OUR CRATER SPENDS AN EVENING WITH KATHERINE BELL
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been interested in the paranormal. I also happened to be a chicken but with the help of all those great 90’s horror shows of yore like Are You Afraid of the Dark, Goosebumps and Freaky Stories (what was with that slimy maggot?) I maintained a healthy curiosity. I can remember making a 20 slide power presentation in Grade 10 about paranormal orbs that I’m sure my Tech teacher Mr. Longmire had to try pretty hard not to roll his eyes at. But I digress. This is all to say that when a friend told me over lunch years ago about her new job at the Art Gallery of Sudbury and the spooky things that had happened while she was on shift I. WAS. SPELLBOUND. Over the years I’ve always been curious about the stories of hauntings at AGS and was always eager to hear anyone’s second, third, or fourth-hand accounts. After stewing the idea for a few years and giving myself several pep talks I finally approached AGS with my idea… Bring a psychic to the gallery to talk to Katherine Bell, the original owner of the Bell Manor who’s spirit still remains. NBD right? Much to my surprise AGS was just as excited as I was and we got to work. This lead us to Psychic Chantale, when we met with her we knew she was the right person for the job right away! Her skills as a psychic medium were tuned into Katherine off the hop. So on a rainy late September night the crew of us set out to the gallery to meet the mysterious Katherine Bell.
Here are some things you should know about Katherine Bell to start things off. To say she was a philanthropist is somewhat of an understatement. She was an integral part of the community working diligently with the Sudbury Horticultural Society, Victorian Order of Nurses, and St. Andrew’s Church. Her husband William Bell was a king in the lumber industry, worked his way up to general manager of the Spanish River Lumber Co. Being true believers in the community still developing in Sudbury they purchased the over 100 acre shoreline of Lake Ramsey to build their home in 1908. For a whopping $301, I might add. Katherine and William were the original power couple of the Nickel City, and they worked side by side to build our community. William held Katherine in high regard and respected her strong will – he even named the town of Skead after her family name. Although the Bell’s never had children Katherine was known to be an animal lover, even refusing to give up riding horseback until she was quite old. Katherine passed away at home in the Bell Manor in 1954 at the age of 90, William having predeceased her in 1945. Over the years the manor has gone through many changes and a disastrous fire not long after Katherine’s death which saw the home nearly unsalvageable, but her spirit has remained.
Watch below as we learn more about the history of the gallery, hear real stories of spooky happenings, and with the help of Psychic Chantale talked with Katherine Bell – the lady of the Bell Manor….
We were so thankful that Katherine came through to speak to us, Chantale did an amazing job channeling her spirit! We had a blast learning more about Katherine and her and William’s contributions to our city. The Art Gallery of Sudbury was so gracious in giving us special after hours access and sharing the history of the property and their personal experiences so freely. A special shout out goes to Melissa Rotella (who literally made this whole thing possible), Taddrick Tremblay and Laure Mitchell for working so seamlessly with us and indulging our shenanigans. The main take away from our conversation with Katherine is that she takes great pride in her home and the community she was such an important part of building – and she totally should. After all her hard work in life though she feels over looked and simply wants recognition. She will remain with her home to protect and watch over but she would really like visitors to know who she was. Katherine specifically requested a monument or plaque in her honour be installed and we’re happy to report that the Art Gallery of Sudbury completely agrees! So please next time you visit the gallery, take a quick moment to thank Katherine as you walk into her home.
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