Calgary ghost hunters head to Drumheller house where owner died in freak accident

Calgary ghost hunters are heading to the badlands this weekend to investigate — and live stream — a suspected haunted home.

Paranormal investigators invited to look into strange sights at century-old home

Homeowner Justin Bolin provided these photos of Dr. Robert James Johnston Sr. and his house, circa 1922, on Third Avenue East in Drumheller, Alta. Paranormal investigators are seeking evidence the home is haunted by Johnston's spirit. (Justin Bolin)

Calgary ghost hunters are heading to the badlands this weekend to investigate — and live stream — a suspected haunted home.

The house in Drumheller, on Third Avenue East, was owned by Dr. Robert James Johnston Sr. The dentist died there 82 years ago. He was found next to his shotgun, which police determined discharged when Johnston was packing it for a hunting trip.

Current homeowner Justin Bolin called in paranormal investigators earlier this month after strange things happened, included when someone else spotted an apparition.

"You just get that feeling that someone's standing behind you," Bolin told the Calgary Eyeopener.

On Saturday, members of the Calgary Association of Paranormal Investigations will do a formal analysis, which will be live streamed on Facebook as part of the World's Largest Ghost Hunt event.

"When I initially moved in, I didn't believe too much about the paranormal," Bolin said. "Living in the home, you get a different perspective on things when you hear little things in the house, and stuff has moved and you haven't moved it."

Bolin said he would be in bed, home alone, and hear someone coming up the stairs. Sometimes doors would open and close on their own.

'Check out downstairs' voice urges

The preliminary findings by the local ghost hunters were strong, the Calgary association's Melissa Wilton said Wednesday.

When they listened back to their audio recordings, she said they heard a so-called electronic voice phenomenon, which said, "Check out downstairs."

"It's really clear, so it's fascinating to me," she said, adding her team will definitely investigate the lower level this time.

The volunteer group will bring five audio recorders and 10 cameras to Bolin's home on Saturday. Their work will be live streamed on their Facebook page starting at 8 p.m. MT. Their findings will be submitted to their national group and then publicized to their followers, Wilton said.

'Compelling to us'

In the majority of cases, the group finds evidence to debunk suspicion of paranormal activity, Wilton said. More often, strange activity can be explained by banging pipes and dust catching the light, for example.

Other times, she said, they record sounds, take strange photos and in the more famous haunted areas, see their cameras move.

"So we think it's compelling — to us, anyway," she said. "We hope that a skeptic would look at it and at least think about what could have happened with an open mind."

The association, formed in 2001, investigates two to five suspected haunted sites each month. Most are private homes in Calgary, but others are in nearby southern Alberta communities such as Red Deer, Cochrane, Okotoks and Drumheller. 

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.