Thursday, July 20, 2017

Quebec Blog #35: Morrin the Prison, Famous Prisoners, Isolation Cells & a Ghost!

An isolation cell
In this last blog on the Morrin Center Prison in Quebec City, we'll tell you about  Famous Prisoners, Isolation Cells and another Ghost we encountered (since we have the ability to sense them).

FAMOUS CANADIAN PRISONERS -  1) Phillippe Aubert de Gaspe - (30 October 1786 – 29 January 1871).  He served in the local militia, becoming captain. After practicing law until 1816, he was appointed sheriff for Quebec district. He became involved in debt, for which he was imprisoned four years, and when released he retired to his ancestral home at Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec, on the St. Lawrence River.

Etienne Parent 
Stove for heat in main room outside cells
2) Etienne Parent - (May 2, 1802 in Beauport, Lower Canada – December 22, 1874 in Ottawa) was a Canadian journaliFor his eventual attacks on the government, he was briefly imprisonedst and government official. He was also editor of the news  paper Le Canadien.For his eventual attacks on the government, he was briefly imprisoned.

ISOLATION CELLS - The isolation cells were on the first floor, and they were of course, dark and window-less. There seemed to be less than 10 and they joined one larger room with a small window (which I assume was the light source). They had dark stone walls, and each cell had a chamber pot, and the prisoners were given bread and water. Of course, there were rats, too. 
   Some of the prisoners who were mentally unstable, or just violent, were chained to the floor of the cells. 

The worn out wooden floor in an isolation cell
GHOSTS WE PICKED UP ON  - Tom went into one cell and heard the name "Jean-Pierre," and kept repeating it, so we had a good sense that that was an intelligent haunting (meaning a ghost that is actually there and can answer you). In another area, I (Rob) heard the name "Jaime" and literally heard screaming from the cells. It was like several prisoners were still there, experiencing deplorable conditions with rats in their cells, screaming to get out. When I was in the isolation area, my eyes hurt and my lungs felt as if they would burst. It was really painful, and a ghost was sharing his physical pain with me to help prove his identity. Of course, with 300 prisoners, and the name Jaime, I'm sure he was one of a dozen men with the same name. 


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Quebec Blog #34: Morrin the Prison, Odd Hanging Events and a Ghost!

hallway into isolation cells
In today's blog about our Quebec City trip, we're going to examine the third function of the Morrin Center: as a prison. Visitors will tour the empty cells,  learn about the life of its prisoners and read about the odd hanging events.

MORRIN THE PRISON -  known as the Quebec City Common Gaol (1808 – 1867).” This is one of the oldest prisons in Québec, part of which still exists in the heart of the building. 

PRISONER FACTS - Morrin served as a prison from 1808 to 1867. It held 300 prisoners over that period and always had at least 154  prisoners at any one time. It was built as a "common jail." The murderers were housed on the first floor, people in debt were housed on the 4th floor. 

Former cells, now museum displays

hallway into another  room

CLEANER THAN CITIZENS - Here's an oddity: prisoners washed once a week (to prevent disease), while the average citizen in the 1800s washed just 4 times a year!

ODD PUBLIC HANGING SPECTACLES - 16 prisoners were hung at the Morrin Center. They were also publicly whipped.
We learned that each time a hanging was carried out, they were done outside and the public was "invited." People came to see the hanging, and even brought children! There were even musicians that played during the hanging events. How bizarre. The last person that hanged was named John, who was only 23. He was hanged for murder. 

Area where we sensed a ghost 
GHOST ON THE FIRST FLOOR - As we began the tour on the first floor, I (Rob) suddenly got dizzy in the corner of a room near a case with a big ledger. The ledger had the names of all of the prisoners. Tom and I also sensed a portal, which is an area or doorway of energy the goes from one part of the structure to another. It's a means for ghosts to move around. I also suddenly got a sharp pain in my right ear, which was a sign from a ghost that lingers there that had a bad ear infection before he passed. 

NEXT: Morrin's Famous Prisoners, Isolation Cells and Another Ghost! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Quebec City Blog #33: Part 2: Morrin the College & Stairway Ghost?

The Chemistry Lab and original blackboard from 1862
In this blog we'll explain about the Morrin Center on Old Quebec City when it was a College (it was also a jail and now a library). We'll also tell you about our encounter with a Ghostly energy on the stairs leading to one of the classrooms!

MORRIN CENTER THE COLLEGE - Morrin College was old Quebec city’s first English-language institute of higher education. Classes were held from 1862 to 1902 when it was closed. Over that time there were 300 students, which amounted to about 14 per year.

