In front of the “Humboldt House Bed and Breakfast” stands a mother with her high school graduate daughter with who she is so proud of. That is why they are here in Victoria, British Columbia from Melbourne, Australia. Sue looks to her daughter with great delight knowing that she is soon going to the University of Sydney in just a few short months.
“Here we are Mum!” Amelia says jumping up and down with excitement before grabbing her mother for a hug. “Just think! We are here in Victoria! A city rich with history. I could probably start my dissertation on this house alone!”
A hug and a chuckle from Sue has her say. “I don’t deny that me luv. I know you are going to do great in your history studies and not because your History Prof. Mum says so.”
A giggle escapes from both women as they both go to the front door to knock. As they wait for their host. Sue takes her hand and gently strokes her daughter’s hair lovingly. The love that the two of them have for history is what bonds them but that is not why Sue is so gratified. Seeing her little girl go from big brown pig-tails to this beautiful sophisticated young woman is just incredible. Amelia grabs her mother for one more big hug and closes those bright blue eyes that match her mothers.
“Thanks for this Mum!” She says happily.
“Of course!” Sue says holding her daughter. “I’m so proud of you! The woman you have become. You’ve earned this. We both have.”
The women break apart as soon as the door opens. A man on the other side of the door, smiles at them and asks. “You are the Harrison ladies?”
“We are.” Sue nods with a smile
“Come on in and rest in our foyer.” The man stands aside. “I’ll just check and see if your room is ready.”
“Smashing!” Amelia says and walks into the house with Sue close behind her.
The man gestures to the foyer while the two women go into the room filled with the most beautiful antique furniture. The floral chaise is so eye catching with its pinks and blacks, an old wooden desk with many compartments that academics like Sue and Amelia would dream of having, and the painting above it where a Victorian woman is showing her shoulders. They both couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful parlour to wait in.
After ten minutes, the man who opened the door for them returns. “Your room is ready. Please follow me.”
As they make their way to the room, they find out that the man’s name is Matt. He also lets them know that their breakfast will be delivered in the morning but they must fill out their menu for the next day and leave it outside their door. They will find their chosen breakfast in the small cabinet beside the bed that has doors in front and behind it. A unique feature that they have never experienced before in a B-n-B or otherwise.
Matt stops in front of a door labeled “Mikado,” opens the door for the women and they see inside. What the two of them see takes their breath away. The first thing they see is a large black jacuzzi tub with window paned-like mirror, white towels, and a large exotic palm tree sitting beside it. Amelia runs straight to it and studies it. Sue’s eyes follow the waterlily wall all the way to a large queen-sized bed with a floral spread that matches a golden fan decorated with cranes. This room is truly magical.
“Ahhhh!” Amelia screams doing her excitement dance. “This place is so perfect Mum. We lucked out here!”
“I agree Luv.” Sue chuckles as she puts a hand through her greying hair. “Just think of all the history we have yet to discover.”
Matt pipes up. “If you ladies are interested in history, we have a ghost walk that I think you both will find intriguing.”
“Oh! My daughter and I don’t believe in ghosts.” Sue says politely.
“You don’t have to.” He explains. “In fact, you get a great history lesson of Victoria and get to hear some of our local legends.”
“That does sound really cool!” Amelia pipes up as she stands up from the chair. “What do you say Mum? Can we go?”
“Well, I am intrigued. We could go tonight.” Sues replies. “How can I set this up?”
“I’ll do it for you.” Matt says kindly. “And we have a wonderful Italian restaurant just three blocks away if you are hungry and about five blocks away from there is the meet up point for the walk. What do you think ladies?”
“Let’s do it!” the two women announce.
“Wonderful. I’ll make all the arrangements and let you ladies settle in.” As he turns to leave, Matt remembers something. “Oh! And ask about the dreaded pirate Captain Steele. That is one of our best legends.”
“Okay.” Amelia says.
With that, Matt walks out of the room and leaves the two of them to relax.
Inside the “Old Spaghetti Factory,” Sue and Amelia sit at the table and unwind while they wait for their food. They are relieved to see that this restaurant is a fun, casual place and not the fussy ambiance like the Italian restaurants that they have been to before. The two of them sit at the table and have a lovely view of the stained-glass windows in front of them.
