by Linda G. Jones on 11/01/12 at 8:42 pm
Niagara’s Bird Kingdom is located on River Road in Niagara Falls, just a few minutes walk from the heart of the Niagara Falls Tourist district. The building in which the attraction is contained has a colourful historical past and the resident ghost gives a paranormal charm to the haunted aviary.
Opened as Niagara’s Bird Kingdom in 2000, the Haunted Aviary is housed in the original Spirella Corset factory that was built in 1907. The four story concrete building was a hustling (or should I say bustling) business during the first half of the 20th century and at one point during its’ heyday it employed over 250 women.
The business did not serve as a store front, although there are numerous rumours from old-timers about the young boys hiding around the building, attempting to get a peek at the goings on inside. Rather, the Spirella Corset Company was known for its practice of sending women employees (cortisiers, as they were called) directly to the customer’s home to take measurements that could then be applied to the made-to-order corsets.
As department stores began to open and corsets became less in vogue, the Spirella Corset Company took a downswing and decided to sell the building that is now Niagara’s Bird Kingdom, in 1958.
However, before becoming the Haunted Bird Kingdom, the building building was home for over 4 decades to the spooky and fascinating Niagara Falls Museum. At this time, the owner had purchased and amassed an outstanding collection of interesting and creepy artifacts. Many were purchased from the Barnett family who were the previous museum owners when it was located closer to the Horseshoe Falls.
These included some well preserved Egyptian mummies, including the mummy of Ramses 1. However, this fact was unbeknownst to the curators at the time and not discovered until the artifact was returned to Egypt. With skeletons of a whale and mastadon and numerous oddities and mounted animals, there was something that always felt haunted about the Niagara Falls Museum. I would spend many Saturdays in the museum as a child, fascinated with the creepy exhibits and I would always feel that someone was watching or following me around the museum. There definitely existed a lot of paranormal energy at this time.
In 1999, the Niagara Falls Museum sold the exhibits to a private collector in Toronto and the building was purchased. The Niagara Bird Kingdom’s Haunted Aviary opened to the public in 2000 and has provided a delightful attraction to many thousands of locals and tourists alike. The haunted aviary houses over 400 birds within a rainforest setting. There are also reptiles and insects. The atmosphere is grand and tropical, with huge palm trees and a Indonesian Java hut within the building.
The ghost of Niagara’s Haunted Bird Kingdom had been seen for many years prior to the purchase of the building for use as an aviary. The Niagara Aviary is said to be haunted by a pleasant and kind looking janitor, who has stayed on after death and continues to clean up and take care of the Bird Kingdom in the evenings.
Undoubtedly, there was much paranormal energies experienced there during its’ reign as the Niagara Falls Museum with its’ mommies and ancient creatures displayed.
For more articles on haunted Niagara locations, click on the links below:
http://trifter.com/usa-canada/niagaras-haunted-mansion/ (Niagara’s Haunted Mansion)
http://socyberty.com/paranormal/the-haunted-customs-house-in-niagara-falls/ (The Haunted Customs House in Niagara Falls)
http://scienceray.com/technology/the-haunted-screaming-tunnel-in-niagara-falls/ (Niagara’s Screaming Tunnels)
http://trifter.com/usa-canada/suicides-over-niagara-falls/ (Suicides Over Niagara Falls)
Pictures courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library Files