The Blue Ghost Tunnel: Making of a Legend Russ Exposes The Tunnel

Russ Exposes The Tunnel

In 1999 a group of paranormal enthusiast began visiting known haunted locations across the Niagara region. Headquartered in Welland, Ontario, the group often visited sites in Niagara Falls, Fonthill and Port Colborne. After visiting the likes of The Screaming Tunnel and the Old Fonthill Cemetery, they were determined to find additional locations to explore and investigate while simultaneously gaining interest in dowsing, Ouija boards and casting “spells”.

Russ, a teenager and member of the group, became active on paranormal discussion boards and developed his own web site, sharing haunted locations, stories and experiences.

Questioning those on paranormal forums about other haunted locations, he found information about another tunnel named “The Screaming Tunnel”, in an article written by Nick Blay, who visited the tunnel on a regular basis with friends years previous to Russ' discovery. This was not the same “Screaming Tunnel” near Warner Road in Niagara Falls, Ontario that Russ had already visited. This was a new tunnel, untouched by paranormal enthusiasts.

Nick believed that the tunnel might be haunted, but did not believe all of the tales about it. He provided the following history of the tunnel and nearby cemetery, which fascinated Russ, who planned to visit the tunnel for himself.

At the time my friends and I were going to what is now known as the Blue Ghost Tunnel, we were calling it the Screaming Tunnel. Although we were aware of the actual tunnel in Niagara-on-the-Lake of the same name we felt the Blue Ghost Tunnel was more ominous and more deserving of the name, so that's just how we referred to it throughout our tenure there.

We used to go there and have bonfires, a few drinks and just gather as a group. It was our spot that very few people knew about or felt the desire to trek out to, so the place was like our own personal escape. A few times we had explored the tunnel during the day, but mostly came at night when we had groups of people.

Many times we would be able to get about halfway in but due to the joist beams collapsing midway through we never got all the way through during the night. There were definitely some ominous overtones to the tunnel itself, we always sat just outside of it at the mouth of the tunnel and throughout the years we had compiled stories of what we believe caused the tunnel to be haunted.
Once or twice we would catch something out of the corner of our eye moving through the tunnel. The smoke from the fire would filter into the tunnel, and that very well could have been it, but a big part of me knows that it probably wasn't just the smoke. We also a lot of time went to the old pump house and frequently walked to the cemetery up the road until the bridge next to the pump house had collapsed. I do not know if it has since been fixed.

One of the earlier accounts we had of the tunnel was that above the tunnel was an old cemetery. When the canal began to expand and the tunnel was created to move ore (I believe) from one side to the other the cemetery was transplanted to the current Lakeview Cemetery, I think, which we would often walk to, which was an odd experience in itself.

On one such visit to the Blue Ghost Tunnel we trekked to the Cemetery where it was completely dark, upon turning to leave candles began to light up. Now being that it was late and pitch black we didn't see anyone else in the cemetery but we decided not to stick around to find out. Back to the transplantation of the bodies from the tunnel though, as the story went all the bodies had been relocated save for the bodies of some children, whether it was that the graves were unmarked or the children were purposely not relocated I can't be sure but that was one of the stories we had come to accept.

After digging around the Internet and local records we found that indeed the tunnel had been used to transport something from one side of the canal to the other but it was actually done by train.

Apparently a one-rail track was laid through the tunnel and a train would pass through delivering the material. Two different stories emerged from this, one being that a train coming through was going too fast and upon hitting the curve outside of the tunnel fell off the track and crashed killing the driver.

Another version has it that two trains collided on this single track going through the tunnel and that the occupants of both trains now haunt the tunnel and surrounding areas.

It's hard to determine what has validity and what has been thrown in and mixed with the truth with regards to the accounts of how and why this place is haunted. I personally think that there were more than just a few incidents involving people losing their lives in and around this tunnel throughout the time that it was used.

At the time of our visits to the, now coined, Blue Ghost Tunnel we were just looking for a place to call our own and enjoy our summers nights with friends. We also were on somewhat of a ghost hunting kick which most likely lead to my original post on the Haunted Niagara websites, but all in all from the time we were 18-20ish we were just looking for a place to have fun.

We definitely weren't the only ones, as there were always smashed bottles and remnants of old fires prior to our arrival but we always tried to keep the place clean because, again, it was our spot.
As I said earlier we caught glimpses of something in the tunnel from time to time so we always felt like something was around us. Occasionally we would also hear sounds we couldn't explain emanating from the tunnel, and we would always try to find where in the tunnel they were coming from but to no avail.

