In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.

STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Location - The Goverment House

Part One

Government House
, Regina, Saskatchewan, was constructed as a residence for the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories, whose territorial headquarters were in Regina until the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta were created out of the Territories in 1905 and Regina became the capital of Saskatchewan. At that point Government House became the viceregal residence of Saskatchewan.
It replaced the cold, draughty wooden 1883 Government House which stood on the current site of Luther College on Royal Avenue until its demolition in 1908. The new building was the first residence in the Territories to be electrified (the Regina YMCA had been electrified in 1890). A conservatory was built in 1901 and a ballroom in 1929.

Vice-regal palaces were something of an anomaly in the political climate of 1940s Saskatchewan, and in March 1945 the Lieutenant-Governor's office and residence were moved out of Government House and into the Hotel Saskatchewan, then operated by the CPR in downtown Regina. The furnishings and household goods were sold at auction. Government House was leased to the federal Department of Veterans Affairs for use as a veterans rehabilitation facility. In 1958, re-named Saskatchewan House, the building entered into 10 years' use as an adult education centre until it was proposed that it be demolished and the site redeveloped. A large part of the extensive grounds had already been sold for the construction of the Pioneer Village nursing home and other uses.

However, historically-minded local groups including the Regina Chamber of Commerce, Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, Regina Council of Women and the City of Regina were brought together to fight for the preservation of and restoration of the building. In 1971 the Society for the Preservation and Restoration of Saskatchewan House (now the Government House Historical Society) was formed and by 1980 its efforts were rewarded. Government House, its original name and historical fittings and many historical contents restored, re-opened as a historic site for public education and edification. ( above taken from the Wikipedia entry )

The Government house has a long history and is haunted by a number of ghosts the most famous being named "Howie". This spirit is believed to be a man named Cheun, a cook for the Lieutenant-Governor McNab, and the only person to have died on the premises. The phenomena attributed to this spirit is disembodied footsteps, the opening and closing of doors, the moving around of objects from room to room. This phenomena is common to the entire house but seems to mostly occur on the first floor.

I feel the activity on the second floor is a different spirit or spirits. The activity reported there have been the sound of children laughing and extreme cold spots around the nursery wing. There is also the report of the apparition of a gentlemen who vanishes soon after he is seen. One report tells of a staff member doing their routine morning inspection finding the upstairs bathtub to be filled completely with water. Strange, but even stranger, there are no longer any water pipes connected to the tub. Myself I would treat that story as a myth as I have no written account of this event.

Part Two

A cleaning lady who was employed on a casual basis reportedly heard footsteps walking from the morning room, through the bedroom to the far wall of the bedroom and then stopping. She found out afterward that behind the wall there was once a bathroom. The footsteps would stop at the wall where the bathroom used to be.

The basement is frequently the source of mysterious cries of a baby that stop just as abruptly as they began. This phenomena is commonly reported by women using the basement restroom as well a staff who are alone in the building.

What or who haunts the Government House? I believe the location is haunted by a number of connected phenomena which is unrelated to the other. The spirit known as Howie I believe is attached to the house. He likes to make himself know by moving things or targeting, for example, the tablecloth on a new piece of furniture that has been brought in that he disapproves the placement of.

The other reported phenomena lends itself out to be someone who lived there at some point and maybe residual in nature. After 1945 the site was converted and used as a convalescence home for wounded veterans returning home from the war. Nobody was reported as dying from their ailments within Government house but maybe someone returns to the site of remembered pain or had fond memories of their stay there. I would belief the second of the two because the reported activity does not seem malevolent in anyway.

I have been to the Government house may times and it is one of my favorite places in the city. I have toured it many times both during the day and at night. My Dad is actually the guy that cracked the locked safe in the dinning room to which the keys had been lost for some time. (It held original china place settings for the table. Great find for the restoration people.) Unfortunately cameras are not allowed inside so an investigation would be difficult but I have some pictures of the grounds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

During an elementary school field trip, my entire class was toured around the first floor (obviously by a tour guide). We were not allowed to head upstairs, it was completely blocked off. Throughout the tour, it became obvious that they had hired people to make noises upstairs (the tour guide making no comment to all the noises lol) they were mostly just jumping up and down and walking abruptly. So we were all standing in the dining room, i was at the back next to a small cupboard (or buffet?) anyway, tour guide is telling history, and i see the buffet door just swing open, I immediately open my mouth and say very calmly to the tour guide "Uh... that door just opened by itself." and she was like " EVERYONE OUT!" tour over haha.
I think it was Howie, just making himself known. later that day i go downstairs to the bathroom by myself, and i think i saw a little girls face in the mirror. I was young and imaginative, so i think i might have passed it off as a product of my mind, but it just felt a little uneasy down there.