Goosebumps erupt on your neck and arms. A shiver runs down your spine. You squint into the cavernous darkness of the corner of your room. Your heart beats in your chest as blood rushes through your ears. Did you just see something move? And now? Do you pull the covers over your head and close your eyes hoping it’s just your imagination or do you brave the darkness and grab your lamp from the bedside table?
For those convinced that the things that happen at night aren’t just the sounds of a creaking house, there’s SAGE – also known as Southern Alberta Ghost Encounters. The team is made up of Greg Nolin, his wife Jessica Doyon, Desiree Kay and Mickael Snow. The group only started about a month ago, but discovered that a social media post from an Airdrie group had given them many supposedly supernatural places to investigate. However, the group goes into all investigations with a healthy dose of skepticism, balancing their belief in the supernatural, knowing that there may also be this worldly explanations.
“I’ve had experiences throughout my past and in my down time I’ve been working on that and so we started getting the gear together and we talked to those two (Desiree Kay and Mickael Snow ) and they were definitely on board,” Nolin said.
Nolin’s wife, Jessica, said she always had a fascination with the paranormal, even as a child.
“My mother and my Abuela [grandmother] they would share stories of their experiences when they were little. It was mostly about observations and premonitions and as I got older I had my own experiences with intuition,” she said. “I’ve been on the little skeptical side of things [too]. [You] don’t always have to go crazy over the sound you hear.
The same can be said for Michael Snow. Although he said he had experienced the paranormal, he also reserved some skepticism.
“There have been a few experiences I’ve come across that really make me believe, but I’m still skeptical about that,” Snow said.
Desiree Kay said she joined the group because she was determined to get solid evidence of the supernatural.
“I do this because I want to experience it. We have all the material and I really want to prove that there is something there.
On Saturday March 5, Discover Airdrie took part in a paranormal investigation. The place where these mysterious and disturbing things happen? Paw Butler Dog Park and Dog Boarding located in Rockyview County, just southeast of the Calgary city limits. Discover Airdrie met the SAGE team around 11pm, although the team often stayed an entire night at the scene, noting that activity tends to increase around 3am.
SAGE had already staked out the place and spoken to the owners, who let them know that at some point an individual had been pushed down a narrow staircase in one of the buildings, a Quonset, by an unseen force. There have been reports of dogs staring at a closed window on the second floor of the Quonset and Snow said he saw a figure standing in the window – even though that same window is closed with plywood, nailed to the window frame . In a previous investigation, the team was also mysteriously locked away while inside the Quonset. None of the crew remembered ever fishing themselves.
Various employees who have worked at the facility over the past few years have independently reported that the dogs will also not go near a certain corner of the property, where there are remnants of the foundation of an old pioneer house. Nolin said he believes the history of the property, which was previously on Indigenous land, could be the key to why something is wrong.
On a snowy, silent night, in the dark Quonset which has been converted into an exercise yard/park for Dog Butler’s canine guests, the team placed static cameras and motion detectors on the ground floor and On the second floor. They were also fitted with an Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) player, intended to record voices or noises that could be interpreted as spirit voices. The only thing you can hear is the roar of the radiator inside the building. A metal chain hangs from the ceiling, though it doesn’t seem to swing ominously. The team heads to the second floor, carefully climbing the narrow stairs, the same stairs that saw someone claiming they were pushed down. The second-floor landing is littered with various Halloween decorations that cast ghostly shadows on the walls.
Each member of the team wanders around different corners of the building, listening for any signs of otherworldly beings, looking to see if any objects have moved. Their efforts are all streamed live on various social media including Instagram (SouthernAlbertaGhostEncounters), Youtube, Facebook and TikTok. Nolin said that having more equipment ensures their audience the ability to see things from all possible angles, and also ensures that their audience’s things aren’t faked.
“The thing is, if I can bring really good quality footage from three or four different angles, at the same time that we all have live feeds, it’s quite difficult to heal that,” he said.
The team also went to the furthest corner of the property that the dogs avoid. The eerie silence was punctuated by footsteps in the snow, while an eerie glow from the cloudy sky made the walk rather tense. Nolin posed a series of questions to anyone or anything that might be hiding behind the trees, noting that at one point a shaman was called to the property to carry out a cleanup, although he was able to open an upside-down portal.
“Are you friendly?” Nolin asked in the still, cold night air.
Although public opinion on ghosts and the supernatural is sharply divided, millions of people around the world claim to have experienced things they cannot rationally explain. Who knows, maybe those footsteps you hear late at night when no one else is up, it’s just the house moving in… And then again maybe that it’s not the case.
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