For over 100 years the legendary train tunnel in Thorold (Niagara Falls) has been a right-of-passage for St. Catharine’s youth. Are they brave enough, to go into this terrifying place at night? Hold up a wooden match, facing the ghost of a murdered girl. Those who take part are accepted. Those who fail meet social ruin.
This is as much the story of the “Screaming Tunnel” as its ghost! But why such fear… and why a wooden match?
The Legend of the Screaming Tunnel
The far end of the tunnel leads into a pathway through woods. Along this path existed a small cluster of homes.
Everyone knew everyone else’s business, including that of a distraught couple with an alcoholic father, his abused wife and their daughter. After he got violent one too many times, the wife got up to leave him.
He went into a rage. “She’s my daughter too!” The father knocked his wife unconscious and the little girl ran. She stumbled into the tunnel and crouched in the darkness before hearing her father approach. Just his breath, then a snap and cold liquid poured down on her. A small match lit up and tossed to the ground.
Her screams give the tunnel its name. A disturbing legend for a disturbing place.
Why is it there? – –
It was a train tunnel built for the Grand Trunk Railway in the 1800’s. A north-to-south line. But instead the tracks were placed over the tunnel going east-to-west.
The tunnel left abandoned, providing that cluster of houses easy access to the main road.
Our personal experience – –
Whether the legend is true or not, the popularity of this creepy place is undeniable.
Daniel put the legend to test during a Ghost Bus Tour of Niagara. He stood in the middle, took out a wooden match and lit it in front of 10 witnesses. A high-pitched squeal from above as wind blew through the tunnel. The flame didn’t got out as the noise faded.
However this wasn’t a little ghost girl. It was a train. Timed perfectly as it passed on the tracks over the tunnel.
Don’t be discouraged – –
Don’t let our disappointing experience deter you.
The little girl of the Screaming Tunnel remains one of the most disturbing legends in all of Canada inside a very creepy place. We respect that, even though the Ghost Walks is familiar with an alternate historic event…
The Real History of the Screaming Tunnel?
This was provided to us years ago by a local Niagara historian. He talked with the only living descendant of the village once behind the Screaming Tunnel.
She knew many details about the houses and area. She told the historian about a woman who lived in one of those houses. Saying, “The neighbours didn’t like her. She acted crazy.”
She said the wife fought with her husband all the time.
“Every time, she calmly walked out of the house and disappeared into the tunnel. Couple second later we all heard a horrible scream.
“The first time it happened we were scared. After a while it became normal. She, I swear this, walked to the middle and screamed at the top of her lungs.”
They believed the wife wanted everyone to feel her suffering. To know her husband was impossible. After a while the residents gave the tunnel a nickname… they called it a “Screaming Tunnel”.
**The legendary Ghost Guide James Pettitt talks about the Legend of the Screaming Tunnel (from our Ghost Bus Tour of Niagara)