Monday, 4 March 2013

Just Joking! Ghost Writings Beyond the Grave.

They're here...

Some people are a little creeped out that our beloved Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) is selling Ghost Bikes, and not cause they have anything against these particular bikes, but because the name Ghost bikes makes them think of those sombre roadside memorial bikes:

(photo from Think Green)

That's a seriously Spook'n'Scene. Some people really dig the whole graveyard thing, 
but my favourite ghost bike gently whispers of the past.

Actually, this isn't a ghost bike so much as handy-man crack.  

Everyone has their thing, and the man has a handy-man gene.  He sees something that needs fixing, and he doesn't rest easy till the job is done. I love it every time he comes across an interesting derelict bike because when he does, he loses all control.  He can't help himself. He has to rebuild it. This is refreshing, because "losing control" is typically my purview, and it feels good to know I'm not alone.

 Unlike me, however, when the man loses control it usually ends well. It's always fun to ride his resurrected ghost bikes, too.  In the spirit of the occasion, we decided to check out some of Vancouver's more notorious haunts. 

(that's Deadman's Island over there between the Stanley Park seawall and downtown)
Most of us will never spend the night on Deadman's Island, and perhaps it's just as well...

It's just off of Stanley Park, and it's the jewel in the crown as far as Vancouver's spectral infested sites go.  It has a long, dark, spooky history which dates back hundreds of years, and its ghost stories come from far and wide, too....  

 Deadman's Island's spooky reputation definitely pre-dates its Ministry of Defence land title, but strangely enough, many of Vancouver's most renowned ghosts hang out at military establishments.  According to Cap (retired) Rob MacDonald, the curator and archivist for the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, the armoury on Burrard street is home to a trickster ghost with a passion for the bagpipes and a penchant for beer.

MacDonald said so far the ghostly piper that's thought to haunt the armoury hasn't kicked up much of a fuss in response to the increased activity of late. MacDonald said generations of soldiers swear to having heard bagpipes playing in deserted areas of the armoury over the decades and have caught glimpses of dark figures out of the corner of their eye. Some soldiers told MacDonald they've also spotted shadowy figures in the window of the armoury when it was empty. MacDonald said the ghost is somewhat of a trickster and has been known to jiggle the door latch of the men's mess hall with such frequency, the soldiers came up with a standard response.

Rather than knocking on the large wooden doors placed throughout the armoury, soldiers and officers instead jiggle the metal latches when they need entry to a locked room.

"They told me that now when they hear the latch jiggling on the door and there's no one there when they open it, they just prop the door open, pour a beer and put it on the bar and say, 'There you go,'" said MacDonald. "It seems to work." Sandra Thomas, Vancourier

  I would like to give tanks to the Beatty St Armoury for having such great props outside, 

but on the inside you'll hear all sorts of bedlam emanating from the 'dungeons,' and you'll hear the sounds of books falling from shelves, too, though none do.
Are those noises from the tombs or the tomes?

Folks naturally give some ghosts more credence than others, if only because so many disparate people tell the same tale time and time again, whereas others...?
Errrr...not so much.

Take the Dominion Building, for example. 


Rumour has it the architect fell, was pushed or threw himself down the stairs on opening night in 1910 and he haunts the place still, but historians say he died of a stroke in 1919.  
It must be his flighty step brother causing all the fuss. 

Or take Gaoler's Mews, in Blood Alley.
Local lore says that Blood Alley got its name from the blood pouring down the lane as the butchers cleaned out their shops at the end of the day. 

They say, too, that Gaoler's Mews is haunted by the ghosts of prisoners hung from the gallows in the lane, 
but it's just not true.  

Don't worry, though.  With so much gentrification going on, Blood Alley will soon be Haemoglobin Heights, anyway, and all those noisy ghosts will be evicted by the strata council.

Few people have heard of the disgruntled postal ghost haunting the forgotten tunnel which runs from the main Post Office to the waterfront a few blocks away.
For now.

The good thing about making up your own phantom tales is that you can never be sued, thanks to the Ghost Rider. 
 (lifted here)
I dunno.  Everyone loves a good ghost story, 

but maybe some things should just be left to rust in peace.


  1. OMG that is such a cool bike. I find it interesting that us coastal people (me east, you west) feel such an affinity with the ghosts of the past. I am still dreaming forerunners and seeing trouble after all these years, and half way around the world from my origins. Bred in the bone I suppose, Maritime Wenches.

    1. Isn't is sweet? I love that one, with the wood bottomed basket...

      Where are you originally from, Dee?

    2. Nova Scotia, that sea bound coast, and I have said farewell, but it is a part of me.

  2. You have a rare man there, with those bike restoring skills and all. Take good care of him. Oh, I forgot, you do ;)

  3. ..."...Blood Alley will soon be Haemoglobin Heights..."...bwaha, you jokester...

    ...& i concur...'the man' breathes nice life into those old cruisers...

    1. I know, right? I've been trying to convince him to make a business out of it once he retires in a few years, but he's waaaaay to modest to believe there would be a market for his bikes.

    2. ...i have a number of friends who restore old bikes on the side...from the earlist penny farthings, throught the american 'paper boy' bikes to early post-war, modern 'race bikes' up & into the '60's, '70's & even newer...

      ...sometimes you wanna upgrade with modern parts, like the man did with that bike, so that you've got a practical ride & other times you search for n' save the right parts for years to build up a concours level period classic...

      ...with a little patience, there is a market for all types of bikes out there...

  4. Look at the size of the barrel on that tank! It is so long it goes right off the end of the picture.

    1. ...pjt...remember - it's not the size of one's armament that counts but how one deploys it...

      ...just sayin'...

  5. Ms. Babble on, Mr. Bike Snob could learn a lesson or two from you on how to promote his city and cycling. You have beautiful pictures and videos posted. i just read an article that Vancouver wants to be the premier bicycling and walking city in the whole world. Judging by your pictures, Vancouver is almost there.