The sounds would generally cease once we got close to halfway in.

I think the last time that I visited the tunnel was in early 2007. By that time the landscape of the tunnel had changed drastically. The ominous feel of the open mouth tunnel of the defunct Grand Trunk Railway system seemed muted. The entrance way was closed up with cinder block bricks and mortar and a gated entrance, reminiscent of an old jail door. It was clear that the Seaway no longer wanted people on their private property. I assume that the next group of people that took over after we left didn't keep it so clean, and the graffiti was definitely a strong indication of that.

It was definitely sad to see the change at the tunnel, I have always felt that perhaps if Russ and his crew hadn't tried to make it such a spectacle that it wouldn't have gained as much notoriety and the Seaway wouldn't have been forced to close it up and add security requirements around the area. Although it is on private land it is a part of Niagara Heritage, like the Decew House, Queenston Park, Beaverdams Park and so on. It should have been restored so people could use the trail to walk through and experience a part of history.

Now it has been coined the Blue Ghost Tunnel. A place that most people will never see, never have a chance to walk through, even if only half way, because the owner of the land is tired of people disrespecting their land and property.

Perhaps if I had never mentioned our place the current state of the tunnel would be different, but then again there would have always been someone to occupy their nights in front of the tunnel and not all of them would have respected the place as much as my friends and I did. It was probably inevitable that the Seaway took action to try and prevent people from being there, but who can ever really say for sure. When I was last there it was evident that people didn't take kindly to the Seaway locking up the tunnel as the door was not locked and a cinder block or two was missing.

All I can say with absolute certainty was that I loved each and every night I spent there with my friends. We respected the tunnel and the area because we considered it our own. I will always remember the fun we had and the explorations we did. It's definitely a time in my life that I miss.

Before Russ visited the tunnel, he decided to gather as much information about the tunnel and the surrounding area as possible, and began questioning the Toronto Ghost and Hauntings Research Society (TGHRS) about “The Screaming Tunnel.”

In his correspondence with Matthew James Didier, co-founder and operator of TGHRS, Russ indicated that he didn't find the tunnel that haunted.

“Initially Russ did not claim to have any ghostly encounters at the BGT aside from numerous photos he took that contained 'orbs'. Even way back in those days we doubted that 'orbs' or 'mists' were much more than something natural (rather than supernatural) in true origin, (not to mention it was snowing in several of Russ' shots) so we felt no need for further investigation (by ourselves) based on his evidence,” says Matthew James Didier.

However, Russ maintained that his first visit to the tunnel wasn't until 2002 and his claims of paranormal activity at the tunnel were reported to others and within his online texts as extremely high even on that first visit.

Russ first visited the tunnel in April, 2002 and decided to document his entire experiences so he began an online journal. The web site which stored the original journal was deleted by Russ shortly after he disappeared from the paranormal community. Here are the original journal entrees, unedited:

Russ' First Journal Entry

So last night (saturday) our group decided that we would investigate this “other” screaming tunnel that we read about.

There were four of us and it was raining and generally miserable out. Nevertheless we got our gear together. We found the road and the dirt mound and parked the car and walked for about a mile or a mile and a half. We checked out a few of the paths along the road that lead to a river with a dam.

We began to get audible manifestations once we were about half way to the original graveyard area. At one point we were standing right on top of the tunnel without realizing it and our emf went off. We investigated a pathway that leads you right atop the tunnel entrance. It was a very steep but short path off the main road. Directly on top of the actual tunnel. It was very creepy.

We continued down the road until it bent right and found the stoney path that leads down the hill to the tunnel. When the tunnel came into sight I took out my divining rods and went slowly forward with the rest of our group. Our friend JJ was ahead with the flashlight and emf.

We got about 20 feet away from the entrance to the tunnel and stopped to prepare to enter. At this point a couple of members in the group described that they felt dizzy and overheated. I was a little dizzy but felt like I was plugged into a 12 volt power source. You know how when you are near a haunted location you get that feeling?

Anyway the feeling intensified and intensified as we crept slowly toward the entrance of the tunnel. At this point I wanted to test the divining rods. I have a really good set that I got from divining mind, anyway so I take them out of my pack that I carry all of my equipment in. I’m standing there with my friends fairly close and the rods out pointed toward the tunnel entrance.

JJ approaches the tunnel entrance and is approximately10 feet from the entranceway and he begins to flash his flashlight inside. He also snapped a few pictures. About 20 seconds after he flashed the camera and the tunnel got dark again he was getting his flashlight ready to go inside.

