I composed the following account concerning the night when we encountered a malevolent presence in the vicinity of the southern foothills of Nordegg, Alberta. My recollection of the events is accompanied by insights shared by my friend Greg, with whom I engaged in correspondence regarding that particular night.
In the late winter of 2017, I found myself residing in Nordegg, Alberta, a quaint town-site situated roughly thirty minutes east of the Rocky Mountains—a home I had occupied since my relocation to Alberta in 2013.
Nordegg, Alberta is characterized by its segmentation into four distinct sectors. The historical coal mine facilities and grounds, overseen by Clearwater County and the Province of Alberta, are off-limits to the general public. The ghost town, alternatively referred to as Brazeau (in honor of its erstwhile ownership by Brazeau Collieries), comprises nearly a dozen dilapidated structures left to neglect. The contemporary town-site encompasses a blend of townhouses, trailer homes, assorted businesses, a museum, a motel, and a gas station. Finally, to the north, on the opposing side of Highway 11, lies a resort precinct containing seasonal residences.
Notably, Nordegg, Alberta bears the historical legacy of a devastating coal mine explosion on October 31, 1941, claiming the lives of thirty-two miners. Despite the profound impact on the community of 800, mining operations resumed within six weeks of the tragedy, persisting for an additional decade.
On an evening during this season, I found myself in the company of a friend named Greg, positioned along the street south of my residence. Our mutual appreciation for outdoor activities led us to frequently embark on hikes along the defunct railway routes above the ghost town. As the clock neared 10 pm, we opted to embark on a walk towards the disused Main Street section. It's worth noting that Greg had formed an attachment with a stray cat that frequented his vicinity, often visiting the front porch where it was fed cat kibble from the local general store.
Spanning an isolated location, Nordegg, Alberta is situated southeast of the juncture between David Thompson Highway 11 and the 734 Forestry Trunk Road. Encompassed by an expansive wilderness inhabited by bears, wolves, coyotes, and cougars, the region is one where the prudent storage of items such as knives, bear spray, or firearms is customary. Thus, as we ventured into the darkened hills on our hike, it was imperative that both my friend and I were adequately equipped to address any potential challenges.
Our trajectory led us up the street, aiming for a remote Y intersection roughly a quarter of the way into the foothills extending behind the town. The night, characterized by partial cloud cover, lent moderate illumination that allowed for visibility up to a distance of approximately fifty meters. The stray cat—a short-haired tabby—opted to accompany us on this walk. Accustomed to outdoor pursuits, the feline traversed a distance of ten to fifteen meters ahead of us, adopting an irregular zigzag path across the road. The cat occasionally paused, exhibiting curiosity towards the weeds lining the road's periphery, occasionally engaging in playful swats at insects stirred from the untamed grass.
Several minutes into our journey, we approached the vicinity of the road intersection. Without warning, the cat altered its course to position itself within a mere meter of our location. It was evident that the feline had detected a presence or disturbance in the darkness, prompting this unusual proximity.
Within the dimly illuminated landscape, I could discern the slender trunks of trees and the wild shrubbery adorning the triangular parcel of land demarcated by the intersecting dirt and gravel roads. Notably, our flashlights, while possessing considerable luminosity, failed to pierce the expanses of darkness beyond their direct focus, leaving a significant region enveloped in shadow. Amid the gnarled foliage, an area of pronounced darkness materialized—a manifestation devoid of specific form or contour. Reflecting on this phenomenon, I recollected a maxim I had coined at the time: "interrogate the shadows in the clarity of day, but harbor trepidation for the shadows shrouded in nocturnal obscurity."
In unison, Greg and I experienced an uncanny sensation—a shared sentiment that Greg later articulated during a conversation on Facebook. As he conveyed, "There was definitely something wrong that night. That was freaky as hell." Concurring with this assessment, I can only elaborate on the experience as one infused with a pervasive aura of darkness—an unsettling ambience suggesting the presence of an entity observing from the shadows. We remained stationary, gazing in silence at the indistinct focal point, while the cat steadfastly maintained its proximity. Whether the feline's actions denoted a cautionary alert or an analogous disquiet, I cannot definitively ascertain.
Although I harbored no fear of an unexpected human presence lurking in the vicinity, owing to the armed vigilance maintained by both my friend and me, the ensuing minutes were marked by introspection as we endeavored to rationalize the encounter. Despite our concerted attempts to attribute the phenomenon to a mundane explanation—whether a living being or an animal—no concrete evidence surfaced in support of either hypothesis. As Greg reminisced, "I kept my pistol in my hand for the rest of the way."
Having eliminated the prospect of encountering a predator or a human intruder, we resumed our expedition, continuing our journey up the road towards the historical Main Street of the ghost town. The cat, apparently more at ease, reverted to its carefree manner, meandering away from our path. To circumvent traversing the same stretch of road twice, we selected an alternate route for our descent. As Greg appraised the draft of this article, he expressed a sentiment I concur with: "I did not feel safe until we passed by the creepy ass cemetery."
Our experience during that fateful night remains indelibly etched in our memories, persistently vivid even three years thereafter. Evidently, the event remains eminently unforgettable. Over time, I intend to share additional accounts of the peculiar occurrences that transpired in Nordegg, including anecdotes recounted by local residents and co-workers alike.
Stories of the paranormal, the psychological and the unexplained. I've taken the original stories and, working with ChatGPT 3.5, re-imagined them. If you commented before, thank you, your feedback is appreciated.