Kilometers of Darkness

I drive this road day and night, and often think about it's history. I can point out every occurrence along this 8 Km stretch of road... And yet, there is always something more to learn, and you will only hear from me.

     In it's prehistory, originally the town was a native settlement along the shore of Lake Superior. It was called Manitou by Chief Tawaegun (Drum) and his family, for the Red Rocks found near the junction of the Highway and Red Rock Road (prehistory.) The Cuesta was sacred ground, and a meeting place for the natives of the area, where rock from the mountain was used in making the Calumets in peace offerings, and often visited by natives from all over North America for it's scared rock for their ceremonial pipes.

     Some childhood friends who were exploring atop the Cuesta in town, had told me about stumbling upon a burial ground and being so scared, they never went back. I have heard over the years of a burial ground in the area, but have found it is not atop the hill, but rather am told it is situated on the backside of the mountain in the sweet grass along the shore. A local had found native burials and reported them. According to what he said, the front teeth were the oddest thing, and were described as molars. When looking at historical photo's taken from across the lake, I notice the hill upon which the mill was built, seems to always have been a grassy area, which is where I believe the natives used to meet before traveling up the Cuesta. It is unclear which part of the area was used for the early war games, whether Red Rock Post, or Red Rock itself. The war games were held every July, and the Chipewa were always well represented. One would paddle into the bay, and Teepee's would be lining the whole of the Lakeshore.

The Cuesta - From the trail that leads in

     I had asked a native friend about why hauntings occur in homes on native burial grounds, compared to a haunt occurring on a white burial, or absence thereof. He told me, the natives are so in tune with their surroundings and having forged a life from the ground itself, being part of nature and returning to it, compared to the settlers who came with advances in technology making life more easily settled and maintained - "That my friend, is why." This also leads me into why you can build a new house and have an instant haunting. Because the land is ancient, and no one knows what happened on it before it was built upon. Whether ancient sacrifices or other rituals, murders or burials... And sometimes, hauntings may occur just because they contain natural portals.

     According to history of this area, in 1885, troops crossed the ice from Kama Bay to the Red Rock shore to combat Louis Riel during the rebellion, though no mention is made of any soldiers dying during this trek; from one section of completed Railway track to the next. In meeting and talking to so many people, and hearing so many stories, I have heard there exists somewhere, an old photo of a fort standing at what would be the town's marina, (no such story or photo exists in the museum or library archives in Thunder Bay.) During the early 1900's, the Canadian National Railway came through and laid track along these shores. There were many deaths associated with the railway construction in the area, and a few railway accidents as well. The first recorded death in Red Rock was of a Mrs. B Wedalla/ Medalla, age 26, died December 21, 1912. No cause of death is listed, however an SRC Session might be in order to piece together what had occurred.

     According to a story I was told was that when the Finns came in the early 1900's in great numbers, they expelled all the natives which eventually settled at Parmachene (pronounced Par-mah-sheen) and then to Nipigon and area. Census records indicate there were natives settled at Red Rock, called the Red Rock Indians. During the early days of white settlement the land was cleared and farms were spread few and far between. The settlers used to walk the rail road tracks to the neighboring town of Nepigon (Nipigon) for dances on Saturday nights, and to buy supplies from the Hudson's Bay Company. If they needed to send mail, another long trek down the line to the Post Office at Everard (the post office no longer exists ca. 1872, but you can still drive into Everard.) The postmaster was listed as future HBC manager Robert Crawford. There is even a story told by my great uncle of an old homestead in the forest behind my childhood home, which I am still in search of.

Kilometer 1 - The original road

     The original road was a horse and buggy trail in 1921 which extended from the Arola Homestead & School to the King's Highway (constructed in 1920 finished ca. 1936.) The trail was I believe cut out by the Finnish laborers and logs used for homes and sale, and the road eventually paved. The original sections which wound through the forest can still be seen and explored to this day. My childhood home was built in 1923, and was at first situated as the last house on the left at the junction; however as the road was moved over and re-constructed, it is now the last house on the right. Originally it was a 2 room shack in those days, on a strip of land used for farming. Over the years it was expanded, and now lays right over top of the original trail and is a 4 bedroom home, complete with a history of paranormal encounters.

     In 1936 The Lake Sulphite Pulp and Paper company moved in, and then began the forest Industry in town. The town we know began to spring up along 2 streets and houses were built for the laborers of the mill. In 1937 Canadian Pacific Railway tracks were laid along the CN line at Red Rock as well, and the land was better cleared for the township. The Red Rock Inn was built to house during that time as well, where the visitors and the workers could unwind with a drink and a dance. In collecting histories and oddities of our area, one thing you will never hear from anyone is, in 1953 (I believe it was,) certain government representatives showed up and confiscated photo's of UFO's over the lake taken by the mill manager. The area seems to be magnetic for paranormal encounters and dark history. I could name over a hundred people off the top of my head who have strange and unusual stories to tell... Though I won't give names, I always have been the collective point of gravitation for some reason.

