Travel Yukon short films focus on paranormal

Two Yukoners have created a series of short films focused on the territory's paranormal lore. Yukon's tourism department sponsored the project, as promotional material.

New campaign swaps gold pans for ghosts and aurora for aliens

A still from 'Yukon Paranormal', episode 2. 'A little more unique than your standard marketing push,' said filmmaker Neil Macdonald. (Travel Yukon)

A couple of Yukon filmmakers have taken a novel approach to promoting tourism in the territory, by creeping people out.

Neil Macdonald and David Hamelin of Whitehorse-based White Hole Productions created three short films for Yukon's tourism department, but instead of highlighting the usual Yukon pamphlet material — mountains, dog sleds, gold miners and Northern lights — they focused on ghosts and UFOs.

"We really wanted to showcase the Yukon, but do it in a unique way that people hadn't really done before," said Hamelin.

The series is a way to 'show this cool side of the history for tourism in the Yukon, that people don’t know about,' said filmmaker David Hamelin. The film project received an award from Destination Canada last year. (CBC)

"I think there are a certain number of people out there yearning for different stories to be told in Yukon. We thought paranormal stories were the perfect way to bring out a different side of the Yukon."

Each of the three "Yukon Paranormal" films focuses on a different story, with first-person accounts and dramatic reenactments. 

The first tells of the supposedly haunted Caribou Hotel in Carcross. The second is about UFO sightings around Fox Lake and the third describes encounters with ghosts at Dawson City's Palace Grand Theatre.

"Some people actually seek out destinations based on the level of supernatural activity going on," Hamelin said.

Pilot project for TV series

Hamelin and Macdonald purposely made the short films to resemble segments from a television show. That's because they hope to develop it into an actual TV series.

"[The paranormal] is definitely always something I've been interested in and passionate about," Macdonald said.

Macdonald said there are plenty more stories he'd like to share — about the Keno Hotel ("creepy vibes"), the Commissioner's residence in Dawson City and more UFO sightings.

Hamelin said the project has already taken a life of its own, with more and more unusual stories coming to light.

"We've had people emailing us, people talking to us on the street and they've told us their stories of paranormal experiences they've had," he said.

"There's a lot of supernatural stuff going on."


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