Haunted history: P.A.’s past filled with spooky stories

Pictured is the provincial jail and courthouse. (Prince Albert Historical Society/Submitted)

Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald

Some of Prince Albert’s historical landmarks may bring out a haunted house adrenaline in you if you know their stories.

Manager and curator for the Prince Albert Historical Society, Michelle Taylor, listed off a number of sites rumoured to be haunted: Angus Mirasty School, the Arts Centre, the Forestry Centre and the old Sears in the Gateway Mall.

But one place is being recognized for its creepiness across Saskatchewan.

Recently, Kinsmen Park ranked as the sixth most haunted place in the province by Haunted Rooms.

In the early 1900s, it would have been on jail property.

A total of 18 criminals were hanged at the provincial jail, which was located in front of present day’s Court of Queen’s Bench.

If a person’s body wasn’t claimed after they were killed, it would be buried in the jail’s cemetery.

“It’s possible that the jail cemetery was somewhere on the land that’s now Kinsmen Park,” said Taylor, adding one speculated burial was of Hoo Sam.

According to the Historical Society, he opened a restaurant after moving to the city from China in about 1909.

He was convinced two of his associates were stealing money and shot both of them, killing one immediately.

He was hanged for murder in 1912–his body going unclaimed like four others.

“Legend says that the last five people to be hanged at the jail are buried on the park’s grounds, and it’s their disembodied groans and voices you can hear. If you visit the park, sit and listen in silence, you may just be able to hear them,” read the article by Haunted Rooms.

John Wilson was also hanged at the provincial jail, although he wasn’t buried at the cemetery like Sam.

Wilson, who served as a member of the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP), murdered his wife after falling in love with a woman who took care of him when he had tuberculosis.

He was hanged in 1923.

Being surrounded by artifacts in a dated building and often by her lonesome, Taylor said she tries not to think about the rumours.

“If I did, it would probably prevent me from coming to work,” she said with a laugh.

However, she knows the question of whether or not certain sites are haunted fills people’s heads, as shown in one instance with visitors at the Historical Museum.

“One gentlemen, it was a family that was in, and they were in the upstairs and they had just come downstairs, explained Taylor. “They said ‘Is this place haunted? And I said ‘I don’t think so, why? He goes ‘Because I just saw an apparition.’”

“It intrigues them to no end,” she said.

Haunted Rooms ranked The Marr Residence in Saskatoon as the most haunted place in Saskatchewan.