Saturday, November 7, 2009

Haunted Hotel Scares Up Guests

The tale of a woman who was chopped to bits and burned in the furnace at a northeast Edmonton building doesn't scare people away. In fact, it attracts them. On Halloween, the 1912-era former luxury apartment building turned bed and breakfast was fully booked with guests curious to see the slain woman's ghost. "People just love it," said Mike Comeau, co-owner and caretaker of La Boheme, 6427 112 Ave. According to legend, Comeau says, the building's original caretaker murdered his wife and dragged her down three flights of stairs. "The word is he cut her up in pieces and burned her body in the furnace." The original coal-fired boiler where the gruesome crime is said to have taken place is still in use, though it's been converted to gas.Although the truth of the horrific murder is uncertain and there are no records of it at the city archives, many overnight guests say there's a spirit haunting the creaky- floored antique-style rooms. Last winter, a regular customer was sleeping in suite seven, said to be the most haunted room, when he says his bed lifted right off the ground. "I was screaming, 'Stop!' and I was slapping myself to make sure I was awake," said Larry Finnson, an advertising businessman from Winnipeg. Another time a female employee was doing laundry in the dimly lit basement near the furnace room when she felt someone touch her. She was so startled she ran up the stairs screaming and never came back, said Comeau. "There's a ghost there," said Finnson, who described himself as a skeptic turned believer. "The ghost ain't gonna hurt you but it will freak you out if (it) wants to."