     The road to town as it is today is an 8 Km stretch with about 50 homes situated on it, and over the years has seen many deaths both on the properties and the road. I will make no mention of names, but each Kilometer has it's own stories from fires to sudden deaths. The ghost stories range from seeing animals that aren't there to seeing people. I for one had an experience late one night while riding my bike home in almost complete darkness. As I approached my house with it's intersection in the distance dowsed with orange street light, I saw no one, and rode directly upon a girl who screamed so loudly it instantly made my blood boil in terror. The very thought that entered my head was a Banshee. She made no further sound other than that scream. I would have wrote it off, but there truly was no one to be seen as I made the approach. My eyes were adjusted to the darkness, and seeing everything up ahead in the street light...

     Another story upon that same stretch, in fact right across the road from this instance, was where my cousin lived in the late 80's. He was playing outside and a little girl came on the property and asked him to play with her, he agreed, and began playing. His father came out and asked him to come in for lunch, he turned to his new friend and she was gone. I am beginning to think this is the same girl who scared the life out of me in the 90's. There is a story of a girl who was hit by a car and died on this same stretch. She was on her way to buy some candy from a small family run confectionary. If you are reading, and from the area, I am not sure if anyone else has experienced seeing the man on the culvert (where they are currently working,) which two people have told me of. He just stands there looking into the creek and begins to vanish.

Kilometer 3 - Sideroad

     There are many stories of this road for every Kilometer, however I am writing only a few. Km 3 has one where a family died of a disease, in fact the same place where Dark History episode 2 was shot, on the property of a pioneering home. When entering the gates, a strange feeling always comes over me and everyone else who comes along, always described as a feeling like we shouldn't be here and panic. Also up that same side road the story of a house burning down 3 times, and seeing a little girl on the property, and what is described as a poltergeist in the shed. I haven't had the privilege to investigate though, as it has always been private property and no trespassing.

     Km 3 also features a bend in the road where animals are reported to be seen but upon a better look there is nothing there. Sensitives say rounding that bend, the energy changes to something very uncomfortable. Upon the next side road, is the story of a German POW, which was relayed to me by one of the early settlers. He said go up that road, there is a clearing. In the 40's, the POW's were clearing the forest, where a guard was startled, the man was shot and died on the spot. He also mentioned playing on the lakeshore when he was young, and finding that is where they buried him, alongside another POW. In researching it is found that, there were 7 escapees, 1 was shot and killed on the back of Paju hill.

     Km 4 there was a house atop a small hill. That is where we lived for a time in the early 80's. An odd observance before I tell another story, I am told there was a tunnel under that house adjoining another on the property. That's really kinda strange...  Anyway, late one night I was being kept awake. The house had an upstairs, and I remember waking my mother because I was scared. Whatever it was, was banging in the closet. We ended up going into the living room on the main floor. I pointed back up that dark old stairway telling my mother, "Mom, Big Bird is standing there, he wants me to come with him." Whatever the hell it was took the form of Big Bird. I remember him standing at the top step, slowly motioning for me to come upstairs. Scary stuff.

     Km 6 is where a father and daughter were killed on Sunday morning while on their way to church. They were crossing the tracks and the car stalled, a train came and plowed into them dragging the wreckage down the track. Km 8, just at the bend where it meets the tracks, a mother, daughter and twin boys were crashed into by a gravel truck, killing the mother and daughter. There use to be a Texaco just past the tracks, as some people will remember, where the owner had many strange articles hanging on the door, and remember reading them. I think he was an avid weird story collector too, and a helluva nice person. I remember as my dad was filling up his truck at the Texaco one day, we heard a tree crash in the bush nearby. My dad said, "Oh someone is going die." I said, what do you mean? He replied, "The natives say when a tree crashes on a nice day, someone is going to die." Sure enough, within a month, the owner's wife died.

Photo capture Dark History - Kilometer 1 - April 8, 2013

     Every Kilometer of this road has it's own story, though I have only written a few. Some weird, some tragic. I am glad I have always been a collector of history and mystery, and most would drive this road never knowing what happened here. Whether the land was cursed, or if there is just a dark energy around here, I am not sure. But it does go to show, every place has a history, whether good or bad, and there always should be someone willing to collect it's stories for future generations.

Dee McCullay - Dark History.


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