The Museum’s staff members* have a feeling that there is something – or someone – else in the Station.
We’ve had doorknobs rattling, footsteps in rooms where no one can be seen, doors swinging open of their own accord, weird electrical issues where the lights switch on by themselves, banging noises as though someone is trapped in the basement…
We haven’t seen an apparition yet and we disregard a teen volunteer’s story of the one ghost sighting.
Just in case, we invited the BC Ghosts & Hauntings Research Society to visit and see what they think.
Until the CPR discontinued its passenger service in 1976, this train station had a live-in unit for the stationmaster and his family; the Kitchen and the Parlour, along with the four bedrooms upstairs, made up the private quarters of the stationmasters from 1905 onwards.
Between the Kitchen and the Parlour, there is now a door leading onto the basement stairs. It is this door that once opened on its own.
The Ghosts & Hauntings Research Society pointed out that the door is of light wood and drafts can push doors open. Thus the explanation for the door’s mysterious opening might be more prosaic.
Nevertheless, Tracey pointed the camera to the space directly in front of the basement door.
The Parlour, itself, might also hold some secret. Some of us have been in the basement and, when we hear footsteps above and rush upstairs, we find that the Parlour is empty.
Another location in the Museum where we’ve experienced interesting phenomena is the former Freight Shed of the Station. This giant room takes up about a third of the Museum’s main floor. We use it to display artefacts about the development of Port Moody, from its prehistoric origins to its industrial peak. To celebrate our railway heritage (we’re the original terminus of the CPR and Canada’s first scheduled trans-continental train ended its journey here), we have a number of railway displays, including a baggage cart loaded with Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century suitcases and trunks.
One afternoon last fall, when a previous stationmaster’s wife visited, five of us heard a sound from inside one of the suitcases. It could have been the rattling from a passing train, yet for the next few minutes we all had the feeling that someone knocked on the side of the suitcase, as if that someone was at a door and trying to get in.
We might here note that between the Christina’s video camera and the baggage cart, is the bell from the train crash of ’13 that killed five, a story we’ll save for another day.
The BC Ghosts & Hauntings Research Society also wanted to examine the basement.
We try not to think about it but there is no getting around that basements, particularly ours, are creepy.
We have a volunteer who comes regularly to tend the 1910-1912 CPR Garden. He starts early in the morning, and one afternoon he asked us if we had ghosts in the building. We laughed but mentioned our experiences. The volunteer told us what happened that morning:
Before any staff members came that day, he worked behind the Museum where two doors lead to the basement. From inside, something was banging on the doors, trying frantically to get out. No cars or trains went by, he ruled out this as an explanation. The doors were locked, too, so the volunteer could not go inside to investigate.
Between the two outer doors is an interior door. We wedged this door open and Christina placed her tape recorder there to see if it would pick up anything unusual from either of the two other doors. The interior door spat out the wedge and slammed onto the tape recorder. We set up everything again and made sure the door stayed open.
After about an hour or two of recording (with everyone far away from the devices), Heather, Tracey and Christina packed up their gear to go into the next step: reviewing the two videos and the tape recorder to see if anything odd appeared or made a sound.
*Except for the Curator. He is adamant that we are not haunted.
By Oana Capota