John Adams has been telling Victoria’s ghost stories to eager fright-seekers for 20 years. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Ghostly Walks celebrates 20 years of Victoria’s spooky history

Discover the Past prepares for busy ‘spine-tingling’ Halloween season

Under the light of the buzzing street lamps, a Ghostly Walks group stands beneath the Market Square sign, creaking on its hinges in the crisp autumn wind.

As the last of the day’s light disappears from the sky, the group learns about the murder of Agnes Bings.

On Sept. 29, 1899, Bings missed the last streetcar home after a day of work at the Pilgrim Bakery – located in what is now Market Square – and decided to walk across the railway bridge to get home. She was found dead in a Jack the Ripper-style murder on the west side of the bridge (where the Johnson Street bridge now stands).

Her more than a century-old unsolved murder might be why she never left the area, says ghost tour creator John Adams. Her ghostly figure has been seen in Market Square and standing near the spot where her mutilated body was found.

READ ALSO: Ghostly walks showcase Victoria’s haunted past

Adams has been operating Ghostly Walks for two decades, providing a macabre antidote to Victoria’s cheery summer tourism. The Ghostly Walks run year-round, but tour guides are now ramping up for October, when the public’s appetite for morbid stories from Victoria’s dark history skyrockets, drawing locals and tourists alike to the company’s nightly Halloween ghost walks.

The annual Halloween tours always start in Market Square but venture into new, bone-chilling territory every year. Running every night from Oct. 11 to Nov. 3, this year’s tour-takers will learn the ghostly past of the area around Bastion Square, China Town and the harbour near the Johnson Street bridge – one of Agnes Bings’ favourite haunts.

In past years the 90-minute tour has covered everything from the ghost in the Broad Street bordello, the haunting in Helmcken Alley and the ghost of Belle Adams, who was reported to have slit her boyfriend’s throat.

Adams says there’s no risk the company will run out of ghost stories any time soon. In 20 years he, his son Chris and the other guides have collected more than 500 ghost tales and dug deep into some of the city’s most infamous crimes.

Adams uses newspapers, letters, diaries and other historical sources to dig into ghost stories and sightings, hunting down the significance of certain locations or people. Each tour typically contains around 15 different ghost stories, and new ones are frequently added to the collection, especially around Halloween.

“It helps that we have been at it for a long time, we’ve been collecting ghost stories for decades,” he notes.

READ ALSO: Discover Victoria’s haunted past with Halloween-themed walking tours

But not all of the company’s walks are so spine-chilling. Discover the Past runs daytime history tours too.

“I really enjoy telling stories,” Adams says. “Whether they’re history stories or ghost stories, I really enjoy it. I wouldn’t do it otherwise.”

Outside of the Halloween season, fear-seekers can choose from a few different Ghostly Walks, taking in spooky stories on downtown treks or hearing the eerie history of St. Anns Academy and Beacon Hill Park.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Saanich artist brightens pandemic with whimsical signs

Artist Anna Trelford decorates her fence with signs that riff on COVID-19 pandemic

Man who bound, murdered Langford teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Traffic redirected after crash on McKenzie Avenue

Saanich Police responded to Thursday evening collision

Tour de Victoria postpones 10th annual ride to 2021

Ride that draws more than 3,000 cyclists to Greater Victoria was set for August

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read