Interview with the wonderful
CTV Morning Live crew for Halloween
October 31, 2016
Talking about ghosts, why they haunt, and places
in Edmonton that are haunted!!
Talking about ghosts, why they haunt, and places
in Edmonton that are haunted!!
Through the 1800s, Wood Cree and Prairie Blackfoot battled in what is now southside Edmonton, asserting dominance in the
long-standing “grey zone” between the two nations.
John Walter left Fort Edmonton, moved across the river to
the southside and started a ferry going across,
transporting various goods.
Edmonton mines in Old Strathcona – In June of 1907 a brush fire started up the hillside and caught the wooden ladder which was descending into the Strathcona coal mine. The fire killed one man who was on the ladder and the smoke killed 7 other men who were in the mine itself. The mines were located as you drive down Kinsmen Drive going to north side.
In 1919 there was a huge fire
that destroyed part of Strathcona.
The Walterdale Playhouse – built in 1905, was originally Strathcona’s first firehall. Actors have said that they can often hear the sounds of an emergency bell and hear the sounds of horses hoofs clip-clopping along the cement floor like the horses taking their places getting ready to work.
A firemen by the name of Walter, died in this building in 1909 in the second story bunk house which today is the makeup room and dressing room for all the actors. He enjoys watching shows and also hides and moves actors costumes, props and belongings.
Underneath the pavement below ground beside the playhouse, was a jail where people were thrown in for various crimes and over the years, some died in a cell overnight from beatings, choking on vomit, etc.
The Strathcona Hotel – One of the oldest wood framed buildings here on the south side, built in 1891. The hotel has a lot of stories of murders and mysteries Back in the early 1980’s a man in room 16 decided pick up female prostitute. They returned to the room and a heated argument began and he strangled the women here in room 16. He didn’t know what to do with the body so for 3 days he stayed in his hotel room with this women’s decomposing body….on the third day he chopped the woman up, placed her body parts into several suit cases, dragged the bags down to the North Saskatchewan river and just threw the bags into the river. He was caught and convicted of this crime. They recovered all of her body except the head.
The Princess Theatre – was built in 1914, and apparently has a woman in white seen walking around the center lobby, up and down the grand staircase and around the projection room. The upper floors were originally rented rooms used by transients, fur traders, new settlers and visitors. (We were hoping to do an investigation in the theatre, but the person who works there that was going to arrange it with the theatre owner will not get back to us. Disappointing.)
The Old Hub Cigar Building – The old Hub Cigar was built in 1894. In the 1930’s the front section of the building was the shop and the back portion of the building was a billiards room where there was gambling, etc. Out back was a well, you can see a spot in the back alley of a remnant of where it used to be.
The Strathcona town people used water from the wells to drink and the one at Hub Cigar was used for making drinks for the bar and billiards patrons. The drinks began to taste a little off and they figured something was happening with the water. Then one day a horrible smell began to come up from the well, so the owners sent someone down into the well to investigate. It was discovered of course that there was a dead body of a man, a patron of the billiard room, that his dead body was found floating down in the well water. Now why this man was murdered and why his body was place down in the well water is a mystery that still remains unsolved to this day.
(Formerly) The Guilty Martini – Now known as Mix Karaoke Lounge and Meiningful Restaurant at 10338-81 Avenue beside Sense of Serenity, was W.J. Scott and Son horse and buggy manufacturer. They made the wagons on the main floor and the family lived above. When we did our investigation in the building, there was a male spirit called Dapper Dan and 2 other female spirits. They had been involved in a love triangle. Dan used to move liquor bottles and glasses around and freak out the staff. In the staircase that went up to the rooftop, there was a non-human spirit residing there and it made some pretty horrifying sounds on tape.
Old Scona High School – Strathcona High School otherwise know as the Old Scona. This building was built in 1908, which makes it one of the oldest active secondary schools in Edmonton, and the University of Alberta was actually housed here on the top floor from 1909 to 1911. During the original construction of this school in 1908 there lived in the area a homeless man. At that time the construction workers were just building this school, actually they had just laid its very cement foundation. After a long day on the job the workers went home for the day without properly securing the work site, only to return the next morning to find the lifeless body of the homeless man lying face down in the cement –DEAD. The workers didn’t know what to do and they panicked. Fearing that they would be blamed for the mans death, so they decide to cover up his untimely death by burying him-entombing him in the cement foundation.
Activity that has happened are classroom doors opening and closing by themselves, lights going off and only themselves. However one of the strangest stories surrounding this historic school seems to happen only in certain rooms where there are old manual typewriter. In the past, these typewriters have been know to being typing pages of random letter and numbers. Some teachers found this experience quite disturbing and have had that removed from the classroom and placed in the basement.
In the mid 1980’s, they had structural problems on the corner of the building where the man fell into the cement and unearthed a skeleton purported to be his.
