Description of Figure/Doll

Stuffed fabric doll with wool hair and a shawl knitted from wool. She has earrings and a necklace made with small red beads. Her facial features are drawn with markers. She is holding a straw basket with small balls of yarn and knitting needles. Tag says: “The Mini Mill Knitters. Complete with authentic hairdo’s care of the PEI wind. Name: Noreen. From the Belfast Mini Mills Ltd, Belfast, P.E.I.”

Canada: Prince Edward Island

Location: Eastern Canada

Capital: Charlottetown

Main language: English, French

Currency: Canadian dollar

Figure/Doll

Construction: cloth, wool

Height in Centimeters: 25

Height in Inches: 10

A Prince Edward Island Ghost Story: Tolling of the Bell

Reading Level: 5.80

My name is Noreen and I live on the Canadian island called Prince Edward Island. Until recently, the only way to get to Prince Edward Island was by boat or airplane. Then in 1997, Canada built a bridge. Now we get lots more tourists on the island.

Most of the people who live here came from Scotland many years ago. My family has a small mill. We raise sheep and use their wool to make yarn. I have three grandsons, and they love to hear ghost stories. This story is one of their favorites!

  In the wee hours of Friday morning, October 7, 1859, when all the good residents of Charlottetown should still be sleeping in their beds, a deep bell tone was heard from the bell tower in St. James Church. The somber sound rang out over the rooftops, waking many with the unexpectedness of its doom-laden ring. Then a second toll rang slowly overhead, followed by a third.

  Bewildered by the unexpected tolling of the bell, two neighbors who lived near the church hurriedly joined forces in the road outside their homes and went to investigate. Above them, the bell tolled for the fourth time, and again for the fifth time.

  As they entered the church yard, the bell tolled for the sixth time, and the front doors of the church swung open with a windy blast. Framed in the doorway were three glowing women dressed all in white. The men gasped, unsure if they were seeing real women, or angels. Overhead, the bell tolled for a seventh time and the doors slammed shut as quickly as they had opened. The men raced to the doors and tugged on the handles, but they were firmly locked. When they peered through the windows, the men saw a glowing woman in white ascending the stairs to the belfry.

  The minister and the sexton arrived at that moment, demanding to know what the disturbance was about. The neighbors told the new arrivals what they had seen, and the minister unlocked the door to the church. As they entered the vestibule, they saw no sign of the women the neighbors had seen in the doorway. A quick glance through the church revealed not a living soul.
  As the men ascended toward the belfry, the bell tolled for the eighth time. They ran up the stairs, determined to confront the culprit and demand and explanation. When they reached the top, they found the belfry empty and the bell rope tied firmly in place, though the metal of the church bell was still vibrating slightly.

  Puzzled and frightened, the minister and his companions searched the church from top to bottom, but it was completely empty. As the bell gave no further sign of tolling, the men left the church, mystified by what had happened.

  That evening, the local passenger steamer between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island - called the Fairie Queene - failed to arrive. The people of Charlottetown learned a few days later that the ship had sunk, killing the eight passengers who had boarded her that day. It is said that the bell of Saint James Church tolled eight times on the day of the disaster, thus foretelling the doom of the five men and three women who would board the Fairie Queene later that day.

  Used with permission of S.E. Schlosser and AmericanFolklore.net. Copyright 200__. All rights reserved.


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