“Mum this is so cool! I mean, I can’t believe we are going on a ghost walk.” Amelia says sipping her coke. “It was really nice of Matt to book it for us.”
“It sure was. I’ll be sure to give him an extra tip and a rave review!” Sue says smiling at her daughter.
Amelia chuckles as she takes another sip of her pop and sees the server bring their food. “Oy! Food’s here.”
The server smiles at the ladies as he sets his tray on the tray stand. “Alright ladies. Here is your orders. You two have any plans tonight?”
“Yes. We are going on the ghost walk.” Amelia says as the server places the spaghetti in front of her.
“We are really interested in hearing about this pirate named Captain Steele.” Sue says and the server nearly drops her salad on her lap.
“Oh I am so sorry! I…”
“It’s fine!” Sue says and looks at the bewildered young man. “Are you alright?”
“Yes.” He says nearly breathless. “Yes. It’s just the pirate story can be really frightening. I should let you know that if you ask about it. Be prepared for what happens next.”
“What happens next?” Amelia inquires.
“Well it depends.” He begins to explain. “You see…”
“Hey Eugene! Would you come here please?” They see the tall suited man yell at him. Clearly, he is the manager here.
“I’m sorry.” Eugene apologizes.
“It’s okay. You go on.” Sue reassures him. As he dashes off, Sue looks to her daughter. “I wonder what he’s talking about.”
“Me too.” Amelia says but the two of them let the incident go and enjoy their meals of spaghetti marinara, salad, and manicotti.
The meet-up point is on the harbour. There Sue and Amelia see two gentlemen in dark clothing, black hats, and capes. They both have kind and friendly faces. The man with the grey beard walks up to them and introduces himself.
“Good evening!” he says politely. “My name is Andrew. Are you with us on the ghost walk?”
“We are!” Sue answers. “Sue and Amelia Harrison.”
Andrew looks at his clip board and then looks up. “Yes, those names are on our list. Do you ladies have some ID?”
Amelia and Sue lift up their passports and show the gentleman their pictures. He smiles at them and says, “Perfect! Welcome to the tour ladies.”
After a few minutes, a huge crowd assembles. Sue and Amelia watch as both men check off all their clients off their list. It turns out that this is a popular tour as Amelia counted around forty people. The older gentleman motions everyone to meet closer and calls out.
“Gather round everyone!” He pauses as he raises his arms in dramatic effect. “Good evening ghost seekers. My name is Andrew and this is Eric. We are your ghostly guides tonight. We will take you places where only the brave dare venture. Follow us to our first destination which is the Empress hotel.”
After the speech, the whole group follows the guides a few blocks to a very opulent hotel. Sue and Amelia find themselves chatting with people along the way. They come from so many different places and have different interests but what they all share is the joy of traveling.
At the Empress hotel, Andrew turns around and begins the tale. “One of the most famous hotels in all of Canada, the Empress hotel comes with an amazing legend. Don’t worry it’s a happy one. They say that those who stay here will find solutions to every problem no matter how big or small they are. The ghosts here tend to help with that. One of the most seen here is a surly looking maid in old fashioned clothing. You will find her throughout the hotel but her favorite place seems to be the third floor. That’s where she was found hanged in 1910. Her death is a mystery. Some think suicide while others believe she was murdered. Never-the-less, she spends all of her afterlife taking care of the guests that stay here. The next stop which is downtown at Humboldt street where Eric will tell the tale.”
They have wandered all over downtown Victoria and enjoyed many different stories from Humboldt’s inter-dimensional portal to a haunted hotel where a murdered victim communicated with jurors of her trial at night. However, they still haven’t heard what Amelia has been dying to hear about; the pirates. When there is a lull in Andrew’s explanation, she puts up her hand, preparing to ask him.
“Yes young lady?”
“I heard there is a story about a pirate.” Amelia says. “What’s that about?”
“Ah! Great question. I was going to save that for the end but we’ll happily tell you now.” Andrew says. “But I will have Eric tell you since he knows the story better than anyone.”