Edmonton “Pet Cemetery”
In the field adjacent to the Old Scona High School, something is buried under the ground. There are bodies of animals that were awful science experiments perpetrated by a young man who wanted to get into the U of A medical program back in the 1940’s. He was rejected 3 times which made him decide to show them that he could be a surgeon so he started stealing people’s pets and doing horrible medical experiments on them. He lived in the small house that is directly across from Scona and so at night he would creep over and bury his failed experiments until his neighbour next door to him saw him sneaking over to the field in the middle of the night and burying things wrapped in sheets. She reported it to the North West Mounted Police the next day and they did a stake out at the school and caught him. The NWMP decided not to dig the animals up.
The Dominion Hotel Building – It was built in 1903 by Robert McKernan, whose son, John W. McKernan, built the Princess Theatre across the street in 1914. Originally functioning as a hotel with the ground floor containing the lobby, dining facilities and a beer parlour; the hotel business ended with prohibition, when the upper floors were converted to apartments and sleeping rooms. It has had many restaurants over the years.
There was a restaurant named Two Rooms in the building and we had a couple of Ghost Dinners in it and captured tons of paranormal activity on camera while people were trying to eat their dinners.
Duncan Block and Baalim Block – In 2003 fire entirely destroyed the historic blocks, housing Albert’s family restaurant, Scales and Tails pet store, Isis Metaphysical Book Store and a one-storey wooden building constructed early in the 20th century. The fire provided a harrowing glimpse of what life was like in Strathcona in the days before an ordinance was passed in 1902 requiring that buildings be constructed using fireproof materials.
It has all been re-built from the ground up, with eating places, spa and retail. There was a hat place on the top floor, and when you went up there you could feel something watching you. The one clerk in the hat store said she experienced lots of little paranormal events that would happen at various times of the day.
MacKay School – Built between 1904-1905, it had the first 2 sessions of the Alberta Legislative Assembly in the building. It was named in honour of Dr. William MacKay, a physician for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Sounds of spirit children running around and making noise pianos playing and toilets flushing and a male spirit (supposedly named Peter). There is the little 1881 schoolhouse behind MacKay where children make the blind pulls move back and forth. I have taken ghost tours of people there and the children never fail to move the blind pulls for me.
Warehouse District – Revlon (Boardwalk) building, Great West Saddlery building. I have been in both buildings in the early 1990’s and there were definitely spirits in each. In the top floor area of the Boardwalk building, the northeast corner and in the basement where the washrooms were at the time, had spirits residing there. The Great West building had a spirit that was in the loading dock area.
Mercer Warehouse – The Mercer warehouse has been plagued in the past by negative and unforeseen happenings. Originally a warehouse that stored liquor and cigars. At one point in time, there was a tannery in the basement.
Over the decades, allegedly:
One man died after being accidently locked in a safe; another man died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the basement garage area. A young man accidentally hung himself on the top floor trying to scare people when there was a Halloween event for charity; allegedly. In 2000 a certain company constructed a giant Ouija board on the upper floor of the building for a Halloween event allegedly which in hindsight probably wasn’t the best idea. There is a possibility there was a portal opened by the action of creating the Ouija board. Now, there is a great tavern and business start-up place in the building.
General Hospital – Built in 1895. One wing of the hospital is closed. It is reportedly haunted; with what, I don’t know; we have never been in there. Majority of hospitals (I would think ALL hospitals) don’t want people to think they’re haunted or have spirits wandering around the facility, so paranormal investigators are not going to be able to investigate an active working hospital.
Hospitals are notorious for being haunted with patients who have died on the operating table or in a hospital bed.
Commonwealth Stadium and Clarke Park – These structures are on the site that used to be the Edmonton Penitentiary. On April 15, 1909, a prisoner axed the Deputy Warden, Richard Stedman, to death. He was later hung on the morning of July 14, 1909 for the crime. Jails and penitentiaries are notorious for being haunted because of prison violence and death.
We haven’t heard of anything creeping around either facility, but we haven’t interviewed any staff to see if they have experienced anything paranormal. It’s a large area……
La Boheme – Restaurant and B&B. There are too many stories about someone was murdered or a woman’s head was chopped off that aren’t true. No one died in La Boheme. The only verifiable haunting evidence I have is when I used to bellydance there in the 90’s in the basement where they had the Moroccan Room and also a Wine Cellar. There was definitely a male spirit that liked to watch us change into our costumes and he would lurk behind the staircase and also go into the wine cellar. I can’t verify the hauntings upstairs in the B&B part, but there are stories that people have who’ve stayed there.
The Charles Camsell Hospital – First established as a Jesuit College in the early 1900’s, it was then used as a military base for U.S. army soldiers building the Alaska highway in world war two and it eventually served as a hospital for service men with tuberculosis. Between 1946 to 1966 some aboriginal adults and children were forced to go into the Camsell for unknown periods of time. Some never made it out. There were also rumors of medical procedures that included shock treatments, nutritional experiments and sterilization. The original Camsell Indian hospital was torn down and rebuilt in the late 1960s as a provincial hospital where it operated until the late 1990s. In late 2005 it was purchased by architect Gene Dub and has not made much progress with it turning it into a functional building.
