White Otter Castle, Turtle River Provincial Park, South of Ignace, Kenora
Added by Sue Darroch
In 1903 Jimmy Mcouat (an eccentric, hermit) arrived on the shores of White Otter Lake between Ignace and Atikokan in Northwestern Ontario. He was a mysterious fellow and not much is known about him prior to his arrival. Legends swiftly circulated about Jimmy, but one thing is generally accepted as truth, and that is he did not wish to "die in a shack." So he set about constructing a "castle" built of logs. White Otter castle has been described as resembling a "three-storey" Dutch-style house with a four-storey tower. It is quite a sight to see.
In 1918 Jimmy passed away as mysteriously as he had lived. He apparently drowned while fishing in his beloved lake. Reports are that Jimmy's body was decapitated when found and stranger still that his grave actually contains the remains of a bear and not the eccentric bushman.
From the time of his death there have been reports of Jimmy Mcouat's (pronounced Mckewitt) apparition being sighted near his "castle" and the lake. Others simply reported an eerie feeling of his "presence" lingering on. The structure itself was slowly becoming a ruin when in 1984 the Friends of White Otter Castle incorporated and began a vigorous conservation project. Today tourists may visit this most interesting spot and perhaps even glimpse the spectre of the mysterious Jimmy Mcouat.
Those interested in more information about this location may contact:
The Friends of White Otter Castle
P.O. Box 88
Update: November 17, 2004: The following encounter was sent to us by one of our readers...
Here's my possible but in my mind, very honest encounter with Jim Mcquat at White Otter Castle.Our personal thanks to the witness for sharing this interesting experience with our readers.
About 13 years ago my family and I canoed into White Otter Lake. We decided to stay down the shoreline just past the site of the old ranger post. We took a tour of the castle. It was in real need of repairs at the time. Even in this state, the castle still remained a spectacular sight along with the beauty of the lake and surroundings.
We finally wandered back to camp to cook up some supper but stopped to linger around the burial sight for a bit. After supper we sat around a nice warm fire and my wife and I admired the view. The kids were getting tired and went to bed, with my wife soon behind them. I decided to sit around the fire for a while and enjoy its warmth and glow a few minutes longer. Getting tired as well, I thought I'd better get tucked in for a good nights sleep. I made sure the fire was completely out. I poured a few gallons of water on it and buried the rest in sand. The smoke completely gone, I went to bed.
Some time later I awoke to the crackle of the fire again. I could see by the glow through the tent walls that the fire must have started up. I knew I put it out, being fairly experienced with campingin the bush, so I went out to take a look. When I opened the tent door I saw an older man with a floppy hat poking the fire. He was sitting right where I had been sitting. He was a man of small stature and looked directly at me. I shook my head, closed the tent and decided I must still be asleep. I went back to my sleeping bag.
When I awoke the next morning I went out to the fire and noted that it was exactly as I left it. I determined that I must have been dreaming.
I've told the story to many people over the years but always end the story by saying it was all a dream. After reading that other people have realized similar encounters
I had a real tingle shoot up my back. I realized that maybe what I saw was not a dream but an encounter. I really wish I would have taken up his silent invitation to sit around the fire with him.
That was the last night I saw him. He may have realized we did not come to harm his property but simply to admire it.
I still get chills thinking about this encounter, but I didn't feel I was in harm's way at all.