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From carnivals to swimming holes; the story of the Stirling Haunted Mansion

Posted on November 6, 2013 by Westwind Weekly

From the headquarters of a carnival owner, to a school house to the home of Stirling’s first swimming hole, the old Ogden house hasn’t always been home to scary chills and spooky sights.

Now known as the Stirling Haunted Mansion, construction was originally started on the building in 1910 and completed in 1919 by W.T. Ogden, at the cost of $15,000. According to the history book Ogden had more trees on his property than any other land owner in Stirling at the time.

A popular place to host a social gathering or even band practice, while Ogden owned the property, around 1934 part of the home was believed to have been used as a school house for grades one to three as well.

Ogden, who owned the property from 1907 to 1958, also fashioned the front part of his house into a poor hall, and a Mrs. Krugger often held dance classes there.

Come 1959 a new owner had purchased the Ogden home, an F.W. Morris. Morris owned a carnival and brought go-carts and a ferris wheel to the property, but later was forced to sell the home for tax reasons at the cost of $3,000.

“It later became run down and was thought to have been haunted by the village children,” explained current owner Glory Reimer. “It was also used as a rooming house. I had a young man come and tell me he used to sleep in the living room . . . and there was a German couple who used to live in the master bedroom and make sausages up there.”

Morris sold the property in 1962, but it wasn’t until 1964 the property was purchased by Stephen Robert Wild. He owned the property for an unknown amount of time before 1972 when William David Loran bought the home.

Come 1975 the property again had a new owner, this time Steve Kapcsos bought the property, but only kept it for a year prior to selling it to the Seely family, who owned the home until 2000.

“It had a new roof and new windows – I guess the Seelys got a grant to get stuff done because it’s a historical house,” she said of the house’s state when the couple purchased it.

“Basically it was in good shape historically and in-tact physically – the Seelys collected antiques I believe.”

Since 2000 the property has been owned by Richard and Glory Reimer, who have turned the property into a fully-functional year-round haunted house. The couples three children help them maintain, and occasionally participate in the day-to-day operations.

Prior to assuming the responsibility of the mansion the couple owned a home in Lethbridge, “and didn’t need a house, but it was beckoning us to buy it.”

“It was very bare for a long time. After awhile we started searching out the neat furniture and now we have so much stuff I can’t fit it all in the house,” Reimer, who has been putting a haunted house on for 14 years, said. “For many, many years it was very basic and was just in the basement. Then one year we had a local church book a viewing so we started bringing them upstairs into the sitting room instead of bringing them into the basement.”

Currently the park is undergoing extensive renovations both inside and out, and have added a new feature this year, called the pumpkin walk.  The mansion is typically used for many private functions – like murder, mystery nights – birthday parties and even weddings.

“We have all kinds of different functions. Kids love to come and get dressed up and spend a couple hours exploring the mansion. That usually involves true ghost stories of happenings in the house and a dress-up party and everybody always gets a tour, no matter what you’re here for,” she explained. “The haunted dungeon is provided every Halloween for the village children and there’s a mini-railway too.”

Each year the couple tries to change things up and mix up displays, themes and costumes throughout the property to keep customers guessing where the scares will come from.

“Yes, we have seen ghosts, they have been spotted here by many people. There are people in this community and others that deny it simply because they do not want to believe it, but there truly are ghosts here,” she said.

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