Ghost stories are constantly being told and retold, whether based on fact or fiction it all comes down to a personal belief. Whether simply a spooky story told around the campfire or the retelling of a strange experience in a certain area all stories have some truth to them, even the most fantastical ones. An experience of feeling someone watching you when clearly no one is there may lead to the idea a spirit was present. Through telling friends this story is then spread through a network and others may start coming forward retelling their paranormal experiences.
The Moosehead Inn was constructed in the 1960s as the Grandison Hall at Kenosee Lake. Archibald and Ethel Grandison established the building to create a fun place for people to go. Dancing and socializing, while enjoying great music made it a very popular spot.
It was eventually sold and resold to the current owner Dale Orsted who found odd things began to happen. Items would go missing, loud banging, and upon starting renovations a classic poltergeist is said to have happened. Lights going on and off, things flying across the room, and doors swinging wide open only to slam shut again.
These happenings have resulted in acknowledgement by the paranormal community and recently the Moosehead recently hosted a film crew from Saskatoon. The APTN network is currently working on creating a series produced by Angel Entertainment, which follows four individuals looking for the truth found in haunted places.
Called, The Other Side, the television series is made up of a group of individuals with unique skill sets including Jeff Richards, Bill "ParanorBill" Connelly, Priscilla Wolf, and Tom Charles. Together this group seeks out and contacts spirits. This interest in the paranormal has led their investigations to the Moosehead Inn where they began filming Sept. 16 and wrapped production on Sept. 19.
Is it a trick of the mind or are ghosts real? To those filming, The Other Side, they believe and are not only investigating paranormal activity, but offering ways to help spirits in need of being able to rest peacefully. The show is strongly influenced by the First Nations belief that spirits are constantly surrounding us though we are unable to see them.
"We come at it with a traditional view. That is, spirits are around us all the time, just on another plane," explains the director, Rob King.
Therefore, though they are not tangible beings they are present in our world able to interact with us and even able to, on occasion, project themselves into our plane. This is how they are able to move objects and how apparitions are said to have been seen.
Priscilla Wolf of the Mistawasis First Nation near Prince Albert is a journalist. She had previously been working for the APTN National News as a reporter, but has now taken the position as host of, The Other Side.
Wolf's skill set as a journalist has allowed her to provide important insight into the research stage of production. Before the crew begins filming, Wolf helps to identify historical happenings in areas and investigate the supernatural stories before the group travels to location. She is integral in understanding the location and explaining to the viewers why they chose to film there.
"I don't have a background in chasing ghosts, but I really trust these guys. There is a really high intensity and I fully trust the team. Even with paranormal things that have happened, I just really trust them," Wolf stated.
Wolf is Cree and was raised with traditional views, but unlike her coworkers, she had never really encountered a paranormal event until her time filming, The Other Side. She has come to find her traditional beliefs have strengthened through seeing these occurrences up close.
Jeff Richards of Regina is a mentalist who has always been drawn to paranormal activity. As a mentalist he is able to contact people in the afterlife and works as a psychic entertainer, someone able to read people's minds.
"I am able to do contact rituals and am able to look at the other side. I rely on what I see and feel," Richards explained regarding his contribution to the team.
He is able to utilize a number of different strategies to make contact. Tools of his trade include his intuition, which has been strong ever since he was a youth, which is how he came to wonder about his driving question, "What happens to people after they pass away?"
When Richards was quite young his grandfather fell ill. Richards remembers one night, while his grandfather was in the hospital and close to passing away, he awoke from sleep, startled by something. He found that as he looked around his room his grandfather was standing at the foot of his bed. The man stood there for a moment looking at Richards, then turned without a word walking away into the darkness of the room. The next day his grandfather passed and this moment became a driving force in Richards' life leading him to where he is today.
Another team member includes Bill "ParanorBill" Connolly. Connolly comes from Edmonton, Ab., and is the "gadget guy" according to Wolf.
"If you've seen some of the things I have. I definitely believe, but I'm skeptical of each story. I like hard evidence," Connelly has explained.
This is the reason for his special equipment designed to help hear and see ghosts. Using his advanced technology and intuition, Connolly helps to investigate each site seeking confirmation of presences at each location.
One piece of equipment Connolly uses is the SB-7, a spirit box as it is colloquially known as. This item allows Connolly to record the spirits voice, while hearing it in real time. Others in his field use different voice recorders, but Connelly explained they require analysis after being recorded. The SB-7 taps into sounds below the human hearing level, which allows him to have a one-on-one conversation with the spirit if it is willing.
Connelly found himself investigating the paranormal due to an encounter with death and a spirit at the age of eight. A teen had passed while emergency personnel were working to save him, as Connelly stood there as a bystander. As the teen passed away, Connelly came to see the teen standing beside the workers looking down at his body.
Though this event was a catalyst in why he chose to pursue supernatural occurrences, he is also driven by the question of, "what happens after death?" He actually grew up around death as his family worked in a funeral home; he wondered where these people went once they had left their bodies.
The final member of the cast is Elder Tom Charles who, like Wolf, is Cree and has grown with the traditional beliefs regarding spirits. Charles comes from La Ronge and through his spiritual connection attempts to help spirits rest in peace, to help them "cross-over" as it is commonly referred to. He is also able to provide prayers keeping people safe and assisting spirits in a state of restlessness.
"He is a pro tracker who is able to find missing people in the bush through his intuition. He is able to get a sense of where they might be through an item of the missing person's clothing. He also follows physical tracks as well if available," King stated.
Charles' strong connection to the spirit world and intuition is important in identifying and helping spirits.
Their investigations will take them across Saskatchewan and Alberta looking for spirits and if found they hope to help them obtain peace in the afterlife. They will be looking into various locations including residential homes, a courthouse, the curatorial centre in the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon, and the Atlas Coalmine in Drumheller. Earlier this fall they had travelled to southeastern Saskatchewan regarding the Bekevar Church located 10 kilometres south of Kipling.
For a look into, The Other Side, we will have to wait until next year when the season is aired on APTN. Whether ghosts are real or not comes down to personal beliefs, but it's interesting to think about. Simply feeling uneasy in a room, feeling someone watching you, or animals staring at something you cannot see with dogs often barking at something not there, is it a trick of the mind or is there something more to it? With a highly skilled group of people conducting paranormal investigations across the prairies maybe we can finally have answers to the questions raised about the supernatural.