Preserve the Haunt, a Canadian-based research project, works to digitally record and document the experiences, sounds, and landscapes of various historic sites across Canada. Our collection features interviews and transcripts from local managers, owners, staff, and historians as well as numerous audio recordings of different spaces and surroundings. Recently our project focuses on connecting Canadian history to local legends, ghost stories, and haunted tales to create a connection between how we continue to understand, relate, and experience the past at these locations.
Preserving any historic space provides an opportunity to protect from a vast array of environmental conditions, like weather damage, while also safeguarding against a loss from theft, vandalism, and potential demolition. Haunted spaces, in particular, present a unique challenge for historians and local members of the community as they offer us insight into how we currently interact, interpret, share, and even grow within these challenging places. As history is one that is filled with the ghosts of the past, both within our stories, experiences, and popular culture, it is important to document and preserve these iconic pieces of our culture. Landscapes, buildings, and houses that accrue a haunted reputation may be interpreted as stigmatized sites and therefore neglected, re-purposed, or forgotten. Connected with the material history of each space, the stories and experiences from each location that represent a continuation of each location’s history are also jeopardized.
To preserve each historic space, we work with the owners and site managers of each space to chronicle a brief history of each location, on-site experiences, and stories, as well as provide a contemporary visual and auditory representation of each specific space.
Through this process of documentation we hope to raise public awareness of the different 'haunts,' experiences, histories, and spaces featured across Canada. Our project also hopes to raise funds that contribute to the conservation and maintenance of historic spaces throughout North America.