John Ruff's Ghost

Apparition in foggy woods

The following ghost story takes place in Five Islands, Nova Scotia. 


These islands are just off from the mainland and the village which bears their name. They differ in size, although none are large. They are known as Moose, Diamond, Long, Egg, and Pinnacle.

On Moose Island there is a very interesting rock, because of the face of an old man
which is plainly embedded in its hard surface.

Early in the 1800s, John Ruff, a Scotsman, settled this outpost with his family. He cleared much of the forest and established a modest mixed farm, supplying the coastal village with produce, wood and charcoal.

He was reputed to be a hard, cruel person, and rumors circulated that he abused his wife and children so cruelly that his sons made up their minds to take his life.

Cold-bloodily they discussed ways and means. One of them proposed throwing him over the end of the island where the cliffs rose to a sheer height above the sea. But to make sure that this would work, they first threw a sheep over. As the sheep was not killed outright, they decided that they would have to adopt some other plan. After much plotting and planning, these unnatural sons determined to take their father's life whilst he slept. Fortune favored their foul plan, for the following day their father fell asleep in the barn.

They committed the crime with an axe, and then proceeded to cover up all trace of it. They dragged the body to the woods, where they felled a tree on top of it, then hurried to the mainland, where they spread the report that their father had been killed in the woods by the falling of a tree.

Years later, the youngest son told how as a little boy he had been sleeping in the barn with his father when his brothers came in and killed his father. The authorities, so the story runs, came down from Truro, disinterred the body and found there the evidence which bore testimony to the truth of the boys story.

A controversial trial led to acquittal, and afterwards the family moved to the mainland, carrying the unresolved mystery with them.

Legend has John Ruff's spirit stalking the long overgrown fields during misty, moonless nights in search of vengeance. On a dark night on the beach, some people have said that they could see a light that walks the shore of the island, while his head is imprinted for all ages in the hardness of the rock.
 
Story obtained from the Department of Natural Resources of the Province of 
Nova Scotia, and with corrections from a longtime Five Islands resident, 
Belindia Meekins, and additional story details from Wikipedia.


The paranormal world can very fascinating! If you are from Nova Scotia, and have experienced something paranormal, or a event that happened to someone you know, we would love to share your story! 


41 comments:

  1. John Ruff's ghost still haunts my soul to this day. I have heard his mournful howl as a young boy living in Five Islands...

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  2. I was just thinking about John Ruff the other day. I believe my family is distantly related to the Ruff family. I love fried clams every year when we visit Five Islands and tour the old homestead. A very interesting tale!!

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  3. Some say that there is a large Ring in the back of the Island where Captain Kidd would dock his boat and search for places to bury his treasure. Legend has it that Ruff's ghost scared him from the hiding spot and he later continued his efforts on Oak Island.

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  4. Does anyone know if there are Moose on Moose Island. I have been there several times and have not seen one. I understand someone fell from the top of the island while harvesting Amethyst and Agate a while ago. They say they were skilled climbers and may have been frightened by a sighting near the wood's edge.

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  5. Growing up as a young boy in Parrsboro I would here stories of mysterious lights seen in the woods on Moose Island. Some say they were just lights from passing fishing vessels. I on the other hand believe John Ruff has some unfinished business…

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    1. Parrsboro is an amazing, gay town. I have frivolous memories collecting keepsakes from the cliffs that overlook the waters, when the tides pull the waters across their muddy beds!! I once bought a blue bonnet for to wear upon my head in the winter which resembled a snakes blue eggs.

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    2. I don’t believe Parrsboro would be considered a gay town. But there are many questionable folk.

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  6. I sued to collect owl eggs thee when I was a young girl in the 70's. I don't recall the island being haunted, although the neighboring town was very mysterious.

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  7. I agree. I used to stay at the Broderick Hotel on the mainland and watch the bay area from the Widow's Peak. You can see many disturbing things from a roof. There is an overwhelming sense of mystery lurking across the land near the water's edge.

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  8. I heard that the name Moose Island was named after the cries from the ghost John Ruff. Kinda sounded like a Moose in heat.

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  9. I have been all over this island every sumer and have never heard nothin like this. you all is making this up and it makes me mad as a hen with a bad tooth when I hear you talkin about my town.
    dammit!!

