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What Really Happened At The Screaming Tunnels

What Really Happened At The Screaming Tunnels

By Cannibal Cam Schwarz

Many people have heard of the Screaming Tunnel in Niagara Falls. It’s become an urban legend: a girl is chased by her father and doused with gasoline after a nasty divorce. A girl is raped and burned alive in the middle of the tunnel or the young girl, who escaped a burning house, collapses.  The one connection that brings them all together is this: if you light a match in the centre of the tunnel, a sudden gust of wind gently blows out the match. I mean you can try to light a match but usually there is a gust blowing through the tunnel so take the story for a fun ghost story.

Recently we were able to track down some descendants living around the tunnel. We wanted to know what really did happen or if anything actually did. Phil and myself finally got in contact with Sam, son of Donald who actually had a major part in the urban legend himself. This peaked our interest and we were ready to get the real story behind this world-wide known phenomenon.

Sam brought us down to the tunnel to talk about the picture he had. He had actual documentation of the accident or incident that occurred. This totally blew our minds. Was this event at all real or possible?

He began to tell us about the picture of the mangled pile of bodies which lay in the middle of the tunnel. The year was 1924. Donald Jordanson lived across from the tunnels on 16 acres of land where he farmed wheat and corn. He had a whole life ahead of him. He was newly married and had  a new-born son Sam. How could life be any better? Well, it started with a level of drought that brought on the worst year of Donald’s life. Southern Ontario had some of the worst weather that summer.

In August of 1924, a storm blew in, with winds as high as 90-120 kilometres an hour through the area. It wiped out all his crop that year. It was devastating in every way, especially financially. By the end of 1924, Donald had lost everything – the farm, the house and his lovely family. Mrs. Donaldson took Sam, never to return. Donald slowly lost it, and fell into what one would call massive psychosis: what is real and what is fantasy.

Donald got to a point where everything that was living, he felt should be dead. Everything that was a functioning part of society in some way or another should be dead. He felt that he should be dead. No one could get a hold of him. He was nowhere to be found. Doors were locked. The city was closing in on his property since there was no answer of any kind from him, or even from his wife. Soon after, others disappeared. Where did the lawyer Frank Male, neighbours Ethal Davison and long-time business partner John Frew disappear?

Finally the police became involved to get to the bottom of it all. The day the police went to the Jordanson farm was the day all hell broke loose. As they approached the tunnel on the right hand side they began to notice a glow emanating from the tunnel. As they drove closer they realized there were at least a dozen bodies piled on each other, set ablaze. Black smoke began to billow from each end of the tunnel and the stench was impossible to take.

Standing at the other end of the tunnel was Donald. With a pitchfork tucked gently under his chin, he yelled out incoherently at the pile of burning bodies. He then began to fall forward and he impaled himself through the head.  So until this day when you light a match in the tunnel, you can hear the ghostly voice of Donald before his ultimate decision.

View Comments (16)
  • I would be interested in seeing that documentation. I have been unable to verify any of it, and there are no Jordansons in the 1911 Canadian Census. Additionally, there are many “stories” of how this Thorold area tunnel got its name. There is some question about whether this tunnel was even passable in 1924. Believers and researchers are welcome to send “proof” to

  • I went there as a teen. Myself and one other person (group of 5) immediately saw a darker than black figure standing at the opposite end of the tunnel. Only 2 of us saw it but it made us back away for awhile. It was a pretty neat experience.

  • I lived there from around ’72-79. I don’t know who fed you that story, but you obviously fell for it. A farmhouse burned down and two kids died, the foundation should still be about 75 feet past the tunnel, it was when I was a kid. My house was on Warner Rd. a five minute walk to the tunnel.

  • I agree with Don there was a house fire two kids parishes the foundation is still there
    Now from understanding one of the girls liked to go for walks and play in the stream that goes threw the tunnel if you believe in spirits or have had encounter with one in the tunnel I believe it’s the spirit of the girl as for the breeze that blows out your match,, its a tunnel there going to constantly be a breeze. as for a faint scream in the tunnel, I say its her playing and we all know all little girls scream . who know maybe you really have herd the scream if you have consider your self lucky

  • Just curious but what was that feedback at 1:33 as soon as he talks about a myth it sounds like someone says “a light..” also strange that the camera cut out.

    Cameras, among other equipment are thought to malfunction when a spirit “manifests” as it is said to attempt to use electronics as a source of energy. And when you say to listen closely I can hear some kind of noise, your equipment probably isn’t strong enough to pick up the leaves of trees in the instance that was a gust of wind to help determine so. But, it sounded like something.

    Call me an open minded person but I’ve been there dozens of times and this is the closest thing to out of the ordinary that I’d seen there yet.

    Nice job.

  • Please get your facts straight before writing an absurd story. None of this is true. I know because my family lived in the house previously mentions by Don P. His is a much more accurate depiction but not entirely correct. The farm house did burn down and I believe a young boy did die as a result, however through a series or additional events the story evolved and became much less accurate. Without formally investigating these events I cannot confirm at this time the complete details. That said this story is just another falsification of the truth and a poor one at that

  • Most of the stories were embellishments on things that might have happened but didn’t, It was a good spot to go make out and how to get someone closer than scare them a bit with stories. Now if you want the real screaming tunnel try east of St Paul by the sand pits there is a way into the tunnel that used to go under the tracks. It was covered over but not as good as people thought it was. It’s about a 10 foot drop but once your in there are indentations to climb out. Best time is when a train is going over head.

  • Well I hate to ruin all these interesting stories because they are really good. Just not so true. I still reside on Warner road. The house and barn did burn but no one died in the fire. My Aunt and Uncle lived there as newlyweds. However, there was no hydro so I believe that is why they moved. The buildings were empty when they caught fire. There is a gravestone probably hard to find now. It is located through the tunnel up the hill a little and on the left in the brush. The stone is simply engraved RIP. I was always intrigued by this as a young girl. It is a great place to tell stories and get together to scare one another. Stories are passed down from one generation to the next. I hope the stories continue. Take a chance light a candle at midnight. The way the tunnel is designed the wind blows through and will likely blow it out….or maybe it is something else!?

  • I remember going there in 2001 with some friends and my Ford Explorer sport, I drove down the hill through the woods to get to the tunnel, driving through the entire length of the Tunnel all the way to the other side, then the next week we came back, something new was there, a road made from gravel to drive down to the tunnel. was like this wasn’t here before? So I drove into the tunnel again, an these great big beams supports were right in the middle of the tunnel, so I had to drive out backwards of the timeline was like WTF this wasn’t here last week

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