounding the site of boarded-up buildings with even unfriendlier signs warning against trespassers.

Camp Picton 2

I could practically hear The Voices suggesting I sneak in and pay a visit, but on this bone-chilling day,  I stayed on the side of the angels and didn’t venture past the NO TRESPASSING signs.

… but I whispered back softly “I’ll return, mes amis”.  I promise.

Camp Picton-2

This week we went hiking on a nearby trail I haven’t been on in a couple of years.  Has it really been that long ago already?! Time goes by so quickly.

I knew the old abandoned road was there – I had passed by it many times … but on this day I could hear The Voices calling me again to visit.

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So, for the first time, we followed the ghost road to see where it ends – with questions swirling around in my head.  Does the old road feel despair in its abandonment?  Or is it comforted as Nature slowly regains its hold?

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The road ended abruptly dissolving into trail ruts.  A short distance later, even the ruts ended suddenly … without revealing any of its secrets.

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And because things always seem to have a way of happening in threes, I found myself called again by The Voices.

This time I was drawn to the old abandoned house located on a cycling route I travelled dozens of times in the past.  It’s been almost a decade since I rode those long hard miles, training for races that now feel like ancient history.

This time I ignored the NO TRESPASSING signs which are now being overrun by the wildness around them.

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When cycling alone for hours on quiet country roads, it can be challenging to find places to stop for a bio-break … especially for a woman.  The brush behind this old ghost house was one of my favourite stops for few moments of much-needed privacy.

I developed a fondness for this quiet spot.

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Nature has been aggressively reclaiming its hold and the old home is starting to show the deep scars of the battle it is losing.

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This was not a neglected, unloved home.  Since it lay in the path of a planned new federal park, the property was appropriated by the government.  It now sits within the 79 square kilometres of the Rouge National Urban Park.

While I approve the preservation and protection of wild spaces which this park represents, I’ve always greeted this old home with sadness.

On this day even The Voices were quiet and subdued with respect.

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Maybe you hear The Voices too and see the ghosts around you.  They have stories to tell … if you’re listening.

71 comments

  1. Ohh, I do, I do! Here in Italy I often hear, or better feel a kind of undercurrent, but I call it history. 🙂 Some places may be empty but are happening all the same. I love the way this post sounds and speaks.

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  2. These images definitely capture the essence of ghosts!! The trail that I’ve recently been walking has an abandoned campground located along it and the roads remind me of yours. It’s interesting that the road ends at nothingness and retains its secrets. Old, abandoned houses seem to hold the most ghosts to me. I’m glad that they were quiet and subdued on the day of your visit. 😉

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  3. Well done, Joanne! Captivating photos and an engaging narrative. I see that you already play “What if?”
    You’ve reminded me of images I found when I was researching “road trip” themes for a re-write of one of my lost manuscripts. (That novel is 3/4th finished… one day…) Anyhow, the original Route 66 (USA) has several lost bits of road like the one you showed. I was saddened yet fascinated. It added a whole new aspect to that story.
    Maybe you’re right, that it’s the influence of Halloween — things I’ve been glimpsing from the corner of my eye, shadows, whispers… Happy Halloween, my friend. 🙂

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    • As the daylight gets shorter we probably spend more time in our heads – at least I’ve been told I spend too much time in my own head … but I suspect you know all about that 😉
      I just don’t think my muse is as strong as your’s is!!!

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    • That’s my thought too. Clearly safety is a concern – there were a few buildings with a collapsed roof – but why just let them mould? I’m certain there are great stories in these buildings. They are part of history.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to admit that I don’t hear voices/Voices like this but your photos are certainly haunting. But I often wonder about the stories behind abandoned buildings. Maybe that’s somewhat the same. I have had a feeling that I should go to to the thrift store or Half Price Books before, even when I’m trying to not go there and when I have, I’ve always found something I needed. 🙂

    janet

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  5. Your pictures do feel a bit haunted, Joanne. Maybe it’s the brooding skies and brittle weeds. I’m glad the house was once loved, even though it looks lonely now. I often hear voices… it’s why I want to visit castles someday. 😀

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  6. You’re not alone hearing voices when in old places abandoned, or just old. The house does look sad and lonely.

