Haunted village? Paranormal investigators hear ghosts at Dawson Creek historic site

Someone, or something, still resides in the Johnson Home.

That's the theory of a group of paranormal investigators who've taken an interest in the pioneer homestead in Dawson Creek.

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Members of Grande Prairie-based SPIRIT, the Supernatural Paranormal Investigation Research Institute, visited the 30s-era log cabin in the Pioneer Village this summer.

Relocated to the museum in the 1970s from its original site north of Rolla, the log cabin once belonged to the family of Dorval Johnson. 

Darcy Baruta, an investigator who works as a security guard, said paranormal activity wasn't obvious in the two-storey building when the team visited in June. 

Baruta and other ghost hunters use a device called a K-II Meter that lights up when it encounters electromagnetic fields supposedly emitted by spirits, as well as audio equipment to record so-called electronic voice phenomena (EVPs).

When Baruta and co-investigator Charles Flowers listened to an enhanced recording, they heard a voice.

"When I was in there asking questions—'is it okay for us to be here? We just want to talk to you'–one of the voices in the old house came back and said 'go away, get out.'"

Skeptics say EVPs are simply people hearing what they want to hear, but Baruta said the voice was clear.

"I've never gotten anything that strong and that clear before," he said.

Village manager Anne Haycock said that while the museum has a mix of replica and original structures, the SPIRIT team only noticed activity in the real buildings.

"That was my little trap I was setting up for those ghostbusters. If they told me there was stuff going on in a replica building, I wasn't going to be very impressed with that.

"I'm not saying I'm not a believer," she said with a laugh.

Baruta and SPIRIT also found signs of paranormal activity in the village blacksmith shop, and hope to investigate the Dawson Creek Museum, which is rumoured to be haunted by a young woman and a soldier.

The group previously investigated the theatre at Grande Prairie Regional College for spirits.

"I believe it's the old piano in there that's got an energy," Baruta said. 

He became interested in the paranormal activity when he was a kid in Clearwater, B.C.

"I was the only one that saw the apparitions in the house, but my brother saw animals, cats run up the stairs and disappear."

As for why a spirit might hang around the Johnson Home, Baruta couldn't say for certain.

"If it's a house they really attached themselves to, they just don't want to leave for whatever reason, that energy can still reside in the house."

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