TEACHING ENGLISH - One thing that made Morrin College unique is that in 1868 English was taught in this French-speaking city.
Ghostly energy on the stairway

CHEMISTRY LAB - in this one room that was preserved from the time Morrin was a college, it had the original blackboard, a periodic table from the time, and a collection of old books. The OLDEST BOOK was from 1524! One corner of the lab also had a large wooden box, about the size of an outhouse, where students developed film.
GHOSTLY ENERGY - As you know if you read this blog, we can sense ghosts, spirits, or residual energy from events that happened in the past (it's like an emotional thumbprint that shows up again whenever there are people around to provide emotional energy). It was residual energy that I (Rob) sensed on the stairway going up to the Chemistry room. 

The area where I sensed energy
WHAT HAPPENED?  As I was walking up the staircase I reached the platform on the 2nd floor and suddenly my right leg got weak and buckled! I felt weak, anxious/nervous and sickly and realized that those were the sensations felt by a former prisoner. I don't know who he was - but it was a male prisoner, or what he was in jail for, but I do know that he was scared of going back downstairs to the prison cells in the floor below. 

TODAY'S USE OF ONE COLLEGE ROOM - There was also a ballroom that was used for the college, and that room is now rented out for weddings, parties and concerts. 

NEXT: Morrin the Prison and More Ghosts!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Old Quebec City Blog #32: Part 1: Morrin Center: The Library and Statue

Tom in the Morrin Center Library
In this blog of our May 2017 trip to Old Quebec City, Canada, we'll take you to the Morrin Center Library. Today it's a library, but in the past it was a college, and before that it was a prison! 
    In fact, it has quite a history and we took a tour through it that included seeing the old prison cells and the current library portion. We'll get to the other parts in the next couple of blogs... and the ghosts we found!
  There are tours for a fee and you have to book them in advance.

Outside of the Morrin Center
FACE #1: LIBRARY/CULTURAL CENTER TODAY - The Morrin Center is a cultural center. It is designed to educate the public about the historic contribution and present-day culture of local English-speakers. It houses the Victorian Library, home to a collection of literary gems, some of which date back to the 16th century.
For the Morrin Center website, visit:

ABOUT THE LIBRARY - The library was an original part of the prison (which was it's first use) and there are books in there from the 1600s to the 1800s. This is the Oldest English library in Quebec, and just one of 2 English libraries (the rest are in French).
Wolfe's statue, formerly kidnapped!

THE KIDNAPPED STATUE - There's a wooden statue of General James Wolfe in the library. You may remember him as the Canadian general in our blog: Quebec Trip #14: Governor's Park and Battle of Quebec.
  The kidnap of the statue happened as a result of some sailors. They took it and brought it to England. It was later found after being in storage for over 50 years and brought all the way back to Quebec where it resides in the Morrin Library.

NEXT: Morrin as a College and a Ghost on the Stairs

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Another Excellent J.A.Jance "Joanna Brady" Mystery: Remains of Innocence

If you want to read excellent mysteries J.A. Jance is an amazing author. J.A.Jance's  Sheriff Joanna Brady Mystery series has been one of my (Rob) favorites since I read the first book called "Tombstone Courage" many years ago. I picked it up because of my fascination with Tombstone, Arizona, which is in the county that the sheriff protects. Since then, I've read all 15 books in the series and just finished the 16th called "Remains of Innocence."
    This book has two storylines that come together and provide insight on many mysteries. I love the characters, and the storytelling is gripping. I finished this book in 5 days (since I've always got a lot to do, that says something). I love the Sheriff Brady character and her husband Butch. Even their 2 children have great characterizations. This mystery really has you going until the end. Highly recommend it! 
  Plus, the "Bonus story" of "The Old Blue Line" featuring Butch, the Sheriff's husband, was outstanding. Although less than 100 pages, it had a great twist to it, too. J.A. Jance is truly one of the best mystery writers today. - Rob

ABOUT THE BOOK: Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance’s thrilling tale of suspense that brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty and mystery.
An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner.
Tracing the money’s origins will take Liza on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Successful Dachshund Adoption! /Why Contact a Rescue Rep when giving up a dog

