For as long as we've been interested in ghosts and hauntings, one thing has remained the same - the allure and mystery of the Screaming Tunnel in Niagara Falls that has enthralled so many curious readers and visitors alike.
Many people know how the legend goes... if you light a wooden match while standing in the middle of the tunnel, you'll hear a shrilling scream and your match will immediately blow out.
Where does this legend come from? We can't say for certain, as this is a legend that has been passed down from generation to generation, but one fact remains... someone met their untimely death in the middle of this cold, strange tunnel.
We here at Haunted Hamilton have visited the Screaming Tunnel numerous times and have found it to be quite spooky. Even on the most beautiful, sunny day, you can find yourself becoming frightingly engulfed within the tunnel's cold, dark stoney walls. Upon entering the tunnel's five-metre-high entrance, you can immediately begin to sense some sort of negativity - even if you're completely oblivious to spirits and the other world.
It is this misty setting that provides the perfect stage for one of the most enduring reputed hauntings in Ontario, or so legend has it.
This particular legend takes place over a century ago when a deadly fire raged through an old farmhouse that stood just behind the south side of the tunnel. "On that fateful night, the air was shattered by a young girl's wretched screams as she emerged running from the fire's eerie glow. Her clothing engulfed in flames, she fled into the tunnel in a futile attempt to extinguish her burning garments. Collapsing to the floor, she died alone in its depths."
There are other versions of this story, but the above has basically been derived and deduced from all of the stories. Other accounts say that the girl was set ablaze by her mentally unbalanced father in the tunnel when he learned that his wife won custody of the children during an intense divorce battle. Another story reports that a young girl was raped inside the tunnel and her body was burned to cover the evidence.
Another interesting tidbit of information is that The Screaming Tunnel was used for a scene in the 1983 movie, "The Dead Zone" with Christopher Walken.
The Real History of the Screaming Tunnel?
Not long ago a good friend of Haunted Hamilton told us about a possible alternative to the tunnel's history and why it was given the name "The Screaming Tunnel.
Historically there used to be a small group of houses on the other side of the tunnel (away from the main road - just like in the legend). A woman who lived in one of the houses was known by the neighbours for being a bit off.
After having a fight with her husband, she would bottle up all that anger and hold it in until he left for work. As a way to vent, she didn't talk with friends, but instead would walk to the very middle of the "Screaming Tunnel" and scream at the top of her lungs. Neighbours would hear this but ignore it, as many didn't want to deal with the woman.
This is what many believe to be the true origins of the name "The Screaming Tunnel"
The Screaming Tunnel is located on Warner Road, which is just off of Garner Road. You can view a map below.
** The top, exterior photo of the Screaming Tunnel is copyright and courtesy of Bob Milne, of HauntedOntario.com.