Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The White Woman of Arnold's Cove

Placentia Bay has a fine tradition of ghostly legends, and one of the most poetic comes from the community of Arnold's Cove. It incorporates three well-known, recurring themes in ghostlore; that of the lost lover, that of the lady in white, and that of the anniversary type of haunting where an event happens every year on the same date.

Sometime in the late 1800s there were two young people who fell wildly in love. A wedding date was eventually scheduled for November 23rd. In a small community, a wedding was a cause for celebration, and all hands were excited.

The young man was, like most men in Arnold's Cove, a fisherman. He would often be gone for months at a time without anyone hearing from him. This particular year the young lover left in August but he promised his love that he would return in time for the wedding.

Months passed without any word of his whereabouts returning to the town. November arrived and plans for the wedding continued. But when November 20th and then 21st came and passed, it was assumed by everyone in the town that he was not going to be back in time for the ceremony. The bride to be however had the utmost faith in her groom. She swore up and down that he would return in time to marry her.

The morning of the wedding day arrived, still with no groom. The girl remained sure he would be true to his word and began to prepare herself. She donned her dress and shoes, and just as she was adjusting her veil, she looked out the window.

There, sailing into the harbour, was the young man's ship. The community breathed a collective sigh of relief and the girl sent her father down to the to the wharf to collect the groom and take him to the church.

She was almost ready to leave for the church when her father returned with tears in his eyes and grim news. The vessel had been caught in a storm and her promised one had drowned at sea.

At first the girl would not believe her father's words. She cried out that he would return, and that she would be married that day. She left her house, still wearing her wedding dress, and ran towards the harbour. From there she ran across the beach, through the woods, and towards a cliff overlooking the ocean.

The weeping bride stood there overlooking the cruel seas crying out the name of her beloved.

Finally, the poor maid realized he was fated never to return. In true melodramatic fashion, she flung herself off the cliff and plummeted to her tragic death.

The story of course does not end there. Not content to throw herself off the cliff once, our heroine returns every year, on the anniversary of her death, to the cliff where she met her untimely end. Or so goes the local folklore of Arnold's Cove.

Her ghost wanders the cliff, dressed in her wedding dress and veil, weeping and wailing through the afterlife, pining away for her lost love. Known locally as "The White Woman", the tradition maintains that her ghostly self has been spotted by many and that her eldritch wailing has been heard by even more.

Very possibly, the story may be based on some real event which was passed down and embellished over the years. The only way to find out is to make a trip to Arnold's Cove next November 23rd.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Win a free copy of "Any Mummers 'Lowed In" Contest draw date Dec 16!

Would you like to win a free copy of my new book, "Any Mummers 'Lowed In? Christmas Mummering Traditions in Newfoundland and Labrador"? Well, you might be the lucky one who does! Downhome Magazine is running a contest, with a draw date of Dec 16th. Enter here, and who knows, the Downhome jannies might give you a free copy for Christmas!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Unveiled: The research and stories behind “Any Mummers ‘Lowed In?”

Unveiled: The research and stories behind “Any Mummers ‘Lowed In?”
Wednesday, December 3rd, 7pm.
Engaging Evenings Series, The Rooms Theatre, St. John's

Folklorist and author Dale Jarvis presents an illustrated talk on the work that went into the making of his most recent book, “Any Mummers ‘Lowed In?” Using examples from historical records, oral histories and collected photographs, Dale will explain how the book came together, and share stories from his research.

Presented as part of the Mummers Festival

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Mummers are finally here! "Any Mummers 'Lowed In?" by Dale Jarvis in stores now

The Mummers are finally here! After years of work, my newest book is in stores now!

I'm thrilled about this book, and the design work by Graham Blair is fabulous. This is one gorgeous book, and a perfect Christmas present.

I'm hoping that some of you will be able to join me for the official book launch on Wednesday, Oct 15th, at  7pm, at Chapters in St. John's. There will be purity syrup and jam-jams!

Any Mummers ’Lowed In? : Christmas Mummering Traditions in Newfoundland and Labrador

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The White Horse - A Newfoundland tale of superstition and loss

A fisherman named Albert has a strange encounter with a phantom white horse. Only too late does he realize what terrible tragedy the ghost horse presaged. This traditional tale of superstition and folk belief from Proctor’s Cove, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, originally recorded in the 1920s, is here retold by folklorist and storyteller Dale Jarvis, and is taken from his book “Haunted Waters: More True Ghost Stories of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The music track for the tale is “Salted Caramel” by Black Twig Pickers and Steve Gunn, and is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License. Additional sound effects by swiftoid and geoneo0 of Photo "White Horse" by Richard PJ Lambert/Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Sea Monsters! - Dale Jarvis in the parlour of Cape Spear Lighthouse

Sea Monsters!

From the creator of the award-winning St. John's Haunted Hike, storyteller and folklorist Dale Jarvis, comes an evening of stories of sea monsters and ghost ships, told within the (relative) safety of the lighthouse parlour at Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site. 

