Sunday, August 28, 2011

Investigation: Devil's Island, Nova Scotia

Our investigation team (Pair of Normal Investigators) set out across a calm Atlantic Ocean on August 16, 2009 to investigate the local folklore and legends associated with Devil's Island. Our equipment was a digital camera and an electric motor mounted on the trusty canoe, which is capable of speeds up to 5 kms per hour! Hey, it gets the job done.

Devil's Island has quite a rich and interesting history. Originally, it was called Rous' Island after the original owner, Capt. John Rous. Later the name was changed to Wood Island, but after a fire destroyed all the trees, it was named Deville's (or Devall's) Island, which became anglicized to "Devil's Island". However, some will tell you the name "Devil" actually came about from an experience one of the island residents had while near the island in a boat. He claimed a halibut came out of the water and spoke to him, claiming to be the devil. I should interject here to say this was after a party so this account is not that reliable. The man was found drowned in the boat and to my knowledge was alone at the time, so how could anyone know there was a talking halibut if there were no witnesses? A good question, indeed.

In 1830, approximately 20 families lived on the island. Personally, I find this hard to believe as the island does not look large enough to hold that many people. This is only a reported number. I have no facts to substantiate it.

They had a school, general store and eventually 2 lighthouses. The island was inhabited until WWII, when most residents moved to the mainland. The last resident left in the late 1990's. Today the island is owned by Mr. Bill Mont. The second lighthouse was actually built in 1877 and at one time a rescue lifeboat station was in operation (until the 1950's) to save stranded vessels in the harbour. There are 3 known shipwrecks directly offshore.

There have been many reports over the years of unexplained phenomenon occurring on the island. In a house that is no longer standing there, there were mystery knocks, moving objects, voices, foul odors and apparitions. In the one house that still stands, there have been reports of lights appearing in the windows. There is no electricity on the island.

Today, there is one abandoned house and a lighthouse, and a smaller broken down shed.

(Update, April 2018. I have been informed no buildings are left standing now. The remaining were taken down by storms in recent years)

Devil's Island is located in the entrance to Halifax Harbour, approximately 2 kms. from Fisherman's Cove Boardwalk and beach. In our canoe with motor, it took about 45 -60 minutes to arrive. It is recommended you land on the south side of the island where there is a small sandy cove. If you are not a fan of squawking seagulls and other sea birds, you may not want to venture out there. There are so many, it is ridiculous and they NEVER stop crying.

What Happened:
We had a smooth trip to the island. The water was calm, the sky sunny. Upon approach, we saw the sandy cove into which we should go ashore, but my investigative partner, Shaun was originally told to go to the north side to land. However, this was not the wisest decision. Once on the north side, we had to opt for a rather rocky landing site.

The house and lighthouse are very visible, even from the water. There are no trees to obstruct the view and I must confess, the buildings did look creepy and foreboding. Long grass and flowery weeds mostly cover the island and there are many, many rocks of all sizes around the perimeter of the island. It actually seems quite peaceful there, if not for the incessant squawking of the birds. Asking them to put a lid on it does not help. Trust me--I tried.

We first walked to the lighthouse but it was locked and a sign warned us not to enter. We then made our way to the house. (Pictures below)The door to the house is long gone so there was nothing to stop us from entering. It is a total wreck inside (and out), with huge holes in the floors, walls, and ceilings, and garbage strewn about. Creepily, there are men's work clothes hanging beside the front door. It is a bit unexpected to see knowing no one has lived there for more than 50 years.

Inside the house you have to test out the floor before you step on it, considering the fact large sections of it are actually missing. We glanced around and took some pictures and made our way up the rickety stairs. There were four bedrooms, but also in a desperate state. We carefully went back down the stairs and just before proceeding to the cellar, I heard an unexplained noise. It seemed like some type of rustling in the room we were in. There were no birds present. However, I cannot attest to the source, so I cannot say with certainty that it was of a paranormal nature.

The cellar was equally creepy, except for the neatly stacked pile of firewood.

I took a few pictures with the digital cam throughout the house, hoping to capture something unexplained or otherworldly. I have examined them and do not see anything odd.

Result and Conclusion:
We don't know. We did not experience anything out of the ordinary while on the island. A previous investigation group captured an EVP voice on their equipment when they visited the abandoned house, however, at that time, my team did not have such equipment.
Aside from the legends and folklore, it was an interesting place to visit and we had a great time investigating it, even though we came away with no evidence.

Need the link to our paranormal newsletter site?
No sign-up required.



  1. Cool, Red, but the pics are so tiny when you click on them :(
    I love old abandoned homes. I always think of who built it, who lived there, why did they leave?
    Great stuff.
    At first I thought Devil's Island referred to the small peninsular island that exists near the St. Mary's Boat club in the Arm, but perhaps I have screwed up the names.

  2. PureOaknut, (Trina?), I think you are thinking about either Melville or Dead Man's Island - where they house and/or buried prisoners from the War of 1812 and earlier.

    And Rebecca, there has actually was a couple who lived on Devil's Island for a year or two as caretakers for Bill Mott (I think that's the name of the owner, if my memory serves me correctly). It was a husband and wife. He was a painter who actually illustrated one or two children's picture books as well as more formal artwork. I believe she might have been a writer - again, if memory serves. They would have lived there about 30 years ago.

  3. Ah, as I look again I see that you mentioned the last resident in the 1990's. I was confused by the bit where you mentioned finding work clothes and wondering about nobody living there for 50 years.

    I guess I need to read more carefully.


  4. Awesome story. Love reading these stories. I like to read about "THE UNKNOWN"
    Wish your pictures were bigger.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Sounds like a wasted paranormal trip But a nice scenic adventure :)

  6. Hey re-anaylize devils13.jpg pic of two windows check the right window more clearly. I think you may have miss an apparition.

    1. Thanks for may be right.Although when I enlarge the pic it becomes too pixelated to tell. I will have a look for the original and check it out...thanks!

  7. Can anyone visit the island, or do you need special permission? You should definitely do an updated walkthrough of the island now that it has been years!