Inside Old Bones – The Dungarvon Whooper

“The Miramichi region is comprised of a series of small communities that line the river of the same name. The area, one of the earliest settled in New Brunswick, has long been steeped in legend and mystery. In the darkest part of the vast forest that surrounds the mighty Miramichi lurks a creature from days long past: a wailing banshee known as the Whooper that has terrorized the locals for over a century.”

Excerpt from “The Dungarvon Whooper”

Nestled deep within the forests of central New Brunswick can be found a series of small communities, strung along the banks of the mighty Miramichi River. Collectively known as ‘the Miramichi’, from Boiestown at one extreme, through Doaktown, Blissfield, Blackville, Renous, Dungarvon, Chatham Head, Loggieville, to the jewel in the crown, Miramichi City (or the amalgamated Chatham and Newcastle, if you’re of a certain vintage) at the other. Each its own unique and separate entity, yet simultaneously a piece of the bigger picture.

Once world famous for its unparalleled salmon fishing, the Miramichi is also well known for its abundance of ghosts, haunts, and spooky locales. Each stop along the way boasts its own entry in the grand tale. Of all, perhaps the most commonly known and oft-repeated tale is that of the Dungarvon Whooper. I won’t tell the story here; numerous versions are readily available online and in many books. I first learned of the story in an excellent book by Carole Spray called Will O’ the Wisp: Folk Tales and Legends of New Brunswick. From my earliest years I loved both the book and the legends themselves, which I endeavored to learn more of.

This is all just background to familiarize you with the area in which my story takes place. My version is inspired by the legend, but goes in an entirely new direction and takes on a life of its own. Based in modern times, it features a trio of young film makers just familiar enough with the Whooper tale to want a closer look. They find their way to the site (which, it may interest you to know, is commemorated with a plaque), and… well, I won’t spoil the surprise for you. Let’s just say they find more than they bargained for.

The story of the Whooper is one of a number I’ve written based on experiences – mine and those of others – from the Miramichi region. Some have been published here and there, others haven’t seen the light of day just yet. As with this one, I like to modify them a little, make them my own, take them in new directions. If you haven’t heard the original tale I encourage you to look into it. Of course, I encourage you to check mine out when Old Bones is released too! But beyond the Whooper, wherever you happen to wander in your travels, keep your ear to the ground for local legends and dark tales. They’re all around, if you listen closely.

Until next time, be safe, talk soon!

-JP

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