Are you looking for a fright this Halloween? You won’t have to look far, as Calgary is home to several haunted places scattered across the city. Here’s a deeper look at 15 of the most haunted buildings in this city.
The Deane House
Today the Deane House is one of Calgary’s top restaurants, but the building was originally built for the Superintendent of Fort Calgary. At some point in the thirties it became a rooming house, which is where a horrific murder-suicide occurred between a married couple. Ever since, reports of a mysterious man smoking a pipe and the apparition of an Indigenous man have been seen. Other strange occurrences include a disconnected telephone that rings, the unexplained smell of cigars, and a bloodstain in the attic that changes colour and size. There’s also a closet near the bloodstain that won’t stay locked and any objects placed inside are later found scattered about with no logical explanation.
During the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, the roar of the crowd is a common sound, however when the stadium is empty strange noises and unexplainable apparitions have been reported. During construction, a worker was killed and the hollow footsteps heard echoing through the stands have been attributed to him.
Rose & Crown
This popular pub just off of 17th Avenue was originally a funeral home, which is the perfect origin for any ghost story. Rose & Crown staff have shared stories of windows opening, lights flickering, and the image of a small boy that hides throughout the pub, but especially in the basement. I have chills just thinking about it!
Lougheed House was the former home of Senator James Alexander Lougheed. There are numerous ghostly tales associated with this gorgeous sandstone home, but the most common seems to be a phantom couple dancing across the ballroom.
The Suitor House is now the home of the Calgary General Surgical Associates, but was a rooming house many years ago. One of the popular ghost stories features a young couple who lived upstairs. The husband was a railway employee who died after slipping and falling from a train. When trail whistles are heard, the ghost of his bride can be seen floating on a balcony waiting for her husband to return home.
Louis Henry Doll, a jeweller, constructed this building in 1907. After opening his business, Doll’s 10-year-old daughter unexpectedly passed away. Today, passersby on Stephen Avenue have reported seeing a ghostly female figure sitting in the third-storey bay window. Could this be the ghost of Doll’s deceased daughter, wandering the halls of her father’s business?
One of Calgary’s most posh hotels, the Fairmont Palliser might be luxurious, but is no stranger to ghostly tales. The most common sighting is that of a pair of ghosts seen meandering down the halls of this century-old historic hotel.
Bow Valley Ranche
The ranch’s history can be traced back to the 1870’s with the first European settlers along the Bow River. Today the area, in particular the ranch house, is home to several reoccurring incidents. Wayne Meikle, a retired urban park planner and one of the founding members of the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society, has been present for a variety of these mysterious events. During a guided ghost tour, Wayne explained that motion detectors inside the building will set-off alarms, lights turn on upstairs despite the power being disconnected, tools have moved overnight during construction projects, and when the ranch house was unoccupied the police would attempt to use the space for canine training, but were unsuccessful because the dogs would continually bark at something unseen. Wayne also recounted a story about trying to access the ranch house one evening using several different sets of keys from numerous individuals. None of the keys could unlock the door and the group was unable to enter the house. The next day each key from every set easily succeeded in opening the locked door. Many people attribute the phenomena to Charlie Yuen the longtime cook for the ranch. Charlie was killed in a car accident in 1938 while travelling in China and his dying wish was to be buried at the Bow Valley Ranche. Although he was laid to rest in China, many assume that his spirit still resides in the ranch house and that he’s responsible for all the paranormal activity.
The Zoo Bridge
One of the most grisly stories in the bunch occurred back in 1946 near the bridge connecting Inglewood to St. George’s Island. Six-year-old Donnie Goss was playing in a park near the bridge when he was lured away by a madman. Poor Donnie was assaulted, beaten, and stabbed repeatedly during this cold-blooded murder. In the years since, emergency services have been called to the site due to reports of a child crying for help.
This high-end restaurant occupies the old A.E. Cross house and is no stranger to mysterious occurrences. Chairs moving, doors slamming, and pots falling are all commonplace. Others have reported laughter coming from the basement and a phantom woman floating down the stairs. Many believe these are the spirits of some members of the Cross family who died at an early age. You might be dining with some unexpected guests the next time you visit Rouge.
Knox United Church
It’s fitting that a place of worship is also home to a collection of friendly spirits. Witnesses have seen apparitions in this century-old church praying, knitting, and travelling through the walls. One unique encounter happened to an organist who reported feeling her wrist slapped when she made a mistake while playing.
Hose & Hound
The phantom tales from this public house aren’t like any of the others on this list. Before becoming a popular Inglewood pub, the Hose & Hound was a fire station that was operated by the city’s first Fire Chief, Cappy Smart. According to rumours, this building is haunted by Smart’s pet monkey, Barney, who was put down after attacking a child. Staff blame Barney for cans being tossed off shelves, starting the dishwasher unexpectedly, and playing with the billiard balls. The next time you’re in the neighbourhood stop in for a few spirits and keep your eyes open for Barney!
Peter Anthony Prince was a successful businessman who built and operated the Eau Claire sawmill (Prince’s Island Park is named for him), but was unlucky when it came to love. Prince lost three wives in a decade to diabetes, tuberculosis, and cancer and their spirits are rumoured to still be inside the home. This house was originally located in the Eau Claire neighbourhood, but was relocated to Heritage Park and designated a historic building. Female apparitions have been spotted through the windows and bright lights have been reported shining from the third floor, despite there being no electricity on that floor. There’s also a story that a guard dog would pull the security guard to the opposite side of the street whenever they made their nightly rounds past the home.
Cat ‘N Fiddle
The third and final pub on this list, the Cat ‘N Fiddle has its own share of ghost stories. This well-liked pub was originally a funeral home and crematorium. The spirits who inhabit this building are friendly and include a woman in a red dress who smells of perfume and a well-dressed man decked out in a top hat and tails who frequents the washroom. There’s also a biker who reputedly scared a potential thief from breaking and entering.
This is probably the most hair-raising story on this list, but also the most challenging to verify. Details are scant and reports are mixed, but the commonalities are this; a small schoolhouse burned down, killing anywhere from three to eight children. Reports of children’s handprints appearing on foggy car windows, animal bones arranged in strange patterns, and the haunting laugh of children echoing across the now-empty field all exist. The legends are so well-known that they were the subject of a documentary called Devil’s Playground that premiered at the Calgary Comic Expo on April 28, 2017.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of haunted places within Calgary, merely a look at some of the post popular. There are numerous other stories about spirits and paranormal happenings in plenty of other Calgary landmarks, such as Old City Hall, Fire Hall No. 1, James Joyce Irish Pub, Garry Theatre, Bank and Baron Pub, Odd Fellows Hall, Sam’s Food and Drink, and Western Canada High School to name just a few more.
We want to wish you spooky and safe Halloween this year.