The Legend of the Ghost of Ghost River

There were several different versions of the legend of Ghost River, but each one was substantially the same.

The East bank of Ghost River just north of its junction with the Bow was a great battle ground between the Stonies and Blackfeet and skulls and other bones, also arrow heads, have been found by ranchers in the district. I recall the late John Gillies telling me of his ploughing up skulls and then reburying them.

Before the Ghost Dam was built and raised the water of Ghost River to its present level, there were quite high precipitous banks on the east side and the story goes that during one of these battles a Blackfoot chief  or warrior accidentally fell or was pushed over the cliff and drowned in the river. This was considered a very ignominious way of being killed and his spirit would never be able to rest in peace. As a result, every night after sundown, his spirit rides a white horse up and down the river bed looking for any Stony that might be on the east side of the river presumable he would kill him on sight.

The Blackfoot is always said to be seated on his horse back wards - facing the tail, and brandishing a spear.

I myself can remember, many years ago, seeing Stony Indians lashing their horses to a gallop to get across the river before sundown if they happened to get late and the sun was setting. I would suggest that for further details, the Foundation contact George Mclean of Morley as he is a great story teller and can probably give more interesting details.

The whole of the country surrounding the Ghost River even to where it rises was connected with ghosts and spirits and it would be a good idea to try and find out from some old Indian how this came about. Lake Minnewanka is the lake of spirits, and there is the Devil’s Head Mountain, also another mountain nearby that is called the Devil’s Fang, and across from it is the Black Rock – all indicative of something sinister.

Roland Gissing






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