Stuart McGowan was leading a tour through the Fort Saskatchewan historic grounds one night a few years ago when something a little strange caught his eye.
McGowan was walking toward the Dr. Henry House when the spooky encounter happened.
“I could see someone -- I couldn't tell if it was a man or woman -- standing in the window,” he recalls.
The building was empty at the time, McGowan planning to unlock it to give his tour guests a look inside.
"It looked like an outline of someone standing looking out. I couldn't really make out who it was,” he says.
The 1913-built Henry House, now part of the city’s heritage precinct, once belonged to Fort Saskatchewan’s town doctor. The historic residence also formed the set for the filming of an episode of Creepy Canada in 2005. Whoever – or whatever -- McGowan glimpsed in the window may not have been happy with the cinematic intrusion.
When crews tried to start filming, McGowan says, none of their equipment worked.
“All the batteries were dead. So they took them outside. They replaced them and checked them, and they were fully charged. When they came back in with a new set of batteries, everything started to work. But that first time, they were quite taken back --and a couple of them were a little spooked.”
According to McGowan, who is president of the Fort Saskatchewan Historical Society, the Dr. Henry House isn’t the only place in the city that might have a few ghosts hanging around. The museum grounds and courthouse have been known to raise goosebumps as well.
"There are places around Fort Saskatchewan as well that have, shall we say, a not great history,” McGowan says.
The local courthouse, for one, has seen its share of drama.
“When it was first opened in 1909, there were a lot of famous cases that went through there. A lot of people were possibly accused wrongly. It's never been proven that they were, but it's not also been proven that some of them weren't."
The oil jail cemetery near the Highway 15 pedestrian overpass might also give passersby an eerie feeling, McGowan says, especially on Halloween.
"And if you are brave enough to walk through the grounds of the museum on Halloween, same thing. You will find that the hair on the back of your neck may stand up."