Screaming Tunnel - Atlas Obscura

Screaming Tunnel

Legend says that this short Canadian tunnel still holds the dying screams of a girl who burned alive. 


While some would say that this arched stone tunnel running beneath the Grand Trunk railroad tracks in Niagara Falls is just that, but for those with ghost stories dancing around in their fevered imaginations, the dark passage is haunted by the screams of a girl 100 years dead. 

The tunnel is known as “Screaming Tunnel” and was created in the early 1900s not as a thoroughfare but as a drainage passage to keep the tracks from being lost beneath flood waters. The fact that it allowed local farmers a convenient path to avoid the oncoming trains overhead came only as a secondary use. Made from 125 feet of limestone bricks, the tunnel took on a haunted air early in its existence as moss and algae took hold of the porous stones. Given its eerie look, it is no wonder the simple tunnel became home to its own legend.

According to one version of the story, a local farm near the tunnel caught fire one night and a young girl ran screaming from the blaze, hair and clothes alight. Before she could find help, the girl collapsed right in the middle of the tunnel, perishing from her burns. Assumedly this was not quite grisly enough for increasingly modern audiences, so another version of the story has also appeared in which the young girl is burnt to death in the tunnel by her father, mad with rage. Still another, even more disturbing version says that the girl was raped and her body burned to destroy the evidence.

In any event, all stories agree on the outcome: the girl’s spirit still haunts the tunnel and if a match is lit off the tunnel wall around midnight, you can hear her scream. While this is more likely to be a late night train passing overhead, the legend has proven pervasive enough to completely rebrand the otherwise unremarkable tunnel in the popular conscience.

Know Before You Go

Given the eerie atmosphere, the tunnel may not be suitable for children. 

Note: it leads to the Bruce Trail, a great hiking trail.

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