Extra research for Season 3 – Episode 1 – Mr. Clark
The Cypress Hills are shrouded in mystery, from the unexplainable “mystery rocks” which have attracted people for centuries, to encounters with spirits and shadow people. Who haunts these hills? Perhaps victims of the Cypress Hills Massacre, or perhaps the ghost of a North West Mounted Police officer named Edmund Dalrymple Clark?
Poor Clark died in 1880 at Fort Walsh, a former NWMP outpost, after catching a fever that ran through the Hills in 1879. His fate could have been different had his family just been ordinary folk, but he had the misfortune of being the nephew of Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, who used his influence to get him a job in the NWMP.
The Other Side’s investigation focused on Clark, whose spirit may still haunt the Fort Walsh National Historic Site. Many staff and visitors have experienced paranormal activity and believe that spirits still wander through the old buildings and grounds.
Clark, who joined the force in 1873, was the NWMP’s first Paymaster and Quartermaster. While more suited to office work than active duty, eventually he was sent on a march west and ended up in the Cypress Hills, a place that played an important role in shaping what is now known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), following the massacre of Nakota First Nations people at the hands of Americans from the Wild West.
In the 1860s and 1870s American wolf hunters and whiskey traders would make their way past the 49th parallel and trespass into Canadian lands, including the Cypress Hills, where they sold their brew and hunted. On June 1, 1873, one of the Americans thought that a member of the Nakota tribe who were camping nearby had stolen his horse. He planned on stealing two of the tribe’s horses in revenge, but due to a toxic mix of alcohol and anger, events spiralled out of control, leading to the deaths of between 16 and 22 Nakota people and one American. News of what became known as the Cypress Hills Massacre eventually reached Ottawa and Prime Minister John A. Macdonald responded by ordering the formation of the North West Mounted Police to patrol Canadian lands and protect its sovereignty, and create jobs for young men like Clark.
Though he died on October 2, 1880 and is buried in the Cypress Hills, Edmund Dalrymple Clark’s spirit seems to live on.
— Sarah MacDonald
Interested in seeing more on the Cypress Hills Mystery Rocks? Watch video of our hosts’ tour above.