Friday, October 12, 2007

“A savage place! as holy and enchanted / As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted / By woman wailing for her demon lover!” Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

In the summer, Scott and I were lucky enough to hear about a very cool company in Calgary that does walking tours of different parts of Calgary. But they're not any old walking tour.....they're Ghost Tours.

Calgary Ghost Tours was stared by Johanna, a smart and talented lady from Calgary who a couple of years back went on a haunted walking tour in Boston, Ma. She loved it so much that she started researching haunted stories in Calgary and developed a walking tour to take her friends and family on. When it was suggested that she make this more than a hobby, Calgary Ghost Tours was born.

In the summer two tours were offered in Calgary. One of Downtown Calgary, and one of the Inglewood area. We chose the Inglewood tour on Johanna's suggestion as there are many spooky restaurant stories in that area.

The tour, led by a guide in a hooded robe and carrying a lantern, is fascinating and creepy. We visited a church where, in the 1930's an unmarried pregnant girl leapt to her death. Residents in the area see her and hear the church bells ringing. But, there are no church bells at the church.

We also visited a pub where two spirits - a male and female - are regularly seen sitting at one of the window tables. Staff have also reported feeling a presence in one of the back rooms. Some employees feel the spirit is not friendly and refuse to enter parts of the pub alone.

Another pub down the road is a former fire hall. The firemen once had a pet monkey named Jacko who had to be put down after he bit a child. He was buried on the property - where the restaurant patio is now. Jacko's presence can still be felt in the pub however; the beer taps have been known to turn themselves on and off; one of the toilets in the ladies washroom flushes when no one is there; and if you are playing pool, don't turn your back on the table. You may find the pool balls are not in the same position they were.

There is also a small restaurant in the area that is built from building materials salvaged from old buildings. Staff have reported finding all the coffee cups lined up on the floor in a row when arriving for the morning shift. Employees and patrons have also reported hearing footsteps coming from the second floor. The only problem with that is that there is no second floor!

One of the most beautiful houses in Calgary is the Cross House, which is now home to Rouge Restaurant. Owned by A.E. Cross, who was one of the "Big Four" that started the Calgary Stampede, the house and garden are lovely. And full of spirits. Two of their small children who passed away in the house due to illness can be seen from time to time playing in front of the fireplace. It has been said that the ghost of Mrs. Cross can be seen sitting in the window upstairs, waiting for her husband to come home.

The Deane House is one of the highlights of the tour. Also a restaurant, the house was built in the early 1900's as a residence for the head of the North West Mounted Police. The stories and hauntings of this place are too numerous to tell you. It is one eerie, but beautiful place.

This was an amazing way to spend a couple of hours and we had a blast. Our tour guide was beyond informative, and a wonderful storyteller. No one on our tour saw anything amiss, but it has happened on other tours. I was absolutely spellbound the whole 90 minutes. And a little freaked out when I downloaded my pictures the next day. Pictures I'd taken at two locations - one that reported to be the most haunted, and the other that scared me the most (I swear, inwardly I was FREAKING OUT at that stop) - did not turn out. Some were blurry, and some were completely black. The rest of the pictures? Perfectly fine.

Calgary Ghost Tours are running through the end of October. What better time to go on a spooky walk than just before Halloween? Visit their website for more information.


Ruth Daniels said...

I love ghost tours. We did one in Picton, Prince Edward County, Ontario. It was so much fun. Now I look for them everywhere. I hear there's one somewhere here in Halifax. Thanks for the got me hunting.

mc said...

Ayayay...This was a scary post.
I have visited the Deane House once. I loved the food and the patio. I had the bright idea of going to the second floor with my then 3 year old to explore and I didn't like the second floor at all. I am not superstitious but I felt very nervous there. At the time I didn't know that the house is supposed to be haunted. Great post!

Sara said...

Ruth I bet there would be some great ones out there! Let me know if you find any.

MC - thanks. Wow, you are brave! I'd always heard the place was haunted but have not been inside. Scott wants to go back next time we visit Calgary, the crazy boy!!

Deborah said...

How fun! That would be so much scarier and fun than going to one of the many spook houses around. Now I wish I was in Canada!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Fascinating! How really cool that the woman did the research and then ended up with a business! Great homes, except for the blanks photos! Much better than a Halloween spook house.

Annie said...

Sounds like a spooky good time!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Excellent! I got goose bumps reading this post.

Emmy said...

Spooky! Sounds like such a fun and a bit eerie tour to take :)