A haunted leg­is­la­ture?

Sev­eral spir­its said to wan­der through build­ing

SundayXtra - - NEWS LOCAL - By Bruce Owen

SHE walks the up­per gal­leries of the or­nate leg­isla­tive li­brary late at night, when the lights are out and the only real peo­ple around are se­cu­rity guards.

She wears a long dress more in keep­ing with the early 1900s than to­day’s fash­ion. Her grey hair is tied up in a bun. She doesn’t bother any­one. Her ghostly shadow moves silently, restack­ing il­lu­sory books, fold­ers and binders.

One time a se­cu­rity guard caught her read­ing at a ta­ble. When he asked her how she got into a locked room, she van­ished. Poof. Right be­fore his eyes. She’s only been seen a few times, but the staff of the Man­i­toba Leg­isla­tive Build­ing li­brary and se­cu­rity guards are keenly aware of her pres­ence.

Al­though harm­less, none of them care to spend the night wait­ing for her to reap­pear.

She’s just one of the spir­its said to haunt the leg­isla­tive build­ing, a Win­nipeg land­mark steeped in hid­den- in- plain- sight mys­tic mes­sages and sup­posed links to the oc­cult. Its Ma­sonic sym­bols and ar­chi­tec­ture are well- doc­u­mented. But its ghosts? No so much. There’s an­other fe­male ghost that’s said to wan­der the base­ment hall­ways of the build­ing. This one sings, her voice gen­tle and quiet, but still echo­ing through the nat­u­ral night noises of a build­ing opened in 1920. The “ledge” was built on the orig­i­nal site of Os­borne Bar­racks, which was es­tab­lished in 1873.

There are other ghosts, too, such as the one spot­ted by a se­cu­rity guard dur­ing a latenight walk- throughs of the hall­ways.

“I thought it was an in­truder,” she said re­cently.

Within sec­onds she re­al­ized what she saw, al­though hu­man in form, was any­thing but.

“My hair just stuck up on end on the back of my neck and I froze,” she said.

She said she con­sid­ered hit­ting an alarm, but in that in­stant the ap­pari­tion van­ished. She hasn’t seen it since.

Other se­cu­rity guards have heard sim­i­lar sto­ries, but they brush them off. Ghosts aren’t real, right? Still, how to ex­plain locked doors that open by them­selves? The sound of a woman’s high heels click­ing on the mar­ble floors when the build­ing is empty? The books that fall off shelves when the build­ing is closed?

“Some­times you get a shot of static elec­tric­ity that seems to float around in a ball,” one guard said. “You’re on a mar­ble floor so you can’t blame it on the car­pet.”

Other ghost sto­ries in­clude the man who walks the south­east, sec­ond- floor hall­ways wear­ing a long black suit and top hat. He’s even been spot­ted on the grand stair­case and when ap­proached, he ei­ther van­ishes or passes through one of the thick stone walls.

Then there are the ghosts of three men who have meet­ings each evening in one of the two large com­mit­tee rooms. These rooms do not see daily use, but have seen their share of in­tense po­lit­i­cal de­bates. Maybe the walls har­nessed that en­ergy and re­lease it... when­ever.

Lo­cal tour guide Kris­ten Verin- Treusch says there are more un­earthly vis­i­tors.

“Ap­par­ently, there’s some spirit boys down­stairs in base­ment area,” she said. “You know how some of the doors have panes in glass in them? It’s not clear glass, and from what I un­der­stand a se­cu­rity guard was do­ing his rounds and he saw these two boys inside an of­fice with their hands cupped around their eyes look­ing at him in the hall­way.

“He kind of thought, what- the- heck are these kids do­ing in here, and he went into the room and, of course, there’s no­body there.”

Verin- Treusch con­ducts tours of haunted places in Win­nipeg through Muddy Wa­ter Tours.

She tries to get the boys, or their spir­its, to in­ter­act with the tour group.

“We’ve had a medium come with us on sev­eral oc­ca­sions and she thinks they’re con­nected to an­other spirit per­son who has been seen in the build­ing wan­der­ing around,” she said.

Verin- Treusch said it goes with­out say­ing it’s all very spec­u­la­tive whether these spir­its ex­ist. But... “We have stuff hap­pen­ing. Peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence tingling in their hands when they’re do­ing the dows­ing rods.

“Peo­ple start freak­ing out.”

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES

Zom­bies sur­rounded the leg­is­la­ture re­cently, but ghosts are said to lurk year- round.

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