Andrew stands aside and lets Eric take the lead. He steps forward and begins. “Thank you, Andrew. It is our most famous legend here in Victoria. It all starts with the dreaded pirate Captain Steele. He and his crew often stopped in Victoria, BC because his one true love is here. A beautiful artist named Emily who is independent and shares his love of adventure. He buried his treasure somewhere around Victoria and promised her that he would come back for her, marry her, and spend the rest of their lives sailing the open seas. Sadly, they never did get together. But his treasure is still hidden somewhere in Victoria and they say the ghosts of him and his crew of the ship “The Cutthroat” wander the streets and into some homes looking for it. So keep watch. You might see them one night.”
Ohs and ahs fill the air. It is definitely their most fascinating story so far. Amelia and Sue are glad to hear it and so are the rest of the group. A wave of Andrews hand has the group follow him once again to their next destination. They can’t help but wonder what is going to happen next.
At the end of the night, Amelia and Sue have returned to their room. While Amelia takes advantage of the Jacuzzi, Sue sits at the table with her chocolate lava cake she ordered from “The Old Spaghetti Factory.” She enjoys every rich decadent bite. Amelia melts in the hot tub and feels her hard muscles soften into putty.
“Mum. This is the greatest vacay that we have ever been on.” Amelia pipes up.
“I’ll say!” Sue says laughing and points down to the cake. “Talk about a midnight snack!”
“I still can’t get over that pirate story.” Amelia says. “Just think a pirate that falls in love with you.”
“Are you hoping for such a thing my darling?” Sue inquires.
“Maybe.” Amelia answers dreamily. “Like you and Da right?”
“Yeah. Like me and your Da.” Sue replies with a pensive lovelorn look. Poor Amelia’s father passed away in a car accident before she was even born. Sue did her best to keep his memory alive in her daughter but all she could do is tell her stories.
Amelia closes her eyes and happily takes in her jacuzzi experience. This shakes Sue out of her quick depression to focus back on the present and her cake before turning in for the night. With all the fresh air they have had today, it’s not going to take long for them to drift off to sleep.
It is 3:15 AM and both women are sound asleep in the king-sized bed in their room. Nothing is unusual and everything is silent. Until a bright light envelopes the whole room. Both women press their hands against their eyes as they sit up startled and wait for their eyes to adjust.
“What the hell!” Shouts Amelia.
“What’s going on?” Sue cries out.
When their eyes finally adjust. They look to see a ghostly figure of a pirate looking longingly out the window. The two of them freeze as they watch this apparition standing before them. Although transparent, he looks very dirty and wears ratty old clothes that could only be found on a homeless person in the 18th century. He had the appearance of a pirate due to his hat and the harsh weathered look on his face. The pirate turns his neck to glance at the women sitting up in the bed. His gaze didn’t frighten Amelia or Sue. Instead, they pity him. He isn’t threatening but rather sad. He looks to the window again and walks forward through the wall. The brightness disappears with him.
Sue and Amelia scramble up and look out the window, seeing that this pirate is still there. He saunters towards other misty figures in the distance up the road. Once he reaches them, all the misty figures walk down the street and disappear.
The two of them look at each other and Sue speaks. “You saw what I did, didn’t you?”
“Yeah.” Amelia answers. “A ghost pirate that walked through our wall and met up with other ghost pirates.”
“Yeah.” Sue responds but with a shake of her head. “That must be what our server was talking about earlier.”
Both of them can’t believe what they have just seen. The two of them continue to stare out the window where the pirates had disappeared. What are they going to tell Matt or the people back home? Until now, the two of them didn’t believe in ghosts and no one they know believe in them either. Yet here they are, facing a legend that is ultimately true. The only question is, what do they do about it?
Special Thanks to:
The Humboldt House: For a lovely stay and delicious breakfast. 867 Humboldt St, Victoria, BC V8V 2Z6. https://www.humboldthouse.com/
The Old Spaghetti Factory: For good food and friendly service. 703 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8W 2B4 http://www.oldspaghettifactory.ca/locations/victoria
Ghostly Walks: For a fun and informative ghost tour. https://discoverthepast.com/ghostly-walks/