Playing at the Devil’s Playground

Picture credits: Public Forum

Back in high school (which was a LONG time ago), a group of friends and I used to go visit the old school house just outside of Calgary, now referred to as the Devil’s Playground. The school house was said to be haunted, with several rumours floating around Calgary about children dying, fire starting, and crazy nuns. I have read that three children died there in a school fire, although I have also heard that up to eight children died. I can’t confirm either. There are claims of people hearing children playing in the fields of the school house, when clearly there are no children around. There were stories of failed attempts to tear down the school house, resulting in Unsolved Mysteries doing a segment on it.


So one night after dark, my friends and I decided to pay the school house a little visit. In all honesty, that night is a little blurry for me, so I only remember a few details. The school house is on private property, so the thrill of having to navigate a barbed wire fence and then ever so sneakily tresspass to the house was enough to make most people turn back. But I prevailed, made it to the school house and went inside. All I remember is that the floor of the school house basement was covered with dead birds. Like, a lot of birds. Enough that it has created an imprint in my brain for the last twenty years. If my memory serves me correctly (which it probably doesn’t), I’m pretty sure they were magpies. I also remember there being a chalk board with some writing on it, which no doubt was put there by some other delinquent teens trying to hunt some ghosts. I didn’t go in any further, and haven’t returned since.

The farmer whose land the school house was on would send out a warning shot, which typically had the kids all running for their vehicles. It was rumoured that the farmer had salt pellets he’d shoot at trespassers, although I can’t remember if any of my friends took a hit or not… I’ll have to ask around.

After going to the house that last time, the group of us left the property and went somewhere else to use the Quija board, in an attempt to contact any of the deceased school house children. Yes, that was me as a teen. Always searching for some sign of paranormal activity, and scaring myself half to death. I honestly cannot remember what happened when we went on the Quija board, but I know it scared the good majority of us. I have fond memories of that night, and only now can see how dangerous it aquijactually was, you know, now that my brain is fully developed and all. 😉 Yet at the same time, it gives me a little empathy and understanding to deal with some of the ridiculous shit my teenagers now do.

So with that, I hope you are having a lovely Samhain and/or Halloween weekend. I hope you find all the ghoulish tales and creepy stories you long for. Stay safe and make good choices.

Giving thanks

It was Thanksgiving this past weekend here in Canada. We decided to host the family for thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, where we had sixteen people in total. My parents, Lindsay’s parents, Justan’s mom, and my cousin with her two kids. Five homemade pumpkin pies, four bottles of wine, and one twenty pound turkey, fed all of our family and left us with leftovers for weeks. We call this the “leftover season.”

Last year we hosted dinner, but Justan’s mom did not make it. So this was the first year that we had all the parents under one roof at the same time. There were no tears, no arguing, and no belly left unfilled. There was laughter, conversation, and smiles all around. This is the sort of thing I love. I sat at the head of the table and just observed everyone, and felt so grateful for the family I have. I am eternally grateful for our unique, weird, different, large, awesome family.

If you’re in Canada and you were celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you enjoyed your day and I hope you were fed well. Happy Thanksgiving. Or as we like to say, “Happy traditional gender roles day!”