Cemetery Creature - Backus Mill Conservation Area
We received the following report in early 2005, the actual incident occurred in the late summer months of 2004. We normally will not publish cemetery reports as we do not wish to encourage vandalism or would-be ghost hunters hanging around with Ouija boards. However, this report bears striking resemblance to one that we received in 2006. Please see the report entitled, Cemetery Creature Two - Parry Sound Area Ontario. Both cases involve more than one witness and are what we would term as highly strange. The report is included for your information only and is unpublished or documented elsewhere.
Late one evening I took a phone call from one of the upper brass of a historical military reenactment group here in Southern Ontario. This person is well known to me, an adult, and well respected within his community. He told me he had a story to tell me of an incident that had occurred the previous summer during a historical reenactment, which even he was having trouble believing. Of course he did believe it though, as it had occurred not only to himself, but another female witness who is also of sound character.
He certainly had my attention!
The witness had gone on a late evening stroll after a day of reenacting historical battle scenes. He had left the camp in search of a female companion who had also taken a walk. The conservation area is quite large, with several historical buildings. It is also reputed to be haunted in certain spots, but this had never bothered our witness before as he did not consider himself to be a superstitious person.
He came upon his companion who was seated near the old private family cemetery that is part of the extensive grounds. As he got closer in proximity to her he noticed something very odd. Sitting (perched) atop one of the grave markers appeared to be a small gargoyle. Very dark, with dark eyes that appeared to be watching the other witness.
All of a sudden and at his approach the "thing" leaped from the tombstone onto the ground and right behind his companion. He yelled out, as did his equally shocked friend, at which point the gargoyle-like creature ran towards the nearby woods. Both witnesses were in shock, immediately to be filled with a strong feeling of dread and outright fear. Rather then attempt to follow the "thing" which they described as somewhere between 2-3 ft tall, they both beat a hasty retreat back to the encampment where they stayed awake through to dawn discussing what they had both just witnessed.
I was assured over and over again that neither witness were drunk, temporarily insane or otherwise. Neither had experienced anything like it before and stated that as highly experienced campers (who both got a good look at the creature) did not believe they had mistaken an animal for this thing. However, both agree that this was a solid, "being" and do not think it is related in anyway to the Backhouse family or other ghost stories that are associated with this location. Both admit to not being superstitious or holding any strong belief in paranormal subjects prior to this encounter.
Please note that the photos below were taken in 2006 by Pararesearchers and contain no anomalies. They are added for the reader to see where exactly the above report occurred. Also note that these are display markers only and are not actual burial sites.
We strongly urge all visitors to this location to remember it is a site of historic significance to this province, to obey all local, provincial, and federal laws as well as the rules clearly stated by the conservation authorities. Above all please use your better judgement and common sense, if you think you are going to do something that might be viewed at best as disrespectful or at worst illegal than you probably are.
Update September 2008
A reader writes:
Hi, I am writing this in regards to the Backus Heritage Conservation Gargoyle sighting. Well I just recently had a very similar experience. (Date of reported sighting is August 4th 2008)
Me and my girlfriend just finished spending 5 days camping at the campgrounds. On the last night before we were scheduled to leave we heard some very strange sounds. Nothing like anything we have ever heard from animals in the area or any other times in our lives. So we grabbed our flashlight and started searching the general area. All we saw were some other campers heading back to their site after going to the restrooms.
I decided to ask them if they had heard anything or seen anyone on their way back and they had heard the same sounds but not seen anyone. As we were standing there talking we heard the sounds again and all turned our flashlights towards the sound. Well to our surprise there was a pair of eyes staring back at us. Which kind of subsided our curiosity, as we just assumed them to be raccoon eyes.
Well the mother of the group of people who we stopped jokingly said, "You guys should go chase it away."
Well being a brave-hearted kind of guy I said I would and her son (teenager) decided to come with me. Well, we walked towards the hill where the eyes were a few moments earlier. Once we approached they disappeared. Still not thinking it is much more then a raccoon we kept walking. We are using the flashlights to scan the area surrounding us as we walk and see nothing.
Then my heart froze, goose bumps rose and I froze in place. Up ahead about 15 feet away was a thick tree and near the base of it about 2 feet off the ground was a set of eyes staring at me. My heart started to race as my mind tried to grasp a concept of what I was looking at. Now I have been around all sorts of animals and spent my life outdoors and can readily recognize animals I come across. Well the shape before me was unknown to me.
Once I gathered my wits I spoke to the boy to my left and told him to shine his light over here. Now the creature never took his eyes off of me, not until the teen shone his light on the creature as well. The creature then turned to look at the teen, ducked behind the tree and took off across the field.
Now the field is approximately 3-400 yards of open grass with scattered trees, maybe more. This creature fled in the direction of a small bush area on the other side of the open area and stooped there. The only reason we know this is because we managed to shine the lights in the same direction it fled and caught one last glimpse as it stopped and looked at us again.
We ran to the covering the creature had used and looked frantically around for it. Nothing, it had disappeared. We then walked slowly back to the campsite where the girls had stayed with another flashlight and told them what we had just seen.
Needless to say my girlfriend did not sleep very well that last night and my own sleep was rather unproductive.
The next day while she slept I went fishing as usual at the pond. I was alone for a while and then some seasonal campers came out to fish as well. We ended up talking and somehow got onto ghost stories of the area. Then I relayed my story of the previous night, Well the lady stopped dead in her tracks with a look of shock and explained I had seen the "gargoyle" creature someone else had seen in the area. When I came home and did some research and found your article about the man and woman who had seen the "gargoyle" in the cemetery area of the same park.
So I decided to tell you what had happened to me. Other then that I don't know what else to say but I hope this helps validate what those other people saw at Backus.
Our thanks and appreciation go out to the witness for sharing this experience with us. We have let the original witnesses know that they are not alone.