Local Haunts: Calgary spooky spots to get the goosebumps going this Halloween season

Click, Click, Click. That is the sound of your shoes hitting the hard pavement beneath your feet. You are outside on this cold autumn night trying to get home after a long day at work. A soft but ominous wind blows through your hair as you look up to the sky. No stars, no clouds, not even the moon is present.  All you can see is complete darkness. The only thing that lights your way now is the street lights and even they don’t seem to provide the safety that you’d hope for.

You get a feeling in your gut you are being watched by someone or something you cannot see. A slow fog rolls up in front of you until it blankets your feet so that you can’t even see them. A chill goes up your spine like a spider crawling up the wall. You feel a icy bony tap on your shoulder. Your heart races in your chest as you turn to face what nightmare awaits you …

Love a good ghost story? Calgary is filled with them. And with October among us, it is a good time to explore some of the city’s most haunted public locations. “Where are these places? What are their stories?” you might be asking. 

What you are searching for is here:

The Deane House: One of Calgary’s oldest houses, the Deane House was built in 1906 for the Superintendent of Fort Calgary. Now one of Calgary’s best restaurants, this historic house has been through its share of bad luck including stabbings, a murder-suicide in the ’30s, and a few deadly accidents. The house seems to have three apparitions. One is of a man who smokes a pipe, another is an Indigenous man who hates intruders, while the other one is unknown but loves to put a scare in visitors. Those who come here may experience disembodied laughter in the halls, a disconnected telephone ringing, the smell of cigars filling the air, and a blood stain that changes shapes and sizes. Beware!

Calgary Stampede Grandstand: Home to the greatest outdoor show of them all, it makes sense that there might be a ghost or two that hangs around there. There is a theory that the ghost is a construction worker who had died by accident while working to help build it. When the grandstand is empty, that is when the ghost comes out to play. You would hear phantom footsteps echo throughout the stands and other strange noises that no one can explain. Others have seen apparitions pop out of nowhere. This is not your typical rodeo.

Rose & Crown Pub: Just off of 17th Ave SW is the popular place to be when you want a good burger and fries. However, this comfort food comes with a creepy history. Originally this location was a funeral home which is a perfect start to any ghost story. Staff and patrons alike have noticed odd happenings like windows opening, lights flickering, and a small boy who loves to create a little mischief all over the place. However, there is something mysterious going on in their basement that gives people the chills. So if you love a mystery come on down and ask to see their ghost photo. It’s pretty cool.

Lougheed House: Did you ever see a danse macabre? You can at this beautiful sandstone building that once belonged to Senator James Alexander Lougheed. A popular event setting for weddings and other celebrations, the Lougheed House has a ghostly couple that can be seen dancing in the ballroom. It looks like even in the afterlife, these ghosts know how to have a good time. 

Fairmont Palliser Hotel: That’s right! One of Calgary’s most luxurious hotels is filled to the brim with hauntings. People of all kinds have reported seeing apparitions in antique clothing wandering the halls at odd times. These ghosts include a woman dressed in upscale 1940s clothing making her way to the drawing room, a man in a conductor’s uniform wandering aimlessly, and a young girl who loved the gardens so much that she promised she would never leave (sounds like she was true to her word). With so many stories that this hotel has — you might want to start your own paranormal investigation.

The Zoo Bridge: Now it is about to get grisly and I’m not talking about the bears in the zoo. In 1946, a six-year-old boy named Donnie Goss was lured away from the park by a madman with the promise of giving him some toys to play with. Suffice to say, this is not what happened. This poor boy was murdered in cold-blood by multiple stabbings and beatings from this crazed monster. People who walk by this bridge tend to hear a child crying out for help. Emergency services get calls at least twice a year from people telling them that they are hearing screams in the area. 

Rouge Restaurant: Guaranteed to turn a skeptic into a believer, this high-end restaurant is believed to be haunted by the original owners, the Cross family. In this place you will find chairs that move, doors that slam and pots being thrown around by an unseen force. If that isn’t creepy enough, expect to hear disembodied laughter coming from the basement and a transparent woman floating down the stairs. Some lucky patrons could be dining with the dead tonight.   

Knox United Church: Not all ghosts are frightening. The ghosts that reside in this downtown church are known to be quite friendly to the people who work and worship there. Many parishioners have seen ghosts praying, knitting and travelling through the walls, but otherwise not bothering anyone. An interesting encounter happened when an organ player was practicing — she felt her wrist get slapped when she made a mistake. So if you want piano lessons, this might be the place to go. 

Prince House: Successful sawmill owner Peter Anthony Prince, had a beautiful home made for his first wife. Sadly, she passed away in the attic due to tuberculosis. Miraculously he found love again two more times but tragedy struck again when his two wives both died of separate illnesses. All three of his wives are rumoured to be haunting the residence which now sits in Heritage Park. People have spotted three female apparitions in the windows and lights shining from the third floor even though there is no electricity. It’s safe to say there are some weird things happening at the Prince house. 

Hose & Hound Pub: Some people believe that animals can’t be ghosts. Well, these people have never met Barney. Barney was the pet monkey of Chief Cappy Smart (who was Calgary’s first fire station chief). He had to be put down after attacking a child but his spirit still roams his master’s favourite site. People noticed that this former fire station, now turned into a popular Inglewood pub, has billiard balls moving around by themselves, cans being thrown from the shelves and the dishwasher starting up unexpectedly. He’s a cheeky monkey, alright!   

Everything gets spooky around this time of year and that is just how we like it. Whether you are just snuggling on the couch with some trick-or-treat candy and a good ghost movie on the boo-tube or dressed in your finest Halloween costume dancing the night away in a haunted house, there is a lot of fun and adventure to be had on this great holiday. Sure, you don’t always know what to expect but as the residents of Halloween Town put it, “Life’s no fun without a good scare!”