2016 Year in Review: Haunted? Old Cowichan Valley church has a ghostly rep

One of the best read and most entertaining pieces published in 2016 was on the old Stone Butter Church, which many consider to be haunted.

One of the best read and most entertaining pieces published in the Cowichan Valley Citizen in 2016 was on the old Stone Butter Church, which many consider to be haunted.

The story was picked up by VI Free Daily, which, like The Citizen, is published by Black Press, and was popular reading around Vancouver Island during Halloween.

The long-abandoned stone structure at the top of Comiaken Hill, located just off Tzouhalem Road in Duncan, has long been a source of fear and curiosity since it was constructed in 1870 and used for just one brief decade.

The Roman Catholic church was constructed by missionary priest Father Peter Rondeault and called the Stone Butter Church because Rondeault paid its builders with funds raised from the sale of butter from his dairy herd on a nearby farm.

Stories of ghosts following people home, strange sounds within the church and eerie feelings of being watched while wandering around the property have abounded pretty much from the beginning.

In fact in 1931, Ripley’s Believe it or Not did a story on the church stating that it was never officially used and that every worker who helped build the structure died mysteriously.

However, the church was actually used for a short stint until the new St. Ann’s Church at Tzouhalem was constructed in 1880, and the contention that all its builders died mysteriously has never been substantiated.

But why let that get in the way of a good ghost story, especially when reports of strange sightings and sounds at the church continue to this day?

With a cold wind whistling through the windows and doors of the deteriorating structure making mournful sounds, and with rain beating on the roof replicating the noise of scary creatures running right at you, it’s easy to understand why many people become spooked when visiting the site.

John Adams, widely recognized as a foremost authority of haunted sites in Victoria, has visited the Stone Butter Church dozens of times over the decades, although he has never personally experienced any supernatural events there.

But he said it has all the ingredients to make it a place where many believe other-worldly events can occur.

“It’s built on a rock on a hill overlooking salt water and surrounded by mountains, similar to many other places that many consider as haunted,” Adams said.

“It’s also built on native land where sacred sites are not supposed to be disturbed.”

As well, Adams said many people believe there are invisible energy fields around the planet that some can detect and identify as special places, so they tend to build structures like churches on them, and unusual occurrences can be experienced there.

“It’s also often said that places, like churches, where events of special emotional significance, including weddings and funerals, are held over the years might bring back the energy of people associated with it,” he said.

Whether it’s actually haunted or not, the Stone Butter Church has been capturing the imaginations of people for decades and will continue to draw the curious.

Just Posted

Caps’ Pochipinski locks up scholarship

Forward bound for Colorado College

Duncan man gets jail time for beating puppy to death

Robert Carolan is also banned from owning animals for a decade

Column: Keeping animals off roads is no simple task

Where I originally come from, it’s moose, which can weigh twice as much as an elk

Column David Suzuki: More action needed to ensure safe water for First Nations

All nine water systems on Lytton First Nation land have been under boil water advisories

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

Coming up in Cowichan: Irrigation; Palestinian children; fun with fungi

The Cowichan Watershed Board is presenting a free efficient irrigation workshop

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Wounded Warrior Run stops in Port McNeill

For Jacqueline Zweng, the Wounded Warrior Run is a personal matter.

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

Tahsis mayor Jude Schooner succumbs to sudden heart attack

Flags are flying at half mast in the Village of Tahsis after… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. deer caught obeying traffic signs

A herd of deer in Fernie, B.C. is getting attention online after stopping for a stop sign

Most Read