As much I love travelling the world, my absolute favourite thing is all the creepy, spooky stories that come along with it. If there is a dark story, I'm always keen to write about it. But, to be honest, although I've travelled to many of the world's most disturbing places, I've never had a ghostly encounter. I've never taken a picture of a ghost, I've never seen one, I've never heard one, nothing at all.
But, that doesn't mean I don't believe in ghosts. I would absolutely love to catch evidence of a ghost sometime. So, when Alyson Ford, Matt Lay and Cory Nagy of Paranormal and Supernatural Team Saskatchewan (PAST) reached out to see if I wanted to join them for an investigation I immediately jumped at the chance. We would also be joined by Justin Henry, a new member to the organization. I've chatted with PAST a few times over the past year, so I was excited to spend a night with them. For this investigation they would spend a night at one of Regina's most popular board game cafes, Boards n Beans, on 1840 Rose Street.
PAST's philosophy is to not only document hauntings, but also help the people that are being affected. Often hauntings can be caused by either bringing in negative spiritual energy, or by having underlying issues like anxiety, insomnia, depression or addiction. External elements can cause supposed hauntings too, like an over exposure to Wi-Fi or electricity. PAST goes into to prove hauntings, but also to bring solace to those who want to know what's really going on around them.
When it comes to Boards n Beans, however, I believe there is something supernatural going on. I've written about Boards n Beans before, and I've gone there on my time to play games. They have a fantastic and ever-growing selection of board games and have snacks, drinks, candy and plenty of food to go around. With a very reasonable cover charge, you can play for hours and have a great time without breaking the bank. The ladies that run the business, Carole and Stephanie, are super friendly and know all their customers by name. They told me about their experiences the first time we met, but it wasn't until the investigation with PAST we talked about it publicly.
PAST tasked me with the challenge to figure out why this building is haunted. The café owners say they often see a spirit of a little girl, either in the café or peaking between the board games on the bookshelves. They've also reported seeing a man with a top-hat, a woman in white and smelling rose perfume. One of their most compelling pieces of evidence is the security footage they've captured. The footage shows both things getting flung off counters and mysterious apparitions in the hallway.
They had a lot of evidence of the haunting, but not a cause for it. In our first discussion they told me a story they heard about a woman bring murdered in the doorway during the 1920s or 1930s. I wasn't able find anything about that, but I could find a lot of pictures of the building. I can tell from the pictures that the building is the former Drake and Champlain Hotel, and that it had undergone several renovations over the years. The biggest change was the extension of the building near the rear of the hotel. These images show me that whatever doorway this woman died in would have been right at the edge of the building. Judging from the pictures, this also used to be the entrance to a bar. Could it have been foul play?
In our second interview together, they told me an updated story they uncovered. Several decades ago, a body of a woman was found in the nearby elevator shaft. I couldn't find any reports about this, but the elevator shaft would have been renovated during the 1970s when they added an extension to the building. This would explain why the above Holiday Inn Hotel is also supposedly haunted. Unfortunately, we were not able to get into the hotel to conduct any investigation to verify this.
To investigate further, I reached out to a former business that was renting out that space in the building. I asked them if they had had any paranormal encounters. They said yes. I then asked if they knew who rented the space before they moved in and I was told that location used to be for church gatherings. Might this spiritual energy cause the paranormal activity? I'm not sure.
With this newfound knowledge in hand, we arrived in the evening and set up our base outside the building. We hooked up the power, connected our cameras and tested the microphones. This is the "behind-the-scenes" work you don't often see on television. It took us hours to set up, but once we were done, we had a great view of every corner in the café.
Once we got settled and the skies darkened, we hunkered down and started the investigation. A lot of paranormal investigators use electromagnetic waves to contact spirits, but PAST uses direct current electricity instead. We tested out their new, experimental "Anubis Gate" to pump electricity into the air, but we quickly learned it was messing with our communication network. We wanted to use this new tool, so we opted to cut off our communications with base. They could see and hear us, but we couldn't hear them. While being cut off, various things were picked up in the audio we never heard while doing the live investigation. These included voices, movements in the shadows and footsteps.
