Come on boys and ghouls! It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip. This week's stop is Banff, Alberta and our special guide is Nancy Baker, author of the vampire novels The Night Inside, Blood and Chrysanthemums, and A Terrible Beauty.
Blood and Chrysanthemums is set in Banff so it seems fitting that our guide for this week's Paranormal Road Trip be author Nancy Baker. Let's see what terrifying places Nancy has planned for our tour.
Nancy's Top 5 Spooky Places
Who knew that Banff, site of great skiing, climbing and healthy daylight outdoor activities, has a secret spooky side? During my research for Blood and Chrysanthemums, I was on the lookout for locations that would suit my vampires Ardeth Alexander and Dimitri Rozokov during their time in the mountain town and I found enough scary spots to suit several stories.
The Banff Springs Hotel
This gorgeous century-old baronial-style hotel naturally has its share of ghost stories. Sam the bellman, a long-time employee who died in 1975 always promised to come back and haunt the place, has apparently appeared in period regalia to help guests when no bellman is on duty and is supposedly fond of opening and closing elevator doors at random times. There is also the “doomed bride” who is supposed to have fallen to her death down the curved stone staircase, catching on fire from one of the torches as she fell. Her flaming figure has been seen dancing in the grand ballroom. There’s also Room 873, which is supposed to have been the site of the gruesome murder of an entire family. After the room was restored, guests reported screaming and the appearance of bloody handprints on the mirror. It’s claimed that the hotel had the room sealed up and the hallway replastered to conceal its existence.
The Old Banff Cemetery
Actually, this is quite lovely old cemetery that I’ve happily wandered through taking pictures on more than one occasion. It’s the perfect place for a walk whenever you feel that all that fresh air, sunshine and fleece outerwear is making you feel far too fit and sensible to be contemplating vampires.
Dead Man’s Flats
Not in Banff proper, but off the highway on the way, this one is interesting because of the bloody story behind the name. In 1904, Francois Marret murdered his brother with an axe and threw his body into the river to prevent his ghost from returning to haunt him. Explanations from the crime ranged from Marret’s anger that his brother had not paid him for work he’d done to the murderer’s believe that his victim was planning to kill him with a “whirring electric machine”. Justice moving more swiftly in those days, Marret was sentenced a week later. The verdict: not guilty by reason of insanity.
Banff Park Museum
What could be frightening about a museum? Dead animals, for one thing. Lots and lots of stuffed dead animals. The Banff Park Museum has deliberately maintained its historical feel and I’ve always thought that being trapped there at night with all those beady taxidermy eyes trained on you would be terrifying.
The Trail through Cascade Gardens to Middle Springs
This one is personal. The Cascade Gardens are quite pretty. They are, however, part of the trail that winds its way up to the communities above them, which is where I usually stay in Banff. The first time we braved this trail alone at night, it was so dark we had to shuffle along, hands outstretched, to avoid running into a tree. On one trip, I walked up that path several times at night, wondering why on earth I didn’t just go the long way, waiting for a bear or a cougar – or a werewolf – to get me. Despite the fact that the scariest thing I’ve ever seen there is an elk, I still count this as my personal “spookiest place in Banff”.
Thank you Nancy for giving us such a haunting tour of Banff!
To learn more about Nancy Baker and her books, please visit her website. You can add Blood and Chrysanthemums here on Goodreads.
Have you visited Banff, Alberta? Ever experience anything of the supernatural kind in and around Banff?
What did you think of Nancy's picks for spooky places?
Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we did a six month Paranormal Road Trip recap. In case you missed it, we're also having a Paranormal Road Trip Giveaway. Win an Amazon Gift Card!
Next week we'll be traveling to Louisville with Shiloh Walker (aka J.C. Daniels).
Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!
if you dare!