Discovering Manitoba

Red River Ghost

The hardships faced by Manitoba’s first settlers are well documented. During the 19th century, extreme weather, with its accompanying floods and crop failures, were just some conditions people were forced to confront in their newly adopted homeland.

There are many tragic stories of these hard times. One such tale is that of the Red River Ghost.

Years ago, just off of Highway 9 near Selkirk, along the winding River Road, a rather strange premonition forever changed one local area man. Early one morning, he was delivering milk along his regular route. Given his familiarity with the area and his customers, he was startled to see a woman he didn’t recognize rapidly making her way across the road and down to the river – especially at so early an hour. A feeling of extreme discomfort immediately beset him.

Thinking to help, he tried to approach her. Upon nearing the woman however, the milkman was taken aback to see that she was wearing mid-19th century clothing. Furthermore, as he approached her, the woman’s image began to dissolve until it faded completely away, leaving the milkman alternately confused and aghast. In the days and weeks that followed, the milkman could not shake the image of the woman running to the riverbank, nor the way her cries for help pierced the early morning. After confiding to friends and family, he was forced to acknowledge that he might have seen a ghost.

Local legend has it that a century earlier, a young boy fell into the river near to the spot where the milkman spied his apparition. The boy’s mother, it is said, had been near to him at the time, but noticed too late his plunge into the river. Despite her harried attempt to rescue the boy, he drowned.

It is also said the woman never forgave herself for her son’s drowning, and that her anguish persisted until her death, years later.

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