Local haunts: Paranormal investigator names Manitoba's top spots
Spooky happenings reported from across the province
Hooded figures entering a monastery, blood trickling down walls and ghosts crying — there are people who have seen these things in Manitoba, says Michelle McKay, a paranormal investigator who has received reports of it all.
McKay lives in Collingwood, Ont., but investigates paranormal activity around North America on a full-time basis. She started more than 20 years ago, when a priest's attempt to perform an exorcism and rid her childhood home of spirits failed.
Before speaking to CBC Manitoba, she searched through her database for reports Manitobans have sent her from around the province. Here are details of reports from seven locations in Manitoba:
James Armstrong Richardson International Airport
An eerie photo taken in the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport prompted a report sent June 16, 2011.
A woman said she had taken a photograph of her friends at the Winnipeg airport around 10 p.m. When she looked back at the photograph, McKay said, she saw a mysterious male figure that was bald with a pale complexion, glaring into the camera.
Two days later, the woman's cousin died by suicide.
"To this day, she wonders if the figure was trying to warn her of [the] death," McKay said.
La Barriere Park
The April 8, 2015, report for Winnipeg's La Barriere Park came from a jogger, McKay said.
"She was jogging through the park with her dog, and after making her second loop around the park through the small forest path, she felt something swish past her. She became instantly afraid because she was alone in the area with trees and there was no wind," McKay said.
The woman dismissed the feeling and continued jogging.
"A few minutes later, it happened again," said McKay.
"Only this time, it was accompanied by the sound of children giggling. Weeks later, she was watching television and she heard that the park was indeed haunted with the sound of children laughing but [before that], she had no idea."
The Marlborough Hotel
The Marlborough Hotel was built in 1914 and later used as a military barracks during the First World War, but most of what is left of the original structure has been rebuilt.
On Jan. 24, 2015, a woman submitted a report to McKay about an apparition she saw in one of the hotel's bathrooms.
"[She] saw a ghost of a woman walking from the stairwell wearing old period clothing. She followed the ghostly apparition from the stairs to the bathrooms near the main entrance," McKay said.
"The woman saw the apparition walk into the stall, close the door halfway and then she saw her vanish."
"It's been said often that when you step inside, everything is very quiet and still," McKay said about the former monastery in St. Norbert, which burned down in 1983. Its ruins and an adjacent guest house remain at the site.
"One of the rooms is said to give you that feeling of being watched and has also reportedly sent some visitors into a panic attack."
One report McKay received describes hooded, robed figures on the road, moving toward the monastery.
The Fort Garry Hotel
The hotel was built in 1913 and McKay said employees have reported seeing blood trickle down the walls in room 202.
"It's rumoured that a woman hanged herself in the closet in that room after learning her husband had died in a car accident. How true is that? I don't know," McKay said.
"An employee has seen an apparition of a woman crying in the corner of the lounge after asking for some water."
McKay said this particular apparition was a "solid apparition," or one that looked human, not transparent like a ghost.
"[Those ones] often vanish afterwards and that's how the person knows this is not from the living," she said.
Manitoba Theatre Centre
The theatre is believed to be haunted by a ghost named George, said McKay.
"It's said that when the theatre moved to its present location on Market Avenue, George tagged along with them. Some believe he always wanted to be a performer but died in a fire when he was young," she said.
The reports McKay has received say that George moves props and interferes with the electrical system during live performances. He is also known to flip down theatre seats, she said.
It has been suggested that George is a jealous ghost, and McKay doesn't rule that out, but she personally has another theory.
"Maybe he just wants people to see him perform," she said.