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Haunted manor home with a violent history in Calgary, Alberta. The Deane House began as a luxurious private residence and is now a historical site with a restaurant.


The Deane House began as the vision of Superintendent Captain Richard Deane of the North West Mounted Police. At the turn of the 20th century, Deane was sent to the rough frontier town of Fort Calgary, located at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers. The existing superintendent's home at the fort was not good enough for England-born Deane and his wife, and so in 1906 he had a ne home built. Construction cost was $6,200. When finished, the new home was the best residence in existence for someone in the mounted police.

Tragically, Deane's wife never got to live in the house, or even see it. She became ill and died in Lethebridge, Alberta. Deane lived in the manor home and performed his duties until the fort closed in 1914 and the land was sold to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Deane went back to England. The railway company demolished all of the fort buildings except the house, turning it into a residence for the rail station agent. Within a year, the company moved the entire house to a different location on the property.

In 1929, the rail company sold the house to C. L. Jacques, an entrepreneur who moved the house again, across the Elbow River. The engineering job was remarkable for the time, and the move was featured in the media. In its new location, the Deane House became a boarding house and descended into seediness. The violent chapter in the house's history began.

In 1933, a suicide occurred there. A 14-year old boy who suffered from epilepsy became despondent at the tauntings of his schoolmates and ended his own life in the attic. He lived in the boarding house with his father. During World War II, the house became infamous for prostitution, and military personnel were ordered to stay away from it. Jacques sold the house in 1943 to Alex Brotherton, who continued its operation as a boarding house.

A gruesome murder-suicide took place there in 1952. A man stabbed his wife to death in front of their two children and then killed himself. There are unconfirmed reports of other murders. A man was supposedly shot and killed on the front porch, and another man was said to be murdered inside.

Natural deaths occurred at the house too. Brotherton's daughter, Alfena Cunningham, died there in 1965 and Brotherton himself in 1968.

The house deteriorated, and in 1973 the city of Calgary stepped in and purchased it with the intention of restoring it in time for the city's centennial in 1975. A studio for artists and a teahouse existed there until the early 1980s. It then became what it remains today.

Haunting Activity

Stories of ghosts had been associated with the Deane House and grew during the 1960s and 1970s. An exorcism was performed in the 1990s, but ghost stories persisted.

The parlor of the house, now a bar, is one of the most active areas. The smell of pipe tobacco has been reported, even when no one is smoking. It is believed to be a sign of Brotherton, who used to like to sit in the parlor and smoke a pipe. Some visitors have seen his pipe-smoking apparition sitting in the bar. A nonworking telephone in the bar also rings by itself.

Also active is the attic, where the epileptic boy committed suicide. Storage cupboards have a stain on them that resembles blood, which cannot be washed away.

The ghost of a Native American is seen in the house; no one knows his identity. He appears wearing a long-sleeved shirt and a vest; his long hair is tied in a single braid. One visitor saw the apparition in the basement. The man told her she should not be in the house because the site was sacred.

An apparition seen during the 1970s was that of a man in a black cloak, visible to the knees, who walks down the stairs and out the front door.

Other phenomena include an antique piano upstairs that plays by itself, the sounds of footsteps, strangely moving currents of air, as though someone is walking past, and objects that move about on their own.

(Encyclopedia of Ghosts & Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley)

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