Is Fan Tan Alley Haunted?
In Chinatown in Victoria, BC, there is a very narrow passageway called Fan Tan Alley. Four to six feet wide at its widest, Fan Tan Alley was home to brothels, opium dens and gambling joints.
Fan Tan is the Chinese name for one of the most popular games played in this alley: a gambler’s game, where winners and losers were made.
The Chinatown in Victoria, BC is the oldest in Canada. Soon after the Fraser River Gold Rush of 1858, Victoria’s Chinatown became the home for many Chinese who spent their summers working in the plentiful gold regions, logging camps and salmon canneries that dotted the interior of the province and the wild, mountainous coast. After a hard day’s work, they would come to Fan Tan Alley to play.
Today, locals and visitors alike delight in visiting the shops that line Fan Tan Alley, but many keep an eye out for the ghost of Chan the murderer and the sheer terror that will ensue.
Have you seen the ghost of Chan?
Watch Ghostly Walks Guide Kate Tell the Story of the Haunted Supreme Court Building in Bastion Square
The Supreme Court building, which dominates central Bastion Square here in downtown Victoria, has been notorious for many years as the most haunted building in the city.
It is a place known for footsteps pelting down the stairs that have no source, for objects that fly around the gift shops, scaring volunteers who never return. It is a place where hands come from the dark and push at guests on the stairs, and whispers come from the dark.
But why that building? Of all the structures in this very haunted area, why is that one supposed to be the most haunted? To understand it, what you need to do is imagine what this square used to look like 150 years ago. Essentially, it looked a bit like a John Wayne set. It was an old Wild West town square, surrounded by one story wooden structures with little false fronts. Saloons, of course. Places like the American. The Confederate. The Boomerang.
Places that did a very booming business in the very early hours of Saturday mornings in the 1860s and 70s, when hundreds of people would gather in the square. They’d crowd into the old saloons to buy beer and sandwiches, and often, pay a few extra pennies, just for the privilege of being permitted to climb up to the rooftops of the saloons. Because from up there, they were afforded the best possible view down into the yard of the jail that once occupied the land upon which the Supreme Court building now stands. It was in the little backyard of that prison that Victoria used to perform public hangings.
Of the many men who died there, the vast majority never had their bodies claimed by friends and relatives. Instead, twenty four hours after their death, they were simply buried in the yard where they were killed. Without real ceremony, without much care. When the time came for them to take down the old jail building and to build in its place the new courthouse, they simply did not bother to dig every body up. Right now, embedded in the concrete and stone foundations of that structure are the remains of many men.
That in itself is a recipe for a haunting. But if you take into consideration the fact that at least two of the men who died there probably should never have been executed, you can just start to understand why that structure has such a notorious reputation.
Ghostly Walks are 90 minute walking tours conducted every night from May 1 to October 31 and on weekends through the rest of the year.
During the tour, enjoy great storytelling as we guide you through the haunted streets and alleys of Victoria, British Columbia: a ghost-hunter’s paradise.
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