To celebrate the Halloween season, the Nelson Star is exploring various “haunted” buildings in the city. This is the third instalment of a month-long series of interviews with Chris Holland about haunted locations around Nelson.
Blaylock’s Mansion is place of solitude, a picturesque property just north of Nelson, but there have long been rumours of supernatural phenomena proliferating on the historic estate. We’re not talking apparitions — a floating torso, say, or a spectral form hallway-floating — but something a little more subtle.
“Look at your history,” Chris Holland of the Nelson Paranormal League told the Star. “It was the boss’ house way up here on the lake, while his smelter was way down in Trail. He wanted his own beautiful place where he could be alone and enjoy his solitude.”
So who’s to say Selwyn G. Blaylock’s spirit wouldn’t return to his estate after passing into the next world back in 1945?
“This is something we’ve inquired about, but the old owners were standoffish: they told us ‘go away, we don’t want that reputation.’ It wasn’t until the recent owner decided to write a book about Blaylock that people started asking about the ghost, and getting curious about the strange things that seem to happen around the mansion.”
Blaylock upgraded his summer home in 1934, making it “one of the finest examples of Tudor architecture in North America” according to the mansion’s website. Sternwheelers delivered much of the material needed, and it was completed shortly before World War II.
According to Holland, local author Dan Mcgaulay is now planning to include a chapter on Blaylock’s ghost in his book, and the new owners even invited a paranormal investigation team from Kelowna to tour the premises. He considers that a win against the ghost skeptics, and hopes it will lead to more creepy stories coming out of the woodwork.
“What happens to skeptics is they don’t want to believe, or they can’t, and it’s the same as the difference between having your eyes open or shut. If you open your mind to what’s going on around you, you might find things you never expected.”
And he’s not the only one who thinks something is going on.
“There are people, the caretakers and the staff and especially the team that was there last year, that will tell you there’s a presence there. The Blaylock spirit is more like an energy field and what is that? I don’t know, and that’s what’s so exciting about it.”
He’s eager to find out more about what the Kelowna team uncovered, and would love an opportunity to explore more thoroughly himself, but one aspect of the haunting has become clear: for some reason the supernatural energy mostly seems to make itself known only when you’re alone.
You might feel goosebumps prickling up your arms for no reason, or a soft wind rippling through your hair like spectral fingers.
“We’ve had examples like temperatures changing in a room when it couldn’t be traced to a known source. People get different sensations in different rooms if they’re left alone. So if you really want to know the truth about Blaylock’s, the key would be to check into a room alone, sit down on the bed and wait to see what happens.”
Who knows? Maybe Blaylock will take a seat beside you.