Petrel Point, Bruce Peninsula

By James MacDougall

This weeks trip took Ray and I visited a number of sites on the Bruce Peninsula. These are some shots from Petrel Point nature Reserve. The area is characterized by cedar groves and meadow marsh and is home to bladderworts, sundews and pitcher plants and a variety of rare orchids. These are all moody black and white pics. We visited around mid-day and the sun was harsh and the colour washed out so the drama of the landscape displays better in black & white.

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Isaac Lake, Bruce Peninsula

By James MacDougall

Today I had the pleasure of discovering for myself yet another corner of the Bruce Peninsula. This time my travels took me North-West of Wiarton to Petrel Point. On the way I saw this magnificent marshland.

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Watersnake at Isaac Lake
Watersnake at Isaac Lake

The Big Book of Ghost Stories

The Big Book of Ghost Stories
The Big Book of Ghost Stories

By James MacDougall

I don’t always read ghost stories, but when I do I read them from The Big Book of Ghost Stories (a Black Lizard Publication), This 800 plus page compendium has some of the finest stories of the genre with stories ranging from the works of such  literary illuminati  as Joyce Carol Oates, Conrad Aiken and Mark Twain to the more pulpish fair of August Derleth, G.G. Pendarves and Manley Wade Wellman. For someone like I who have read hundreds of ghost stories throughout the years, it is a real treat to find one hundred more stories, most of which I have not read before and which are generally of fine quality.

As editor of this collection Otto Penzler (the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City) indicates in the introduction there are all sorts of ghosts, those who frighten us, those who make us laugh and those for whom we have pity. You will find all of those and more here.

So far I have read the following from this collection:

  • Mr. Arcularis, Conrad Aiken
  • The Shadowy Third, Ellen Glasgow
  • The Moonlit Road, Ambrose Bierce
  • Thing of Darkness, G.G. Pendarves
  • The House of Nightmare, Edward Lucas White
  • The House on Half Moon Street, Hector Bolitho
  • Song of the Dead, Wyatt Blassingame

All have been satisfying if in different ways and a few will join my favourites. This is an exceptional collection selected from a pool of over 1,000 stories covering over 3 centuries of writing. I highly recommend you grab this chunky volume, make some tea and settle into your favourite chair for an evening of atmosphere and chills.

Edward Gardens

By James MacDougall

Each week I do at least one photo-travel-shoot with a friend, (Usually Ray) this one was with April AKA Sublime Polyester on Flickr. April is a talented jewellery designer, graphic artist and photographer to boot!

This time I went to Edward Gardens in Toronto, the home of a former estate and now a public garden and park with plenty of floral displays, rock gardens and trails including an old water wheel.If you are visiting you will find it at the corner of Lawrence and Leslie in North York (MAP). For hikers and bikers it is of note that trails from here extend through ravines as far as the lakeshore!

It was a hot day in May, one of the first we’ve had this year and nice to be outdoors after our too long winter. April is taking a photography class related to her work and got me up to speed on using my camera with manual settings much more efficiently. Since this trip I have been experimenting more with shutter-speed, f-stops and ISO settings in manual.

Bark
Bark
Tulip curves
Tulip curves
Fountain
Fountain
Lily, Edward Gardens
Lily, Edward Gardens

Haunted ABC’s

Haunted House

By James MacDougall

Having some fun with Google search’s auto-complete, I typed in the word haunted and then each letter of the alphabet. Here are the results with links for the CURIOUS. Things take a particularly Canadian bent since Google knows all and sees all:

Asylums: Six Haunted Asylums with Genuinely Chilling Back Stories

Beyonce: This is from the movie Fifty Shades of Grey which is probably the scariest link here. I dare you to sit through that movie.

Canada: Canada’s 10 Most Haunted Places

Dolls: 7 Famously Haunted Dolls That Will Ruin Your Life

Empire: Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs Hardcover – Feb 27 2014Yukari Iwatani Kane 

Forest: 11 Haunted Forests You Should Never, Ever Step Foot In

Ghost Towns: 20 Wonderfully Haunting Ghost Towns of the World

House: The World’s Most Haunted Places

Island: Top 10 Most Haunted Islands

Jail: Ottawa Jail

Kingston: The Haunted Walk of Kingston

Locations: 21 Most Haunted Places in the World

Mansion: DisneyWorld

New Orleans: Top Ten Most Haunted New Orleans Locations

Ontario: “Ghosts, and hauntings from around the Province of Ontario, Canada.”

Places: Salon’s 10 Most Haunted Places in the World

Quebec: True Quebec Ghost Stories

Restaurants: The World’s 14 Scariest Haunted Restaurants

Stories: Live Science (yes science) presents 10 Ghost Stories That Will Haunt You For Life

Toronto: Haunted Places in Toronto from Toronto Life

USA: The 51 Spookiest Spots You Can Visit Across The United States.