Hercules happy in his new home
We are happy to share this incredible dog adoption story with you and there are so many people that came together that made it happen.
   If you know of anyone who has a dog and has to give the dog up (hopefully for the dog's best interest and not because the dog is old or an "inconvenience" - because those are not valid reasons), have people contact a rescue for the breed. That's what happened recently. We work with Dachshund and Weimaraner rescues, since our kids are those breeds. 
   HOW IT STARTED - It was a chain of people that led to a happy ending from a tragic place. A dog mom, we'll call her "Katie" let her neighbor know that she had to get her Dachshund named "Hercules" to a safer home because one of her children with disabilities was being rough with the dog. Placing a dog in a home to avoid abuse is a very loving thing, especially since this dog helped Katie discover her son had a serious illness. Katie was heartbroken, but decided it would be best for the dog. (That takes a LOT of courage).
   THE CHAIN OF EVENTS - Katie's neighbor is the sister to our friend Dana (who is in a paranormal group with us). So, Dana immediately contacted us and asked what Katie could do.
    IT ALL WORKS OUT - Our friends Bob and Arlene have been parents to 5 dachshunds, all of whom have passed (one this year). In fact, we met them and befriended them because they adopted Cooper, one of our foster Dachshunds.  The week before we received Dana's note about Hercules, Bob and Arlene told us they were ready to adopt a Dachshund again. TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
  COORDINATING THE RESCUE -  Since we've done a lot of work for the rescues where dogs are turned over, we had all the paperwork that asked the proper questions and provided sign offs for the dog. "Katie" talked with Bob and Arlene extensively before bringing Hercules and we were there to help complete the paperwork. As it turned out, Katie needed to get Hercules re-homed by the end of that week and everyone came through. 
  IT TOOK A VILLAGE TO RESCUE "HERCULES"- Our thanks to "Katie" for being such an amazing dog mom that she put the dog's welfare above her strong love for him, to Dana and her sister, and to Bob and Arlene. 
  TAIL-WAGGING ENDING - We are happy to report that Hercules has settled nicely into his new home and Bob and Arlene said that he is the easiest-going, well-manner, well-trained dog they've ever rescued.  We are thankful to all, and happy to have coordinated this amazing rescue story. 
    REMINDER- if you or someone you know needs to rehome a dog, CONTACT A RESCUE First before taking them to a shelter. Most shelters, especially in the southern U.S. are kill-shelters that give dogs a short time to be adopted. DO NOT leave them on the street (as people horrendously often do in the southern U.S.). Dogs are living, breathing, thinking, emotional beings (that often have more sense and love than people). Treat them with respect and kindness. They are children. 
Check Dachshund Rescue of North America at or Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue at   or for Weimaraners:

Friday, July 14, 2017

Old Quebec City Trip #31: Louis XIV & Place Royale Square

In this blog about Old Quebec City, we'll explore Place Royale, a central plaza in the Lower Town of Old Quebec. In the center of the square is a bust of Louis XIV. There's also one of Quebec's oldest churches, built in 1688. In the 17th century, this plaza hosted a bustling market, and it's busy, but not bustling today. We did enjoy a tea and pastry breakfast at Maison Smith Bakery on the square.

LOUIS XIV TRIBUTE - The square was decorated in 1686 by a statue of the French "sun king" Louis XIV and therefore also named Place Royale.

Maison Smith Bakery 
OLDEST STONE CHURCH! - On the south side of the square, the church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires was built between 1687 and 1723, which is the oldest stone church in North America.

ORIGINAL BUILDING PURPOSES - The buildings erected at that time served mainly the fur trade with the native inhabitants. The trading post developed rapidly and became the present suburb of Québec. The reconstruction after the great fire of 1682 took place with fire walls.
An old photo of the square

FALLING DOWN, BUILDING UP - In 1759, the British army under General James Wolfe laid siege to Québec, destroying a large part of the city, including the Place Royale, by bombarding it. In the 1960s and 1970s extensive reconstruction, reconstruction and reconstruction work was carried out in the district. 
A look into Place Royal from the Quebec Fresco

The Oldest Stone Church in North America

Thursday, July 13, 2017

In the news from NASA: Massive Iceberg Breaks Off from Antarctica

You've likely heard about it, and thanks to NASA you can see it- the massive iceberg that just calved off the Antarctic ice shelf.  Here's the NASA story from yesterday:


