Column: Superstitions and the supernatural in B.C.

Shuswap Outdoors by Hank Shelley

Is it a quirk of the mind or is there something more sinister, or real, in a baseball player having a small token, coin or medallion bring him success in each game?

What about an angler using his passed on gramp’s or uncle’s rod, lures or a special coin each time he’s out fishing, to bring him luck?

Sitting beside a elder native man at the old residential school in Kamloops years ago, our group the Eagle River round table, sent myself and a friend. During a presentation from a member of the Adams Lake Band, he reached over and said to me, “I didn’t believe what was going on.” I was skeptical. Next day I drove up to Pinaus Lake to fish. Stepping into the lodge, the owner’s wife said a fisherman had seen bones on the shoreline. Indian Affairs and the Okanagan Band was informed. The remains were gathered and placed in a coffin-like box of wood, and Arvid, the owner, nailed the lid down tight. There was an investigation. A plot was arranged, a legal survey done and the remains of a man and small child would be put to rest, overlooking the lake.

There was a full moon two nights later. When Arvid went into the shed to check the box, the lid was raised three inches. He nailed the box down tight. Over the course of a month or more, and another full moon, on checking, Arvid found the lid once again raised. The spirits wanted to be free! To find their own resting place.

According to legend, the Okanagan First Nations took deceased persons to the lake to be enshrined along its shore.

After catching a nice trout or two that late evening, I headed home, stopping to give a dressed trout to a friend who lived in an old home on Salmon River Road. The gal who lived there said there was a friendly ghost who lived in the house. She had seen it. Years before, there as a fire and a lady perished in the flames. But her ghost was present. It was a full moon. I knocked on the door. There was a swishing sound, as a lady floated down the stairs in ghostly, wispy fashion, then was gone.

Years ago in Barkerville, the general store had a ghost who used to slowly climb the stairs at night and go over the ledger, checking the books. A friend of the owner slept in the store at night and saw the old,well-built man with a large beard slowly climbing the stairs to the office where he sat for some time.

Is the supernatural around us?


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