    Trespassing…I’ve been known to do it for the shot, but am more respectful of those signs since …well I’ll tell you that story when a bit more time has passed. 6 years doesn’t feel like I’d be in the clear. 😉

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    • Gaaaaah – now you HAVE to tell me!!!!

      For the most part, I’m very respectful of No Trespassing signs – especially if it’s private property which Camp Picton is. I know my intentions are benign but that doesn’t make it any better – especially if I ultimately get hurt in some way. Call me risk-adverse 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know if you will be able to receive this message, but I’m trying anyway. Since cancelling my blog on WordPress, it has been difficult to comment on my favourite blogs. Please let me know if you do get this message! 😄

    Your photos from Picton are great! I live a 3 minute drive from there. If you come back – let me know and I will take you into the camp. The “No Trespassing” signs are mostly for show. I wander around the camp often. I’d love to show you around!

    Hope you are well – Hope this message gets through…

    All the best, Connie Collins (formerly of BasildonKitchens)

    >

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    • Hi Connie! How nice to hear from you … yes, obviously I did get your comment and I hope you get this reply!

      I was actually thinking about you when we were walking around Picton. I wondered how far away you were. I will definitely schedule another trip (Picton is such an interesting location!) and contact you to meet up. A walk through the camp would be amazing … as would a trip to the Lake on the Mountain. You were the one who piqued my interest in it. Until you posted about it, I had never heard of it. Now I’ve discovered it is in the book 150 Unusual Things to See in Ontario.

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  8. This post reminded me of my visit to Auschwitz Birkenau II in Poland…
    It’s incredible what human kind is capable of.
    Seeing these photos, looks like an amazing place, but after knowing the story and the use given to this place, mark it as an horror story…
    It’s a shame.

    I liked the photos!

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  9. This gave me goose bumps because I do hear the voices when in this part of the country I see a deserted farm house or barn. I am always wondering what the story was, who lived there, how large was the family, what kind of crop or livestock did they keep. That WWII area is pretty well preserved, and I’d be thinking about all those young men and the families at home anxiously awaiting their return. You take care when you are out there alone cycling.

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    • It’s been nice to hear that others, like you, also hear The Voices 🙂
      Abandoned spaces seem ripe for a ‘haunting’ and my imaginations runs wild in these places.

      All my cycling is being done indoors on a trainer now. It’s not quite the same as having the wind in my face but it’s certainly a lot safer 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Your post, Joanne, raises some very chilling ghosts – the consequences of institutional actions that are never properly faced or seen through; a sense of agendas beyond our control and not for the general good. Those moody photos certainly do disturb.

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  11. Seeing abandoned houses always makes me sad too. Either tear them down, or fix them up, but don’t leave them in limbo like that. It’s kind of like purgatory for homes. When we drive through the country, I’ll point to a run down house and say “haunted!” Perfect timing for this story!

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    • I agree, Karen. Tear them down or fix them up. Letting nature slowing seep the life out of it seems so wrong.

      Camp Picton in particular bothers me. I appreciate that the maintenance of these old structures can be very expensive, but this is a piece of history and there are stories here to preserve. Sadly, I noticed a few of the buildings now have a collapsed roof.

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  12. I like how you ignore the no trespassing signs ~ we are birds of a feather on this one.. haha.

    What a sad and neglected house no longer loved. Surely they could use it as a nature center, small museum, something… seems so very wasteful.

    It’s probavly full of ghosts….

    Good ghost story! Spooky spooky spooky

    Peta

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  13. That house is sad. It looks like it must have enjoyed some glory days, but it doesn’t take nature too long to work it’s way in. I don’t want to encourage trespassing, but I’d love to see inside that military base. I’m sure there are ghosts inside those buildings,

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    • Nature is relentless. There used to be a large barn on the property, but it is now gone. It appears to have been removed because there is no debris left behind, but it must have happened a while ago. The tall grasses and shrubs haven’t been disturbed in a while.

      It would be virtually impossible to explore the former military base without detection. I think I might try to approach this again by asking for permission … but in the spring in much warmer weather!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I understand the need to restrict access to abandoned sites – they become unsafe, vandalism, etc – but there is definitely an allure to them. I attribute it to the ‘ghosts’ that pique our imaginations 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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