Delburne History Book volunteers Anita Jones

Ghost prank got out of hand

There was the time a ghost story prank in Delburne got out of hand and the pranksters were scared witless.

There was the time a ghost story prank in Delburne got out of hand and the pranksters were scared witless.

Delburne resident Anita Jones thought she’d heard every colourful bit of local lore when someone sent her another story out of the past for a new history book of the area to be published this year.

This gem of a tale involves a group of local young men who, sometime in the late 1940s or early ‘50s, were planning to scare some female acquaintances with a made-up ghost story at a vacant, tumbledown house.

Unfortunately for the pranksters, local miners from the Lynass Mine overheard their plan and “decided to trick the tricksters,” said Jones.

What transpired at the old house that night involved a flash of vehicle headlights, followed by a miner — covered head to toe in a white sheet — running out of the woods towards the derelict home, where the male pranksters had brought the women.

Both guys and girls “were just petrified” when the so-called ghost appeared. Jones was told someone ended up falling into the cellar of the old house, and “apparently one of the ladies had to be taken to Red Deer hospital and treated for hysteria.”

She was able to check this account with another old-timer, who vouched for its authenticity.

“This story never made it into the original (history) book and I’d never heard it before, even though I’ve lived in the community for 27 years,” said Jones.

She is hoping more previously untold stories surface, since the Delburne Historic Book Committee has the goal of fundraising to publish another volume of the area’s history.

Most community members are already familiar with “the big red book,” which is what locals call a Delburne-area history book of some 1,500 pages that was originally published in 1980, said Jones.

The tome was more recently republished as a two volume set. But the stories contained in it are still only as recent as 1979. Jones said a lot has changed in the village of 830 people in the past 30 years — families, businesses and organizations have come and gone, so many residents felt it was time for an update.

The committee is seeking new stories from Delburne and the surrounding old school districts that can be published as a third volume for the set.

“Remember, this book will be read by your grandchildren and great grandchildren. This is your opportunity to share a brief (account) of your life with them,” said Jones.

Anyone connected to the community can send personal stories about school, sports events, or other occasions or occurrences.

Labelled photos are also appreciated. Submissions will be accepted to Jan. 31.

They can be mailed to Delburne History Book Committee, P.O. Box 42, Delburne, AB, T0M 0V0, or emailed to delbhist@gmail.com. For more information, please call Jones at 403-749-3893, or Wendy Motley at 403-749-2420.

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