Smith Falls - Mother Barnes
Witch of Plum Hollow - Ghostly Goings on with Mother Barnes? - Near Smith Falls
Tales of Mother Barnes of the Witch of Plum Hollow are usually the domain of our sister site, ParaResearchers, as she is more well known for her premonitions and her psychic abilities. (See this link (click here) for ParaResearchers' write-up on Mother Barnes.)
In this case, however, an exception can be made as a ghost may have assisted Mother Barnes in aiding friends of a missing man find his body.
According to the report in Barbara Smith's book, Ontario Ghosts Stories, in the 1860's, some men had come to the respected seer to find out about their missing colleague. The missing man and his cousin (Morgan Doxtater and Edgar Harter) had moved into the area and in the fall of 1860, one of the cousins (Harter) reported that the other (Doxtater) had accidentally drowned. There was apprehension about the story, but a murder investigation was leading nowhere.
It was only after asking Mother Barnes to assist, who it is claimed knew why the men had come to her before they spoke a word, that she said the spirit of Doxtater came to her and let her know where his body could be found... and that he was indeed hidden and had been murdered.
The men took the information to the local authorities and Harter was tried and convicted... with information that may have originated from a ghost.
As our sister group, ParaResearchers states, "Mrs. Barnes was not really a witch in either a religious, nor fairy tale sense. Nor did she actually live in "Plum Hollow". However, Elizabeth Barnes became known throughout Ontario thusly and her reported "gifts" as a psychic have earned her a place in Ontario’s paranormal history..." and "...it is reported she never charged more than 25 cents for her services."
Do you have more information or reports relating to Mother Barnes? We'd love to hear about it... Please e-mail us at
and let us know. We promise your anonymity and privacy are assured as we are compliant with the privacy laws of Ontario brought in on March of 2004.