Saturday, September 17, 2011

Haunted Lover’s Lane

This story takes place in Canada in 1833 when a man by the name of Otto Ives bought the Hermitage farm in Ancaster, Ontario. 

Ives brought his wife and niece to this farm with 250 cultivated acres so that he could provide for his family and servants. Ives’ niece was lovely, so it wasn’t long before she caught the eye of a local coachman. Their story became the “Legend of Lovers’ Lane.”

Once the Ives were established at the Hermitage, several eligible suitors approached hoping to catch the nieces’ fancy, but she turned them all away. Only one man caught her attention, a servant at the Ives’s farm by the name of William Black. 

She and Black started to court in secret, they would meet in secluded areas of the farm, hoping to keep a distance from prying eyes and family chaperones.

The two formed a deep bond of love and began to make plans for their future together. Unfortunately, tradition and fate stepped in…

William, like all of the servants at the Hermitage, really admired and respected Ives as an employer, feeling uncomfortable for deceiving him Black decided to tell Ives the truth. 

One late winter evening, Black sat down in the Ives’ family parlor with his employer, he asked respectfully to marry Ottos' niece. Ives exploded and turned red in the face at the young man’s request. He told Black to “Get out.”

The idea of a servant marrying a woman of station in the 1800s was considered preposterous. William left the Ives’ parlor that night a broken man.

The following morning Ives waited for the carriage that was to take him into town. When it didn’t arrive, he was surprised because William was never late. 

Ives knew he had hurt the boy’s feelings the night before, but that didn’t change the fact that Black was still in his employ. 

Ives walked down to the carriage house and swung the door open. The carriage was inside untouched. Impatient Ives let his eyes adjust to the dim light inside. He then saw William’s lifeless body swinging from the rafters.

Otto shook his head in disbelief. He had known many good men who had given their lives in battle, so the fact that Black had taken his own life voluntarily didn’t move him. 

He cut the boy’s body down, letting it drop into a manure cart below. He took the cart and body to what is today the corner of Sulphur Spring’s Road and Lover’s Lane—named for this legend—and buried William Black along with the cart.

Ever since there have been numerous reports along lover’s lane of a man walking back and forth from the grave to where the carriage house once stood. 

He is also seen walking along the winding roads of Sulphur Springs and around the lands that surround the Hermitage. 

The house itself burnt down in 1934. It is said William is looking for his lost love.

The Hamilton Conservation Authority owns the Hermitage today, and they do not allow trespassing. There is however a night ghost tour of the Hermitage offered.

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