Scare lit­er­a­ture

Jarvis con­tin­ues to scare up some thrills in ‘Haunted Ground — Ghost Sto­ries From the Rock’

The Beacon (Gander) - - Features - BY DANETTE DOOLEY SPE­CIAL TO THE PI­LOT danette@nl.rogers.com

Wicked witches in Joe Batt’s Arm, the ghost of a dead man in Glover­town, the cross­ing out of a sin­gle crow in Marys­town, a mys­te­ri­ous Norse­men in Lanse aux Mead­ows, voices on the Labrador in Red Bay and Emily Har­bour, the smell of death in Spa­niard’s Bay and Car­bon­ear – these are just some of the sto­ries you’ll read in Dale Jarvis’s re­cently re­leased book “Haunted Ground – Ghost Sto­ries From the Rock” (Flanker Press 2017).

Folk­lorist, St. John’s Haunted Hike cre­ator and ac­com­plished au­thor, Jarvis is well known for his tal­ents as a storyteller.

“Haunted Ground” cov­ers ev­ery­thing from his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary legends to to­kens, pre­mo­ni­tions and the great be­yond.

As the book notes, Jarvis’s sto­ries are based on both archival sources and first-hand ac­counts which weave to­gether anec­dote, oral tra­di­tion and his­tory and folk­lore from the prov­ince’s cap­i­tal city as well as many smaller nooks and cran­nies through­out New­found­land and Labrador.

Lo­cal tale

Jarvis, who holds a B.Sc. in an­thro­pol­ogy/ar­chae­ol­ogy from Trent Uni­ver­sity and a M.A. in folk­lore from Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity, works as the In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer for the Her­itage Foun­da­tion of New­found­land and Labrador. He is a past-pres­i­dent of the New­found­land His­toric Trust and has contributed as a board mem­ber and vol­un­teer to many lo­cal arts and her­itage or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The cre­ator of the pop­u­lar St. John’s Haunted Hike tour, Jarvis said the sto­ries he tells often re­mind his listeners and read­ers about sto­ries they’ve heard over the years.

“Peo­ple think they don’t know sto­ries but they do. And, that on­go­ing process... the more sto­ries I tell, the more sto­ries I hear,” he said.

One par­tic­u­lar mes­sage he re­ceived from Fran­cis Fur­long grabbed him im­me­di­ately, he wrote in the book.

Fur­long’s story was about play­ing cards com­ing to life.

Fur­long told Jarvis that his mother (Leone Miller nee Etheridge) has a lot of sto­ries from Joe Batt’s Arm, fea­tur­ing ghosts of Bri­tish red­coats, chil­dren’s voices in the house, peo­ple walk­ing around all hours of the night, a lo­cal mon­ster with only eyes on its face, a man whose hair turned white af­ter an en­counter with the fairies, and the Vir­gin Mary in her blue dress help­ing chil­dren lost in the woods.

Fur­long went on to re­late to Jarvis how his mother grew up in Joe Batt’s Arm and was walk­ing to a friend’s house one day and had a decks of cards with her. As she was walk­ing she dropped the cards and they scat­tered on the ground. All of a sud­den, the kings, queens and jok­ers of all the suits came off the cards, like lit­tle peo­ple, and started danc­ing... then they fell back into the cards they came off of.

“She has told us this all our lives and swears to it to this day,” Fur­long told Jarvis.

Fur­long’s story is just one of many sto­ries in the book from Fogo Is­land.

There’s also a cap­ti­vat­ing story about the leap­ing witch of Joe Batt’s Arm and how the witch left be­hind her foot­prints in a rock.

“I’ve heard sim­i­lar sto­ries from other ar­eas about the devil or fairies leav­ing foot­prints in rocks where they would dance. But the Joe Batt’s (witch) story was a new one to me,” Jarvis said.

While Jarvis was fa­mil­iar with many of the sto­ries he’d heard and writ­ten about there are some that were new to him.

“I’m fas­ci­nated by the lo­cal legends... peo­ple within the com­mu­ni­ties where those sto­ries took place know those sto­ries but peo­ple out­side those com­mu­ni­ties don’t,” he said.

That will change, how­ever, once they read Jarvis’s book.

And, thank­fully for his read­ers, the more sto­ries Jarvis hears, the more books he will likely write.

“That oral tra­di­tion is so much a part of who we were. But, it can be frag­ile. If the sto­ries aren’t re­ported and passed down, they can van­ish,” he said.

Any­one who’d like to share a story with Jarvis can con­tact him at dale@dale­jarvis.ca or @ dale­jarvis or www.haunt­ed­hike. com

The book is avail­able at many stores and through the pub­lisher at www.flanker­press.com.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Dale Jarvis is shar­ing spooky tales in his new book “Haunted Ground – Ghost Sto­ries From the Rock”.

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