|Joan Champ photo*|
The site became a popular spot for people from miles around. On the night of December 2nd, for example, the Leader-Post reported, “A laughing thrill-seeking crowd of more than 80 persons including a cameraman and reporter jammed the bleak Tabor cemetery … in a vain search for Esterhazy's phantom light.” About thirty cars from Churchbridge, Yarbo, and Langenburg were parked around the tiny burial ground for hours, the newspaper continued. “The presence of so many lights, however, definitely handicapped the watchers and made the task of shooting the strange ball of red fire a practical impossibility.” Eventually, the iron gates to the Tabor Cemetery had to be locked to stop the desecration of graves.
|The Central Hotel in Esterhazy, 1958. Image source|
The supernatural visitation drew many guests to the Central Hotel in Esterhazy. The Leader-Post reported on December 6th that ever since the light was first seen, the hotel proprietor, James Brown, had been “losing sleep attending to numerous visitors.” The newspaper continued:
Best joke in Esterhazy is one perpetrated on Mr. Brown in connection with his electric light services. Canadian Utilities of Calgary has the franchise at Esterhazy and supplies the electricity to consumers in the town. With his light bill for the last month, Mr. Brown received another bill, calling for charges made for consumption of light made by the 'will o’ the wisp' after midnight. At first Mr. Brown was mystified, but on closer examination, was satisfied office boys at Calgary were just having fun.
|Esterhazy Hotel, 2006. Sheave wheel (pulley used in ore extraction) in foreground.|
Courtesy of Ruth Bitner
*Photo taken at the Crooked Trees north of Speers, October 2008; flare added.
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