The Ghosts of Grates Cove

Why is Newfoundland so haunted? And why is Conception Bay North, where I live, the most haunted place in this very spooky island? I answer these questions as I present an hour of traditional Newfoundland ghost stories, collected from the communities near me.

The Presentation

This is an hour of storytelling with traditional ghost stories collected from Grates Cove, Bay de Verde, and Conception Bay North. When possible, I bring an authentic ship’s light with me that used to hang on the mast of a ship that sailed Conception Bay 100 years ago. After describing the function of the light and the importance of ships and the sea to Newfoundlanders, I talk about why this province seems to be one of the most haunted places in the world, with a wealth of ghost stories that have been passed down through generations.

I tell stories from the sea and from the barrens. The Old Hollies are ghosts heard screaming in the wind just before a bad storm, said to be the victims of shipwrecks. The dancing Jacky-Lanterns are ghost lights seen bobbing above the water out at sea. I particularly like stories about ghost ships, like The Mollie, a schooner that went down in Grates Cove in 1944, and the ghostly longboat of Baccalieu Tickle.

The barrens can be just as terrifying as the ocean: for generations, people have seen the blueberry picking ghost that haunts the turn of the road near Grates’ Cove. I tell the mysterious story of The Ferryland Visitor, my latest book: a family who has just moved to a lonely lighthouse has a very disconcerting encounter. Finally, I relate a very unsettling experience I had myself on the barrens one dark Newfoundland night. I finish the performance with a dramatic telling of a story about ghostly footsteps in Bay de Verde in the 1920s.

I end with an introduction to my books and a question and answer period.

I have collected these stories from students and other residents in Conception Bay North. I have performed my ghost stories in schools and libaries in Newfoundland, across Canada and in Florida, as well as at storytelling festivals and on radio and television.


Book your school visit now!

Contact Charis at

Grades 4 through 6

125 students maximum

One hour and fifteen minutes

Best in a library, with students sitting on the floor

Lighting: As dark as you can get the room!