Nanaimo Bastion

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Media Release August 20, 2004

c/o BC Museum Association & Nanaimo District Museum (in case you're looking for things to do):

Is the Bastion Haunted?

Visit and find out for yourself.  It’s Nanaimo’s oldest building, a familiar landmark, and an historical monument.  But could Nanaimo’s 151-year-old Bastion also be a haunted hangout for restless ghosts?  Employees and some tourists believe it is.

According to Bastion employees, there have been strange sounds and occurrences on the building’s upper levels several times this summer.  “I have heard things upstairs when I know there’s no one there,” says Bill Poppy, bagpiper for the Bastion. “It sounded like either things being moved or like footsteps.”  When Poppy went to investigate the source of the noises, he found the building empty – at least as far as he could see.  Sometimes the occurrences are more than just sounds.  “I once heard a loud bang and when I went to look, I found one of the cannonballs out of its casing and rolling along the floor,” says Jessica Krippendorf, Bastion Supervisor.  “Another time I heard what sounded like whispering, but I couldn’t be sure. By the time I got upstairs, it had stopped.”

Tourists occasionally remark on unexplained banging and knocking, and questions about the “ghost” show up in the pages of the Bastion’s guest book. Recently a visitor from Oregon was on the second floor when she thought she heard laughing coming from above her.  “I swear I heard it, but there was no one there,” she said.  “I suppose it could have been my imagination, but I don’t think so.”

Poppy says he’s heard the mysterious sounds several times during his 19 years with the Bastion. Years ago, he was involved with a weekly sunset cannon firing ceremony held in Pioneer Square. “I was responsible for locking up and by that time it was dark out,” says Poppy.  “And if you come in here at night, you can believe anything.”

Nanaimo District Museum, which is now the guardian of the Bastion, has no knowledge of any deaths or tragedies – events usually associated with a haunting – occurring in the building.  For the curious, the Bastion is open to the public until the end of September.

For directions and admission prices contact Mark Corbett at the Nanaimo District Museum (250) 753-1821 or  email for info.

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