We had a few different shifts inside the café. Some with the investigators, some with the staff and some with a mix of us both. It is believed the spirits felt more comfortable around women, but we wanted to document responses with both genders. We used various tools, microphones and energy sensors to capture evidence.
At about 2 o'clock in the morning we called it a night and packed our things up. PAST took their footage back and reviewed it the next day. What they found is a secret even to me. About five months later, I've only seen pieces. I can't say one way or the other if this location is haunted, but I know from witnesses and the security footage, this place has a lot more going on than just board games and coffee.
Frank Albo is known to many as "The Dan Brown of Canada". He gained this informal title through his many decades of research, interviews and investigations into the secrets of the Manitoba Legislature. Through his work, he claims that Winnipeg was meant to have a much larger role in Canada – going so far to say that it was to be the "Jerusalem of the New World".
It may sound odd, but there are a lot of strange motifs within the Manitoba Legislature that otherwise wouldn't make sense. These include being the exact dimensions of King Solomon's Temple, having medusas and demons guarding the entrances, and a "black star" of sacrifice beneath the rotunda. Stranger still is that none of these symbols are in the visually similar Saskatchewan Legislature which was constructed about the same time and for the same purpose. For some reason, the Manitoba Legislature was uniquely created in this manner.
Albo's research has not only gotten a lot of attention in Canada, but international attention too. One of these people was His Excellency Konstantin Zhigalov, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan. While visiting Winnipeg in 2014, Zhigalov attended Albo's tour. After it concluded, Zhigalov pulled Albo aside and invited him to the capital of Kazakhstan. The request was peculiar, but the moment Albo arrived, he knew exactly why he was chosen.
Nestled between the impressive Mount Royal and the majestic St. Lawrence River is Montreal, a city known for its festivals, abstract art, history and mosaic of countless cultures. Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, with a population floating around four million people. While the city is a dynamic mix of Canada's two primary cultures – French and English – there are areas of the city that are culturally specific, such as Little Italy, Greektown and Chinatown. Known for its artistic and liberal mindedness, Montreal also boasts the largest community of homosexuals in North America in their very own "Gay Village".
Being nearly 375 years old, Montreal was pivotal to the creation of New France and Canada and at a time held control over every waterway from the St. Lawrence down to the Gulf of Mexico. Having such incredible influence over the western part of the New World, Montreal hosted the "Great Peace of Montreal" in 1701, which started sixteen years of peace between the French and over 40 different First Nation tribes in North America.
Since its early days, Montreal has been one of the most influential cities in Canada. Montreal housed "internment camps" during World War I, became an ideal location for Americans looking for alcohol during Prohibition, and was the official residence of the Luxembourg royal family during World War II. Montreal held host to the incredible Expo 67, showcasing some of the most incredible architecture of that decade. The seventies saw serious political reformation in Montreal, with many Americans arriving, fleeing the Vietnam Draft. The late seventies paralyzed the city as a terrorist organization, the Front de libération du Québec, detonated explosives throughout the city and kidnapped and killed political figures. These actions forced the Prime Minster to enact the "War Measures Act" and deploy the military into the city to apprehend the terrorists. The eighties and nineties saw two referendums in the province of Quebec to separate from Canada, with Montreal playing a major role in both decisions. The last referendum in 1995 ended with 51% percent of Quebecers wanting to remain part of Canada and 49% wanting to separate.
I'm proudly Canadian, and I accept the fact that a lot of people know very little about my country. A lot of people also seem to think cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver "define" Canada. Just to set it straight, while these are beautiful cities, they don't represent the whole of Canada.
Being such a quiet country, we often keep our secrets to ourselves... and often from ourselves. This is a list of 7 things you -- and maybe other Canadians -- don't know about Canada.
Located southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia is a small island where the average citizen are not allowed. This island is called Sable Island, and is a fragile ecological environment home to the unique Sable Island Horse. Over 400 horses live on this island, with only 5 humans there to watch over them.