A sudden cool breeze sends goosebumps down your neck. The glimpse of an eerie shadow out of the corner of your eye. A quiet whisper in your ear, just as you drift off to sleep.
Dozens of South Cariboo residents were treated to a spine-tingling, teeth-chattering weekend of spooky stories and ghostly encounters at South Point Resort on Canim Lake.
As a big fan of Halloween, owner Leanne Sallenback was thrilled to welcome guests for a weekend of fun and frights, including pumpkin carving, ghost hunts, medium readings, haunted houses, spooky decorations and fireworks.
And she didn’t have to dig too deep for inspiration for terrifying tales to tell around the campfire: several of the stories of spirits were inspired by local South Canim legends.
“Canim Lake has so much history, and I’ve been trying to collect local knowledge about it all since we moved here,” Sallenback said. “I want people to know how rich the history in this area really is – and I think incorporating that into events like this is important.”
One such legend of the lake is the story of Old Man Mack, who is said to have been a logging truck driver who travelled the ice road across the frozen lake between the Canim Lake Store site and the old Saw Mill further down the road.
Legend has it that Mack’s last run one spring in the 1950s ended in tragedy when the ice gave way and he and his truck went down to the bottom of the lake, just in front of where South Point Resort now stands. Neither he, nor his truck, were said to have been recovered.
“On his way down he pulled his horn, and it echoed all through the valley,” Sallenback said to the group of wide-eyed visitors.
Old Man Mack is one of several spirits that some believe can be seen walking the grounds of the resort.
The group also embarked on a history walk around the area, visiting the grounds of an old resort and the former sawmill site down South Canim Lake Road. In addition to the paranormal tales that were shared were stories of the area being a hub for celebrity visitors many decades ago, including John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe, among others.
Rounding out Halloween weekend was an open invitation from South Point to the Canim community as a “thank you” for the support they were shown during the wildfires and evacuations this summer.
“This community stood behind us and it was incredible the amount of support we received,” Sallenback said.
After a successfully spooky event this year, Sallenback said she hopes to expand her Halloween offerings next year, to include nightly events.