Ghostly Happenings at Fort Walsh
In 2016 the ghost hunter adventure show The Other Side, which features investigations of haunted happenings from a First Nations perspective, visited Fort Walsh National Historic Site, to investigate whether or not the site was prone to any ghostly visitors.
Featured on the show was former Parks Canada seasonal employee Brent Mason, who has worked in a number of capacities at Fort Walsh over a 30 year span, including as a bus driver, a guide, and as a night watchman.
Over the years, Brent has experienced and heard of some amazing stories of events that have happened out at the Fort, some of which are below, but he says he had never before experienced anything like the contact they had on the night they taped the show. An experienced that turned him from a sceptic into someone who now gives more credence to the possibility that there are spirits out wandering through the Cypress Hills, because there are things that happened that night that he simply cannot explain.
Read some of the stories Mason shares, and then watch the full Fort Walsh episode of The Other Side at the link below.
An Unexplained Apparition
As a Dark Sky Preserve, dark takes on a whole new meaning in the West Block Wilderness Area of the Cypress Hills, so to see any light that might appear is unusual to say the least when you are in a place where you wouldn’t even be able to see your own hand held up in front of your face.
On this night, as a night watchman, Mason was making his rounds which included the Massacre site and the Fort itself. This first round was early enough in the evening that it was still slightly light out, and part of his round included punching in, at clocks strategically placed around the Fort, so that it was assured that a watchman had been there. The punch-in clock was located at the end of the stables, and while punching in, Mason looked over to the south corner of the Fort, when he saw something floating above the palliser wall. A waxy figure glowing in the darkness.
As a sceptic at the best of times, and feeling a little on edge, Mason convinced himself what he was seeing was simply the moon behind the clouds and he continued on his rounds. It wasn’t until the end of his shift as he was travelling up the road from the Fort and reached the plateau up top that he saw the position of the moon, and how it was the complete opposite direction of where he had been looking.
He never could explain what it was he saw.
Let Me Out
One story, happened to a co-worker of Mason’s who was also working late one night as watchman doing security checks, when he saw one of the gates to the cemetery open. Knowing there are horses that wander the Fort grounds, grazing, and wanting to protect them, he solidly closed the gate, and continued on his rounds.
And yet the gate kept opening.
He’d close it, and go on his next round, come back, and it would be open again. So he’d close it and go around again, only to find it open again. On his last round he said to himself “if it is open this time, I’m just going to keep driving,” and sure enough it was open.
He kept driving.
Who’s Laughing Now?
It was a quiet day at the Fort, when Mason working now as a Park Interpreter, was working alongside another staff member. It was a bright, but windy day, cutting down on the number of tourists they were seeing, when suddenly he and his co-worker both heard the sound of a child laughing outside the walls of the Fort.
Puzzled, due to the lack of visitors, they ventured to look outside the wall, but there was no one there. Heading back inside, they heard the laughing again. With a shout “hello?” to which there was no reply, they repeatedly kept hearing the sound, and repeatedly kept checking throughout the afternoon, every time they heard it, but they never did find the laughing child.
Later, Mason recounts, when telling another staff member the story, he was told that there had been a ranch house, after the Fort had closed, and the land had been converted to ranch land, that was built near to where the Fort once stood. A house, whose family had a little girl, who tragically drowned in Battle Creek behind the house.
Years later, after the family had gone, people would swear they could see the figure of a little girl in an upper window.
The house was eventually moved, after Parks Canada took possession of the property and began rebuilding the Fort, and Mason heard that it had burned down in the early 1980’s. Witnesses say that as it burned, a light emerged from the house and traversed up to the heavens.
Is that you Marmaduke?
Following the filming of the show, some staff say that their unease and feeling of being watched increased throughout the summer, coming to a head in the fall, as three staff members, cleaning up from the past busy summer season, experienced a strange encounter.
Working in the staff building, that used to be the old Officer’s Mess location, and close to the building where the show had seen so much activity, the lights in the building started turning on and off, of their own volition.
Tuned into the idea of ghosts and spirits because of the recently filmed television show, the staff became curious as to who, or what, might be causing the phenomenon. To try and identify the perpetrator, if it was indeed from a spiritual realm, the staff start saying names of passed historic figures tied to Fort Walsh, to see if they could garner a response. They received no activity, until they said the name of Constable Marmaduke Grayburn.
The first NWMP officer to be killed in the line of duty at the young age of 19, Marmaduke Grayburn was murdered just a few miles from the Fort, with his killer never captured. When the staff said his name aloud, the response came quickly, with another burst of lights flickering on and off.
The staff didn’t stick around to ask any further questions.
Later however, one of the three staff, who was of First Nations descent, returned to the site to perform a smudging ceremony, and the activity was never repeated.
While filming the show, with the rest of the cast and crew down by the stables, Mason was locking up the building they had been in, and using a flashlight to guide him through the aforementioned Dark Sky blackness.
While filming, he had heard crew members describe the different ways that spirits could made contact, one such way being by drawing power from electrical devices nearby, often draining the batteries of camera equipment, lights and flashlights in order to get the necessary energy to reach out.
While the crew experimented to encourage this phenomenon during the show’s taping, nothing ever came of it.
Until Mason was locking up for the night, using a brand new flashlight.
As he was standing near the building where he saw his first unexplained apparition, his flashlight simply died suddenly, leaving him in the dark.
Mr. Clark – Episode 1, Season 3 – The Other Side
Watch as Michaella Shannon joins The Other Side team as they investigate paranormal activity at Fort Walsh, the first out-post of the North West Mounted Police, which was built near the site of the infamous Cypress Hills massacre.
Watch the episode here:
or watch APTN on Halloween – Oct 31, 2019, for a full day of back-to-back episodes, including Mr. Clark.
The NEW Season of APTN’s The Other Side (Season 5) begins October 30, 2019 – check your local listings for times. Or watch the trailer below.