Investigation at the YORK HOTEL - Grande Prairie

Recently we were very honoured to be invited to conduct an investigation at the historic York Hotel in Grande Prairie (thank you to new team member Brian for coordinating the arrangements, and Peter for the tip).  
The Hotel is slated for demolition, and we would be the last people admitted access to the hotel, besides the construction and demolition crews.  The York has had a history of ghost stories, which
can be found HERE
 Again we would like to thank Don Swant, Mayor Dwight Logan, and the City of Grande Prairie for allowing us this rare opportunity.

UPDATE: - The Hotel is no more. as of November 1st, 2010


Date: September 18th, 2010
Temperature - Sunny - high of 13c low of 2c
25% chance of class M solar flare
Moon Phase - Waxing Gibbons Illuminated 84.9%

The York Hotel has quite a history of ghost stories  (again click on the link above to learn more).  Everything from people being touched, to disembodied voices, to objects moving.  The hotel even has a story about a woman being murdered by her husband years ago, and even stories about former bar goers who after their death, would come back for a visit.

We arrived around 8 pm and entered the back of the building.  This was an exciting adventure for us, for we were the only persons within the whole hotel.
We proceeded with our equipment to the downstairs lounge, where there were reports of floating ashtrays, voices and 'touching'.

You will notice in the second picture, a couple of 'orbs' above the stairs, this is dust being reflected both by the camera flash, and the light.

I wanted to do baseline tests and set up our first experiment in this area.

Our EMF meters went off, but even though the hotel is being readied to be torn down, there was still power in the hotel. Most of the areas were we had high EMF, were near walls and the bar itself.

Some of the stories that intrigued us, happened in this bar particularly. This included ashtrays moving and floating in mid air, to an angry females voice telling employees to 'get out', to chairs being moved, to the music system malfunctioning for no reason. On employee even reported that when he was in the back hallway storage room, he had just finished tidying up, and he went back in, and things were disorganized. He reported there was no one else downstairs with him.

When we were walking around, I noticed something on the floor and pointed it out to Brian A (who was assisting us on this investigation). He confirmed it was an earring, and we proceeded to explore the downstairs. We walked by this area about 4 times because its up a small flight of stairs that goes into the area where you access the other hallway. About our fourth or fifth time passing this area, I stopped Brian A and asked him if he had dropped his chain (it was near the earring). He said no, then we both looked at each other and said, that was not there before, we were sure of it. We then called Brian N over to take a look at it.

It wasn't real gold, but gold plated, but the both of us where sure it was not there before. As you can see it stands out against the black floor. There were pictures taken by the team members when we first arrived, and I said we were going to have to go through those pictures to confirm it was not there when we got there.

As we were walking around, Brian A and I noticed pieces of an animal skeleton at the back under a mirror mural and above the fireplace. This did seem a bit odd, because this bar had the worlds 'Utopia' painted on the walls in silver.


After our walk around, it was time to set up the first locked off experiment. I decided because of the reports of 'floating ashtrays', that we would set up an ashtray with a cigarette in it (unlit) on the bar. Brenda then took out an empty beer bottle and beer can out of her backpack, and placed them on the bar as well. Lastly we placed the chain we found earlier with these items, and I went and set up the locked off camera (which was set on the stage, zoomed in on the items and that area of the bar).


While I was setting up, the EMF went off near the bar. I asked Brian A to take a look behind, and sure enough, there was a little light over the bar sink. I set up the digital audio recorder, and we then went into the hallway leading behind the bar. We were not sure which hallway it was reported this voice was heard, so we needed to check them both out. 

We walked down this hallway that had numerous rooms off to the side. Some were empty, but most were full of old items and storage. Again our EMF went off, but we followed it to possible electrical interference coming from the walls and ceiling.

We then came back through, and went upstairs. I shut off the lights so the night vision video camera could record in the dark

We walked upstairs in the dark, and Brenda had the other night vision camera. Our EMFs were off the charts again, but unfortunately this was due to exposed wiring and light fixtures in the ceilings.

I must admit the upstairs was very creepy. The hallways looked perfect to film a low budget horror movie in. The rooms, still had personal belongings with full ashtrays and beer bottles.

We tried to go into each room. There was another story of a possible suicide or murder in one of these rooms, but without the exact room number or location, we were left to check all of them out. Brian N and Brenda both had their audio records, and Brian N had his EMF/Temperature meter.  Brian N went down one hallway and took readings and conducted some EVP work, as the rest of us explored the others.

We went into one room and I was startled for a moment. It looked like there might have been someone rolled up into a blanket sleeping. With Brian A behind me, I went in, and checked to make sure it was just a blanket, and it was.

We then decided to go to the main floor and check the main lounge there. To get to the lounges, you had to go through a sealed off section of the corridors

We walked in, and was surprised to see everything wrapped up in orange tarp, except for the glasses that were still hanging over the bar. This was the lounge where it was reported glasses moved, and chairs swivelled.

Unfortunately there were no chairs, but we decided to do some EVP work, in hopes that we would get some reaction. We even asked out if something was there if they could make the glasses move or clink above the bar. After a while, I said we should check the downstairs bar which I myself  had celebrated my birthday many years ago. So we turned around and proceeded to what was the Zoo.

