The Deane House – Fort Calgary

Fort Calgary was built in 1875 at the junction of the Bow and Elbow Rivers because the region had become a haven for whiskey traders and outlaws. The North-West Mounted Police were charged with establishing order here because rail lines were being laid, opening up vast regions of Canada to trade and settlement. The area grew up quickly into the city of Calgary. In 1906, the fort’s superintendent, Captain Richard Deane, felt the living quarters weren’t suitable for his wife, Martha. For the eyebrow-raising sum of $6,200, Captain Deane had a stately home built at the fort. He called the home: “Certainly the best house in Mounted Police occupancy at that date.” Martha would never step foot in the house. She died of illness before she could move in. The fort closed in 1914, and the land was bought by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway—they tore down all of the buildings except for the Deane House. The house became the station agent’s quarters, and the building was relocated to the southeast corner of the property. In 1929, the house was sold to C.L. Jacques, a local entrepreneur who had the building moved again, this time across the Elbow River to the opposite bank, where it would become a boarding house. From 1933 to 1968, the house saw many dark days. There was a suicide in the attic, as well as a murder/suicide that occurred when a husband stabbed his wife to death and then took his own life as their children watched in horror. Two others Central Canada 233 died of natural causes in the building, and there are two unconfirmed reports of other murders that took place, one on the front steps. In the 1980s, the building became a part of the Fort Calgary–preserved historic site. Today the Deane House is a restaurant with many haunted legends inside. One common apparition spotted at the Deane House is an old native man with long, black braids who has been seen in the basement of the house. The apparition told one woman, “You shouldn’t be here, this site is sacred,” and then he faded away. Bob Pearson, the interpretation coordinator for Fort Calgary said, “There was an old telephone that wasn’t connected to anything. Not only is it not connected, I’ve discovered there’s nothing inside it—it doesn’t have any inner workings. Some people reported that they could hear the phone ring. They go in and try and answer it, and of course there was no one there.” Others have claimed to smell cigar smoke, hear voices, and an antique piano located on the second floor has been known to play when no one is supposed to be in the room. One of the workers will walk up the stairs to investigate, only to hear the music stop as they approach the top of the stairs. When they open the door to the room with the piano, there is no one there. A scared staff member once reported seeing a dark apparition come down the stairs inside the house. The employee noticed this man had no legs below the knees. The ghost floated right by the staff member toward the door and dissipated into nothing.

—Jeff Belanger Founder,

Taken from the: Encyclopedia of Haunted Places -Ghostly Locales from around the World – Compiled & Edited by Jeff Belanger – Copyright 2005 by Jeff Belanger

Deane House 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. History 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 confl uence 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 new 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 Pacifi c 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 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 longsleeved 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.


Belanger, Jeff. The World’s Most Haunted Places. Franklin Lakes, N.J.: New Page Books, 2004. Smith, Barbara. Ghost Stories from Alberta. Willowdale, Ontario: Hounslow Press, 1993.

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007