Just in time for the spookiest night of the year, a group of paranormal investigators visited an abandoned and purportedly haunted Fraser Canyon railway station.
“Some of the contractors who have been getting the station ready for its renovation were a little creeped out by unseen forces. It felt as though they were being watched,” lead investigator Mark Fuson said at the start of a 30-minute video set in the CN Station House in Boston Bar.
Invited by the Boston Bar North Bend Enhancement Society, Fuson and fellow lead investigator Destin Phillips visited the house three times.
Built in 1914 and abandoned for over two decades, the building even hosted Princess Elizabeth on her royal tour of B.C. in October 1951. The enhancement society has been preparing to fully restore the building, turning it into a museum, cafe and washroom stop for Canyon visitors.
Howard Johnson, a member of the society’s board, said he has both seen, heard and felt ghosts, or ‘spirits’ in the parlance of paranormal investigators, in the building. A skeptic at first, Johnson said his sighting of a woman dressed in early 1900s attire and another apparition touching his arm have turned him into a believer.
Johnson joked that hauntings are always good for business. And with the amount of history the building holds, there is more than enough ghost lore to go around.
The luggage bay was at times a temporary storage space for bodies of the deceased. One ghost in the basement was called ‘Harry’ by those who worked in the station when it was a restaurant for railway workers, a few of whom refused to go downstairs.
On his first visit to the station, Fuson said he experienced something very uncommon. He heard a noise that seemed to say ‘behind you’. Normally these sounds are picked up on a voice recorder and heard during playback, this time it was audible to the human ear.
Prior to this, Johnson had been telling him about the lore of the building. “The people that used to work there said ‘if you don’t look behind you when you leave, they will follow you home’,” Fuson recounted.
Intrigued by the first visit, the investigators returned twice during which the team experienced much of their equipment malfunctioning —batteries draining, files corrupting, machines turning off unexpectedly. A trail camera Fuson had left behind was one example.
“When I returned to pick up the trail cam on the second floor, the one that I had leaned against the wall was found face down, batteries drained and all the files corrupted. I can’t explain it,” he said.
A K2 meter, which measures spikes in electromagnetic activity, went off during a visit to the basement despite there being no electricity inside the building.
Numerous light anomalies, also known as orbs, were seen in the video. These semi-translucent circles of light are evidence of spirits according to some investigators.
When on their third visit the investigators asked whether the spirit present wanted them there, they received what sounded like a ‘no’. This and other electronic voice phenomena (EVP) were caught on tape.
Enhancement society board member Robert Dufresne said the confirmation of the paranormal is an added feature for the building. Work is now ongoing to get grant funding for a $1.4-million restoration to its former glory.
The Boston Bar investigation is the start of a series for the Hope-based Ghost Guards group — Fuson, Phillips and other part-time investigators. They are seeking more cases in Hope, Agassiz and Chilliwack, offering their ‘free public service’ through ghostguards.com.
Both Fuson and Phillips have spent over a decade each investigating paranormal activity.
Fuson describes himself 14 years ago as somewhat of a skeptic, but after watching a TV series called Most Haunted he started taking still photos at cemeteries. In them, he saw anomalies he couldn’t quite explain.
The moment he became a believer in paranormal activity was a night at the cemetery when he felt a bone-chilling cold.
“That night I just had a nagging feeling in my gut that I shouldn’t go, but I did,” he said. “When I (took) this photograph, it wasn’t cold but it got immensely cold. And I can’t really explain the sensation of the temperature any better than it was like a bed sheet having been in the freezer all day, but then draped over you and then vacuum sealed to your skin, all at once. It was this really intense cold. And as I felt that cold, I snapped this photograph.”
The photograph shows orbs, including some which Fuson said are shaped like faces. After getting the feeling that one of the spirits had attached itself to him, an energy he described as ‘a pair of eyes, right next to my temple, glaring at me’, Fuson said he took a long break from the activity.
He now encounters the paranormal only in short bursts, treating it like radiation, and with a lot of respect.
Phillips has known the paranormal since he was a child living in what he calls a ‘creepy house’ on Thacker Mountain, where lights would turn on unexplainably and footsteps would be heard outside with no people around. Despite this, he was still sceptical.
He became convinced of the paranormal after hearing something through a spirit box, a device used by paranormal investigators to scans radio waves at different speeds and pick up voices.
“We start asking questions and…we asked it to name one of us. And it named my brother, it said Kalem,” he said. The next question was whether the spirit was good or bad, the answer which came back was ‘demon.’ At that point, the group decided to shut down the fun, but not before one final message. “It said goodbye just before we turned it off,” Phillips said.
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