I caught a glimpse or visual manifestation. It was ice blue and fog like. It formed the face of a wolf or dog like animal.

Before I had a chance to ask if anyone could see it, it was gone, and I was wondering if I saw it at all.
At this point my feet are glued and that feeling of being plugged into an electrical socket increased about 1000 times. The divining rods started acting very peculiar. There was a force on them that pushed the one in a complete 360 degree counterclockwise direction while the other rod went completely horizontal at 90 degree angle. They then came around and crossed and uncrossed, crossed and uncrossed. Things got a bit surreal at this point.

I shouted to the group to look at my rods. There was definitely a charge that was building up in the area and I had the feeling like something was going to happen. Then BANG something like a rock or a part of the structure of the tunnel fell from inside.

Evidence of poltergeist activity.

At this point everyone in the group was acting a little odd and there was an overwhelmingly strong sense of fear. I was actually quite frightened which is not common for me.

Seconds after the BANG noise from inside the tunnel an apparition as plain as day appeared that all four of us can confirm. (wondering if it will show up on our film).

It was ice blue and fog like and hovered for approximately 10 to 15 seconds at the tunnel entrance.

It was shifting in form and was amorphous but I could make out several shapes at once. A face, a body, demonic, wolflike, human, all at the same time.

Later we discussed this and everyone sort of interpreted the apparition differently but there was no doubt that all of us witnessed it. At this point the fear was overwhelming. We were not prepared to go inside the tunnel because of whatever was guarding the entrance. Two members of our group are returning there tonight with more equipment to record and measure the level of activity here.

As far as I am concerned this area is the single most haunted spot in Niagara.

I'm still debating whether or not I want to return to investigate the graveyard sections and the inside of the tunnel itself. I'm thinking that it might be safer by daylight.

It was obvious that whatever was guarding the tunnel was not about to permit us entrance without consequence. I am wondering if I can persuade it by bringing flowers for the headstones, or asking it to grant us access. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about this, but last night we were ill prepared for what actually happened. I wasn't expecting much at all, and really it was way crazier than what I thought it was going to be. I'm going to be prepared next time.

Russ' Second Journal Entry

Yes this place is very crazy.

To be honest i was not expecting, nor were we prepared for anything like this...Whatever manifested itself was not letting us through the tunnel.

It would have been suicide to get any closer. We are returning in two weeks.

I have to prepare. Does anyone have any spells that we can use as protection? Additionally, I need a way to insure that it does not follow us home after. When we get the pictures developed I will post them, but there are still many snaps left on this roll of film. We are going back there with a ton of equipment to take video, evp recordings, temp readings, etc etc.

The whole expedition will be documented.

Russ' Third Journal Entry

This Saturday we returned to the tunnel at Gm gate 12. Things were definitely weird but not as intense as last time. Here is an account of things that happened, in the order that they happened.
Arrived at 11:30 party members formed a circle and cast 5 layers of protection spell, and did the hike down the road toward the tunnel.

At 11:45 approximately we were on the road above the tunnel. Emf went off. party members entered circle again to cast invocation spell.

Climbed down the rocky decline and approached tunnel slowly. Took dowsing rods out of pack, got camera ready.

Slowly approached tunnel. Dowsing rods began spinning in 360 degree radius just like last time except that this time both rods were completely spinning quite rapidly. Approached threshold of tunnel.

Asked several yes no questions where whatever “spirit” was there would answer by spinning or not spinning the dowsing rods. Worked fairly effectively.

Noted several visual flickers inside of tunnel and strange fog. No really strong visual manifestations this time. No real strong sense of fear.

There were however several auditory manifestations.
  • Hissing. (could be an animal)
    Auditory: Someone walking through the tunnel towardus. Very defined sound of footsteps.
    Noted green slime on wall on outside of tunnel.
    Noted banging noises inside of the tunnel.
    Noted strange watermarks on the walls in the shape of three human figures, two soldiers, one person hanging. (could be coincidence but it was neat to look at)

Entered tunnel. Wow was it cold in there! Approximately a 20 to 30 degree temp drop with cold spots in the tunnel that you could see your breath. Went deep into tunnel until entrance could no longer be seen. Very wet in there. Reached the part of the tunnel where it is blocked off. Not impassable but it is very very very deep in water. Can't wait for summer to dry that up. Took several pictures in and outside of the tunnel. Everytime we go back we just end up with more and more questions about this place. it's bizarre.

Here is the killer part. Took the pictures to be developed. Film returned blank. Underexposed. EVERY PICTURE!!!!!

