7 spooky Saskatchewan stories

The northern lights may have seen strange sights, but Saskatchewan has heard some spooky tales, too.
Prince Albert, Sask., is all decked out for Halloween today. Ryan Pilon/CBC

The northern lights may have seen strange sights, but Saskatchewan has heard some spooky tales, too.

Ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot, you name it and you'll find it in the CBC archives.

And so, in honour of Halloween, here are seven strange stories from around the province:

1. The St. Louis ghost train

According to legend, one night in the 1920s, a CNR engineer was checking the tracks near St. Louis, Sask., when he was hit by a train ... and decapitated.

(The story has not been confirmed by CN Rail.)

Since then, there have been numerous sightings of a mysterious light which some claim comes from a phantom train or lantern.

Skeptics say they're just lights from the highway or glowing swamp gas.

Simone Gareau told CBC in 2001 she's seen the lights and can't help thinking about the legend of the unfortunate railway worker.

"He was looking for his head," Gareau said. "That's why we see the light with the lantern."

2. Demonic possession in Saskatoon?

This spring, a Catholic priest was called to a Saskatoon home by a woman who said her uncle showed signs of being possessed by the devil, church officials told CBC.

When the priest arrived, he found a shirtless, middle-aged man with the word "Hell" carved on his chest, speaking about himself in the third person.

"He belongs to me. Get out of here," the man told the priest, according to church officials.

The police were called and while waiting for them to arrive, the priest blessed the man, who became quiet and resumed a more normal composure, according to the officials.

3. Cattle mutilation mystery

In 2009, a farmer north of Saskatoon was shocked to discovered one of his cows had been subjected to a bizarre mutilation.

Neil Bartsch told CBC News the cuts looked very smooth and did not resemble tear marks that he would associate with a coyote or other large predator.

Entire parts of the animal seemed to have been carved away and half the animal's head was missing. Bartsch notified police who went to the scene to investigate.

Although experts say cattle mutilations like this are fairly common and have natural causes, UFO buffs have sometimes linked them to possible alien visitations.

Bartsch himself didn't make any such claims.

4. Crop circles baffle

According to the the Canadian Crop Circle Research Network, Saskatchewan has the most crop circles per capita in Canada.

So when Lyle Amy discovered crop circles in his wheat field near Conquest in the late 1990s, it wasn't a shock.

His neighour had seen similar swirly patterns in his grain fields the year before.

"There was no way someone could have gone in there and done that ... without leaving some kind of trail," Amy said.

Although in popular culture, such as TV's The X-Files, crop circles are often linked to supposed alien encounters, Amy wasn't making that connection.

Historically, some crop circle cases have been found to be the work of pranksters. In other cases, the finger has been pointed at mini-tornadoes or other strange weather patterns. 

5.  Bigfoot stalks northern Sask.?

Saskatchewan isn't B.C., but in 2006, some people in its north had their own alleged encounter with the fabled Sasquatch, AKA Bigfoot.

The village of Deschambault Lake was abuzz after a woman said she saw a Sasquatch-like creature near the side of the highway at Torch River.

The woman phoned home and described seeing a large, "very hairy" creature that walked upright.

Later, several men from the village drove down to the area and found footprints and a tuft of brown hair, CBC was told. The creature, which the woman insisted was not a bear, was never seen again.

6. Witch miffed after seance cancelled

In 2010, a controversy over a planned seance was the talk of Moose Jaw, and even a witch weighed in.

The Western Development Museum had been planning to hold a Halloween fundraiser called Ghosts of the Past where for $30, people could learn about ouija boards and "attempt to make contact with the spirits."

However, the event was cancelled following complaints from religious leaders and residents, some who expressed fears that evil spirits would be conjured up.

That sparked a response from Sarah Dionne, a practicing witch and follower of the Wiccan religion, who said the panic over the seance was ridiculous.

"To suggest that contacting any sorts of spirits or otherwise unknown forces in the university is somehow evil ... just doesn't make sense," Dionne told CBC News.

She also used the opportunity to try to allay fears about witches and the Wiccan religion.

"There's no worship of the devil or evil things," she said. "Any of those stereotypes are absolutely false."

7. Flying saucers at Waterhen Lake

In 2006, night watchman Kenny Lapratt was on duty at Waterhen Lake in northern Saskatchewan when he saw what he believes were spaceships hovering over the lake.

"It's kind of like a Frisbee, two Frisbees on top of another, like an orange in the middle," he said. "I don't know what it was, but it was beautiful."

Lapratt said he saw several objects landing on the lake and then zipping away at high speed toward the treeline. Lapratt said he was in a state of panic and called the police.

A UFO investigator later showed up at the reserve to study the case.

Lapratt was sure the things he saw did not have a natural explanation.

"They were UFOs," he said. "They couldn't be anything else."