Canada

Hidden Secrets of Kingston’s Skeleton Park

A long-lost cemetery, forgotten burial ground disturbed by a construction project, and mass graves are often the setting for horror stories. After all, most of us expect our mortal remains to lie peacefully in the ground, visited by relatives and loved ones. When those remains are disturbed, we imagine spirits of the departed to rise up and voice their displeasure. The macabre history of McBurney Park in Kingston, Ontario, is like a perfect storm of cemetery-themed horror. Locally known as “Skeleton Park,” this 4-acre plot of land was once a burial ground for mostly Scottish and Irish immigrants. Approximately 10,000 were buried here between 1813 and 1865.

The park is located between Balaclava, Alma, and Ordnance streets, just a few blocks northeast of downtown Kingston. Burials began informally in 1816, but it officially became known as the Common or Upper Burial Grounds in 1825. The cemetery quickly filled due to several epidemics, including a devastating a typhus outbreak in the 1840s. Corpses were buried quickly, sometimes just a few feet below the surface. Many of these hasty burials fell victim to a criminal ring called the Resurrectionists, who sold bodies to medical students at Queens University. They sometimes filled the empty coffins with rocks to prevent sagging in the soil and the discovery of their crimes.

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Revolutionary War Reenactment

A Revolutionary War Reenactment at Fort Wellington on the Saint Lawrence River. American colonists defeated the British once again! Song is “Pass in Review: German No. 68: March No. 8, Nightpiece No. 35, March No. 25” by Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums. I had to remove the original audio because an annoying announcer thought everyone was there to hear him speak. Used stock musket and battle sounds to fill in – I think it turned out pretty good.

Revolutionary War Sloop and Bateau

An American Sloop-of-war and Bateau from a Revolutionary War reenactment on the Saint Lawrence River. A bateau (or bateaux, plural) was a shallow-draft, flat-bottomed boat used in North America during the colonial period. I had to remove the sound because an annoying announcer thought everyone was there to hear him speak. The song is “Village Dance” by Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums.