All of us, be it at Halloween or not, have heard a good ghost story. That could include a story about unexplained apparitions, colourful orbs appearing, something lurking in the dark or mysterious lights flashing.
Ghosts, or at least the belief in them, have been around for centuries and the belief in the supernatural, ghosts or otherwise, has generated interest over the years and has spawned countless television shows, movies and books.
Three years ago, Cole Smith of Kamsack and Ryan Crouse, formerly of Wroxton, started investigating paranormal activity in the Parkland Region. They have consequently become known by their followers as the Knights of the Dark.
Entering its third season on Access 7 Television, Knights of the Dark is a popular, province–wide paranormal investigation series highlighting stories, legends and myths and reports of a supernatural nature. But, unlike most “ghost shows,” Knights of the Dark doesn’t rely on eerie music, staged reactions, or enhanced special effects.
“We want the audience to experience exactly what we experience; no tricks,” said Smith. “Both Ryan and myself are musicians and graphic artists, so adding these extra elements would be easy for us, but it would detract from our credibility.
“When it comes to ghostbusting, it’s not ‘who you gonna’ call?’ It’s ‘who you gonna’ trust?’”
“We investigate locations in Saskatchewan, and we’ve been in and around Kamsack and Canora,” Crouse said. “We don’t attempt to prove anything. We just show viewers the results and they can decide for themselves. We don’t jump to any conclusions.”
Both Crouse and Smith say they have had a long history of experience with the paranormal. Smith’s experiences began at a young age because he had a grandmother in Winnipeg who held séances.
She was popular amongst believers in the afterlife, Smith said.
Crouse said he had his first experience when he was between the ages of four and seven, when he saw apparitions. He saw “things moving in the shadows.”
Asked what the scariest locations they have visited since beginning the television show, Crouse mentioned a particular location in Kamsack. He said it was “the most haunted, creepiest and bizarre location,” and when he was alone in the house, there were unexplained voices and more.
Smith said that when they visited Batoche, the last battlefield of the Northwest Rebellion, he had heard voices in the graveyard. He said it was out of character for him to feel “creeped out.”
Recently the duo visited a location where there were reports of sightings of a Sasquatch and they both agreed that while investigating the site, they felt uneasy and the feeling of being watched by “someone” or “something.”
Asked what their dream locations to investigate were, Smith said it would be the Japanese Haunted Forest in Japan and The Island of the Dolls located south of Mexico City. Crouse mentioned Fort San, located in the Qu’Appelle Valley. Fort San was once a hospital which was opened in 1917, and was used for tuberculosis patients. It is rumoured to be one of the most haunted places in Canada.
During the third season of Knights of the Dark, Smith said they will be expanding their investigations into UFOs and Sasquatches. Season 3 will also feature witches, psychics and other interesting entities, he said.
When conducting an investigation, the pair is armed with an arsenal of tools including a night vision camera; an EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) locator; a laser grid which sends multiple laser lines against a wall to determine if something walks by; digital voice recorders and motion sensors.
They say they maintain a skeptical and scientific approach to their findings, although they claim there are some unexplained and creepy phenomena.
“Our show is about adventure,” Smith said. “It’s more fun than it is scary. And viewers in this part of Saskatchewan are within driving distances to all these sites.”
A Knights of the Dark Halloween special will air on Access 7 on October 31.