Paranormal investigators reach out to spirits at haunted Halifax eatery
On a chilly Saturday night in October, a group of paranormal investigators gathered at a historic Halifax building long rumoured to be haunted.
What is now a popular restaurant in Halifax’s downtown core was once a mortuary, processing bodies from both the sinking of the Titanic and the Halifax Explosion.
The persistent stories of strange happenings at the Five Fishermen at 1740 Argyle Street have attracted the attention of Paranormal Investigations Nova Scotia (PINS.)
Desperate for answers, the group decided to gather their equipment and spend a long night at the restaurant in the hopes of solving the mystery behind the reports of flickering lights and unknown footsteps.
“Hoping to try and communicate with a spirit of some sort, somebody that has, you know, been trapped here, someone who has personal possessions here,” says Darcy O’Neil of PINS.
The group doesn’t have to wait long.
Cameras are quick to catch a motion sensor going off on its own. Suspecting a malfunction, the team discusses the problem while a white mist moves across their video screen.
No one on the team can explain it and the mist is only the beginning.
The team sets up a ghost box, a digital audio recorder with a built-in radio set on a reverse frequency.
Where a person’s ears would only pick up static, investigators say other voices sometimes emerge from the white noise.
The team also sets up a laser grid in an effort to spot any shadows passing by.
The investigators say the quickest way to determine whether a ghost is present is to simply ask.
“Is there a female here?” they ask.
The silence is deafening as they wait for an answer in a dining room where a mysterious man has been spotted several times in a mirror.
“If there’s a male here, what’s your name?”
Suddenly, through the static on the ghost box, the words “it’s Drake” seem to fill the air.
“That was a male voice that just came through,” says O’Neil.
A man named William Leonard Drake died in the Halifax Explosion. The body of the 24-year-old was prepared for burial in the building.
“I thoroughly believe that we are haunted,” says the restaurant’s general manager, Heather Brown. “I don’t believe that any of the spirits here are here to hurt us. I think they’re more or less just here to say this is our space.”
The embalming process in the old funeral home took place in what is now a private dining room.
A basic security system catches some action in the room as balls of light, or orbs, dance around the space. The orbs are invisible to the naked eye but can be seen plain as day on the infrared video.
Upstairs in the woman’s washroom, where a little girl has been spotted and a woman heard weeping, the team brings so-called trigger objects - items chosen to elicit a response.
There is no obvious response, but some women in the group report feeling numb.
The investigators try the same method in the wine cage.
“Is there anyone here who wants to communicate with me?” asks one investigator.
The light of the flashlight comes on, seemingly on its own.
“Are you a female? Turn it on for yes.”
Again, the flashlight lights up on its own.
“Are you a young child?”
The light turns on once more.
The team begins to pick up more activity. Radios and motion sensors continue to go off for no apparent reason.
And so it goes, until well after midnight.
As the investigators pack up and leave, they conclude the evening has generated more questions than answers. They vow to return.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau