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Kerrobert Court House

The Kerrobert Court House

An In Depth Investigation done by the Sask.Ghost Hunters Society Written by Paranormal Saskatchewan

 

Saskatchewan with its vast wheat fields, endless skies and gravel roads, it’s surprisingly hard for some outsiders to believe that the province has a large amount of unique and strange ghostly tales. One such tale hales from the town of Kerrobert Saskatchewan. About two hours North West from Saskatoon, this town holds strange tales of the town Court House.

The Court House was constructed in 1920 for a price of 145700.00 with intention to be the centre of the judicial district. Between 1930 and 1936 John Diefenbaker, the future Prime Minister of Canada was well published on his acting defense on four high profile murder trials. Diefenbaker had defended two co accused in a murder trial back in 1931-1932 at the Kerrobert Court House. A plaster copy of a skull that was supposedly of a missing person in Beechy, SK was used in evidence at this particular trial and many attribute the alleged haunting(s) to be associated with it.

The skull, according to the Crown in the case of the King Vs. Shumacher and The King Vs. Vogel, was believed to have belonged to Scott McLauchlin who had mysteriously disappeared four years prior to the trial. An interesting fact on this case what the fact that a mentalist who called himself Professor Gladstone led the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to the killers using psychic readings. How accurate Professor Gladstone really was, is hard to dispute as there is not much mentioned about him and where he came from. Any actual evidence of Gladstone’s existence and influence in the case cannot be found, so this just adds further legend to the stories.

What we do know by looking at old Court records is that Schumacher and Vogel were trappers who got drunk and shot Scotty McLauchlin in an argument gone sour. Originally charged with murder, Diefenbaker was able to reduce the charge to manslaughter due to the impaired state of the three individuals, eliminating the death penalty.

Since the trial, paranormal occurrences were said to have increased attributed to the plaster skull. Ghostly whispers and footsteps are reportedly said to have been heard by staff. Doors are heard opening and closing and objects moving on their own accord and the apparent apparition of a person draped in a black robe. Some say that it is the ghost of a lawyer, judge and former prisoner that haunt this building. Later at one point, another Ghost Hunting group claims that they saw a large black entity come up from the ground and rub the side of a ladies head.

The Court House is now used as a Municipal Office for the town of Kerrobert and although no longer used for its original purpose, many of the staff and local residents report hearing and “feeling” some strange “things”.

On April 17th, 2009, the Sask.Ghost Hunters Society led by Miles Vanghel and his team were called upon to do an investigation. The S.G.H.S. is a team which is Technology based, with the intent to debunk and validate claims of paranormal activity. By trying to find rational explanations to the unexplained, they test out there theories in order to recreate odd events and usually with great success.

One example of S.G.H.S.’s debunking and paranormal investigation methods was done in Kerrobert on a different occasion at the towns Library. This was taken from the S.G.H.S. website:

“The Kerrobert Library Claims of chairs moving; footsteps, voices, shadows.

Opened as a Bank of Commerce in 1911 and then became a Post Office. The building is now a regional Wheatland Library.

We investigated the library in 2009. We looked at the claims and began work debunking some of the more logical sounding claims. We found that as the building became dark, the street lights cast strange shadows through the multiple windows. High EMF contributed to an uneasy feeling in the building that could be detected through the floor. The chairs that were claimed to move could be debunked. There was a crack in the cast sewer line from the main toilet. The sewer gas was building up in the basement area. The foundation of the building was made of field stone and there was black mold present from ground water seeping through the gaps where mortar had eroded. This could possibly be an answer for the chairs moving. High EMF coupled with noxious gas and the presence of black mold. The combination can cause hallucinations due to poor air quality, as well as, respiratory issues. 

This was a reading in the Kerrobert Library. The EMF detector fluctuated from levels of 60 to 116 milligaus. This picture shows the 116 milligaus reading detected near a galvanized waterline against the basement ceiling. Curiously, this spot was right below the location where the chairs were said to move.”

From 2009 – 2011, The S.G.H.S. investigated the Court House a total of three times. Before heading into the Court House, the S.G.H.S. did their homework. They dug up blueprints of the building from town records and uncovered some other information that most of the locals did not know. Being well trained in plumbing and electrical, Miles was able to use his experience to possibly rationally explain some of the reported Ghostly phenomena as old piping and other things that natural occur in old buildings.

The S.G.H.S. crew set up all their equipment, which included custom made infrared lighting, various electronic voice recorders, motion sensors, customized DVR system with infrared capabilities, K1 Meters, EMF meters, various handheld video and snapshot cameras. The team remained well focused at the task at hand and was mentally set as to not jump at every little creak and bump that was heard in the building.

Throughout the course of the night, many of the claims of shadows being seen were found to be caused by street lights, the locations of the roadways and the amount of constant traffic at all hours of the night. As a result, there was lot of light play and in many cases the shadowy human shapes were caused by the people in the building themselves.