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  10. I hear Ruff looks for people on the shore with bad teeth while shaking his pitch fork angrily in the air

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  11. It ain't funny to provoke the dead. You turds are jest askin for it

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  12. I heard that every summer solstice John Ruff would dress up like a pony and prance around the island screaming " i'm a pony, i'm a pony"

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  13. My uncle Barry used to own a campground on the mainland and he swears he saw three boys looking over at him and then they faded into the mist. You can't make this shit up. That place creeps me out

    All kidding aside, it isn't a good idea to taunt the dead. This place looks creepy on a good day.

    But the fishing is great off the island. I once dug a bucket of clams in five minutes there. Clams make great bait for flounder and several other ground fish in the area.

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    1. what was your uncle Barry's last name...Walker by any chance

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  14. you guys are dickheads

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  15. I'm from this town and this is all made up.... This is a legend.... if it isn't don't taunt the dead!!! One time I was locked in a cabin in the woods in my undies and covered with maple syrup... left for the animals.... I'm not saying I saw things..... but I saw things

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  16. My friend Dave used to date a girl named Ruff.... The boys used to say, Lord Jesus me son... did you see that one with Dave last night. She was some Ruff.....

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  17. I knew this guy that lived in Five Islands and one day he was traveling into Bass River and he saw this ghostly figure on the side of the road covered in Zoodles.

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  18. I'm scared of eels or I'd go over. I hear that water is peppered with eels

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  19. Moose Island is haunted. Period.
    I suggest you do not visit this island!!

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  20. Why is it always covered in fog there. Something lives there that doesn't want to be seen. It is best not to waken sleeping demons

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  21. There are an impressive amount of bats on that island. Take a tennis racket if you ever visit.

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  22. Oh my god guys its a legend

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  23. One time I camped there and had to take a leak in the middle of the night. |I think John Ruff's ghost bit my pecker. Now I have a haunted pecker seeking revenge. I am shocked and outraged at this !!

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    1. A hunted pecker? Wow it must be tough going through life.

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    2. boo... you got scared by my haunted pecker

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  24. Five Islands is a nice fishing town and I find this all quite hard to believe. My family vacations there every year and we have never witnessed anything out of the ordinary.

    Now Economy and Bass River I would believe. That is red neck heaven!!

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    1. Economy is heaven on Earth brother. Don't even try to bring it down.

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  25. Sometimes when I am clam digging, I look up and I see John's supple.. little.. frame

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  26. Any Five Islanders I've met.. are all pretty 'Ruff'

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  27. My mother organized a "RUFF" family reunion several years ago. Some ladies in the community all got together and made this happen for around 75 RUFF decendants at that time. They were treated to a family dinner, all provided by community residents, also a dance that evenning and several businesses took part in offering a special rate for the families. It turned out to be a very successful event. Most of RUFF'S family are from Plaster-Rock area of NB. :)

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    1. I am so excited to have found this comment as I am doing research on this family. I remember very well the reunion but couldn't put a year to it - a friend of mine made up t-shirts saying "It's Going to be a Ruff Week-end" Would love to communicate with you! Heather

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  28. Captain John Ruff was by Great-Great-Great Grandfather. In the early 1800's he and his wife Susannah established themselves on Moose Island, NS. They had four sons Isaiah, Noah, Arthur, Andrew, Benjamin, & Anthony. It was said that he was a cruel and hard man. Noah left the homestead as soon as he came of age(around 1840), settled in Sussex NB and then in Mineral NB (around 1870).It was Andrew and Arthur that were accused of murdering Capt. John Ruff, by their little brother Benjamin (in 1844), 2 years after Capt. John Ruff's death. A trail ensued and Andrew was found not guilty & Arthur, who had left the island was not heard from again. The story from my family is that Capt. John was killed by a felled tree while clearing land...murdered before the tree incident? No one will ever know. Ghost still lurking Moose Island? Possible.

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  29. How exciting to find you! I am currently researching John Ruff and would love to trade information with you. I have information that indicates there was a daughter as well for instance. Would love to hear from you. Regards, Heather Robinson

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  30. Hi I would love to know more. Contact me at snyshw99@gmail.com

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