From flickering lights to unknown footsteps, Halifax eatery holds haunted past
On a busy street in the heart of Halifax lies a popular restaurant that has been a landmark for generations.
The upscale seafood eatery is a place of happiness and celebration, but as day becomes twilight, and customers drift away, some say a different type of patron roams the halls of the Five Fisherman and they never leave.
“At the end of the night, when people are starting to go home and it gets more quiet, you kind of stop trying to hear things because you’re afraid of what you’re going to hear,” says server Jill Baker.
“When we close at night, we try to have at least two servers on because of all the bizarre things that seem to happen,” says server Mallory LeBlanc.
From flickering lights and unknown footsteps, to cold drafts that come from nowhere, staff say they have experienced it all.
“I’ve been told that there was actually exorcisms done in the women’s washroom,” says LeBlanc.
Over the years, the stories have piled up like dishes in the sink - a lost little girl, a weeping woman, and others.
“The Five Fishermen has got to be one of the most storied establishments in Halifax. It’s got a great history,” says author Steve Vernon.
Originally constructed as a schoolhouse in 1817, the building is a protected heritage site. Over the years, 1740 Argyle Street has had different identities, including a national art school and, for a time, a mortuary.
When the Titanic sank in 1912, bodies were brought to the very rooms where customers now enjoy a delicious meal.
“I try not to tell that to people, you know, some people, it might spook them a little bit, or at least wait until after dinner,” says LeBlanc.
More than a century later, some say the heartache lingers.
“They (customers) feel very uncomfortable. They ask me ‘what has happened here?’” says LeBlanc.
Five years after the sinking of the Titanic, the building survived the catastrophe of the Halifax Explosion and again, the bodies piled up.
The building was made into a restaurant in 1975, but death seems to have lingered.
“There was a head waiter and he came into this part of the restaurant and right bedside the mirror, he noticed somebody had knocked down an ashtray,” says Vernon.
“When he stood up, he looked and he could see this reflection of this tall man, with long flowing silvery hair and a long, black, old cloak. He looked back and the man was gone.”
The building, filled with a long history of sadness and death, is intriguing for those who study the paranormal.
So, late one October night, a team of paranormal investigators came together to try to cross the bridge between two worlds in an attempt to solve the mystery of the unexplained sightings and noises.
What they found left them with even more questions.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau