The Haunted and Historic Walks of Inglewood
As Calgary’s oldest, most historic neighbourhood Inglewood has more than its fair share of ghost stories. Johanna Lane, founder of Calgary Ghost Walks knows a thing or two about the spooky nature of Inglewood’s haunted past. An Inglewood local herself, Johanna describes living in Inglewood like life in a small town where everyone knows each other. And that includes everyone knowing about the treasure trail of mischievous spirits who inhabit the neighbourhood and adding their own fabled tales to the mix. Decked out in a top hat and cap, and lantern in hand, Johanna (and her tour guides) beholds an air of mystique and wonder as she traipses around Inglewood, leading groups of ghost story fanatics and supernatural skeptics alike.
“Now she is the one who haunts the house, not him. She stands on the third floor balcony and overlooks the river.”
The Haunted and Historic Walks of Inglewood is Calgary Ghost Tour’s most popular tour, thanks to the rich history of the area. Johanna shares that “the tours act almost like a concierge service for the neighbourhood. We get the people here initially, for the ghost tours, but then they are so interested in the shops and restaurants that we introduce them to during our walk, that they make plans to return the very next day.”
Manfred Baum, one of the tour guides, is an exceptional wealth of historical knowledge of Inglewood and Calgary. Always striving to always maintain historical accuracy with all of the ghost stories on the tour, Johanna and Manfred, make sure to take the time to do a bit of research and fact-checking when creating new tour stories. This process ultimately led to the question: How do new ghosts show up on the tour?
“These new ghost stories usually crop up after we hear residents having sightings of ghosts,” says Manfred. “If we hear enough about it we do some digging to find out who may have lived there or worked at the building and make those links to the past.”
While Johanna and Manfred collectively have no shortage of ghastly tales, they have a few that are perfectly eerie and speak to the historic nature of the neighbourhood. One such story is the tale of Melanie, a railway worker’s widow who haunts the Suitor House at 1004 8th Avenue SE.
The Suitor House used to be a boarding house for railway workers needing a short-term accommodations before they found a permanent home. A young couple lived on the third floor of the Suitor House. The husband, after working on the railway was quite nimble on his feet, often used to hop train cars around the city to get around. Unfortunately, one day his feet slipped and a train drove right over his legs. His fellow railway workers were unable to get him to the general hospital in time and he passed away on site.
The wife, who Johanna calls Melanie, was evicted from the Suitor House and subsequently passed away from a broken heart not much later. “When your grief is so bad, you’re heart just stops working properly,” says Johanna. “Now she is the one who haunts the house, not him. She stands on the third floor balcony and overlooks the river. When I first heard about this, I thought that maybe she wasn’t the brightest girl since the train tracks are in the opposite direction. But it turns out that the original train tracks were alongside the river and that is what she watches from her perch, waiting for her true love to return.”
The Haunted and Historic Walks of Inglewood tours typically run one to two times per week, but check their calendar for up to date bookings. Manfred and Johanna are even often joined by medium psychic Crystal Johannson for a special edition of the Inglewood tour, adding a next level experience to the already supernatural expedition through this beloved neighbourhood.