Many people head to cottage country for a relaxing getaway. We take dips in the lake to cool off, catch up with friends on the dock, gather around the campfire to roast marshmallows, and walk through the forests to relax. But even these tranquil sites away from the hustle and bustle of the city have their secrets and long lists of unexplained events. Lurking just behind the bushes, amongst the towering trees or down the darkened gravel roads is often something unexpected.
In our next few posts, we will look at some of the spookiest tales from our beloved Ontario lakes and forests. The next time you are exchanging ghost stories around a campfire with your closest friends and family, you might find yourself looking over your shoulder with a heightened awareness of the darkness surrounding you.
Buck Hill Road is located near Round Lake, Ontario, a popular spot with campers and cottagers due to the natural beauty. The scenic lake is less than an hour west of Pembroke, along the southeastern edge of Algonquin Park, and within easy reach of nearly anywhere in eastern Ontario.
Many people staying at or near Round Lake will stop at Round Lake Centre, a small community that serves both full-time residents and seasonal visitors. Most people don’t venture south from Round Lake Centre, unless, perhaps, they are searching for the paranormal. Locals who live around Round Lake have heard the tales and many have even experienced something unexplained for themselves. While most visitors to the area are focused on enjoying the unspoiled beauty of the lake, others come to visit Buck Hill Road in hopes of encountering something for themselves. The possibilities of the paranormal are so famous, the haunted road has even inspired a song.
During the early 20th century, a logger returned home during a winter storm. His wife, daughter, and dog were awaiting his return. He warned them not to venture outside but left briefly himself in order to gather some firewood. When he returned, he learned that the family dog had bolted out of the house and his daughter left on a frantic search for the animal. Knowing the weather was only worsening, he immediately ran out in the cold with a lantern. Although he searched all through the stormy night, he was unable to find his daughter.
Legend has it that the logger continued his nightly and daily searches like a vigil, constantly looking for any signs of his lost daughter. Despite dedicating his life to her safe return, he never found her. The man eventually died, although it’s unclear if he passed away during a grueling search or after returning home. Other versions of the story say that the father eventually went insane from the search and died of a broken heart.
Ghost Tours & Paranormal Adventures
Since his death, there have been numerous reports of unexplained lights along Buck Hill Road. Many people believe that the light from his lantern, which he held up during his frantic nightly searches, is the reason for the ghost lights that have appeared for nearly a century. Many paranormal investigators have visited the site and captured some interesting evidence that points to unseen forces. While the investigators don’t unanimously agree on the possible presence of the supernatural, some convincing excerpts have no explanation.
Flash Your Headlights Three Times on Buck Hill Road
Some people claim that visitors in search of a paranormal experience on Buck Hill Road must engage in a short ritual to conjure up the spirit.
- The ritual begins when you arrive in your car and turn around to face the direction you came.
- You then flick your headlights three times into the darkness.
- Finally, some suggest screaming “Daddy” three times in the tone of a young girl.
- Legend has it that the searching lantern light will then appear in front of you, gently swaying back and forth.
While this ritual might not actually be necessary to conjure up the paranormal presence that stalks this section of roadway, many people have reported seeing the lights appear shortly after completely those steps. People have described the light as green or orange in tint and markedly different than an oncoming headlight. It appears as a three-dimensional ball of light approximately the size of a baseball and bright enough to illuminate the surrounding woods. Most reports suggest the light sways slightly, as if someone were walking with it. Sometimes the image of the light is brief and quickly disappears, while other times it continues on a steady march and gradually grows in intensity as if the light is coming closer, before vanishing off again.
Along with the sighting of lights, some people have reported handprints on their vehicles as they sat and waited for the mysterious lights to appear. Others have heard unexplained voices or screams coming from down the road or in the surrounding forest. A few people have even reported seeing a dark and looming figure, often shrouded in shadow, about the size of an adult man. There is a vast collection of stories that simply cannot be explained.
These curious and unexplained encounters have attracted many people to the area and fueled speculation that Buck Hill Road is haunted by the spirit of the father frantically searching for his daughter, and maybe even her spirit as well. However, no one has uncovered historical proof that a family in Round Lake met with such tragedy in the early 20th century. It’s actually possible that the unexplained encounters at Buck Hill Road created the legend as people were searching for history to explain these instances. However, historical basis or not, many people travel to this spot to possibly experience something unexplained and many leave with their wish fulfilled.
Brittney Anne Bos, PhD
Haunted Walk Tour Guide & Host