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Spooky Kingston: Skeleton Park, the final resting place for thousands

Scary history to Kingston’s McBurney or Skeleton Park
WATCH: Kingston's McBurney or Skeleton Park is the final resting place for thousands.

This Halloween, we continue our look at some of the spookier stories in the Limestone City.

The Haunted Walk of Kingston once again provides the narration, as Global News heads to the upper burial ground.

Jax Harripersad is the manager of the Walk’s Kingston office.

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“We are standing in McBurney Park or better known to locals as Skeleton Park,” Harripersad says, “and that’s because this is one of the largest hidden burial grounds in all of Kingston.

“It was a cemetery that opened in 1809 and it quickly filled due to epidemics of typhus and cholera. Once the cemetery was full, it fell into disrepair. By 1893 city council finally decided to do something about it by changing it into the park that you see here today.”

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Halloween isn’t just about kids in search of treats
Halloween isn’t just about kids in search of treats

According to Harripersad, however, the city didn’t have enough money to remove all the bodies, so tombstones were knocked over, soil was brought in and grass planted, in hopes people would forget what the park was.

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A large cannon, though, is difficult not to notice at one of the main entrances to the park. Harripersad has an explanation.

“This cannon sits here as a reminder of the old cemetery and the epidemic of grave robbing that happened here in Kingston in the mid 1800s,” Harripersad says.

“We were at the centre of a ring of grave robbers who called themselves the Resurrectionists. These were criminals who would dig up recently-buried bodies and sell them to none other then Queen’s medical students.

Halloween 2019
Halloween 2019

At the time, Harripersad says, Queen’s medical students had to provide all their own bodies or cadavers to do their studies on and there weren’t many legal ways to go about doing that.

And that’s why a cannon on the grounds as a warning to any grave robbers who dare enter the cemetery.