Don’t be afraid – the friendly ghosts of King Edward

 In cSPACE News

As the developers of a 1912 building, we often get asked about the history of King Edward, which served as a elementary to high school for close to 90 years. The 1912 school is a beautiful, storied, and desirable historic space, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were a few permanent residents!

We’ve heard a few ghost stories in our time, including the most prominent mention in a 2007 article featured in the Calgary Herald For sale: historic school, musical ghost included  which identifies “Ed”, a piano playing ghost.  Additional stories include that of 10 year old boy spirit’s playful tricks, which eerily correlates in age but not gender to a local family’s story of a great aunt who was a blossoming art student at the school and died when 10 years old.  

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To our knowledge, no one has ever met their demise at the school, and we believe that any spirits sticking around would be doing so out of a love for the building. Sudden drops in temperature, self-locking doors, and the feeling of not being fully alone left us curious if the cause was standard old building woes, or if we had a more permanent tenant occupying the space. When Colin Bengert of CAPI (the Calgary Association of Paranormal Investigations) asked if we would like to have our space evaluated, we were very curious what they might find.

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The piano captured in a photo by Heather Simonds from our 2012 Photography Competition.

The morning of the investigation (strategically scheduled in broad daylight) began tellingly with a spooky fog hanging over Calgary. The CAPI team’s goal is to scientifically prove or disprove the potential of ghosts, and they brought a myriad of tools, including full spectrum cameras, infrared video recorders, electromagnetic field meters (EMF’s), temperature gages, and audio recorders intended to prove if creepy feelings of being not-so alone are related to anything other than paranoia.

Walkie talkie, audio recorder, and EMF meter from CAPI’s toolbox.

Paranormal investigators believe ghostly presences can manifest themselves as changes in the electromagnetic field of a room. Throughout the investigation, just-tested full batteries drained almost immediately on multiple devices and two different types of infrared video recorders running in the same room both malfunctioned.  Occurrences like these are often regarded as signs of the ghostly trait of gathering energy, which is also said to result in suddenly cold spaces.

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A laser grid in the spooky 4th floor custodians closet hopes to highlight any unexplained movement as a camera records.

Other tools that ghost hunter’s frequently deploy are Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), or “sounds found on electronic recordings that are interpreted as spirit voices that have been either unintentionally recorded or intentionally requested and recorded”(wikipedia). During an EVP session, participants ask the spirit questions, and hope that the audio recording will capture a ghostly reply by picking up sounds below the threshold of human hearing.  Spurred by strange sounds of a rock being thrown on the first floor we gathered there to ask the ghost a series of questions including “Make a noise if you are here”, “How old are you?”, “Were you a student, or teacher of the school?” “Do you like to play?” etc. We received no audible answer to these questions, but when a team member knocked on the wall and asked the ghost to knock back to us, we heard a seemingly corresponding knock far off in the building.  At one point, there is a noticeable temperature drop in the room, but it’s hard to say that these aren’t just the tricks of a 100 year old building.

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Investigators gather on the currently very creepy first floor of the building.

The investigation may not have found anything immediately conclusive, but hours of video and audio recordings may prove otherwise. On one of the video recordings there is an audio anomaly that sounds almost like a child’s voice humming. While we can’t rule out external noises like pigeons, we do know that the entire team was on a separate floor of the building at the time of the recording. The below video and audio have not been altered in any way – listen for yourself (*note – there is nothing scary in the video, but at 0:16 seconds and faint audio anomaly occurs that is best heard with headphones on).

There are no final conclusions if this recording really is a ghost, but Colin says of the investigation:

“Most of our members had personal experiences during the investigation. Hearing small rocks being thrown, seeing movement out of the corner of the eye... Combining the personal experiences, the video of what sounds like a child humming and the persistent sounds of pebbles being thrown has lead us to suspect that there is a spirit of a shy child in the building.”

We feel strongly that there are no signs of any malicious or frightening ghosts at the King Edward. If a presence does exist at the school it is a benevolent, playful, and even a fittingly musical one.

Applications for long-term (although much less permanent) tenancy at the school will open next week, and we invite prospective tenants to decide for themselves if the “haunting” at King Edward is real. LEED Gold renovations like high efficiency HVAC and double-glazed windows should eliminate any future cold drafts, and we intend to keep Ed’s beloved pianos for future tenant use. If there really is a spirit tenant, we hope that they will approve of the vibrant energy the arts will bring back into their cherished historic space.

We’d like to thank Colin and his team from CAPI for visiting our space, and providing a thorough, professional, scientific investigation! To contact them to investigate your own haunted space find them here on Facebook, or at CAPI: Calgary Association of Paranormal Investigations.

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