Ghosts are the least likely thing I will spend any time considering. I’ve never liked the idea of ghosts, and can say without equivocation, anything without skin is not welcome around me. Thus, my recent experience is made even more incomprehensible; I have encountered a strange, inexplicable apparition.
I have Canadian friends who live in the beautiful, wild, and reportedly haunted Cariboo region of central British Columbia, and through them, have learned about this remarkable place. Through here trekked ever-hopeful miners in the mid 1800s. These intrepid folk were headed to the Cariboo goldfields, which promised wealth, and vast riches of which they theretofore had only dreamed.
To accommodate the great numbers of miners, the Cariboo Wagon Road was built in early 1861-1862. Along the route, settlements sprang up to aid those who were mining, and build settlers’ fortunes from supplying the miners’ needs, at the same time.
One of these was 108 Mile House, 320 acres pre-empted by William J Roper in 1863. Evidence of property ownership is not available for 1871-1880, the year in which William Walker is reported to have pre-empted the same 320 acres.
In the years 1875-1885, legend holds that 108 Mile House had a hotel called 108 Mile Hotel, and was run by Agnus McVee. She was aided by her husband, Jim McVee and Al Riley, her brother-in-law, or son-in-law, depending on whose version of the story one is reading.
The legend says Agnus was a serial killer who murdered miners for their gold. She is said to also have kidnapped, tortured, and sold young girls to miners passing through.
Agnus’ story takes a turn when she killed her husband over the mishandling of Jim MacDonald’s murder. MacDonald was a miner, and one of Agnus’ white slavery customers. He had just bought a seventeen year old girl, and was heading back to the goldfields when Jim McVee killed him on the Cariboo Wagon Road, to steal the gold he was carrying. The girl escaped when MacDonald was murdered, and through a chain of events, caused the arrest of Agnus and her brother-in-law, Al Riley; plus the discovery of eight kidnapped girls in the basement of the hotel.
Agnus and Riley were taken to Fort Kamloops, where they were charged and convicted of murder and kidnapping. After the conviction, both were taken to New Westminster and jailed. In 1885, the story supposedly ends with Agnus killing herself by swallowing poison, and Riley being hanged the same year.
But did Agnus’ story really end? Fast forward to May, 2018. The 108 Mile Ghost Tours, a charitable organization which raises funds for the 108 Mile House Heritage Site, held a ghost tour on May 12th. During these tours, guests are encouraged to take as many photographs as they like. When photographs taken from that event were examined, two people were noticed staring out a window of the Post House.
I found the photos fascinating and one recent evening was studying them. The photos are very dark, so I enlarged the one I was looking at to help me see what may or may not have been there. I was absently staring at it, not really seeing anything. As I continued to stare, something seemed to be taking shape, and I became more than a little curious. It indeed took shape, and that shape was of an older woman. I wondered how I had missed seeing her for what felt like a long time, when she had become quite visible, although everything still was in black and white.
I continued looking at the woman in the photo, and suddenly I realized she was moving. What?? I studied it even closer, and she was moving her head and shoulders around as though she was working on something. Back and forth, this way and that. I was stunned! Jaw dropped open, staring with bugged out eyes, I kept questioning if what I was viewing was real. Then, beyond belief, she turned her head, looked up straight at me, and moved closer to the window. She was watching me watch her!
At that point in time, I had one of those moments that defines us with absolute clarity. I closed that page out on the screen of my phone with greater speed than I had thought possible. As the screen was disappearing, I slapped my phone face down on my lap. Yes! Cowardice at the prospect of seeing a ghost was complete!
My initial and profound reaction to the woman in the picture was that it was Agnus McVee. The only thing that puzzled me was this lady was older, had white hair pulled up into a bun, wore a dark dress with a white lacy collar, and was quite pretty. I had never heard of killer Agnus being attractive, so I was slightly baffled. After a little time, I decided I needed to look for more information, because I could not stop wondering about her. What I found stated she was very pretty. Wouldn’t you know? That seemed to confirm what I had seen in the window.
I have not been able to go back and look at that photograph, again. No. Not a peek! I did share the experience with the leader of the ghost tour, and several people who are friends, and very knowledgeable in the field and realm of the paranormal. None of them, to date, has had this experience, and no one who has looked at the picture since I told my story has seen any movement.
I know what I saw was real, and it scared the daylights out of me. My hope is that an explanation will be forthcoming, which will cause this to make sense. If anyone has an idea, or experienced such a thing, please do not hesitate to share with me. I really would like to know what happened, and maybe even be able to look at the photograph again. After all, no one likes being afraid of a digital ghost.