© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
Tessa Gray tells stories of hauntings and murder as the trolley travels the streets of Moose Jaw on Tourism Moose Jaw's ghost tour on the night of June 21, 2014.
The wind howls through the trees. It’s dark. We huddle together in Rosedale Cemetery, holding a ghost sensor in each hand.
It’s time for the Tourism Moose Jaw Ghost Tour and Tales of Murder to start.
Illuminated only by lanterns, the story begins. I shiver. My teeth clatter. I assume it’s from the cold.
“Joanie. Joanie.” The chill voice sends shivers up my spine. The details of a mother murdering her 13-year-old daughter are revealed.
As instructed, we hold our ghost sensors in front of us. The sensors, we were told, will consistently move in a specific direction if a ghost or other supernatural presence is near. Otherwise they remain motionless.
“Mine are still,” says a man next to me.
I watch as the sensor in my left hand flicks repeatedly behind my shoulder. I turn to look. There is no one there.
It’s time to board the trolley. I take a seat next to a woman named Catherine Smith. She’s from Ottawa. The old trolley creaks as we drive off into the abyss of night.
“The term hobgoblin has grown to mean a superficial object that is the source of often imagined fear of trouble or, as in this case, ghosts or spiritual means,” says our guide, Tessa Gray. “Tonight, we speak for those whose lives were taken by others, who can’t speak for themselves.”
It’s hard to see where we are. My throat feels parched. Gray tells us about bumps in the night, stories of a misplaced shirt from a closet. It was found several months later, buttoned up to the neck precisely in the centre of the closet.
“And so it began. An almost 30-year habitation involving many locations and numerous friends,” says Gray.
She finishes a story of black handprints on a newly painted ceiling and down the wall in an attic of a house. Silence ensues as we drive along. I ponder over it, wondering how it could be.
A sound rattles through the trolley. It sounds like a rock being thrown. I shudder.
“What was that?” whispers a boy behind me.
My eyes trail over the ceiling. I turn my head side to side. Nothing. The stories continue. Gray talks of places like the Western Development Museum and SIAST, even a murder in Plaxton’s Lake.
I swallow. It’s too calm in the trolley, much too calm. People around me glance around. A gust of wind graces my face. A tree swipes the side of the trolley. It’s almost as if someone is scratching to break free, waiting to be heard or seen.
An hour passes. I find myself looking around. I step off the trolley.
“I thought it was really good. I liked the stories,” Smith tells me.
I ask her if she believes in ghosts.
“I believe in something. I’m not sure because where I worked, we had a ghost and I’m not a great believer, but I did smell her perfume and see strange things, so who knows?” she answers, identifying the smell at Lily of the Valley. “Chairs would often be piled up at the top of the stairs, but yeah, I thought the ghost stories were very good.”
I get into my car and close the door. Everything goes dark. I look over my left shoulder one last time.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.