Massive Iceberg Breaks Off from Antarctica

thermal image of Larsen C ice shelf and iceberg
Thermal wavelength image of a large iceberg, which has calved off the Larsen C ice shelf. Darker colors are colder, and brighter colors are warmer, so the rift between the iceberg and the ice shelf appears as a thin line of slightly warmer area. Image from July 12, 2017, from the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite.
Credits: NASA Worldview
An iceberg about the size of the state of Delaware split off from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf sometime between July 10 and July 12. The calving of the massive new iceberg was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite, and confirmed by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite instrument on the joint NASA/NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite. The final breakage was first reported by Project Midas, an Antarctic research project based in the United Kingdom.
animation of satellite view of Larsen C ice shelf crack
Animation of the growth of the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf, from 2006 to 2017, as recorded by NASA/USGS Landsat satellites.
Credits: NASA/USGS Landsat
Larsen C, a floating platform of glacial ice on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, is the fourth largest ice shelf ringing Earth’s southernmost continent. In 2014, a crack that had been slowly growing into the ice shelf for decades suddenly started to spread northwards, creating the nascent iceberg. Now that the close to 2,240 square-mile (5,800 square kilometers) chunk of ice has broken away, the Larsen C shelf area has shrunk by approximately 10 percent.
satellite view of Larsen C ice shelf crack
Throughout the sunlit months of late 2016 and early 2017, scientists watched closely as a crack grew across the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. On June 17, 2017, the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) on Landsat 8 captured a false-color image of the crack and the surrounding ice shelf. It shows the relative warmth or coolness of the landscape. Orange depicts where the surface is the warmest, most notably the areas of open ocean and of water topped by thin sea ice. Light blues and whites are the coldest areas, spanning most of the ice shelf and some areas of sea ice. Dark blue and purple areas are in the mid-range.
Credits: NASA's Earth Observatory
satellite view of Larsen C ice shelf crack
The blue hue of the crack indicates that relatively warm ocean water is not far below the ice surface. No part of the crack appears as warm as ocean areas, likely because there is a soup of floating, broken ice pieces from the rift’s walls and bits of sea ice sitting atop the water-filled crack. (This mixture can act as a weak glue, but it also prevents the rift from healing.)
Credits: NASA's Earth Observatory
“The interesting thing is what happens next, how the remaining ice shelf responds,” said Kelly Brunt, a glaciologist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the University of Maryland in College Park. “Will the ice shelf weaken? Or possibly collapse, like its neighbors Larsen A and B? Will the glaciers behind the ice shelf accelerate and have a direct contribution to sea level rise? Or is this just a normal calving event?”
Ice shelves fringe 75 percent of the Antarctic ice sheet. One way to assess the health of ice sheets is to look at their balance: when an ice sheet is in balance, the ice gained through snowfall equals the ice lost through melting and iceberg calving. Even relatively large calving events, where tabular ice chunks the size of Manhattan or bigger calve from the seaward front of the shelf, can be considered normal if the ice sheet is in overall balance. But sometimes ice sheets destabilize, either through the loss of a particularly big iceberg or through disintegration of an ice shelf, such as that of the Larsen A Ice Shelf in 1995 and the Larsen B Ice Shelf in 2002. When floating ice shelves disintegrate, they reduce the resistance to glacial flow and thus allow the grounded glaciers they were buttressing to significantly dump more ice into the ocean, raising sea levels.
Scientists have monitored the progression of the rift throughout the last year was using data from the European Space Agency Sentinel-1 satellites and thermal imagery from NASA’s Landsat 8 spacecraft. Over the next months and years, researchers will monitor the response of Larsen C, and the glaciers that flow into it, through the use of satellite imagery, airborne surveys, automated geophysical instruments and associated field work.
In the case of this rift, scientists were worried about the possible loss of a pinning point that helped keep Larsen C stable. In a shallow part of the sea floor underneath the ice shelf, a bedrock protrusion, named the Bawden Ice Rise, has served as an anchor point for the floating shelf for many decades. Ultimately, the rift stopped short of separating from the protrusion.
“The remaining 90 percent of the ice shelf continues to be held in place by two pinning points: the Bawden Ice Rise to the north of the rift and the Gipps Ice Rise to the south,” said Chris Shuman, a glaciologist with Goddard and the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. “So I just don’t see any near-term signs that this calving event is going to lead to the collapse of the Larsen C ice shelf. But we will be watching closely for signs of further changes across the area.”
The first available images of Larsen C are airborne photographs from the 1960s and an image from a US satellite captured in 1963. The rift that has produced the new iceberg was already identifiable in those pictures, along with a dozen other fractures. The crack remained dormant for decades, stuck in a section of the ice shelf called a suture zone, an area where glaciers flowing into the ice shelf come together. Suture zones are complex and more heterogeneous than the rest of the ice shelf, containing ice with different properties and mechanical strengths, and therefore play an important role in controlling the rate at which rifts grow. In 2014, however, this particular crack started to rapidly grow and traverse the suture zones, leaving scientists perplexed.
“We don’t currently know what changed in 2014 that allowed this rift to push through the suture zone and propagate into the main body of the ice shelf,” said Dan McGrath, a glaciologist at Colorado State University who has been studying the Larsen C ice shelf since 2008.
McGrath said the growth of the crack, given our current understanding, is not directly linked to climate change.
“The Antarctic Peninsula has been one of the fastest warming places on the planet throughout the latter half of the 20th century. This warming has driven really profound environmental changes, including the collapse of Larsen A and B,” McGrath said. “But with the rift on Larsen C, we haven’t made a direct connection with the warming climate. Still, there are definitely mechanisms by which this rift could be linked to climate change, most notably through warmer ocean waters eating away at the base of the shelf.”
While the crack was growing, scientists had a hard time predicting when the nascent iceberg would break away. It’s difficult because there are not enough measurements available on either the forces acting on the rift or the composition of the ice shelf. Further, other poorly observed external factors, such as temperatures, winds, waves and ocean currents, might play an important role in rift growth. Still, this event has provided an important opportunity for researchers to study how ice shelves fracture, with important implications for other ice shelves.
The U.S. National Ice Center will monitor the trajectory of the new iceberg, which is likely to be named A-68. The currents around Antarctica generally dictate the path that the icebergs follow. In this case, the new berg is likely to follow a similar path to the icebergs produced by the collapse of Larsen B: north along the coast of the Peninsula, then northeast into the South Atlantic.
“It’s very unlikely it will cause any trouble for navigation,” Brunt said.

