Shadow At The Crossroads
I wrote this article about the night we experienced the demonic presence near the foothills south of Nordegg, Alberta. I have messaged with Greg about that night and his comments are included during my recollection of the events.
It was in the late winter of 2017. I was living in a small town-site called Nordegg, Alberta, located about half an hour east of the Rocky Mountains, where I had been living since moving to Alberta in 2013.
The frontier town-site is divided into four parts. The historic coal mine buildings and grounds , closed off to the unattended public, is managed by Clearwater County and the Province of Alberta. The ghost town, also known as Brazeau (after the company town owners, Brazeau Collieries, back in the day) consists of nearly a dozen run-down neglected buildings. A modern town-site consisting of townhouses, trailer homes, a few businesses, a museum, a motel, and a gas station. And the last section, located to the north on the opposite side of Highway 11, is a resort district of seasonal homes.
Nordegg, Alberta the site of a fatal mine explosion that killed thirty-two miners on October 31, 1941. The tragedy shook the small mountain town of 800, however, mining resumed six weeks following the disaster and continued for another decade.
I was visiting with a friend of mine, Greg, up on the street south from where I lived. We were both outdoors types and loved going for hikes along the old railway lines above the ghost town. It was late, around 10 pm, when we decided to go for a walk up toward the long abandoned Main Street section. Greg had a stray cat he had befriended. It hung outside around the front porch where he fed it cat kibble from the local general store.
Nordegg, Alberta is located, literally, out in the middle of nowhere south-east of the intersection of David Thompson Highway 11 and the 734 Forestry Trunk Road. It is surrounded by a dense wilderness populated by hungry bears, wolves, coyotes, and cougars. It was the sort of place where it was considered somewhat habit to keep a large knife, can of bear spray, or a firearm within quick reach. Our walk up into the dark hills bore no exception to this rule and my friend and me were both armed respectively to our individual abilities for this hike.
We set off up the street toward a distant Y intersection* a quarter of the way up the foothills behind the town. It was a mild, partly cloudy night, but light enough to see about fifty metres ahead. The cat, a short hair tabby, decided to take the walk with us. She was an outdoor cat and walked about ten to fifteen metres away from us, crisscrossing back and forth across the road. She would stop on occasion to sniff at the scrubby weeds along the shoulder and bat at any insects she disturbed in the long uncut wild grass.
After a few minutes walk we got up to near the intersection in the road. The cat suddenly started walking within a metre of us. She clearly sensed something or someone in the darkness.
I could just make out the thin trunk trees and wild bushes on the patch of land triangle between the dirt and gravel roads. Our flashlights, while quite bright, did not pierce the darkness beyond the area they were pointed at leaving a lot of space around us unlit. There was, it seemed, a darker patch of shadows among the gnarled bushes and I could not identify it as having any particular shape or form. I used to have a saying back then, “question the shadows in the light of day but fear the shadows in the darkness at night”.
I know that Greg and I felt it at the same time. “There was definitely something wrong that night”, Greg expressed later in a chat on Facebook, “that was freaky as hell”. I would agree with that statement and describe it further as a dark, ominous feeling, like something was there in the shadows watching us. We stood there in silence staring at the spot and the cat remained close by our side. I do not know if she was trying to warn us, protecting us, or she had felt the same uneasy feeling of the darkness.
I did not feel afraid it might be some weird person lurking though, like I said we were both armed and my friend Greg is a hunter with a background in security. I think we stood there for a solid five minutes just trying to explain it away as being a person or animal, but no evidence presented itself to support either theory. “I kept my pistol in my hand for the rest of the way”, Greg recalled.
When we were satisfied it was not a predator or human, we continued on our trek up the road to the right toward the historic Main Street of the ghost town. The cat seemed to relax again and continued on his free-spirited walk away from our feet. We took a different road back down so we would not walk past the area a second time. “I did not feel safe until we passed by the creepy ass cemetery”, Greg said after reading the draft of this article.
It was an experience we will not soon forget, and three years after we can still recall like it was yesterday. There are several other stories I will be sharing about the strange things that happened in Nordegg, along with some of the ones I heard second-hand from residents and co-workers.
This is a Google Maps image of the area described in this article. The triangle patch of land was thick with young trees and bushes in early 2017. The historic Main Street is located down the road to the right, the cluster of buildings beneath the label Brazeau. The large building to the lower right was a minimum security detention facility. It was torn down in 2016.
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Stories of the paranormal, the psychological and the unexplained.