I've been interested in the paranormal since I was a child. Some people never grow out of losing sleep over thoughts about death and their purpose in life.
These feelings of fascination and fear contributed to my fixation with the horror genre. I enjoy immersing myself in horror myself in horror movies, books, and games but find it difficult to write my own stories;
so, I decided to try my hand at several activities to jog the creative process.
I signed up for the Haunted Walk Tour and explored the former jailhouse located next to the Rideau Centre. To my surprise, the place doubled as a youth hostel; I didn't expect to walk past the clientele as they did their laundry and cooked dinner.
The tour itself was a hour-long trip around two areas. The guide led the group to a series of hallways lined with prison cells and brought us downstairs, to the solitary confinement chamber. Afterwards, we mounted a set of stairs to reach the gallows and went out into the courtyard.
The first prison area was bathed in amber-yellow lights that illuminated the cells and hallway. The tour group was given the opportunity to inspect the cells but each cell contained only a cot and the inmates didn't leave many markings or graffiti. The cells didn't carry the weight of their history; I saw
a suitcase and toiletries in one of the cells.
The second prison area had poor lighting. The layout was the same as the first but I couldn't see much. Afterwards, we marched single-file through a narrow hallway of concrete into an open area with washing machines against the back wall and long counter that isolated a kitchen area. It was awkward. People staying at the hostel gawked at us as we were given a grand tour of the laundry room.
The stairwell to the gallows had nets across the railings and holes in the steps. The guide told us they were leftovers elements of the old jail house. The nets were used to deter prisoners from trying to commit suicide and the holes helped the prison guards see if people were above them.
The gallows itself was closed because of safety issues. The guide told us that the courtyard and parking lot were former burial grounds but all I saw was a set of tables and hanging lights from some sort of festivity.
I didn't witness anything strange during my tour and it didn't live up my expectation, however, I might return someday to spend a night in one of their cells.
Photo Credit: William Au
William Au is a student in the Professional Writing program with a love for storytelling that spans every medium of expression. His free time is spent sleeping, partaking of new experiences, and indulging in books and films. He helps run the Video Game Club at Algonquin College and collects children's books.