And so, in the spirit (no pun intended) of the Halloween season, let’s have a look at some of the supposedly haunted places and ghost stories in and around Vancouver.
The UBC Ghost – Since the University of British Columbia is my alma mater and I spent more than a few nights driving home alone from school, this story is a very familiar one to me. Some people say it is along University Boulevard; others say West 16th Avenue.
Whatever the case, the story goes that a young lady was abandoned by her boyfriend on the side of the road and she gets run over and dies. Now, single male drivers on the road at night may see her apparition. There are many variations on this. Some say she is hitchhiking and disappears when you pick her up. Others say that you run over the apparition, but when you get out of the car to check, there is no body. Thankfully, I’ve experienced neither.
Cambie and King Edward – There is a relatively new (and large) house on the corner of Cambie and King Edward now, but there was once a much older home there. The story goes that it was either an ancient burial ground or there was a man who murdered his elderly mother there. Then, everyone who inhabited the home since then has experienced strange occurrences.
We’ve heard stories of luggage being left out on the lawn, baby cribs pushed precariously to the edge of windows, shadowy footsteps walking up the exterior walls, families sleeping only to wake up on the lawn, and more. Today, I hear that Buddhist monks live there and the house is “clean” of spirits, but I still get chills.
Irving House – Out in New Westminster, there was a 13-year-old girl who committed suicide on 12th Street. A team of investigators went looking for her and they reportedly saw a girl in a red hoodie. Driving up to her, she stops dead and looks right at them… except her face was completely white with the exception of pitch black eyes. When they turned around to look again, she was gone.
The Lady In Red – At the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, the elevator is known to make unscheduled stops on the 14th floor. On that floor, a lady in a red dress can appear, hovering down the hallway, passing through walls, and stepping out onto a window ledge. Apparently, her name was Jennie Pearl Cox and she was a frequent patron of the hotel in the 1930s and 1940s.
Hycroft Manner – This massive mansion in the Shaughnessy neighborhood is used for several functions, but it is reportedly haunted by no fewer than seven ghosts. Former matron of the house and perpetual party hostess Blanche McRae is known to “make appearances” at joyous occasions like weddings. (She’s not there to play free online bingo, after all.) Her husband, politician and war hero General Alexander Duncan McRae, can sometimes be seen in his World War I uniform too. The house was used as a veteran’s hospital during World War II, leading to sightings of dead soldiers and possibly the head nurse. Sounds of “the crying man” can be heard too.
Burnaby Art Gallery – The original owners, Henry and Grace Ceperley, are said to haunt this house. She wanted to donate it the house to the city, but he sold it and it eventually ended up in the hands of cult leader William Franklin Wolsey. Gallery employees report of hearing crying children and seeing ghostly faces on the vacant third floor.
Blood Alley – With a name like that, how could it not by haunted? This side street was named as such, because it was where there used by many of the city’s butchers. The blood flowed through the alley, but it was also right by Vancouver’s first jail. From Gaoler’s Mews to the Old Spaghetti Factory, Gastown has plenty of ghost stories to go around. The old Hotel Europe is a good example of that with “scratching noises” coming from behind a bricked up area in the basement.
Waterfront Station – Arguably the most haunted building in Vancouver, Waterfront Station comes with no shortage of ghost stories. Security guards routinely experience strange phenomena when patrolling the many rooms. One walked into an empty room to find a glowing old woman weeping. Another was closed in by several old desks after walking through the room. Yet another saw what appeared to be three old ladies sitting on a station bench, waiting for a train that never came. Even outside, there is the story of the headless brakeman who wanders the tracks; he was reportedly decapitated by a train one night in 1928.
Do you have a favorite local ghost story to share?