I want to delve into my childhood and discuss the area where I grew up and the encounters I had with spirits there. I lived north of Sudbury in a place called Val Caron. My father built our house in 1956, and the subdivision where we lived was very underdeveloped at the time. As more people built their homes, I made more friends.
There were two boys that I played with often, Randy & Michael. One fine summer day, they asked if I would go fishing with them at the bridge. I knew I wasn’t supposed to go there because I had been warned to stay away from the highway.
However, it was tempting, so I decided to go. Randy and Michael convinced me to walk up to the bridge and look down at the creek below. The water was so clear that you could see the fish swimming by. They decided to rig some little branches with string and hooks for fishing. I opted to go to the field and watch from there because I was afraid of my father’s reaction if he found out I had been playing near the bridge.
As I watched them, Randy turned around and ran across the highway in excitement because he had spotted a very large fish swimming below. What I witnessed that day was horrific. Randy was struck by a car and died within a few moments. Michael was running all over the side of the highway, not knowing what to do, and cars were stopping because of the accident.
Out of curiosity, I ran to the bridge and saw Randy lying there lifeless. Despite being young, I knew things were not right, and I felt compelled to go to his house and tell someone.
I remember running barefoot up that Sand Pit Road to Randy’s house. I knocked on the door and told his father that Randy had been hit by a car. He told me to go home, and I did. This was not the only tragedy at that bridge. I later learned that my oldest brother had found under the same bridge, the body of a young girl who had drowned in Chelmsford. Her body had been carried there by the current.
To this day, I still feel the spirits of that bridge. But there’s more. In the sixties, I recall an accident that happened in Hanmer just north of Val Caron. On August 1, 1963, a tragedy occurred at the location of today’s Pizza Hut on Highway 69. There used to be a gas station there called Gauthier’s Corner.
Eight people, including young children from the Hanmer area were killed after a gasoline leak caused an explosion and fire at the service station. My father said that the blast from the explosion could be heard five miles away.
Reports of the day vary, but it was reported that a salesman noticed gasoline leaking from the hose, ran to the basement, and tried to help two boys sop up the spilled gasoline. After he left, the spilled gasoline activated the sump pump in the basement, igniting a spark that led to tragedy. To this day, I still feel the spirits of that corner.
In 1969, I saw my first ghost at a grocery store. It was the Dominion’s grocery store on Highway 69 North in Hanmer, now a Food Basics store. I was at the checkout with my parents. A lady in front of us was taking her groceries out of her cart and putting them on the belt for the cashier to ring her things through. Suddenly, I saw what appeared to be half of a man from the waist up behind her.
Being only 9 years old, I had never seen anything like that and started crying immediately. My mother asked me why I was crying, and I told her that I could see a man telling the lady in front of us that she needed to start eating, as she had not eaten for 3 weeks. He was very concerned and called her by the name “toune,” a French nickname for “sweetie.” I couldn’t control my crying because I was so afraid of this man with no legs. I had never experienced anything like that, and I don’t think my parents could see what I was seeing.
I caused a commotion with my crying and telling my mother what was going on. I told her that Irene needed to start eating. When the lady turned around and asked if I was speaking to her, she said her name was Irene. I told her exactly what I had heard. That Gerry wanted her to eat. The words came out of nowhere.
Her jaw dropped, and she left everything and ran out of the grocery store with her purse, crying. My mother followed her outside and took about 15 minutes to calm her down. The woman told her that she hadn’t eaten because she didn’t make enough with her baby bonus to feed everyone. She was shocked. Gerry was her husband. He had died a few years prior, and since, she had struggled with bills and putting food on the table. Things were indeed difficult for her.
When I got home, I received the spanking of my life! I was told that I should never talk to strangers without permission and never tell people things like that because they might think I’m crazy. I was told that they would lock me up in North Bay, and I grew up thinking there was something wrong with me and that I might go to jail in North Bay because of the things I felt, heard, or sensed. I later found out that this was where the Sanitorium was for the North.
Being raised by a psychic mother was difficult because being psychic was not well-regarded at that time. We were told that my mother would burn in hell for the work she did, and I was afraid the same fate awaited me. As I grew up, my mother assured me that I was meant to do this work and that my father was only trying to protect me in fear that I would be hurt by those who didn’t understand my gifts.
As I matured, my mother assured me that my purpose lay in this calling, while my father sought to shield me from potential harm, not fully grasping my abilities.
Upon his passing, my mother encouraged me to embrace my true self, emphasizing that my abilities were a divine gift. She conveyed that these gifts were a manifestation of God’s influence, a sentiment that has stayed with me. GIFT – God’s Influence Flows Through.
Today, as I reflect, numerous stories of loss and hardship along these highways to the valley come to mind, but these particularly resonated with me during my formative years. Whenever I pass by, I try to guide the lingering spirits home, urging them to seek the light and attain peace. Many of these spirits remain restless, unaware of their demise, but I am committed to persistently offering them solace each time I visit the valley.