The body count in Britannia Beach is a lot higher than most people realize.
In 1915, a landslide destroyed the Jane Camp, killing 56 people. The camp, located on the northern side of Britannia Mountain, was reportedly buried with up to 15 metres of debris. The event is the second-largest landslide in Canadian history in terms of loss of life.
Six years later, disaster struck the area again. In the evening hours of Oct. 28, 1921, a massive flood destroyed a significant portion of the community and mine that existed on the lower beach area. It was classified as a dam break and it occurred when a large wall of debris descended from a pooling area and destroyed all in its path.
A total of 37 people lost their lives in the incident and 15 more were seriously injured.
Those details might pique the interest of anyone in the paranormal investigations community, but that’s not exactly what drew Patrick Zakhm’s attention to the area.
For nearly two decades, he has travelled the globe searching for ghosts and paranormal activity and after spending two days in Britannia Beach and Squamish in 2010, he’s certain there is significant activity in our neck of the woods.
“I happened to be in Vancouver and was talking with a travel agent and the subject of ghosts came up,” Zakhm said in a telephone interview from Lebanon, where he was chasing paranormal activity. “She asked me if I had ever been to Britannia Beach before and that it was full of ghosts. I’d never been there before and became very curious.”
Zakhm made his way up Highway 99 shortly thereafter and said he could feel the breath of the spirit world in Britannia Beach.
“I was very surprised by the ambience of the area,” he said. “You can feel ghosts everywhere — it’s littered with ghost vibes.”
He described ghost vibes as being similar to the lasting scent left by someone wearing a strong perfume. With his many years investigating, he said he has a keen sense for ghost vibes.
Zakhm continued exploring the area and after he told residents and storekeepers what he was doing in town, they seemed to open up.
“Sometimes people would be surprised that I knew they had ghost activity,” he said. “They would start telling me stories about their experiences. Once people get comfortable, they really open up and share.”
He said several stores in the town had strong vibes, including the Britannia Beach General Store, the Earthly Crystals Gift Shop and Galileo Coffee. He also discovered through chatting with locals that the old 99er Restaurant, which is now demolished, was supposedly haunted.
“People told me that they saw a small ghost boy sitting on the steps outside,” he said. “And I was also told a story about the former manager of the restaurant saw a girl dressed in red come down the stairs and try to talk to him.”
After his adventures in Britannia Beach, Zakhm decided to spend the night in the Chieftain Hotel in downtown Squamish, where he said he got much more than a night’s sleep.
“Once I checked in, I walked up the stairs and felt some very intense heat,” he said. “You don’t get sweaty from it; it’s just intense. When I got to my room, I noticed the same heat and all the heat sources in the room were off.”
Zakhm said he attempted contact with the ghost and later that night he witnessed a spirit.
“I saw a woman very elegantly dressed in a dark skirt,” he said. “She was giving off a warm vibe and I believe she was a warm, nice person, not a mean spirit at all.”
He said she disappeared shortly after and when he woke up in the morning, the temperature was back to normal in his room. The Chief contacted The Chieftain Hotel but a front desk attendant said the hotel is under fairly new ownership and have not had any reports from guests of any ghosts.
Zakhm said Squamish and Britannia Beach had significant spirit activity and offered tips to aspiring paranormal investigators.
“You don’t need high-tech equipment — just follow your intuition and impulses,” he said. “You have to let them guide you and they will take you where they want to.”
For more details on his local investigations, visit www.montrealparanormal.com/p-canada-bc-britaniabeach-ghostcases.php and www.montrealparanormal.com/p-canada-bc-squamish-ghostcase.php.