Yates Theatre, Lethbridge – Director’s Notes from Rob King – Season 3 – Episode 3
Day 1 – Yates Theatre
Hey All: After an unplanned layoff and a long drive to Lethbridge we got back to shooting. Due to scheduling conflicts in the theatre we had to hold off any night investigation until tomorrow. So we settled into getting key bits and pieces and lots of shots outside the theatre and around the city. We also viewed and collected period photos from the archives.
Jeff did his thing and had an interesting series of messages that seemed to include young children, reference to a man who controls them and even a note about a red balloon. Going into the workshop moments later, he found a single red balloon tied to a piece of set decoration.
Michaella did some further research and I noted that the man who was hanged on this site long before it was a theatre, was dropped straight into a casket in a seven foot hole beneath the gallows, covered in lime and buried on the spot. So some of our initial research has become even more relevant. That body is somewhere below where we are shooting.
Day 2 – Yates Theatre
Smoke from the fire in Fort McMurray has blown away. But we filled the small theatre with our own smudge and heard some lurid tales from a past employee and her friend, a local medium. After dining on dumplings at a local Chinese restaurant, we wired up for our first night’s investigation. We decided to start both in the main theatre and the infamous props and set decoration storage area, referred to by staff as Pebble Beach.
Soon after we started, the team got a hit on the K2. This developed into a conversation. We got the letter “W”, which prompted the question: Is this Wasyl? It was confirmed. Wasyl Chobotar murdered Alex Lazurak in 1911 over an infatuation with Lazauk’s wife and was ultimately hanged on the site where the theatre now stands. The investigation eventually moved to the storage area and again we made contact with Wasyl who, when asked, said he wants to kill us. During this contact, a light came on in the woman’s washroom across the hall—which we captured on the security camera.
The investigation ended for the night, with everyone feeling excited but jittery over the threat. It was only then, going back through the research, that Michaella reported the murder took place on May 6th. Here we were on May 8th, 105 years later.
Tomorrow we are going to re-visit these events and try to come up with some more information on Wasyl and a strategy for the final night.
Day 3 – Yates Theatre
Our final day in Lethbridge started with Tom and Jeff telling me about dreams they had last night. Tom dreamed that his 4 daughters brought him 4 buffalo bags and told him he would need them. Jeff dreamed of the number 12, which in the Tarot cards is for the Hanged Man. In reviewing all this on camera, we discussed our spirit from the previous night and a plan to re-connect then do a ceremony that honoured both the four colours of the Sioux wheel, the RCMP and the spirit. The idea is that we will not chase Wasyl away but will both welcome him here and offer him the chance to move on and find his family. We finished this scene just in time because the hot, dry weather we had been enjoying suddenly turned cold, windy and wet. As storm clouds moved in, one couldn’t help but think of its arrival as an omen for what was to come.
We shot Michaella singing Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” on the big stage. I hope we can find a way to use some of this as it was a beautiful and fitting moment. Tom smudged Rob the stage hand, explaining the process to Rob who then joined us in the investigation. He was raised a Mormon but left the faith and his community at 17. He is a very liberal-minded guy who is on the fence about the sorts of things we encounter.
The investigation began quietly in Pebble Beach and then steamrolled into direct contact with Wasyl. He was glad that Rob was a part of the theatre. Rob was quite shocked and pleased and participated like a trouper. Wasyl gave us his age, which corresponded with the research we had done—he died at 41. But Wasyl said there was a young girl spirit with us whom he called the Devil. He is afraid of her and said that she wanted to hurt Tom but that he was too protected. We managed to get another spirit to tell us the girl’s name was Lucy. Then everything went quiet.
We interviewed Rob afterwards and he was impressed by the night and glad to have Wasyl around. Then Tom discovered that some of his ceremonial elements, laid out in advance, had been tampered with. There was no one else in the building so we assumed it was Lucy. Tom conducted a pipe ceremony with Rob, Jeff and Michaella which welcomed Wasyl and moved Lucy onward. Tom also presented Rob with some sweetgrass for the theatre.
So much hair-raising drama in a great theatre. We departed in a cold rain.