Date: July 31 and August 28, 7:00pm
Cost: $15 ($10 for kids 12 and under) – cash sale only

Note: Seating is limited! Tickets available at the lighthouse door. Not responsible for kraken attack.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Philip Goodridge joins the cast of "Ghosts of Signal Hill"

Returning storytellers Dale Jarvis and Chris Hibbs are joined for this summer's run of "Ghosts of Signal Hill" by local actor Philip Goodridge, sharing the role of Lieutenant Ranslaer Schuyler.

Philip is a graduate of York University’s Theatre program (performance/playwriting). He was most recently seen in Joint Productions’ slapstick farce Don’t Dress For Dinner. He has also worked with TaDa! Productions (Cabaret, Alice In Wonderland, The Rocky Horror Show, White Christmas , Chicago, Evita and several Our Divas concerts), Best Kind Productions (Avenue Q), RCA Theatre (iFrancoPhone, Makin’ Time With The Yanks), Rising Tide Theatre’s Summer In The Bight, c2c (Bent, Beyond Therapy) , Beothuck Street Players (Blood Brothers, Jesus Christ Superstar) Peter MacDonald Productions (Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Anne of Green Gables) etc. He has written several plays including Eli and The Deathcurse, Above and Below, The Thieves’ Tale, Once Upon a Blah Blah Blah..., and Aquarium. His most recent play, The Ogre’s Purse (RCA Theatre) toured schools across the province in November. As a director he has worked with Shakespeare by the Sea (Romeo and Juliet, Above and Below) as well as his own work Three Tales of Terror: Old Time Radio Drama and The Saucy Personnel. He is also singer/songwriter performing solo as well as part of the duo The Duds with Melanie O’Brien Hutton

Philip's first performance is this Friday, 8pm! Welcome to the cast!

Tickets for "Ghosts of Signal Hill" are available in advance from the Signal Hill Visitor Centre, Signal Hill road.

Note: due to a scheduling conflict, Saturday's performance will take place in the Signal Hill Visitor Centre Theatre, instead of in the Queen's Battery. 

(photo courtesy Provincial Historic Sites)

Friday, 11 July 2014

Free family storytelling in Bowring Park on Sunday with Kathy Jessup

Bowring Park is turning 100 and is going to celebrate! On Sunday, July 13 from noon to 4:30 p.m. the Bowring Park Foundation is hosting a birthday party with free events for everyone.

See the list of events here.

One of the events is the next in our family storytelling series. Every Sunday afternoon for the rest of the summer, there will be free family-friendly storytelling at the Peter Pan statue, with a variety of local and visiting storyteller. For this Sunday only, the action will shift up to the Bungalow as all the 100th birthday activities are taking place up in that end of the park.

Sunday's storyteller is Kathy Jessup, a professional storyteller visiting from Alberta. Over the years she’s performed her original tales in countless schools, libraries, concerts and festivals across Canada — from Inuvik to Regina, and from Vancouver to Halifax, and now in St. John's. Kathy’s stories and articles have appeared in various publications including the children’s magazine chickaDEE, and the Alberta Centennial anthology Under the WideBlue Sky: Alberta Stories to Read and Tell published by Red Deer Press.

All other storytelling sessions for the rest of the summer are still scheduled at the Peter Pan Statue. Next week: Mary Fearon!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Share a Scare - 6th annual NL ghost story writing contest

Once again the three St. John’s city libraries are coming together to present youth in the St John’s area with an opportunity to share. We are hosting our 6th annual ghost story writing contest with celebrity judge, Dale Jarvis (international storyteller, personality, author and cultural protector of NL culture).

St. John’s is a wonderful old city steeped in mystery, folklore and spooky tales, so what could be better than sharing a creepy story? This is an opportunity for children ages 7-17 to share their stories and showcase their writing and story-telling talents. The winner receives a $50 Chapters gift card , a gift bag full of writing goodies, a chance to talk to an award winning author and a showcase for their work. 

Drop off your entry at the library nearest you before October 17 or visit and email your entry to

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

St. John's Storytelling Festival is hiring a student

The St. John's Storytelling Festival is hiring a student for the summer.
Check out the details below:

Festival Assistant June 30-August 15, 2014 (7 weeks), 30 hours per week, $10.00/hour

If you are a self-directed, organized, and energetic student with an interest in storytelling, the St. John's Storytelling Festival would like your help with planning and preparing for the St. John's Storytelling Festival (October 3-10, 2014). An average day could include (but will not be limited to) any of the following tasks: planning and confirming event locations and details for the Festival, making sponsorship phone calls, creating web content and ad copy, scanning/filing documents and other administrative tasks, and, coordinating with the board to create and execute a program to record and curate stories from various local tellers; and to plan and create further storytelling programs for the next year.

If you'd like to be a crucial part of the success of the 2014 St. John's Storytelling Festival, please forward your resume, with a cover letter outlining your interest and relevant skills, to or St. John's Storytelling Festival, PO box 23084, Churchill Square, St. John's, NL, A1B 4J9 by June 10th, 2014.

This position is funded under the Canada Summer Jobs program and is open to post-secondary students who will be returning to full-time studies in the fall semester. We thank all who apply for the position; only those considered for an interview will be contacted.