The Rattling noises heard in the basement that sounded like metal dragging was easily debunked and put to rest. The flush plumbing in the building is old, and the water running down the cast pipes would be slowed down by the build up in the pipes creating a metal dragging sound. The Voices that were heard were found to be nothing more that the odd acoustics of the courtrooms with poor insulation and old windows.

Unfortunately, there were some problems that occurred with this investigation. Some of the overzealous locals and groups who joined in the hunt were caught red handed setting off motion detectors to ramp up evidence and unbeknownst to them, were filmed on DVR in the process. Some went as far to deny it even though they were shown the DVR footage. It is tampering of evidence like this, especially by those who claim to have experienced paranormal phenomena, that damages their credibility, even their own sanity and mental state and personal motives can come into question. The local residents, although most likely not meaning to cause any harm, seemed to believe more in the legend of the courthouse than the actual facts that were presented. It is difficult for people to change their hardest beliefs, especially when someone from the outside comes in to have an unbiased look at things. Among Tech Based Ghost Hunters, this fact is the norm and the Kerrobert Court House was no exception.

Although a good portion of the alleged activity was proven to be of natural explanation, there was some evidence captured by the S.G.H.S that might point to some unexplained activity.

Orb captured by SGHS at the Kerrobert Courthouse

Some interesting photos with strange anomolies were captured during the course of the investigation. In the Tech Based Ghost Hunting community, the one thing you learn, and must learn quick, is to learn to differentiate natural phenomena from real oddities that are captured. Since the development of digitial cameras and the development of the internet, there have been countless pictures of what people call orbs and every other medium was stating that these were spiritual entities. Unfortunately, what really is happening is that the flash of the camera is picking up the reflection of dust, pollen and other such debri which is relatively close to the lens, creating the illusion of round orbs. Other things that have been mistakenly referred to as paranormal in fact are things like camera chords, fingers, malfuntion automatic lens covers, etc. Smoke and natural mists are often mistaken for “ecto” etc.

There were several photo’s taken that showed some strange light anomolies that the SGHS team was not able to rationally explain at this point. Some unexplained highly visible light anomolies were captured, and although they are unexplained at the moment, it does not mean that they will not be in the future.

Several interesting clear EVPs were captured with the digital audio recorders. Electronic Voice Phenomena is the apparent capturing of audio from the dead. It is important when capturing these audio recordings that they are analyzed carefully. Not only did the SGHS capture some interesting EVP, it was extremely clear and intelligent making it difficult to explain. Some of the EVP can be found on the website of the SGHS, some of the EVP has not been released yet as it is very vulgar.

A few videos of some strange light and shadow movements were captured with the infrared cameras. When viewing these videos, you must have a well trained eye and not rush to conclusions. What SGHS captured still remains unsolved.

Miles had a strange personal encounter while attending the old judge’s chambers of the court house. While laying on the old judges bed, Miles felt a hand pressing him on his forehead while no one else was in the room. The sound of beds in the old Sheriffs quarters were also heard squeaking as if someone was sitting on them. Perhabs the spirits of remanded prisonners from long past remain to await there final judgement.

SGHS was able to conclude that most of what people were experiencing was the belief in the legends that were heard and passed down from the past generations of Kerrobert. The spotlight subconscious effect plays a large factor on how some of the people react to there experiences, and it is just human nature. Most of the alleged paranormal activity was explained rationally. With that being said, the evidence gathered by the SGHS may support the fact that there is indeed some paranormal events transpiring in the court house. The goal of the SGHS was to investigate and find the truth to what was really happening. There may be some valid paranormal activity happening in the court house, but it is logical to say that most of it has been blown out of proportion.

As a result of the hard leg work done by the SGHS, there is one bit of information that was uncovered that the locals knew nothing about. This was the story of George Cecil Howard. Howard was a farmer who was tragically killed by his tractor, while standing behind it and the gear kicked out. He scrawled his last will and testament on its fender. After he died, the fender was kept in evidence at the Kerrobert Courthouse. An EVP was captured that sounds like “I bequeath my two children” which can be related to Howards will. The Fender is currently on display at the University of Saskatchewan.

The courthouse in Kerrobert has become somewhat of a tourist attraction. Ever since the SGHS has been there, other groups have come in to investigate. Some have discovered interesting evidence, where as some has been downright laughable and a definite attempt to cash in on a ghost story. The town had a Friday the 13th High school ghost tour. I am sure that such events will continue to try and continue the Kerrobert court house legend.

Kerrobert is a small town full of good hard working people. The SGHS came to try and help find truth to their Court House claims. The people of Kerrobert love to share their unique history to those who visit. The legend of the Kerrobert court house will remain a part of their tales. The evidence gathered by the SGHS might help provide for it some more tales for them to talk about into the future. However, how much you want to take in the tales is up to you, but everyone loves a good ghost story!

-Paranormal Saskatchewan Team & Sask Ghost Hunters Society