Vancouver’s ghostly ‘lady in red’
Did a local man capture the city’s famous spook on camera... or is the truth rather more mundane?
The Lady in Red is one of Vancouver’s most famous ghosts. According to legend, she haunts the historic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver at 900 West Georgia Street, built in 1939, walking the top floors in her elegant red gown, occasionally stopping at the window to stare wistfully out at the city. Several people claim to have seen the apparition. According to the website Ghosts ofVancouver, “once, a Japanese family that checked into a room on the 14th floor called the front desk to ask whether their room had been double-booked. They described seeing the Lady in Red in the room, which had caused their confusion.”
Now a local elevator mechanic claims to have taken her picture. Scott Graham was working on a top floor at the Private Residences at Hotel Georgia, just around the corner from the Fairmont, when he took a cellphone photo of the historic hotel, where he also does work. That’s when he noticed a red dot in one of the topmost windows and zoomed in for a closer look. Sceptics would say it is simply a hotel guest dressed in red. However, the window in question is on a floor that was off-limits to guests during renovations.
“There’s always ongoing maintenance at the hotel and that’s just one of the areas we’re working on right now,” said Nancie Hall, the Fairmont’s regional director of public relations. Hall relayed one of the previous sightings of the Lady in Red, which, coincidentally, came during the filming of an episode of The X-Files at the hotel during the show’s initial run inVancouver. According to Hall, a cameraman came back from a break and said, “I saw the strangest thing. I saw this woman in a long gown.” Hall told the man about the Lady in Red, the hotel’s resident ghost. “He went absolutely white and he would not come back on the job,” she laughed. “The story goes that [the Lady in Red] used to come here for the afternoon tea dances and was in a car accident on the corner of Burrard and West Georgia, so she’s been a resident of our hotel for many decades.”
Could Scott Graham’s photograph have been Photoshopped? On the zoomedin image, it does appear that the figure’s gown is bleeding into the window frame, suggesting a sloppy editing job. But Graham insisted the picture hadn’t been altered in any way. “There’s a little red bleeding into the brick on the window but it’s just a cellphone shot from 50 storeys up,” he said. “It’s not Photoshopped at all.” He added that he doesn’t believe in ghosts. “Honestly, it’s probably just some person wearing a red shirt… But there’s not supposed to be anybody there, and the fact that the ghost in that building is supposed to be a lady in red is a pretty cool coincidence.”
While local media made the most of the story, Twitter user Alexis Bologne claimed to have solved the mystery within days, posting a similar image and adding: “Nice try, however this piece of red plastic has been covering that window for a few weeks now... I am looking at it right now from my office.” Vancouver Sun, 27 May 2017.
LEFT: Mr Graham’s photo and a blow-up showing the mysterious red object.