I’ve taught on native reserves for two years when I was younger. These were very northern reserves, one more than a hundred kilometres from any major highway, one a fly-in community that had no roads for 10 months of the year.
It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t for the most part very fun. But the kids were great and I learned alot. (Mostly, the fact that I never wanted to be a teacher again. Ever)
There are seasons to ghosts. In Frog Lake, the ghost season was after the ground froze, but before the snow stayed on the ground. In my home town, Slave Lake, that was about a four hour window. In Frog Lake, however, much more centrally located, there could be up to a month where the ground was frozen solid, and everything was cold, dead and brown.
There were ways of not inviting ghosts to come live with you. Firstly, it was very important to close all windows, curtains and blinds at night. Also, any open food, alcohol or tobacco has to be covered with towels before the morning. My roommate would cover everything even with a single sheet of paper towel before we went to bed.
Don’t Build It Here
One day, our gym teacher came into the staff room, and quietly inquired if anyone knew of a house for rent. George was about as grounded as possible, so when he said he had to move because the trailer he was renting behind the school because the trailer was haunted, it didn’t sound real.
George had said that just after dark the night before, he and his wife saw four black dogs sitting on the porch, staring at the door. Their own little poodle began cowering in the corner, and the two boys they had 2 1/2 years and 18 months, both began pointing to the same corner.
George and his wife both had the same dream that night. The next day, things started to move around their trailer. Children fingerprints appeared on a mirror that only 6’3 George could use. The next morning, after the same dream again, George came to work while his wife packed up.
The dream? The dead came to him and told him not to build it here. There were plans to build the school where George’s trailer was. According to the cree teacher, “The dead must have been really desperate if they went to a mooya first.”
The trailer was smudged, and the next person moving in (once the snow was firmly on the ground) had no more ghosts.
Sometimes they come back
On the same reserve, my kids told me of the skinwalker that struck Frog Lake. The kids told me of a story their parents told them. One of the kid’s mother had a brother who hadn’t been a very nice guy. He was a drunk and abusive. He went off to the city, where he died.
Frog Lake, like most reserves, had their houses up to a mile away from each other, but for two weeks after, the kids said that when their parents all heard him scratching outside their bedroom windows.
We’ll get right on that
I was staying at this hotel The Bedford Regency in Victoria. It was the Valentine Weekend, and I was stuck out of town for the week. I was staying in an L shaped room, where the bottom part of the serif was the door. The first queen sized bed was in the _ part and the second was in the l side. So basically, you couldn’t see the door from the second bed where I was sleeping.
This happened on the Saturday morning. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the room had been so cold I had actually asked them for blankets and a space heater, and still froze. On Saturday, about half an hour before my alarm was supposed to go off, I heard the door open and close.
I sat up, angry that a maid would (a) wake me up and (b) do it so damn early, but no one came around the corner. Instead, I heard footsteps of someone running.
Who/whatever it was, ran around the corner and pushed me back in the bed. I sat up again, and it pushed me back down again. There was nothing in the room at all, but I distinctly felt something sit down on the edge of the bed.
When I could move again, I got up, got dressed, and ran down the stairs to the lobby. I told the front desk lady that the room was haunted and that I’ve just been pushed around. I wanted someone to go back into the room, pack up all my stuff, and move me to a new room. She didn’t even blink. I sat in the restaurant until my stuff was moved, and slept unmolested for the remaining two evenings in the new normally temperatured room.
There is no way to describe how real it was. I felt whatever it was’s fingers as it pressed me down by my shoulders. It wasn’t a dream.