Vancouver: Ghosts of Vancouver

Walk: The Haunted Walk Tours

Xbox (some people use the word ‘haunted’ in place of ‘malfunctioning’.)

Yard: Halloween Yard Haunt Ideas on Pinterest

Zyra: She’s haunted alright

Bognor Marsh

By James MacDougall

Driving down the highway I often wonder ‘what’s behind the trees?’ Today I answered a very small part of that very large question and discovered for myself the Bognor Conservation Area.

Described by Grey Sauble Conservation as covering “668 hectares of escarpment upland forests, three major marshes, reforested areas, natural regeneration areas, and several small springs feeding the marsh and stream system.” It was much more sublime than this dry depiction.

From the highway we walked through a corridor of trees. Fungi of every shape and sort clung to dead wood and the bases of living trees, caramel dragonflies  and lilac butterflies flitted about. The trail ended in an open field and to our right the board-walk into the marsh began.The area opened up into a vast wetland populated by lilies and cat-tails. The songs of birds filled the air. Red-winged blackbirds, hawks and tree swallows were the most visible wildlife but snakes, frogs and turtles abound as well.

Trail to Bognor Marsh
Trail to Bognor Marsh

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Dragon Fly

Dragon Fly

Lily Pads

Frog on lily pad
Frog on lily pad
Red-wing blackbird
Red-wing blackbird
Tree swallow
Tree swallow
Water snake
Water snake

Abandoned

By James MacDougall

When I was a child there was an abandoned farm house across the road from my Uncle’s farm. The house looked angry in it’s dilapidated state. The overgrown weeds that throttled the yard, the weather-worn boards that clung to the deranged frame, the shards of glass from broken windows all said “Beware: Keep Out”, but they also said “I Dare You!” I was too young and too afraid to go inside, but I was curious. My older more daring cousins would go in and explore.  I waited anxiously outside, listening to the cracking boards and rustling pigeons as the older kids rooted and probed intruding through the innards of the corpse-like house. Ultimately the stillness would be interrupted by a yell or cry followed by hysterical laughter and a torrent of footsteps as kids made a mad dash out the doorway. Then the stories were told, of strange shadows and glimpses of faces in dark corners, of whispering voices and sounds from the basement. We would all run back across the road to my Uncle’s farm looking from safety at the dead house grey and wizened under the same sun that shone on us.

This is a series I did of three abandoned places inspired by my fascination with forlorn buildings.

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Abandoned-03

The Corran Part II

By James MacDougall

The Corran (McNeill House) Wiarton
The Corran (McNeill House) Wiarton
The Corran late in the day
The Corran late in the day
The Corran (McNeill House) Wiarton
The Corran (McNeill House) as it once was. From the Wiarton Echo.

Return to Spirit Rock

By James MacDougall

A few weeks ago Ray and I visited the Corran at Spirit Rock Conservation Area. We returned yesterday and went on the trail to the lookout.  Along the trail there is an area that opens up into a grassy “orchard”. It is a wild and abandoned but you can make out what might be cherry or apple trees as well as some of the lost children of the rose garden that once grew there.

Wild Rose Bush, Corran Grey-Bruce
Wild Rose Bush, Corran Grey-Bruce
Wild Rose Bush, Corran Grey-Bruce
Wild Rose Bush, Corran Grey-Bruce

There was a grove of birch trees that we passed. When I was very young my mother collected birch bark from the road side. later she would  cut patterns out of it and sew together tiny birch bark canoes and tee-pees. Spirit Rock is associated with a tragic “Indian Princess” legend. The story is that a young native woman fell in love with a member of a rival tribe and the following tribulations ended in her leaping off the cliff to her demise at Spirit Rock. On stormy nights when the lightning flashes ‘they’ say that her face can be seen profiled in the cliffs. Most of these Indian Princess stories seem to have been the creations of white settlers rather than actual native lore.

Birch at Spirit Rock
Birch at Spirit Rock

The lookout is fairly overgrown with cedar trees but a view of Colpoy’s Bay with it’s clear, almost tropical blue, water can be seen.

Spirit Rock Lookout over Colpoy's Bay
Spirit Rock Lookout over Colpoy’s Bay
Spirit Rock Lookout over Colpoy's Bay
Spirit Rock Lookout over Colpoy’s Bay

Abandoned fork-lift

By James MacDougall

The bitter irony of a fork-lift stuck in the mud. A fork-lift of course is a machine for lifting heavy objects, but is itself an object so heavy it cannot be easily lifted.

I wonder how long it has been stuck in this field gathering moss and shedding rust?

Abandoned Fork-lift Walter's Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift Walter’s Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift Walter's Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift, dials, Walter’s Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift Walter's Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift, detail, Walter’s Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift Walter's Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift, dial, Walter’s Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift Walter's Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift-detail, Walter’s Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift Walter's Falls
Abandoned Fork-lift, Walter’s Falls