Thousands of people over the years have enjoyed the ghost stories of Fort Langley.

Walk with Fort Langley’s ghosts

The village has long been home to ghosts. Hear their stories on October walking tours.

Visitors to the Fort Langley Cemetery have reported that they have encountered an Englishman asking on the whereabouts of an Indian woman and a First Nations woman asking if anyone has seen her husband, an English gent.

There were enough accounts of these encounters that the tale of William Emptage and his wife Louisa were included in Ghost Walks, the annual tour of haunted sites in Fort Langley.

Around 2006 the Fort Langley National Historic Site looked at organzing an autumn event for a few nights and canvassed the village for tales, hoping to get a couple hundred reports.

“We ended up getting more than 2,000,” said heritage interpreter Amn Johal, often seen portraying James Douglas as community events.

They whittled down the stories to ones that had multiple reports and each year adds some stories and drops others.

Having the artifacts of history right in Fort Langley helps as people, up to about 25 per tour, do a walk of sites of ghostly historical import.

(Story continues below)

Tour leaders like Johal can stand beside the grave of former residents such as William Emptage and invite participants to wander over to the grave of Louisa, his First Nations wife, about 50 feet away, as they tell about their unique lives. William spent everything he had to get his beloved Louisa a plot and headstone in the cemetery so when he died poor a few years later, it was friends who paid for his grave and obelisk headstone.

William, having lost a hand due to mining dynamite, took the only job he could find – with HBC at the fort but for half pay because of only having one hand.

Tours start and finish at the fort and go rain or shine. People are advised to wear sturdy footwear and be ready for a brisk pace.

Tickets are now on sale for the walks which have proven wildly popular.

“We’ve sold out for the past seven years,” Johal explained.

Staff wanted to spread the word to the public that people should book because the spots fill fast.

Right now there’s no extra capacity to add evening events.

Grave Tales have attracted people from around the world but most are from this region.

“It’s a lot of locals that just want to know more about our backyard,” Johal said. “It’s great for date nights. We’re getting a lot of people from Vancouver [tired of the typical Halloween options there].”

These tours are not about Halloween hijinx. Johal assured people that no one will jump out from behind bushes or wear scary masks. It’s about historical storytelling and people can believe or not as they wish.

“We always get skeptics,” he said. “I’m the biggest skeptic.”

That doesn’t mean he hasn’t had strange encounters.

The extended tour will wind up back inside the fort, upstairs in the Big House where guests can hear about the Boy in the Big House.

Soon after Johal started working there he was opening up the Big House for the day. Upstairs, he had to open a room to turn on the lights. He hears scuffling, which he first took for squirrels, and then whimpers. When he looked into a far corner, he saw a boy with long dark hair dressed in clothing that looked from the 1800s.

“My first thought was holy cow, we locked a kid in last night,” Johal said.

Then he heard a woman’s gasp and turned to find two of the bolted windows open.

When he turned back to the corner, he was alone.

He didn’t mention it to anyone else for a long time, but oldtime workers at the fort were familiar with the boy.

And people have mentioned the child who is also seen playing hide and seek outside other fort buildings. Kids activities are often held upstairs at the Big House. Many people have complimented staff on having the little boy in period clothing play with the children. And one person wrote a scathing letter insisting a child that young should not be running around the fort without adult supervision.

The letter writer was invited to go on the Grave Tales tour, Johal explained. She did and blanched when he told the story of the Boy in the Big House.

Grave Tales

The Fort Langley National Historic Site organizes tours which run Oct. 15 to 30. Tickets are on sale now and tours sell out fast. Tickets range about $18-$22.

• Adults (17 and older): Oct. 15-18 and 21-30 at 7, 8 and 9 p.m.

• Family tours: Oct. 16 and 23-30 at 6 p.m.

• New: an enhanced three-hour tour is 9 p.m.

• School tours available afternoons.

• Bookings: search for Grave Tales on or buy tickets at the fort.

Amn Johal, a historical interpreter at the Fort Langley National Historic Site, explained about Masonic symbols visible at the Fort Langley Cemetery during a Grave Tales preview. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Just Posted

Cloverdale nurse, Langley truck driver awarded for saving a police officer’s life

Angela Feltrin and Earl Hanes thanked by B.C. RCMP’s top cop

Annual Aldergrove Fair announces 2019 theme: ‘Aldy on the Moon’

The fair is gathering space memorabilia as well as some of the people involved in the space program.

Aldergrove’s Fraser Highway to unveil another Starbucks

A commercial building on Fraser Highway will open its doors to two businesses instead of one.

Former Surrey mayor Bill Vogel dead at age 87

Vogel was Surrey’s 31st mayor, in the big chair from 1978 to 1980, and was alderman from 1973 to 1977

Langley woman’s caregivers pen unflinching book about her struggles

The authors and the woman they care for will be at an Abbotsford book signing on Saturday, Feb. 16.

VIDEO: How much snow do you have?

Langley residents are being asked to share images of their snow to enter for a $20 coffee card.

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Mayors approve SkyTrain extension to UBC

Next step is a business plan and public consultation

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt

Sinkholes throughout the subdivision have prompted the District of Sechelt to issue evacuation orders

Most Read