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A huge bonfire goes awry one Halloween in the 1930s in Timmins

Halloween stories abound this time of year.  Here’s a true one from Timmins Museum director-curator Karen Bachmann.

In the 1930s, the Kiwanis Club put on a Halloween bonfire on the cyanide fields along Highway 655.  As music played and costumed kids ran around, they threw mine garbage and creosote-soaked railroad ties onto a platform.

“And they lit the bonfire and it went ‘WHOOF!’,” says Bachmann, “and it was quite a huge bonfire, creating a toxic sort of gas as well. So everybody had to leave the cyanide fields quite quickly and they thought ‘perhaps this not the wisest idea to do and perhaps we should temper our enthusiasm for creating these kinds of Halloween parties.”


Here’s one more local ghost story from Bachmann.

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It surrounds the true story of the Dome Mine manager who took refuge in the mine from the 1911 fire, along with his family and some staff members.  When the fire went over the top of the shaft, it sucked out all the oxygen, and everyone died.

“For years a lot of the miners did not want to do down into that particular area because they insisted that they could still see Mr. Weiss and that they could smell him,” she relates, “because he was quite a large man and they figured it smelled like burning bacon.”

Feel free to tell that story with a flashlight under your chin, next time you’re sitting around a campfire.

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