Some ghosts have a knack for perfect timing.
It was a rainy and foggy night back in the early 1920s when the local doctor in Broadview, Saskatchewan was driving to an urgent house call. These were busy times for the doctor as he helplessly watched many of his patients die from the outbreak of the Spanish Flu.
He would not have made it to his next patient that evening if it weren’t for the sudden flash of a ghostly figure on the hood of his car.
That sudden sighting prompted the doctor to slam on his breaks just as he was about to drive across a train crossing. It was good timing as just at that moment a train came speeding across the intersection.
The ghost that saved the doctor’s life also happened to be his late wife.
There’s something timeless about a good ghost story. That doctor’s story and so many more short and scintillating ghost stories are courtesy of Jo-Anne Christensen. She has produced three books about Saskatchewan ghost stories.
Christensen is the author of Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan, More Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan, and Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan 3. Each book features a series of well-written short stories that continue to be popular, years after they were published. Jo-Anne chatted with me on In Real-Time and I asked her what accounts for her books’ continued popularity.
“When I first started writing these books they were hugely popular, then they seemed to die down a little bit,” says Christensen. “And now it looks like it’s coming back and I would attribute that to the growing popularity of podcasts. Through technology, we are rediscovering how much we enjoy having stories told to us and how much we enjoy sharing stories with one another and a lot of podcasts are paying a lot of attention to this sort of subject matter.”
A simple search confirms Christensen’s observations. There are a wide-variety of ghost-story podcasts out there with thousands of loyal followers.
If Christensen wished she could no doubt fill dozens of podcast episodes with her Saskatchewan ghost stories alone.
“I just love ghost stories in general, my whole life. One of my best friends grew up in Regina and when I met her she started telling me some ghost stories she had experienced growing up and that kind of got me hooked on Saskatchewan ghost stories. Nobody had really paid attention to them and I thought there are great ghost stories in Saskatchewan and somebody has to start collecting these so I started doing them, “says Christensen.
We’re thankful she did. Her books feature a wide array of ghost stories.
-The Tabor cemetery (near Esterhazy) – “home to one of Saskatchewan’s most famous phantom lights.”
-Mystery at the Moose Head Inn where ‘doors crashed open, lights flashed on and off, and incredible “booming” noises originated.”
-The gruesome secret is hidden beneath the shimmering water of a lake near Fort Qu’Appelle.
-The mysterious man in black in Kindersley and the Hopkins House in Moose Jaw.
“Hopkins House is probably one of the most famous haunted places in Canada because it was featured on a show called Creepy Canada,” says Christensen who now lives in Edmonton. “It’s a very very haunted place and a cool place as well because it’s a public restaurant. So many people that don’t know each other and have never met have experienced the same things at Hopkins so I think that makes it very credible. There are just so many ghosts in that house. It’s like a haunted Victorian mansion and it’s accessible to everybody because it’s a restaurant.”
The Hopkins story includes an unsettling sighting in the woman’s washroom on the restaurant’s main floor.
“A woman who worked there as a hostess for years and years and years would avoid that washroom at all costs. There was one time she went in there and she could feel a presence in the washroom, and there was no-one else in the washroom. She looked up in the mirror and there was the ghost of a woman standing behind her looking at her in the mirror.”
That’s just one of numerous ghost sightings in that house according to Christensen.
The Hopkins House ranks as among Christensen’s favourite ghost stories.
Christensen has many more ghost stories to satisfy your ghost cravings beyond the Halloween season.
Just in time for the holiday season, you can pick up Christensen’s Ghost Stories of Christmas, Ghost Stories of Christmas II, and Haunted Christmas Ghost Stories which are sold separately or as a box set.