As a precursor, please do not see this report as a negative or so-called sceptical (Read: Non-believer) of the ghostly stories of the tunnel. It's just a note of the variations and the absolute conviction of the teller's of this tale about the "truth". The "Screaming Tunnel" is a definite legend and a great story!
The issue seems to be that people are VERY territorial about the "Screaming Tunnel" and we have managed to source out ONE thing to help straighten our the stories and eliminate some of the versions. The tunnel (the one near Warner Rd. which is the most often quoted "real" one) was built by the Grand Trunk Railway company just before the outbreak of World War One in their grand scheme to have a railway that ran the same grounds as the Welland Canal. Sadly, the project was abandoned due to financial issues and then totally given up with the outbreak of the war. The "Screaming Tunnel" is one of a few of these railway tunnels to nowhere made for a railroad line that never existed.
We are still looking for a deed or property right to a house "behind" the tunnel but so far, we've come up blank.
A "ghost expert" in Niagara-on-the-Lake has described the tunnel as "The Stinky Tunnel" and after visiting it, we would agree. The natural smell of sulfur is heavily prevalent. Like many spots, there is a chance that the story is a wonderful legend made up and repeated for many years by the hoards of teenagers that still frequent the spot as a "drinking" location. Empty beer and other alcoholic beverage containers litter the ground and scribbled graffiti on the tunnel walls contribute to the rather negative atmosphere of this odd, old tunnel.
The tunnel's reputation as "spooky" place was established even more when David Cronenberg used the tunnel as a backdrop in a scene in his film, "The Dead Zone".
Until we find a police report or something to solidify one of the legends, the "Stinky Tunnel" remains a legend of Niagara that has been passed down from literally generation to generation.
Is it haunted? Maybe. Is it a WONDERFUL legend and a lasting story passed along? You bet! Does it REALLY smell in the tunnel. Yup.
Update - August 2008
One of our readers writes in:
My wife and I went to the 'screaming tunnel' yesterday (again) because something wasn't right.
Everyone talks of the little girl that was caught on fire.......we walked around the immediate area in search of the old foundation but came up empty. Many people say the foundation is still there.
How far away was the old farm house from the tunnel? could a person, or a little girl it this case run that far while ablaze? the story goes.....a little girl was in the house when it caught fire, the little girl must have caught fire in the house. She would have had to find her way out of the burning house run down the hill and in the tunnel, all while on fire.
question #1 - how much clothing was she wearing to burn that long? (P.J.'s at best)
question #2 - how far could she have run while on fire? ( was this commom practice in there house that once set afire, you were to sprint to the tunnel)
question #3 - what is the longest a stunt person has burned with a controlled burn with fire retardant clothes and protective gear?
question #4 - what are the names of the family that lived there? ( no matter what variation of the story you hear, the family remains nameless)
It is a good story at best, but fact........ to many unanswered questions and realistically........almost impossible.
Webmaster's note: These are excellent questions, and we thank the writer for contacting us, and sharing their experiences, and thoughts on this location.