Archives Staff Share Their Spookiest Record Discoveries!

This year in preparation for Halloween, the Archives staff rounded up some of the scariest things they have seen come past their desks over the years. So relax, eat some candy and enjoy perusing these creepy, weird and fun items from our holdings!

Granville Street Bridge news clipping, 1940s. Reference code: AM54-S17-MS11740

Archival Assistant Kim Unruh shared a newspaper clipping she came across from the Major Matthews Newspaper Clippings Collection. The clipping shows a 1940s Granville Bridge witch, complete with traffic jam poem. Still relevant today!

There were a few other ‘spooky’ clippings from the 19040s in the Major Matthews collection including this one found in the Ghosts of Vancouver  file – water pipe ghosts – BOO!

City Police Solve Haunted House Mystery clipping, 1942. Reference code: AM54-S17-M3495

Sue Bigelow, Digital Conservator forwarded the image below from the Stuart Thompson fonds showing a person in a costume standing beside a sports car. Stuart Thompson was a commercial, portrait and press photographer in Vancouver. Little is known about the context for this photograph but it sure is strange!

Person in gorilla/monster costume standing beside luxury sports model car, 1928. Reference code: AM1535-: CVA 99-1662

Digital Archivist Sharon Walz recalled seeing the below photograph from the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) fonds showing a scary parade float featuring a giant papiermâché clown with missing teeth.

Pacific National Exhibition float in PNE Opening Day Parade, 1949. Reference code: AM281-S8-: CVA 180-1548

A quick search reveals that the PNE fonds is fraught with scary images of clowns and more!

Nancy Hansen, Miss PNE posing with clowns, 1954. Reference code: AM281-S8-: CVA 180-2641
Publicity photo of clown. 1960s. Reference code: AM281-S8-: CVA 180-5711
Young boy with model of a devil. 1960s. Reference code: AM281-S8-: CVA 180-3896
Al Ackerman, Johnny Cirillino and Chuckles–publicity photo of clowns, 1960s. Reference code: AM281-S8-: CVA 180-5663

Reference Archivist Kira Baker recently received a donation containing mold – a scary discovery for an archivist! The records are currently being treated and are separated so that they do not affect surrounding documents.

Moldy records, bagged until we can clean them. Photo by Kristy Waller

City Archivist Heather Gordon brought forward a file from Major Matthews’ personal papers entitled “Jack and Jill”, Mrs. J.S. Matthews’ two Chinchilla cats – Jack’s 20th birthday, Mar. 28, 1950. The file contains a clipping of hair from Matthews’ cat Jack. Jack passed away in 1950 and Matthews saved the hair along with news clippings, correspondence, cards and notes related to the death.

Envelope containing Jack’s hair and a note by Major Matthews, 1950. Reference code: AM54-S11-3—

According to Archival Assistant Christine Tutt, the Archives also keeps three files containing human hair – a lock of Clara A. Roger’s hair from 1910, a lock of Mara Ifju Smith’s hair (daughter of Sculptor Elek Imredy) from the 1970’s and a lock from Mrs. Emily Matthews found in the Major Matthews collection.

Thanks to all of the Archives staff for submitting these fab-BOO-lous items. We hope you’ve enjoyed them.

Happy Halloween!

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