The former home of Drumheller’s first dentist and pharmacist, Dr. Robert James Johnston Sr., will be the subject of a investigation by the Calgary Association of Paranormal Investigations. Some believe the spirit of Johnston lingers in the nearly century-old home after his tragic death some 80 years ago.


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Members of a group of ghost hunters from Calgary say they’re reviewing evidence following an effort to make contact with the spirit of Drumheller’s first dentist and pharmacist on Saturday.

The event was part of a global effort, dubbed the World’s Largest Ghost Hunt, as a team of about 10 people from the Calgary Association of Paranormal Investigations visited the house where Dr. Robert James Johnston Sr. died 82 years earlier.

Johnston’s body was discovered by his young son lying next to a discharged shotgun. The 45-year-old’s death was determined to be accidental at the time, with investigators saying the gun fired while he was packing it into his vehicle for a hunting trip.

But some say there are signs Johnston’s spirit remains restless long after his demise, with occupants of the house reporting unusual occurrences over the years, such as the sounds of creaking floorboards, scarcely heard whispers and even sightings of an apparition of a young girl.

It’s too soon to come to any conclusions, said Melissa Wilton, an investigator at the house this weekend.

“We haven’t reviewed all of our footage yet. That’ll take some time,” Wilton said. “We had a lot of cameras set up and digital recorders.”

Through their investigation, Wilton and her team took temperature and electronic readings, making recordings called electronic voice phenomena (EVP), and took photos in every room.

“From the little that we’ve gone through, we have some anomalies in some pictures, some fuzziness or mist or something in a few pictures that we have to still let a photographer look at, to see if we can debunk it,” she said. “The mist also appears in a couple of the videos, so we’ll have those looked at.

“I’m not sure what that could be.”

But the most striking “anomaly” might be one that Wilton and her team couldn’t see at all. They live streamed their investigation to Facebook on Saturday, prompting others to share their observations.

“During the live feed, we had people thinking that they could see a woman in the back corner of the carriage house when we were in there. They were asking on the live feed ‘who’s the woman in the back corner of the carriage house with the black skirt on?’ and there was nobody that fit that description there,” she said.

“We couldn’t see a person and even when I looked on the feed from my phone, I couldn’t see a person there. I don’t know, I think sometimes sensitive people can see things, even in videos, that other people can’t.

“Some psychics that have been to the house have talked about a woman in the carriage house and then people watching the live stream saw a woman there, so it’s kinda neat.”

Wilton said the group should know more by next week.

“Overall it was really interesting,” she said. “We had a good time.”

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