Hermitage Ruins : Legend of Ancaster

Hermitage Ruins Address – – 603 Sulphur Springs Road, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada – MAP

The Hermitage Ruins, a legendary location in the small, historic town of Ancaster (now part of Hamilton). For generations, many have visited these lands in search of ghosts. Used for the paranormal and home to dark ritual.

The mystery… why is this land cursed?


The Legend of Lover’s Lane

Maybe it begins with a legend.  Known in this region simply as “Lover’s Lane”. So famous, there’s a street named after it, and at the start of this road is William’s grave.

Standing outside The Hermitage Ruins - - Current Day
Standing outside The Hermitage Ruins – – Current Day

The Coachman William Black was denied true love because of his low station in life.  He’s unable to live with such a void in his heart and takes his own life.

Discovered by the man who denied him that love, William’s body is treated like garbage, cut down into manure and carted to where Lover’s Lane and Sulphur Springs Roads meet today.

William is tossed into a hole with the noose still around his neck.  He’s still at the Hermitage and often experienced.

Is it Black’s ghost who curses the land, or maybe part of Ancaster’s dark history?  See The Bloody Assizes and read on.


The History of The Ruins

Another Hermitage house once stood here, just steps heading north-west from the ruins.

This smaller house was built by Reverend George Sheed in 1830. Sheed brought church to Ancaster,and just months before the church opened, he died. The first mass was his funeral.

The Players in the Legend

Then Colonel Otto Ives moves in.  Ives an Englishman who fought in the Greek War of Independence.  Tired of the violence, he wanted only calm and a family.

He met and fell in love with a Greek woman named Magdalene.  They married and moved to Ancaster with Magdalene’s beautiful niece, whom Otto saw as a daughter.

This family that would become the players in the famous Legend of Lover’s Lane, featured on the Ghost Walks at The Hermitage Ruins

The Ruins Begin

Mansion on a hill - - The Hermitage Ruins before the renovations of 2016
Mansion on a hill – – The Hermitage Ruins before the renovations of 2016

The land is sold to the second son of a noble Scottish family named Leith.  And being the second son means George Leith got nothing.

He moved to Ancaster, bought these lands, demolished the old Sheed/Ives house and built what would become the ruins.

They ran a farm for about 50 years, until George died and his youngest daughter Alma Dick-Lauder purchased the farm.

The Fire

Alma was a writer in Hamilton. Being a writer meant having many friends and being known for lavish parties. During one party, a small fire started. Quickly stopped and everything was fine, but this served as an omen.

Years later in 1934, a bigger party and two fires. One is stopped as the other burns. Nobody was hurt, except the house.

Alma of the Hermitage Ruins
Alma Dick Lauder

Alma has no money and refused to leave. She set up a small tent in front of the ruins, just her and a crippled dog until the people of Ancaster helped by building a wooden cabin within the ruins.

Alma died inside that cabin in 1942.  The ruins are eventually given over to the city.

Crumbling walls secured with wooden supports meant as a temporary solution.  That was over 60 years ago.

It was saved in 2015 thanks to the efforts of the Save the Hermitage campaign led by local activist Leanne Pluthero.

The Cursed Nature

You don’t need to be psychic to feel it.

Path leading to the Hermitage Ruins
Path leading to the Hermitage Ruins

When walking up the hill towards the ruins. A heaviness weighs down on you . Adults can push these dreadful feelings aside, tell ourselves it doesn’t exist.

Animals are different, possessing a sixth sense we’ve lost with evolution.  The ruins are on conservation land, but the animals stay away from the path and farm.  It should be crawling with wildlife, but the area is quiet.


The Only Ghost I’ve ever Seen by Daniel Cumerlato

“It’s the only time I saw something I couldn’t explain.  In 2006, leading a Ghost Walk, and at the end we allowed people to explore.

“About 10 minutes later I walked around the ruins to the back. Had to gather the group and in the clearing I noticed two people walking towards me. Thought nothing of it. Called out and they ignored me. Called out again, they turned and walked into the forest.

“I freaked out. It was dark in the woods and they would get hurt, so I ran, just seconds behind them and shone a flashlight into the trees.
Nobody. The two people had vanished.

Digging into a Paranormal Experience

“After this experience I found out a few things.

“First, no matter how dark it gets at the Hermitage Ruins, I can see faces and clothing. Afterwards I realized the two people had no features, like shadows without a face.

“Second, the area they walked into wasn’t an overgrown nothing. This was the original location of the family’s well. If you believe in residual energy (people doing the same thing over and over in life leave an impression), maybe I was in the right place at the right time.

“And finally my coordinator heard me yell out.  She ran around the ruins to make sure everyone was okay.  She watched me call out the second time when I could easily see the people under that full moon.  Later she told me… I was calling out to an empty field!

“Out of everything, that freaks me the most.”

Go on a tour of this place at night with…
The Ghost Walks of The Hermitage Ruins