Some of the things that happened when we were there: on the Psych ward floor there was a young fifteen year old female spirit, she had bandages around her wrists and she asked me when was her mother and father coming to get her. You could hear people walking above you, which is impossible since it’s a 2 foot concrete ceiling. There was a horrifying scream on the Psych ward that didn’t come from any of our people who were there. In the basement where the morgue was, the elevator that had no power going to it made a ding noise and the doors opened. We walked towards it and the doors closed and the elevator appeared to go up. In the auditorium area which is also in the basement there were some aboriginal spirits sitting on the benches. The energy was full of sadness and despair and there was one aboriginal elder who communicated with me saying, ”we did not ask to be here”. People could smell cigar smoke on the one floor, I could not.
It is an extremely haunted building and very creepy to look at when it’s dark. The building and land need a spiritual cleansing and spirit removals done. With a proper ceremony performed by Aboriginal elders/leaders.
Here is our page on the paranormal investigation into the hospital:
Rossdale Burial Grounds – 200 plus Metis and European settlers are believed to have buried across the street from the Rossdale Epcor power plant. It is an old Hudson Bay cemetery and near the location of the second and fourth Fort Edmontons. When human remains were found on the site, they decided to honour the bodies and actually reburied them in a special ceremony in August of 2006. Crosses are now erected near the Epcor plant. The area where the crosses are might not necessarily be haunted, but the closer you get to the river valley and the Epcor plant, things get a lot darker and more eerie.
Old CKUA building – 1945 University moved the radio station to it’s downtown location. This building has the oldest boiler in Edmonton and had a tunnel in its sub-basement that went down to the river so the horses could bring coal into the building. It was blocked up when the LRT started building. There were huge orbs that we caught with video and with the human eye coming through the area that was the closed tunnel entrance. There was also a custodian they used to have named Sam, he had some developmental issues but when he passed he apparently has stayed in the building because he enjoys it.
Paramount Theatre – now housing Deadmonton House. There is a custodial male spirit who is at home in the theatre and doesn’t bother anyone named Frankie.
What I found walking around the building after the haunt had shutdown- 2 creepy male spirits, one with razor pointed teeth, sitting on the couch in the costume/green room, the other spirit not well defined. Enjoying the volunteers changing into character and watching the females get undressed. A spirit I couldn’t even identify in the downstairs boiler room. The creepy lurking kind. Another spirit with undefined male and female traits was in the creepy Doll Room. Someone who had been imprisoned or captive when alive. The last one was a dominant male spirit who was some type of murderer or serial killer in the Corn Field area. The poor resident spirit of the theatre, Frankie, is a very submissive spirit and was hiding most of the time.
Deadmonton Haunted House is opened in October for people to go and get scared by their dedicated actors.
**Westmount Junior High School was one of the schools in 1917-1918 used for Spanish Flu victims. I took college classes in the upper floor of the school in the early 80’s when Grant MacEwan College/University was going through renovating the west end campus and there was one spirit who always seemed to be watching and lurking around the students. Could not tell if he was one of the victims of the Spanish Flu.
Le Marchand Mansion – The story of Felicia Graham, a schoolteacher who had come to Edmonton from Ontario to teach lived in LeMarchand. She was teaching at **Westmount Junior High but wanted to be transferred to Strathcona school. The Spanish flu broke out at that time in 1918 and she was made to be a makeshift nurse at the Westmount school. When the flu was over, her transfer came through but she never showed up to the Strathcona school and has never been found. It was one of the largest missing person cases at that time.
Macdonald Hotel – Opened its doors in 1915 to patrons. Horse and cart noises are heard in the utility area of the basement. Clydesdale horses were actually used to haul many of the heavy constructions item up to the site from the river bank. However, it seems that on one very hot July after 2 of these horses actually died in that muddy construction site. Common practice of the day was to bury the animals where they died, and of course this is what the workers did. The buried the horses in that muddy constructions site…in the hotel MacDonald’s basement…eventually it was cemented over and the hotel MacDonald grew up around it. A laundry worker died at the hotel while working and back in Prohibition, and finally, gangster Morris Cohen had a gambling den up on the 7th floor.
Arlington Apartments – Residents had seen an older couple get into the elevator but the elevator never went anywhere and they never came out.
Our first “serial killer”: In Suite #14 a man named James B. Watson or James Huirt lived there from 1914 to 1918. He fled to California where he was caught and imprisoned for murder. He was credited for 40 marriages and 25 murders. He only confessed to having 19 wives and 7 murders and had murdered them in different places one of them being in Edmonton and some in B.C. and the United States.
There was also someone who was practicing black magic in the building. The building manager found when they were changing out the boiler system, a loose brick. When he pulled it out, he discovered fetish or voodoo dolls of all the tenants in the building.
There were 2 fires that eventually demolished the structure. It was never proven if it was arson.
This is a great article, check it out:
The good news is there are a lot of Fright Nights Campouts events taking place this summer. The bad news is, they’re mostly in the Eastern and Southern U.S. BOOOO!
We need some locations in Canada!
Since they have so succinctly written it up on their website, here’s what their adult summer camp is all about: