Nova Scotia

'Ghost hunters' lead tour of Cape Breton Miners Museum

Some self-proclaimed ghost hunters are hoping for a close encounter with Cape Breton's mining past this weekend as members of the paranormal society Haunts from the Cape lead a tour of the Cape Breton Miners Museum in Glace Bay.

'There's spirits roaming all over that place,' executive director Mary Pat Mombourquette says

Haunts from the Cape will hold three tours at the Cape Breton Mining Museum this summer. (Jason Murphy)

The Cape Breton Miners Museum in Glace Bay, N.S., is offering a tour led by the 'ghost hunting' group Haunts from the Cape on Saturday evening.

"Anybody who's worked there knows there's a ghost at the museum," said Mary Pat Mombourquette, the museum's executive director.

"It slams doors, it walks upstairs. We haven't seen it but we've heard it."

The paranormal-enthusiast group uses a variety of equipment, including infrared cameras and radio frequency meters, to try to detect what it believes is spirit activity.

In a preliminary visit recently, society member Jason Murphy believes they found a lot of paranormal activity, especially in the section of the museum called The Cage. It houses archives and mining artifacts, including those from various mine disasters.

Murphy says they picked up activity on two K2 meters, which register electromagnetic fields.

Mary Pat Mombourquette, executive director of the Glace Bay Miners Museum, and Jason Murphy of the Haunts from the Cape Society with some 'ghost hunting' equipment. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

Echoes of a mining disaster

"There was a big stack of boxes," said Murphy. "We were both getting the same readings out of these boxes. On the Echoboxes [personal audio players], we kept hearing the number 10."

Later, museum staff looked through the boxes and found newspaper clippings about the disaster at the No. 26 colliery in Glace Bay in 1979. 

The headline? "Ten Die in Mine Explosion." (Two more miners later died in hospital.)

The group also visited the company house at the Miners Museum, a restored building in which a coal-mining family once lived.

Mombourquette says the Echobox registered more paranormal activity.

"We were asking if somebody died on that bed. And the voice came back, "Which bed?'," said Mombourquette. "Then we said, how many people are here? And you could hear it counting, one, two ... it was different voices.  And you know, there were about ten of us there. So it wasn't just one person's hysteria."

Mombourquette says the museum is an ideal location for a ghost tour.

"There's spirits roaming all over that place."

'I don't know what could happen there!'

Murphy says he's been interested in ghosts and the paranormal since he was a boy.

"Just watching shows like Unsolved Mysteries. I spent a lot of time sleeping with the light on!"

Murphy says he's not sure what he would do if he actually saw a ghost.

"I could drop on the spot. I could ask questions. I don't know what could happen there!  Time will tell."

Murphy says there are several locations in Cape Breton where he gets goosebumps.

Forgotten history

The group has visited Hospital Road in Point Edward several times.

That's the location of a former hospital, long since demolished, that treated tuberculosis patients.

"There's a lot of history there, and a lot of history that people don't know about," said Murphy.

The first Museum Ghost Tour at the Miners Museum on July 16 is sold out, but there are two more planned, on August 20 and September 10.

You can find a link to the Haunts from the Cape visit to the Miners Museum here.

And here's a link to one of their visits to Hospital Road.

With files from Mainstreet Cape Breton