Date: June 15, 2013
Location: Greenhill Mine, Blairmore, Alberta
Claims: hearing voices, seeing odd lights, hearing machinery running although there is no power to any of the buildings
Case Status: Open
Greenhill Mine was opened by West Canadian Collieries in 1913, and closed April 30, 1957, when the demand for coal dropped when oil became the fuel of choice. The mine site is a huge complex comprised of such buildings as a First Aid hut, compressor room, a hospital, and a lamp house, as well as many other buildings we believe may have been temporary homes for the mine boss and unmarried diggers. The tipple itself is still standing, and is considered a historic site. It is in very poor condition, and quite unstable, so, to protect visitors from injury, the structure has been enclosed by high chain-link fencing. During a breakfast meal at a sweet little place called Chris’s Restaurant, local paramedics told us they still have to rescue and treat the odd teenager who climbs the fence, gets into the tipple, and ends up getting hurt, but overall, most people are pretty good about staying outside of the fence.
We visited the mine complex during the day to get familiarized with some of the buildings, learn the layout of the entire complex, and find the now-sealed portal to one of the main mine entrances. We found everything from old rail cars to a drag chain conveyor, to core samples and various bits and pieces of machinery. We also found a massive boiler with the year 1903 stamped into it, as well as a compressor building, which operated the compressors that provided ventilation in the tunnels so the miners could breathe. To view photos of this historic location, please visit our website at www. wolfparanormal.com and check out the Photos link.
We arrived at the mine site at approximately 11pm. Trevor and Robyn investigated the tunnel to the sealed mine portal, a house-like structure we think may have been a small administration building, and the First Aid room. Holly and Michele began their investigation of the main compressor building, the distance of which was approximately equivalent to two city blocks away from Trevor and Robyn. The air temperature was warm, but not hot, and there was virtually no wind. Due to the time of year, there were mosquitoes, but because it was long past sundown, we were relieved not to have to fight them off while trying to run our equipment at the same time. Along with a voice recorder, Trevor and Robyn also used the FLIR and full-spectrum camera at their section; Holly and Michele used the Ovilus, as well as a digital camera and a voice recorder. Due to the distance between both teams, each team carried a walkie-talkie.
Robyn and Trevor reported hearing what sounded like voices, as well as various pops and bangs while they were near the sealed mine portal, which is covered by a metal quonset roof in bad condition. After reviewing the audio and video of this area, all team members agreed that the water caused distortions that sounded like voices, while the pops and bangs were caused by the contraction of the metal covering as the temperature continued to cool. However, their investigation of one of the structures we think is one of the machine buildings provided very different results. Inside the building, hanging from a rafter, was a large object comprised of what looked like small branches tangled together into the shape of a kind of mobile. Bolted onto the concrete floor were various pieces of smaller equipment, one of which may have been a crusher. Robyn asked for a sign of any spirit presence, and almost immediately, she reported hearing what she described as a growl. She asked Trevor if his stomach had just rumbled, and Trevor said he wasn’t sure, but he didn’t think it was him.
When Robyn made a second request for a sign of spirit presence, both she and Trevor heard what they described as machinery grinding. Since there is no power to any of the buildings in the complex, Robyn and Trevor went outside the building to see if they could find a possible source for the distinctive sound. They were unsuccessful. When they returned to the inside of the building and Robyn asked a third time for a sign of spirit presence, both she and Trevor heard a pebble being tossed. Trevor noted that it came from behind Robyn’s back. Robyn asked for the event to be repeated, just to be sure it was not a fluke, and no sooner had she made the request than both she and Trevor heard the sound of many pebbles being dropped on the roof of the building. The wind had come up, so they immediately went outside to see if trees were responsible for the sound. There were no coniferous (cone-bearing) trees near the building; there were only slender aspens whose limbs reached well above the roof. Robyn and Trevor checked everything near the outside of the building, but they could not find the source of the sounds they heard.
At the same time Robyn and Trevor were experiencing unusual events, Holly and Michele were experiencing similar events at the compressor building, where a large boiler outside used to power the compressors that powered the air hoses and other tools. A request was made for a sign of spirit presence, and suddenly, from somewhere near the boiler, both Holly and Michele heard the sound of pebbles being scattered across the concrete slab into which the boiler is bolted. Trying to ensure that this was not just a fluke or a small animal, a request for confirmation of spirit presence was made. Both Holly and Michele reported hearing pebbles being thrown on the roof almost immediately, as well as loud banging against the sides of the compressor building itself. Holly and Michele investigated the exterior of the building, searching for possible causes for the odd sounds. They noted that the wind had come up, and that there were several slender aspens swaying back and forth, but none were hitting the building, and there were no coniferous trees near the roof that could explain the sound of many pebbles being thrown down on it.
Concerned that perhaps a nesting animal had been disturbed, or that there was larger wildlife in the woods that could pose a potential threat, Holly and Michele decided to leave the area and meet with Robyn and Trevor to find a different area of the site to investigate. After reporting the events to Robyn and Trevor, Holly and Michele returned to the vehicle and sat inside to wait for Robyn and Trevor to finish their investigation of the machine building, which they were still in when Michele and Holly reported their experiences. Interestingly, Robyn and Trevor later reported hearing footsteps and a disembodied voice, both of which they attributed to Holly. However, they realized that Holly could not be the source of either sound: She and Michele were in the car, which was parked approximately 100 feet away from the building Robyn and Trevor were still investigating, and Holly’s gait was slow and awkward due to a broken toe, whereas the footsteps Robyn and Trevor heard were quicker and more even.
For safety, the whole team came together and decided to investigate the lamp house as well as the hospital building, which now houses core samples. There were no unusual events reported in either building, although the team did see a muskrat carry nesting material from one room in the lamp house to another. They also spotted a bird’s nest on a plank of wood hanging down from the ceiling; it was noted that there was a bird in the nest. In the wash house, although it was never located, the entire team caught the scent of a skunk. There were also small voles and mice and other rodents moving through the core samples and gravel scattered everywhere.
During the investigation, which took approximately three hours, all team members had a variety of personal experiences ranging from hearing disembodied sounds to feeling watched. No team member could immediately explain what may have caused those experiences. It was of great interest, however, that each team experienced similar events at almost exactly the same time, and that no cause could be – or has since been – found for those events. We do know, however, that what we experienced is not exclusive to us, and that a return visit is definitely warranted. The complex is quite large; there are several areas in which we are quite interested that we did not have the opportunity to investigate on this first visit, so we are starting to plan a return visit for some time this fall.
The Greenhill Mine is a living part of the history of the Crowsnest Pass, and along with Hillcrest, Bellevue, and Frank, it offers up an intriguing story of what life was like for those helping to put the Crowsnest Pass on the map as a major mining community and coal production source.
We want to thank the staff at Chris’s Restaurant, the Coleman Museum, the Miner’s Hospital, the Bellevue Mine, and all the local residents who took the time to talk with us about the history of both their towns and the Pass itself. We enjoyed our visit immensely, and we look forward to sharing in the 100th Anniversary celebrations in 2014. We also want to thank Marion, who works with the Municipal Government, and Kathy, who runs the Frank Slide Interpretive Center, for taking time from her very busy schedule to meet with us and point us in various, very interesting directions – all of which we pursued, and many of which we will be returning to when we come back in the fall.