For a historical – and ghostly – exploration of Stettler’s compelling history, don’t forget to sign up for the Historic Ghost Walk set for May 25th and June 22nd, starting off from the Stettler Hotel.
Cost is $20 per person which includes appetizers.
The walks, hosted by the Friends of the Library and formerly organized by the Stettler Board of Trade, are open to those 14 and up. Folks must pre-register for the walks.
After a couple of years hosting the walks, the Board was looking for a community group to continue what was proving to be a popular event.
“The Friends of the Library decided that yes, we’d like to take it over,” said Crystal Friars, assistant library manager. “We participated in last year’s walks to just get an idea of what would work and things like that, and we decided that we would run with it,” she explained.
Tickets are available at the Stettler Public Library.
As to the Historic Ghost Walk itself, one of the key focuses are the murders of the Cook family, which took place in June of 1959.
Robert Raymond Cook was convicted in the case, which saw the deaths of seven members of his own family. He was executed in 1960.
“The walk itself starts at the Stettler Hotel which is one of the older buildings on Main Street,” said Friars. “It’s kind of got a ‘ghostly’ presence in itself. So the walk starts there, and we then basically walk a circular path up to the school and then over to the United Church and then back to the hotel.
“We stop at different areas that have a ghostly feel, and we explore some history – it’s really more of the ‘dark’ history. But you do learn other little things about, for example, an old hospital that is no longer standing and a medical centre that is still standing but that isn’t used as a medical centre anymore.
“You see the location where the Cook house was. A huge chunk of the walk is about the Cook murders, but there other ghostly elements and historical parts of Stettler and the area around it that you learn about as well,” she added.
The May 25th walk starts at 9 p.m. and the June 22nd walk begins at 10 p.m.
“I’m all about advocating for the Library and fundraising for the library, and we use (the walks) as a fundraiser,” said David Guba, president of the Friends of the Library.
Guba added that typically 20 to 25 people of all walks of life sign up for the walks.
“There is a lot of interest, and part of the background for that is the Cook case. And there are a lot of buildings in town that are of interest as well,” he said. “What’s also interesting is that people come to us and tell us more stories. So the repertoire is getting bigger and bigger as we hear more stories of spirits being felt in different buildings around town,” he said.
Friars agreed, adding that organizers are looking at expanding the walk somewhere down the road, to perhaps include other areas of town and maybe the local cemetery.
“I was born and raised in Stettler, and I absolutely love history,” she said, adding that she has learned a lot about the community because of the walks.
“A lot of people don’t even realize the amount of history there is in this town.
“I think it’s very important that people know the history of the place that they live in, and to really to get a good idea of what has gone into making Stettler such a great place to be.”
Call the Library at 403-742-2292 for more information.