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Kitimat paranormal group The Ghost Watchers at historic cannery near Prince Rupert

Paranormal isn’t just ghosts, it’s anything unexplained groups says
Walter McFarlane of The Ghost Watchers records Danny Nunes with a spirit box which is hoped to record spirit voices, at the North Pacific Cannery on the group’s second visit to the historic site on Aug. 23. The groups have investigated the historic site three times, most recently on Oct. 22. See story on page 11. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

For the third time since August, The Ghost Watchers quad crew staked out the site of North Pacific Cannery in search of paranormal activity on Oct. 22.

Rain and rockslides closing the highway didn’t deter the Kitimat-based group from the historical site evaluation. It is the site most requested by avid fans to scope out, Danny Nunes, the group’s frontman, told The Northern View.

The posse, resembling an 80s movie of now-grown-up adventure-seeking youths, is made up of Nunes the self-professed “charming and handsome” one of the group, cameraman plus “heart and soul” of the production team Walter McFarlane BCIT graduate, Roy Lawson and John Powell operate equipment such as the spirit boxes and laser grid projectors. Kasey Anderson is the newcomer brought in for the latest cannery inquiry on the investigative team. He offers talented 100 per cent skepticism and counter-point, Nunes said.

The team uses a variety of electronic devices to ascertain any presence or entities. A spirit box measures or cycles through radio frequencies producing static sound through which Nunes said it is hoped voices can be heard in answering direct questions. Night vision equipment, thermal imaging apps on phones and the laser grid are also used. The laser grid is a light device emanating a red or green dot pattern on the walls.

“That’s used as visual stimuli to see if it draws a response by having something walk into it and breaking up the grid it projects. It is also used to gain audio response on our devices to see if the colour projected is being seen and acknowledged,” Nunes explained.

With their handheld devices and thermal imaging equipment panning the grounds for invisible action, The Northern View followed along in an August visit to the regional landmark for some possible paranormal adventure and to report on any findings.

One of the stories coming out of the cannery is about a spirit lady who inhabits the bunkhouse and room 10. It is said that when female guests stay in the room, she pulls on the bed covers during the night, leaving them exposed.

In the August investigation, Nunes said there were some findings.

“We did get some interesting audio related to the story of room 10 … I was in the European Bunkhouse hallway where the female ghost is [alleged] to be. I asked for a name. I got a response. Amanda,” the paranormal investigator said.

Another story is that the keys on a couple of the older style typewriters will depress on their own as if someone is typing.

The Northern View witnessed an unexplained static phenomenon through the spirit box held over one particular typewriter in the bunkhouse common room.

Being caught by the recent highway closure, the gang stayed overnight in the European Bunkhouse at the cannery after a live stream earlier in the evening on Oct. 22. Nunes said he saw it as an opportunity to do more investigating and walked the grounds between 3 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. He didn’t see anything during that time. However, Nunes said audio responses were heard in the bunkhouse.

“The most audio responses we got were in room 15,” Nunes said.

While he couldn’t remember exactly what responses there were, it was enough to pique his interest and make him stay most of the night in the room.

“I’ve lost track of how many people have said, ‘I’ve witnessed this or I’ve witnessed that’. The cannery itself has more than 100 years of history to encompass and take in,” Nunes said. “It’s a lot of work. The darker it gets, the spookier, the more interested I am.”

Nunes was emphatic in reiterating The Ghost Watchers are not ghostbusters. They do not remove ghosts, entities, or evil spirits.

“We can’t bust ghosts. We are really just paranormal investigators. We are storytellers. We are documentarians, we document stories to see if we can find anything. I can’t come to your house with a proton pack and bust a ghost. People ask, but I’m sorry, we just can’t.”

The members have searched out various locations in the Northcoast with historical significance, like abandoned railway tunnels, Miller Bay Hospital, Heritage Park in Terrace, a pizza restaurant in Kitimat and most recently, the team returned to a wooded area in Thornhill.

Nunes said on Oct. 26, he had an interesting and scarier experience than the cannery.

“The team did a follow-up to our “White Lady of Thornhill” investigation of last year. We went to the very locations where we think we saw glowing footprints on camera,” Nunes said. “We got a lot of responses from a male voice — just like last year, mostly approaching me.”

Some members of the group are interested in other unexplained mysteries, like Bigfoot, aliens or witchcraft, techy Lawson said they are not opposed to taking a look.

“While we focus mostly on ghosts, paranormal doesn’t just mean ghosts, but the unexplained,” Lawson said.

The analytical organization was first formed in 2017 under the name of Paranormal Northcoast British Columbia. Nunes and Powel are the co-founders of the ghost-watching gang. As children of the 80s, Nunes said their interest started in childhood with scarey movies embedded in their memories. Information on how to get started was sparse.

However, in the age of social media and the internet, there is much more information on how one can go about being a paranormal investigator, Nunes said.

He and Powel started slowly looking for places around Kitimat, such as Lower Dike Road, where accidents had been reported and alleged ghosts of abandoned pets roam. They started testing equipment to see if there were any responses. They would search newspaper archives to find possible sites.

Most of the investigations take place at night, not because it’s spooky, but because it is quiet, Nunes said. It takes hours to review footage and audio to find any possible results.

“Right now, with winter on the way, the team is done travelling until next year. We have a lot of footage to go through still. We’re hoping to have videos up by December,” Nunes said.

The Ghost Watchers use electronic and imaging devices at the North Pacific Cannery to ascertain if there is any ghostly or paranormal activity on the grounds. The groups have attended the historic site three times, most recently on Oct. 22, to investigate. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
The Ghost Watchers, a paranormal investigative group uses a laser grid pointer at a wall in the North Pacific Cannery on Aug. 23. The lit colours are supposed to attract any ghosts or paranormal activity, said members of the group.