A ghostly presence walks Quamichan Inn
A ghostly presence walks Quamichan Inn
Unexplained incidents are commonplace at stately Duncan-area hotel
Â Sandra MccullochTimes Colonist
DUNCAN -- The stately Quamichan Inn near Duncan today looks much as it
did when it was built in 1911.
And it's no wonder, with a ghost floating around who doesn't like
Someone tried to move a chair once in the lounge, but Mrs. Adams put it
back where it was.
Adams is a former owner of the place and died decades ago, but a ghostly
presence that resembles the old Scot lets it be known to inhabitants
that everything should stay put. No one at the inn, which now is a
restaurant and B&B, knows Mrs. Adams's first name, but she wasn't the
kind of woman you would dare address in such a familiar way. Is it any
wonder that no one has the mettle to take on a major renovation?
Executive chef Steve Mugridge has seen Mrs. Adams's ghost a couple times
and now won't venture out of the kitchen when he's the only one in the
building. Mrs. Adams still manages to find him: Mugridge was working in
the kitchen one afternoon when he saw someone reflected in the clean
tiles. He turned around and no one was there.
"Sometimes you get that eerie feeling like you're being watched," he
Mrs. Adams isn't an angry ghost and Mugridge said he's "pretty
comfortable" with her. "Still, she just gives you the willies,
sometimes," he said.
An employee setting a table for 12 realized she only had 11 napkins laid
out, so she went to get another. When she returned, the 12th napkin
already had been put on the table.
Such stories are believable to the inn's owner, Robin Duke. She's had
the inn for a year and, up until a few weeks ago, Duke hadn't had a
personal encounter with the ghost.
Prior to buying the inn, Duke owned a quilt shop.
"I used to come here with my parents when I was little," said Duke, a
Cowichan Valley native. "I love old houses. It's a neat old place."
All the previous owners "have really left it the way it is," Duke said.
One reason may be that the resident ghost, Mrs. Adams, has made it clear
she doesn't care for change.
Adams is a mysterious figure who owned the place in the 1940s or 1950s
and was stricken with cancer and died in the house.
"She was in her 50s when she died," said Duke. "We actually had someone
come to the inn who'd played with Mrs. Adams's kids. It was like meeting
a celebrity, because no one really even knows anything about her.
"She was a little Scottish lady and was apparently very stern, took no
nonsense from children."
But there are rumours of another spirit, a little girl, that frequents
the place, too. A group of First Nations filmmakers stayed at the
Quamichan Inn in the spring, said Duke, "and they walked in and said
'There are spirits here.'
"And we had a clairvoyant from Seattle and she told us the same thing."
Duke's recent experience has made her a firm believer that the place is
"I was coming through the kitchen door and they swing back and forth. It
was Sunday afternoon and I reached up to the top of the door and
somebody walked past me and scared the crap out of me. I turned and
there was nobody there.
"How does it feel? Close your eyes and have someone walk past you."
Kitchen staff told Duke afterward she was white as a sheet.
A customer was in the washroom one evening when the room went stone cold
and then very warm as items on the counter started to rattle "and she
shot out of there so fast, it wasn't funny."
A bride and bridesmaids stayed at the inn last fall and Duke didn't
mention the ghosts. But in the morning, the women asked Duke if the
place was in fact haunted.
"One girl said she was lying in bed and felt things on her back. The
other one had the same experience in the bathroom where the room went
cold and then went hot again."
Two staff members were in the kitchen when a plastic container tumbled
off the counter and went flying across the floor. And glasses fall from
the bar area for no apparent reason.
One time, a little boy got bored while his parents were enjoying dinner
so a staff member took him upstairs to a room to watch television. "His
mom went up to check on him to see how he was doing all by himself and
he said 'I'm not by myself -- the granny lady is with me.'
"Kids don't have that closed mind. They're quite open to that."
The only photo Duke has of Mrs. Adams shows a remote image of a
white-haired woman reclining in a lawn chair.
"That's the only picture we have of her. Isn't that weird?"