Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Woodlands Memorial Gardens - Haunted?

First off, I send out a huge “Happy New Year” and thank you for your continuous support.  I hope the Holiday season was filled with joy, warmth, family & friends and safety.  VSPI traveled south, back to Sonoma County in California, during the holiday season.  We enjoyed time with family & friends, and also took in a few ghost hunting adventures.

In November 2012, on a day off from my paid job, I decided to take in a place I've not visited before.  Woodlands Memorial Gardens situated in New Westminster, BC.  It is a place of interest as several reports of dark shadows and unexplained sounds have been passed along.  On a chilly afternoon, with the sun going down fairly early, I packed my digital recorder, digital camera and my Trifield Electromagnetic Field meter and headed out to the park.  Now I've been calling it a park all along, because it kind of gives off a small park experience, in my opinion.  With gardens I expect a huge array of plants and trees along with a feeling of peace.  This area has constant noise surrounding it, and people trudging through it on a regular basis.  Not only is it situated next to one of the busiest vehicle corridors in New Westminster, but it also is on a community bus route, with a hospital to its north.  Children and adults walk (and sometimes run) through it daily.  I wonder if these people realize why the garden is there.

In 1878 the area was designated for a hospital to treat lunatics and insane persons.  To be politically correct was not noted in those days.  Now we consider it as “mentally disabled” or “handicapped”.  If you were considered “not normal” and there was no explanation or known cure, you were deemed a lunatic, feeble minded, or insane.  The name of the buildings and hospital changed over time, becoming Woodlands School in 1950.  Bodies of the deceased from Essondale (due to lack of space) & Woodlands were laid to rest in the cemetery.  Markers with their name & date of death were noted on small stone slabs.  In 1997 the Government finally closed the place down (after years of reported abuse, mistreatment and horrors committed against the patients).  The majority of cemetery markers were removed, some ground up to be used in other construction and help support a retaining wall in a ravine nearby, some used at an apartment building in Coquitlam (which then received complaints of hauntings and had them removed), and others simply disappeared.  When the decision to build a garden in memory of those who lived & died at Woodlands was made, 500 markers were retrieved and found, and used in the memory wall and pillars to represent the 3000 bodies beneath the lawn.

I won’t comment on what I think of all that went on in such a place, as it seems to be a common theme of asylums, hospitals and schools of the time.  What is disappointing is that even though reports were rampant and frequent, no one thought to actually listen and do anything until it was too late.  The harm had already been done and affected many of the surviving patients.  It also shocks me to hear of the type of people that were considered lunatics and insane.  No matter what our differences are, our way of thinking, our sexuality, our beliefs etc.; each one of us deserves respect, understanding, and compassion.  This was ignored.

My visit lasted an hour and half without occurrence of anything unusual.  I found some EMF that was out of place; but alas, I discovered an old lamppost nearby which most likely was causing the disturbance.  No disembodied voices were caught by my recorder, although I wandered the entire park slowly asking questions as I went along.  The only unusual feelings I experienced were that of possibly being followed by an unseen energy near the memory wall.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and I kept turning around to see if anyone was behind me.  It felt like eyes were watching me, but this disappeared as I wandered farther away from the area.

People often ask me if it’s okay to hunt the paranormal in afternoon hours.  I normally tell them that ghosts do not live on a clock that tells them its dark out and they best make an appearance.  I've always believed that the majority of ghosts are people like you and me, and if they choose to be present they shall, no matter what time of the day or night.  Some paranormal investigators prefer to explore in the evening hours for many reasons, some of which may include: less electromagnetic disturbance from the sun, apparitions may be easily spotted on night vision cameras, less people around, and it adds to the ambiance.  I prefer hunts at any time of the day, depending on where it is I am and why I’m investigating the area/building, whom I’m affecting and what the client requests.  To me it doesn't really matter.  A ghost will make its appearance if it wants to.  I have to say, my favourite part of investigating the paranormal is the research.  I love getting to know the stories behind what is going on, learning the history, and talking to an assortment of people.

If you have any stories and/or information of the Woodlands Memorial Gardens to share with us, why not comment below or email us @ VancouverSpooks@gmail.com.  We’d love to hear about your experiences.

You can visit our website for more information and to view our mini video of our visit to the Gardens:

Thank you again for your continued support.  We hope to hear more from you in 2013.  Remember, if you need support and someone to confirm what you are experiencing in your home, classroom, and/or place of business etc., please do not hesitate to contact us via our contact form at our website, or the email address I’ve posted above.

Talk soon!


  1. I used to live in the apartment building right beside the woodlands building the year it burnt down. I explored inside the building several times. On one occasion I took a couple pictures. One was of a chair I found facing into a corner: the picture came out with a strange smoky shape in it. The other was of a random wall: it came out with an inexplicable bright spot as if the flash reflected off something, but there was nothing shiny that would create such an effect.
    The day it burnt down, me and my roommate were kept out of our apartment for several hours because of smoke. All our windows were open so our apartment was completely filled with smoke. When we were finally let back in, we had a couple drinks on the balcony. Suddenly my roommate threw his wine glass on the floor and started stomping on it with his bare foot! He cut his foot to shreds, and the next hour I spent trying to get him to clean his foot up while he switched back and forth from laughing maniacally, and being confused and scared, wonderin what was happening. Eventually I got his foot wrapped up enough and took him to the hospital. When I dropped him off, he looked at me and said, "don't leave me here, this is where they get you!" Long story short, he ended up being arrested. The cops thought he was on drugs but they took him back to the hospital and he was clean.
    I believe the ghosts in the building found my roommate because he had been in the woodlands building dozens of times and they knew him. Before this happened I thought only idiots believed in ghosts but I can't disbelieve my own experiences.

  2. I have also been in the new condos close to this area. I was in a bedroom of one of the condos when all of a sudden the curtains and a housecoat on the wall started to blow around although the window was closed. At that very moment the handle turned on the bedroom door and it opened. The door was completely latched closed for sure. I then saw the outline of a face staring in from the darkness on the other side of the door then WHAM !! The door slammed closed by itself. Ill always remember that the door did not close easily as there were some clothes draped on the top and you had to apply a bit of force to close it. I pretty much got up and left that building as fast as possible. On the way out there was a strange wind inside the entire building like a hurricane. Ive never seen wind like that inside a sealed building only a few years old at the time. I will never set foot in that area ever again as long as I live. It has the most evil vibe to it I have ever felt. The whole area should be burnt to the ground and turned into a landfill or something. Pretty carazy.

  3. I live in the building next to the Woodlands building. A few years ago I was woken up by a strong force pushing my bed to the bedroom door and a bright spot of light on the wall in my bedroom. Then I heard a child's voice calling out "Help me Help me". I was paralyzed with fear and couldn't move. I slept with the light on for the next few nights. A few years later, I found out that there was a few portals in my condo. One was behind that bedroom wall and another was between my LR floor and the neighbour below. Maybe that's why she's always complaining of noise coming from my suite even though we are barely home/usually quiet.

    1. Interesting! Are you experiencing activity to this day? What did you do when you discovered the portals?

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  5. I worked at Woodlands during the last 7 years. I frequently wandered vacant buildings and wards. I had MANY weird experiences there. Most memorable was while in the basement of Pine Cottage where the morgue was. Radios have turned on, heard kids laughter, so many!

    1. That's truly remarkable. I've been drawn to visit the area for years now. As I develop my Intuitive side, I have been feeling more & more connection to the spirit(s) of the area. I go with the intent to bring peace, kindness & love.. which always calms the energy.