There is a moment when driving into Medicine Hat on the 41A Highway when you are within sight of the city but cannot see it. Its buildings are hidden beyond the coulee. The rolling hills swallowing any sign of life.
When you finally reach the peak and begin your descent, the lights of houses welcome you. Your long journey has ended.
For many travellers, the buildings which line this road provide a sense of safety. You know where you are. You know where you are going. But for some, the journey never extends beyond theses buildings. They never reach the safety they were proceeding toward.
One building – a brick structure, not notable in any way – was the final destination for many souls who rode the highway. The building, a product of the 1960s, is still standing. It is older now and looks different; changed through time and circumstance, yet it remains.
Between those who frequent the building, it is rumoured that more remains than just the brick and beams. It is believed that some of the souls taken there still linger.
The building was originally built as a cattle processing plant. About 400 head of cattle died there each day. It was a place of fear and death. Some say you can still hear disembodied moos or loud bangs that sound like a corral gate being slammed shut.
But the spirits of long-passed cattle are not the only ones who might haunt the building’s halls. There is a rumour that one of the plant’s delivery drivers was involved in the disappearance of hitchhikers on the 41A and other highways leading in and out of the city.
Perhaps these individuals were offered the ride they needed. Perhaps they hopped into a car and continued their journey. Or perhaps, alone in the desolate landscape, they accepted a ride that would end in that brick building which was so close to safety, just not close enough.
All that remains now are the rumours and sounds of life long gone.
Anyone fearless enough to explore this haunted building can do so by visiting 821 Industrial Avenue SE from 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23 and 27-31. An afternoon matinee, which does not include live people and is age appropriate for children, will take place between 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 16, 23, 30 and 31.
KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News