This is the first in a small series of stories telling of the events that happened as a group of kids decided to formally create a group to investigate all the paranormal history around our home town.
As a kid I grew up in the small historic town of Amherstburg. In high school a group of friends and I enjoyed researching the area and testing the truth of many of the local lore. It started in Grade 9 when we joined the Haunted house. We first checked out a very eerie Cursed tree. It was scary but exciting and very mind blowing that these things were actually out there. After the Tree we looking into a Satanic Alter stone and had a very frightening experience. During that time we all decided to actually make a group effort to research these areas and not just run off to check them out because we were drinking and decided it would be fun to do in the middle of the night. (the real motivation behind our 3am romp through a satanic forest)
The first thing we did is look around for known areas. We quickly were led to the Texas rd stories, and the Texas road Cemetery but after the fright we had by the bridge, we chose to start at the River Canard Graveyard.
We did a tour of the local graveyards. At this time our group was three guys including myself. (fresh with a license to drive) and a new girl from art class (as we were now in Grade 10 and the girl who was with us at the Texas road Bridge would not play with us anymore.) (She would come to our parties but would not go anywhere after dark with us)
The first graveyard we chose to investigate was at River Canard.
The new girl had a relative buried at the River Canard cemetery and wanted to go see if we could find the grave stone. (as she had never seen it) River Canard was an old settlement that consisted of a small river connecting two big swamps. At the one end was lake Erie and the other a swamp that ended very near Texas road.
Along the center of the river was a little old cement bridge. On one side of the river was a giant red brick church. On the other was a small run of houses and fields. Just opposite of the church and on the other side of the river is a little Cemetery. It is old and run down. Many years it was not properly cared for and mostly grown over with weeds. The River had small dirt roads running along both sides at the time. The side with the grave yard was extremely low and for many years the river would rise and wash over the road during the wet seasons. The cemetery was on very low ground and for many years the small community had discussed moving the graveyard to a better location, but it was too costly. It was very common for a coffin to rise out of the ground during the wet season. You could go there and see the cement slab sticking out of the ground and a large void under it filled with water and sometimes the floating corner of a rotted wood casket. (very nasty)
We stopped in during the day and looked around the graveyard. There were three unearthed coffins that I could see. (I know... I was looking for them... Kind of sick but it's one of those things you have to look at once you see it) They were not badly exposed, just the corner of their slabs were sticking out of the ground, One had a void you could see into, but it was too dark to see any detail.
We looked around and found the head stone of her relative. She took a rubbing of it (the first time I had ever seen it done and thought it was a great idea.) We decided to return later with the others to show them the unearthed coffins. Later that night we returned, it was later evening and the sky was beginning to darken. We still had plenty of light to read the stones but shadows were being casted everywhere. The graveyard at night was very scary looking. Although it is not well known it is probably one of the creepiest ones I have ever seen. It had an old rickety wrought iron fence that was rusted and broken surrounding it. It had large weeds and roots sticking out of the ground. (Along with coffins) The stones were old and weathered; many were broken and sat-up against the stump that they had broken from. It was a small graveyard of only about 50 or so graves with a large statue of a female angel in the middle. (basically the perfect horror film graveyard) It also had a lot of cats around because there were a lot of rats and snakes. (snakes and rats would come out from under the stone slabs. Often snakes would nest in the coffin cavity in the ground) It was very creepy and it scared us all.
After leaving the cemetery we were all creeped out and decided to go into the city for the evening to catch a movie. We had fun downtown and watch a movie the Palace. (Popular move spot of the time downtown Windsor) During the movie we occasionally talked about how creepy the grave yard was in River Canard. After the movie it was late, almost midnight, and it was starting to rain (not a heavy storm but a good constant rain). On the way home we continued to talk about the grave yard and decided to test our courage. We were going to return to the grave yard and see if we could see any ghosts in the night.
When we arrived it had been raining for a while. It was dark out but no lighting or heavy winds just a dark rainy night. We parked the car and all got out and walked to the entrance of the grave yard. The ground was soft and full of puddles. We looked around but could not see far. The rain was heavy enough to limit our vision to see only about about 40 feet. We walked in a little further and could see the Statue of the angel. It was very intense vision. The angel was shrouded in rain and water had brought out the grain in the cement making it look like marble. The rain poured off its raised hands and ran down its face. It looked as if it was crying. What a sight! The air smelled of clay mud and the ground was quickly becoming saturated with water. The roots looked like snakes and the rain washed out most of the local sounds. It was hard to hear each other from any distance.
We started to move around looking to see what we could see. As I took steps in the mud I could hear a slopping sound. At first I thought it was my foot in the mud, but after a little while I realized the sound was not consistent with my footsteps. The slopping sound got louder and started to make little pops. I was without a flashlight so I moved to one of my friends that had one and brought him back to the area I was at. We quickly looked around the ground and could see that the area was inches deep in water. The sound was coming from little air bubble burping out of the ground. Further in, we could hear the water trickling into the open graves. It sounded like a garden hose running water into a bucket. As we moved around the old graveyard the burping and trickling got louder. Then as we approached the grave with the largest gap in its cement slab, the sound got quiet and a loud bump echoed out from within the void. It was the coffin floating to the top and bumping into the cement top. Then dirty water started to pour back out of the void and wash back along the low ground. We moved away from the area as we did not want to step in water that was washing through a rotted corpse.
As we moved around the area became deeper in water and we realized that the graveyard was in a natural run off path from the farm field behind the graveyard to the river across the street. We all gathered in front of the angel statue. We had enough looking around in the rain. Just as we were ready to leave, we spotted some movement back towards the open grave. We thought it was someone else out there with us. I thought perhaps a neighbour looking to see who would be out in the graveyard at this time in the rain? Or a caretaker... (I heard the place had one but never saw any evidence of him if he existed.)
We panned the area with the flashlight and could not see anything. Then as we were talking and ready to leave again the flashlight passed by a grave by random movement of the holder's hand and we saw a dark figure hunched over the open grave. Two of us saw it and when we signaled the flashlight holder to return light to the grave it was gone. We searched the area for the figure but no trace. Just as we were about to give up the flashlight came to rest on the cavity of the open grave and we all seen a very old face looking out of the void. It was only there for a few seconds but we all could see it. It was the kind of thing that rattled the breath from your chest. We were all terrified but continued to look around even though we all decided that it was a good time to leave. (quickly)
We moved out to the front but returned the light to the grave often on the way out. Even as we got in the car we shone the light out the car window at the grave. We all were looking to see the figure again. As the light searched the area we could not see anything. After a few minutes we all left.
Since then the grave yard has undergone many improvements. The whole stretch of road along the low side of the river has been built up, and a drainage point made to the east that moves the drainage from the fields through the grave yard to the east field on the other side.
The River Canard community has restored the graveyard and cleaned it up. The church funded the reburial of several graves and has since removed the old wrought iron fence and the weathered angel statue. It is still a small graveyard but it is clean looking. I have not returned to is since that night but I do drive by it often. I always will remember that night when I pass by that place.