Old and abandoned, the Welland Canal’s Lock 18 passes above a notorious haunt for Niagara.
Historically the Merritton Train Tunnel, this 140 year old structure now known as the “Blue Ghost Tunnel”.
Completed in 1876, it converted to occasional use in 1887, then closed in 1915.
How can it be so lightly used and gain such a reputation?
Spooky Tunnels of Niagara
The Screaming Tunnel was a springboard in a region known for tunnels. The railway and Welland Canal created a need.
A dark void, peering into the darkness surrounded by curving stone walls echoing your voice and trapping you in. There’s nothing scarier.
Combined with dark history and this tunnel is hard to ignore.
Welland Canal – –
St. Catharine’s boat river highway between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie was championed in 1824 by William Hamilton Merritt.
The former lord of the haunted Merritt House led the ambitious project before technology. Danger was part of the game. Accidents, suicide, sabotage and foul play have spread dark energy through the Canal.
The Merritton Tunnel (Blue Ghost Tunnel) was a strategic passageway meant only as a temporary fix.
Maybe this lack of use is to blame. In 1903, tragedy struck…
From The St. Catharines Standard on Sat Jan 3, 1903 – –
(edited for space & understanding)
BAD TRAIN WRECK
No.4 Express Collides with a light Mogul Near Merritton TunnelOn the Grand Trunk line near Merritton, a fatal accident occurred today at around 7:03am. Engine Number 975 left Niagara Falls at 6:00am and was set to run through Hamilton. The Engine Number 4 express train was scheduled for Merritton at 6:28am.
As nearly as can be learned, it was 7:03 am when the express train passed a telegraph station near the tunnel, a few moments later Engine 4 and Engine 975 met with a terrible crash.
Both engines in full steam at 22 miles per hour.
The Engineers escaped with only broken limbs and minor cuts to face and arms.
Sadly, Mr. Charles Horning, fireman of Engine 4, was killed instantly.
The reporter described his body as “being jammed in the boiler and mangled”. When rescuers tried to free Horning’s body, pulling on his limbs broke them off.
Some remains were taken away. His mid-section was so wedged it could not be freed. Rescuers noted that his wrist watch was still working.
Abraham Desult, fireman from Engine 975 smashed into the boiler of his train receiving burns to 90% of his body. Desult was rushed to the St. Catharines General where he died 5 hours later.
An Origin Story
Years before the Ghost Walks began, a paranormal investigator named Russ made his way to the Merritton Tunnel. He was given directions to the Screaming Tunnel, but got lost.
Somehow stumbled on the pathway past an abandoned canal lock, down the hill and around to a gravel lined entrance.
He returned many times to investigate and take photos.
During one visit, he captured a ghost photos. A mist floating in the tunnel, shaped like a person in a slight shade of blue.
This gave Russ inspiration for the now famous name, “Blue Ghost Tunnel”. It stuck, along with a growing reputation.
Daniel (founder of The Ghost Walks) was part of multiple investigations with friends, psychics and other paranormal teams.
The Findings – –
The teams knew about the train crash, blue mist and reports of a ghost dog at the tunnel’s entrance. This was intriguing, but it was the tunnel’s atmosphere that drew them.
“Most nights focused on subtle changes in temperature and atmosphere. We used EMF detectors and psychic impression. Hours and hours of little results.“One night was more active than the rest, when a thunderstorm rolled in. Great backdrop for a ghost hunt. Energy was stirred up and the machines spiked.
“Few hours later and we’re leaving. I look to the entrance (about 20 feet away) and see movement. I squinted, strained. It looked like an animal, size and shape of a dog.
“I ran towards it, watching my head as the beams were low. Finally got to the entrance to find nothing.
“At the same time a crack of lightning. I’m man enough to admit jumping. Thankfully, I didn’t scream.”
Shut down to the Public
Unlike the Screaming Tunnel, the Blue Ghost Tunnel is closed for the public. This is private property well guarded for liability reasons.
The empty canal lock is a big reason. No fences block off a dark path. Turn right for the tunnel. Turn left and you may fall 100 feet to your death.
For this reason, I understand the concerned owners.
On top we’ve received many reports of damaged cars, broken into and vandalized while you’re visiting the tunnel.
Is the Blue Ghost Tunnel haunted? – –
Who can say for sure? However, overall this location lacks results.
Of course there are photos, orbs, mists, ghost dogs, but a lack of energy. Truly haunted places have energy outside the Blue Ghost Tunnel being a scary looking place.
Also if you believe tragedy creates ghosts then it ranks low. One train accident with one death in over 140 years in a large space, and only 40 years of actual, part-time use.
I wish we could know more. Sadly many legitimate ghost hunters run for the hills when hearing about the dangers. It’s now a place for vandalism and partying.
Valued History – –
Every history lover should see The Merritton Tunnel. Once frozen in history, it’s now literally sinking into the ground.
NOTE : We would love to see historical hikes, during the daytime, with an experienced guide. To see the abandoned canal lock, a rusted out Ford Tempo sitting at the bottom (how did it get down there?!?). Then a calming stroll down the rocky hill, leading to sheer amazement of an open mouth into darkness.
To see a monument to Canadian engineering.
**Daniel of the Ghost Walks had a consultant role on the original Creepy Canada episode at the “Blue Ghost Tunnel”. Here are some pics from that night…