We then made our tracks back and entered a long corridor leading into the main part of the bar. Again things were wrapped up in the orange tarp, including the bar.


The stage was wrapped in orange along with the old DJ booth. We walked around and took some readings. On the dance floor which also had orange tarp on it, was a lone snare stand from a drum-kit Brian A, Brenda and I sat on the stage, while Brian N stood at the other end of the room. We then conducted some more EVP work. While I was sitting on the stage, the temperature dropped by 2'C. We then heard some noises to the side of the room, some clicking and movement. I went up to investigate, and it was only the tarp on the door reacting to a slight breeze.

We then explored the rest of the main floor, and made our way back down to the bar where we had set up our experiment. I checked the objects, and it seemed they had not moved (but if they had, we would have caught them on the camera)

We decided to do some EMF and EVP work, so I replaced the tape in the camera on the stage, we turned out the lights, and started conducting the rest of the investigation. Brenda stood behind the bar, Brian A and I stood in front, and Brian N was of to the side sitting on top of the bar. We then started asking out for responses, and asking out questions.

At one point, my EMF went from a .5 to a 2.75 during the questioning. The line of questioning included 'are you upset your bar you loved so much is going to be gone?' The EMF went up to a 3, and we were trying to ask whatever was making that energy field go up, to go to the K2 that was sitting on the bar. Unfortunately there was no other reactions, especially with the K2.

I then decided to take an audio recorder, and go down the other hallway to see if I could get any reactions. Because there were reports of a woman’s voice telling people to 'get out', I decided to go down this corridor, and 'antagonize' the spirit, if there was one. I warned my team that I was going to be using language unbecoming of a societies President.

The above photo is a shot pointing down that hallway/corridor. 

I turned on the recorder and walked down the hallway, As I walked down, I was 'calling out' the spirit.  At one point, it got very cold around me. I didn't have the temperature gauge with me, so I couldn't see how much it dropped, but it definitely dropped. I checked for possible open windows or air 'leaks', but couldn't find any.

In the mean time the rest of the team was around the bar conducting their own EVP work. I then came back and went down the other corridor doing the same thing, yelling outlandish things hoping to get a reaction. After about another 10 minutes I went and joined my team again.

I then set up a 'music' experiment. Because of the reports of the music equipment at the DJ booth being interfered with, I brought a speaker that hooks up to my mp3 player. I set this up where the DJ booth was, and turned on some music.

Above shot taken from locked off night vision camera.

We then decided to do a walk around upstairs again, back to the main floor bars while we let the experiment play out. I set up my camera and locked it off on the player and the DJ booth area.

We let the experiment play out for about 20 minutes. We came back down, did some more EVP work, and decided to call it a night (It was past midnight and we had a long drive back to Edmonton).



Unfortunately nothing really showed up on the video. There were lots of 'orbs' flying around. One funny thing, when I had set up the music experiment and let it play, there were no orbs around the camera during The Who, but when Bon Jovi came on – there were lots. On closer analysis – these were little flies.

At one point during taping after we had set up the first locked off camera on the bar, and we were planning on going upstairs, you see Brian A and I talking in front of the camera, then we are joined by Brian N. When Brian N comes into frame, you see this white 'blob' or mist come in from the upper left hand side of the screen, follow him, and disappear in the back of his head. It wasn't dust (so it wasn't a dust or other natural explainable orb), and it wasn't a reflection off of anything (which at first I thought it was because of the bar mirror in the background). I can't say its paranormal , if it would have been clearer, maybe I would have been able to come to a definite conclusion.


As far as the audio analysis goes, we did pick up some interesting sounds, all on that one locked off camera and audio recorder in the first experiment at the downstairs bar. On the audio, you can hear what sounds like shuffling of feet, then a chair being moved. Because of the proximity of the road to the hotel, there were a lot of contamination of the audio because of cars and especially motorcycles. On the video recording at the same time, we caught the sounds of a chair moving louder, and what sounds like a door being shut or opened. 

And what about the gold chain? We went through our pictures that were taken before I had noticed it on the floor, and there were a couple of clear photos of that area.

I posted this photo larger than the others so you can see the top of the landing of the stairs where the chain was found. As you can see, there is no chain. The same with all photos of that area taken before, we could not find that chain in any of them. I even zoomed in and clarified the areas of the photo. So was the chain a paranormal phenomenon? If we would have caught it 'appearing' on video camera, we definitely would have had something. But we cannot rule out that maybe it was on the side on the railing area, and fell down when we passed by it. Although I am sure one of us would have heard it, we cannot discount this possibility.  So we cannot conclude this incident is paranormal.

So its the York Hotel haunted? It has a very interesting history and ghost stories, but from our findings, we can say there is the possibility of something paranormal going on, but we cannot come out and say its haunted for a fact. We were the last team to be in this hotel, and its stories  will live on in the memories of Grande Prairies residents.

The team on the York Hotel Investigation (taken in front of the downstairs bar)

Left to Right

Brian Nowlan, Brian Anderson-Buchner, Brenda, Beth Fowler.

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