Quebec City Trip #30:Massive Cathedral in the Middle of Nowhere

In this blog about our trip to Old Quebec City, we had taken a bus tour northeast of the city to explore various places. The last place along the bus trip was a massive Cathedral in the middle of nowhere. There was a tiny little town center with about 6 shops, half of which were closed when we arrived, that were located next to the massive structure. The Cathedral is called Sainte Anne de Beaupre Basilica and we'll explain the highlights in this blog and provide a lot of pictures. 

WHERE IS IT LOCATED? It's not far from the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada. Its located 19 miles or 30 kilometers east of Quebec City and it's huge!  

FAMOUS FOR? It has been credited by the Catholic Church with many miracles of curing the sick and disabled. According to the basilica's website: People from all around the world come to visit the basilica. Pillars in the front entrance are covered in crutches from people who are said by the parishioners to have been miraculously cured and saved.

a very ornate ceiling
A look at the front outside
WHO WAS SAINT ANNE? Well, it seems the church is still trying to figure that out!
St. Anne is believed, by the pious, to obtain miracles through her intercession. According to the basilica's website, though, "Historically speaking, we know very little about Saint Anne. The Bible says nothing about her, whereas other writings that circulated in the early Church speak about her at great length."

WHERE DID THE LAND COME FROM?  On March 8, 1658, a man by the name of Etienne de Lessard donated two frontal acres from the West end of his property to the Catholic Church so that a chapel could be built. This chapel eventually became the site of the modern-day basilica. It was built for two reasons: to provide a place of worship for the new settlers in the area and to house a miraculous statue of St. Anne.
Side view
the transcept
CREEPY PART- The statue of Saint Anne actually has bones from her forearms (which were removed from her corpse) that are encased in glass that visitors can see.

IT'S A MIRACLE - The first reported miracle at the site happened during the shrine’s construction. A man named Louis Guimond was hired to help build the shrine even though he suffered from rheumatism. After placing three stones upon the shrine’s foundation, Guimond was cured of all his ailments. This was followed by other testimonies of healed people and the shrine soon grew in popularity.
the altar

Shroud of Turin repllica
BUILDING HISTORY & ARCHITECT: In 1876, the first basilica opened for worship. The former basilica was destroyed in a fire on March 29, 1922. The present-day basilica was built on the site of the prior church in 1926. Architects Maxime Roisin, Louis N. Audet and Joseph-Égilde-Césaire Daoust collaborated on the project from 1923-1931. After the end of the financial recession, the work on the interior resumed in 1937, and was finally completed in 1946

religious statue
SIZE OF THE BUILDING: Total length : 105 meters (344 ft)
Looking from front to the back of the church
Face width : 48 meters (157 ft); Transept width : 61 meters (200 ft); Steeple height : 91 meters (299 ft)

copy of the Pieta
WHERE IS IT/CONTACT INFO: Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Shrine, 10 018 Avenue Royale, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré (QC), G0A 3C0 CANADA
T.: 418-827-3781. Email:
fountain outside

flower in tiles

butterfly in tiles

 NEXT: Meet Louis IVX in an Old Quebec Square

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14