Very weird indeed. We are returning there next time with EVP recorder, infrared thermometer, more cameras, etc.

Russ continued to visit haunted locations across the Region, but his main focus remained the tunnel which in his next visit he would call The Blue Ghost Tunnel. According to Russ the blue, fog-like apparition he had witnessed previously danced at the front entrance and appeared to him as a beautiful young female who later revealed herself as a soft-spoken seductress named September.

The apparition was only seen by Russ, and others in his group say that they did not witness an apparition named September. In the tunnel, one of the members, who wishes to remain anonymous, recalls finding a picture of a girl. The photograph was old, he recounts, and the image was that of a girl, perhaps 16 years of age. On this visit Russ made contact with the spirit of a little girl who he described as “pretty”, and he provided photographic evidence of this encounter by posting several images of the inside of the tunnel. Within the images he saw “a beautiful girl”, “a demonic devil-like thing” and “a dog.” When the photos were shared online, others pointed out angels, cats, winged-beasts, severed hands and railway wheels.

In reality, the photographs in question show nothing more than Russ' own breath expelled while the snapshot was taken in the cold, moist atmosphere of the tunnel. Inside the swirl and mist objects became defined through a psychological phenomenon known as “pareidolia”.

Russ captured no ghosts on film but he captured the imagination of others.

As a result of posting his online journal and switching his entire focus to the tunnel, the tunnel's name stuck: The Blue Ghost Tunnel and for short The BGT. Several other groups quickly became interested in the newly discovered hotspot. Russ continued to visit the tunnel and became obsessed with it. Several of his friends were alienated by his ambition and now insist that a lot of the events that took place with Russ were manufactured within his own mind.

“It's hard to believe what he was experiencing,” says Dave. “I didn't witness some of the things he claims.”
“Some weird stuff did happen, but a lot of it was just Russ,” says Laura.

But these friends were not active online at this time and they did not protest the statements made by Russ. Many of them abandoned Russ' group and parted company with him. Russ continued to add to the story and weaved a tale that he openly said would lead to a book deal or even a movie deal because “ is so intense and scary!”

In one journal entry he said that he communicated with the spirits of the tunnel and learned that one, the dancing blue misty female, was named September. He learned she was nineteen years old and was murdered at the tunnel. Russ developed a whole persona for September, which he communicated and interacted with via a Ouija Board.

As Russ continued to expand the experience for the online crowd, others joined in as they learned about the tunnel's existence and “extreme haunting”. Groups like Hamilton Paranormal and Amateur Spirit Seekers visited and posted their experiences which included several parallel experiences to Russ'.

Russ posted a weekly update and then turned it into a daily event because the ghost known as September had, according to Russ, stalked him and followed him home. It was all coming to a grand climax, however. Russ tried to gain the interest of publishers, with no luck. Hollywood was not calling either. Russ was lost and like the tunnel itself—abandoned, save for the online crowd of paranormal thrill-seekers—and needed an out. His personal life was being affected as friends abandoned him, due to this abnormal behavior, and he came up with an exit strategy.

September had seduced him, he stated, and was most likely, according to Russ, a demonic spirit. This spirit had not only seduced him, but then proceeded to physically rape him, according to his journal. Violated and wanting to end this multidimensional relationship, he took the Ouija Board that first made contact with September and burned it.

Suddenly, Russ was offline. There were no more updates on his web site and his journal ended in June 2002. In a short three months he transformed a seemingly lost tunnel into North America's must-go-to haunted tourist attraction.

Rumors quickly spread that he ran away as far as Florida to get away from the demonic, sexual harassment he found at the tunnel. But Russ re-reemerged briefly in October of 2002 to say he was in Florida with family. That same year he deleted his web site and removed his online journal, never returning to the paranormal community again.

One has to question this entire affair, from Russ being totally engaged with the paranormal to abandoning it altogether. Was his ambition of securing a book deal and movie deal his primary goal? Was his only motive to gain publicity and popularity?

In 2009 I caught up with Russ and questioned him about the tunnel and his experiences within it. He remained silent and did not respond. In 2010, I again contacted him directly and questioned him, and referenced this book idea and the possibility of it being published. Russ refused to cooperate and to this day refuses to talk about the tunnel. He wishes to remain anonymous, known only as “Russ”, the one who discovered The Blue Ghost Tunnel, the single-most influential spark to the legend.


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Out of the Dark: The Ghost Hunting Chronicles is a blog providing detailed investigations of the Out of the Dark team, paranormal news and editorial.

It will also feature the past investigations of paranormal investigator and author John Savoie.