This Halloween, take a trip to the past for a fright-filled haunted excursion to Stirling’s Haunted Mansion Railway Park.
“We bought the place in the spring of 2000. Just kind of as a family location. It had a nice acreage with it, we thought it would be great for the kids to grow up here and ride their quads and just basically have some fun with the land but the house was just kind of an interesting eerie bonus when we discovered it was haunted,” said owner and operator Glory Reimer, who bought the haunted home with her husband in 2000.
This season marks the 15th year of one of southern Alberta’s scariest haunted attractions. The vintage Stirling home, which was built between 1910 and 1919, is not just a trick or treat. The Reimer home is actually haunted with three to four ghosts, still lingering after all these years.
“We didn’t really know it was haunted actually, until well into the first year. Weird things were happening and it couldn’t be quite explained and rationalized away. We had our first haunted dungeon – we called it the Dungeon of Doom, six months after we bought the place. It was small and for the local kids.
They just had a blast and they came back year after year. It just grew from there,” noted Reimer, adding the attraction is open all year by booking in advance but is open in October weekdays from 2-9 p.m. and on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 2-10 p.m. with Fright Nights starting at 6 p.m. those nights.
To help make the haunted attraction a success, Reimer reaches out to volunteers, ranging in age from 5 years old to 65. Reimer added many volunteers return each year to spook visitors all the way from Calgary, Medicine Hat and abroad.
Reimer said the Haunted Mansion Railway Park also received recognition recently from summer parades the business entered. “We got the most creative award in the Calgary Stampede, which is really a huge pat on our back, because they only hand out nine awards period.
We got best for our group in Medicine Hat and it’s a great parade,” said Reimer, adding the Haunted Mansion entry also took second place in their category and won best overall in this year’s Whoop-Up Days parade in Lethbridge in August.
Throughout history – men, women and children have taken almost torturous pleasure in visiting haunted attractions, especially just in time to celebrate the Halloween spirit.
Television entertainment-wise, viewers have always been attracted to the paranormal and spine-tingling tales often told on shows including ghost hunters, ghost whisperers and ghost adventurers. Reimer said a group of paranormal researchers from Calgary stayed the night at the Stirling home and brought recording devices and even a psychic.
Reimer though, already knows there are ghosts sharing her home. She even keeps a book of paranormal happenings to document haunted encounters with the spirit world.
The haunted happenings have been quiet as of late but continue to this day and tend to be more active when there is more activity at the house, which in October makes for prime-time to perhaps encounter an actual ghost during a visit to the historic southern Alberta home.
“It’s not just a door slamming or footsteps on the stairs – there’s all of that too – but it’s different things like actual apparitions of something that somebody has seen. Our tourists have reported to me that they’ve seen something here or there and it didn’t quite fit our scene,” said Reimer, adding she thinks the visitors’ stories are cool and not unsettling at all.
When Reimer’s kids were younger, she said they were scared with encountering a ghost in the house. She would ask them, “If that was a ghost of you, how would you feel if I ran away from you every time you popped up?”
Reimer said the kids’ response was they wouldn’t feel very good.” I said, ‘don’t be scared just talk to it and see what you can find out.’” Reimer explained the house is home to an older entity the Reimer family has called, “Grandpa” and there’s a 3-year-old girl, seen by her kids and visitors to the haunted mansion. “It’s kind of neat.”
Enter Stirling’s Haunted Mansion and Railway Park to celebrate Halloween this weekend if you dare. Admission prices are for ages 10 and up $15, ages 5-9 $10 and 4 and under are free. There are also family and group rates available. According to the haunted mansion’s website, the attraction is a family-friendly event suitable for all ages and the scare factor can be customized for each guest.