Who is This “Hag of Bell Island” on the New Canadian Coin & Stamp Series?

"Her stench of death is so strong it leaves her victims powerless and paralyzed."

This halloween season is seeing “the third and final release” of Canada Post’s Haunted Canada series, “plus a 25-cent coin honouring a great Canadian ghost story, the Hag of Bell Island.”

The wbell_island_ghost_hag_quarter_obvay Canada Post tells it, Bell Island, “the island, off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, is home to a female spirit who haunts a local marsh, where it’s said she died. This shape-shifting succubus first appears as a beautiful woman wearing a white cloak, then transforms into a deformed creature who carries the overpowering stench of death. Her scent is so strong, it leaves her victims powerless and paralyzed.”

“Viewed at one angle, the coin depicts the ghost in her alluring form, appearing over a man’s shoulder. Tilt the coin and the figure becomes a hideous hag, sending her victim scurrying away in terror.”

Canada’s History.com Calls Bell Island “Canada’s X-Files Isle”

In their interview with Henry Crane, who gives guided “Ghosts of Bell Island” tours on behalf of Tourism Bell Island, he says Bell Island is ” the most haunted island in North America.” The hag is but one of the island’s spookiest spectres, and is said to haunt a patch of farmland known as Dobbin’s Garden.

The story goes that in WWII, when German U-Boats attacked our island, a group of Germans had come aground on Bell Island, sneakily, and possibly even with the help of German sympathizers, to resupply their U-Boats. A woman stumbled onto the scene as was dragged into a marsh and killed to keep her quiet about what she’d seen.

Bell Island is rife with Fairy lore — and their fairies aren’t the cute kind, apparently they’re mini monsters — so this woman’s cries for help were ignored for fear of them being a “Fairy Trick.” And now, to this day, people describe seeing “what initially looks like a woman in white walking up from the marsh after sunset. As the thing gets closer, the colour starts to go gray, and then the thing falls to its knees and starts to crawl on all fours like a dog,” Crane says.

Feeling skeptical? Fair enough: no woman was reported missing on Bell Island during the time the Germans were in our waters. 

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