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Campfire Stories: 5 of Manitoba’s most terrifying tales and legends

Credit: Travel Manitoba

Gather ‘round the flickering flame of the campfire and settle in for an evening of scares. Bring these terrifying tales on your next camping trip in Manitoba, and you’re sure to feel a chill in the air over stories of ghosts, monsters and aliens.

Monsters of the deep in Lake Manitoba

One of the great figures in Canadian folklore lies somewhere in the depths of Lake Manitoba. The Manipogo is a sea monster, predicted to be anywhere from 12 to 50 feet long – depending on the eye witness. While people have claimed to see the creature since the 1800’s, its history goes much further back, with the Indigenous population of the surrounding areas having oral histories and legends of a serpent-like creature in the lake.

In 1948, C.P. Alric reported a large creature that rose from the lake and gave a dinosaur-esque cry. Similarly, the snake-like creature was spotted by a couple in the 1960’s, no more than 60 yards from their boat. In 2004, a commercial fisherman Keith Haden reported that several of his fishing nets that were cast near the Narrows had been torn up with damage similar to what a shark or killer whale would do in the ocean.

Although the sightings and descriptions vary, there’s no question that something strange lurks in Lake Manitoba. Take a dip to find out yourself at popular beaches like Lundar Beach, Ambroise Beach, Delta Beach or Steep Rock.

Steep Rock - Credit: Visual Soul Studios (Courtesy of Travel Manitoba)

Paranormal activity in Fort Garry Hotel

In truth, Fort Garry Hotel has just the right aesthetic for a haunting. The hotel was built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in the popular château style, with an exterior featuring bold steep-sloped roofs and a grand interior with wide hallways and high ceilings. And it’s not entirely uncommon to feel a chill up your spine when wandering the castle-like hotel at night, especially given its history of hauntings. The room in question is #202, where guests have reportedly been woken by ghostly figures standing at the foot of their bed.

The origins of the haunting are said to have started with a pair of honeymooners, who booked into room 202 just before the bride got sick. When her new husband left to get her medicine, he never returned – he had died in a car accident on the way to get help. A combination of shock and grief sent the bride over the edge, and she committed suicide by hanging in the hotel room closet.

Today, the ghost has been spotted grieving in room 202, as well as in the lounge, where she weeps for love lost.

Peg Square Tours offers a Broadway Ghost Walk, where brave participants can learn more about the alleged hauntings at one of Winnipeg’s famed hotels.

Fort Garry Hotel - Credit: @oreos_dad

Close encounters at Falcon Lake

The Whiteshell is no stranger to bizarre and unusual happenings.

When it comes to UFO sightings, this story of Stefan Michalak remains as one of the most credible and well-documented cases, and one that will certainly make you a little wary when gazing up at the night sky in this region of Manitoba. The Falcon Lake Encounter tale begins on May 19, 1967, when amateur geologist Stefan headed to the bush in search of precious minerals. When he emerged some time later, he was a sorry sight – covered in burns, heaving with sickness – and a victim to the unexplained. Stefan had witnessed something unbelievable – an abnormal explosion that burned his clothing and skin with radiation, leaving a strange grid-like pattern and a series of illnesses in the years to come.

As the story goes, Stefan was deep in the bush when he saw two cigar-shaped objects hovering just 45 metres away. While one landed and changed shape, the other flew away, and Stefan took a few moments to observe from afar. Deciding to get a closer look, he approached the strange aircraft and touched its seamless surface, which melted the fingertips on his gloves. The unidentified flying object flew away with a sudden burst of hot air or gas that struck Stefan, burning him and leaving him in a nauseous and disoriented state. In the years to follow, Stefan stuck by his story but also occasionally stated he regretted saying anything at all about his experience, which was extensively investigated by the RCMP but remains unsolved.

Today, Devin and Kendra Imrie, owners and operators of Falcon Beach Ranch, provide a specialized UFO tour of the area surrounding their property.

Whiteshell Provincial Park - Credit: @jaworskyj

Occult mysteries at the Manitoba Legislative Building

Would you be surprised to hear that Winnipeg is home to occult clues, hidden in plain sight, right before our eyes? If you venture into our city’s core for work or leisure, chances are you’ve passed our incredible Legislative Building. What most people don’t know, however, is that the building is masonic in nature, rife with the occult.

There are a number of design choices throughout the Legislative that are particularly unsettling. Built in proportion to the original Solomon’s Temple, the Manitoba Legislative Building’s great hall is a perfect square, with each side being 66.6 feet long. According to architectural historian Frank Albo, this could simply be a symbol for the power of the sun, but it could also reference occult work and is commonly associated with the beast of revelation 13.

Directly beneath the Golden Boy is a room with a dome ceiling and an eight-pointed star – ie; a circular alter and symbol of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. That may not be creepy on its own, but the room is also designed like a sacrificial chamber, with the veined marble floor being a metaphor for the victim. And while that is absolutely creepy, the building is actually a balance of good and evil – with a number of protector beasts and spirits guarding its walls, from a pair of bison to the threatening head of Medusa.

Square Peg Tours offers a walking tours of this mysterious building.

Manitoba Legislative Building - Credit: Enviro Foto

Apparitions of St. Andrews on the Red

How could we write a blog post about creepy happenings and not include a really old church? And we do mean old! St. Andrew’s on the Red was completed in 1849 and is located outside of the town of Selkirk on River Road. Indeed, it is the oldest stone church in Western Canada, and as such, has its fair share of paranormal activity.

People who grew up in the area can probably remember daring their friends to walk “widdershins” (backwards) around the Church three times; with the expectation you would disappear. While that likely did not come to fruition, there are a number of other reports from this church that led to its haunted notoriety.

Those who have dared visit the church at night have reported on disembodied red eyes that float through the cemetery, organs that play spontaneously, a mysterious woman cloaked in white and reoccurring nightmares of rattling church gates.

Get a closer look at the historic church on a self-guided tour of the region.

St. Andrews on the Red - Credit @hcroftj

Further information on Manitoba can be found at

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