Poison and Axes and Guns, Oh My!

Philip HarrisChatter

Last night my wife and I went on a two and a half hour Haunted Halloween tour of Vancouver. It’s one of the seasonal tours performed by the Vancouver Trolley company during the winter months when tourists are less prevalent.

The tour takes in numerous haunted locations around the city, including The Fairmont Vancouver (haunted by the “lady in red”), Stanley Park (site of several haunted burial grounds and where the infamous “babes in the woods” bodies were found), Shaughnessy (home of Vancouver’s more wealthy inhabitants and the location of the murder of Janet Smith and its subsequent cover up) and Mountain View Cemetery (to visit Janet Smith’s grave, among others). Along the way the guide regales passengers with tales of gruesome and often intriguing murders, suicides, accidents and “accidents”.

The tour also stops at the Vancouver Police Museum and there we got a lesson in how to perform an autopsy and a look at evidence  from a couple of the murders our guide had told us about, including the still unsolved “babes in the woods” case and a particularly gruesome crime involving a young man, his sleeping family and a double bladed axe.

Autopsy room of the Vancouver Police Museum

Suitably dim picture of the autopsy room of the Vancouver Police Museum


Body on the autopsy table at the Vancouver Police Museum

A body on the autopsy table - probably not a real body, but we didn't check

The success of this type of tour depends almost entirely on the guide. Thankfully our ‘ghost’ was excellent and there was plenty of interesting material for her to work with; apparently Vancouver’s past is darker than we’d realized.

The tours have finished for 2011, but if you’re ever in Vancouver at Halloween it’s well worth a look.