Hurricane Lee may have delayed the McAdam Railway Station fundraiser by 13 days, but Brad Monks is undeterred because of his love for the landmark.
Even if it’s two consecutive years that a hurricane has caused problems for those in McAdam, New Brunswick, which is 150 km northwest of Saint John.
“That same thing happened, but last year were able to pull it off,” Monks said, during a late September phone conversation. “This year it was just bad here, so we said it’s for public safety and it’s not worth it.”
The fundraiser was originally scheduled for September 16 but moved to September 29. For Monks, McAdam Railway Station holds a warm spot in his heart as he grew up just an hour away.
“I remember I was older as a teenager and seeing that and it was in pretty hard shape,” he recalled. “They didn’t know what to do with it. They had no clue.”
McAdam Railway Station was built in 1900 and the community of McAdam flourished during the Canadian Pacific Railway’s involvement. Expanded in 1910, its architectural design is characteristic of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. It was designated a historic site on June 15, 1976.
Some members of the community even suggested bulldozing the building, which stunned Monks. but they managed to get a committee together and started to restore the building.
Monks, also a paranormal investigator with the group Canadian Paranormal Expeditions, moved out to Saskatchewan but got in touch with his old friend David and his wife Fonda. They were involved in the restoration and knew Monks investigated alleged hauntings.
“We got in contact with (Fonda), and she knew I did this stuff, and she’s like, ‘Hey, people always said this train station is haunting and it has ghosts and stuff like this, but we don’t want the train station just known for its ghosts. We want it known for its historical value.’”
Monks and his team were brought in under that condition, but he said he didn’t mind.
“I love that old station. It’s a beautiful building and it’s a part of Canadian history,” he admitted. “It was late last spring and I couldn’t believe what they had done to the station.”
Still, some convincing was needed to let the team in to investigate.
“(The board) were very hesitant, very reluctant to let us in,” Monks said. “So, I invited the committee in there with us, and once they had seen what we did and how we did it; we made it more about getting the spirits to tell their stories.”
One of the committee members even opened up to Monks and his team about seeing the apparition of a young girl and wondered who she was.
The team was able to capture some electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and the committee member is making it their mission to find out who the little girl is.
Though the little girl’s history remains unknown, there are more macabre moments in the station’s history. A woman who fled her marriage stateside was allegedly shot by her husband inside. The bench she was shot on still remains in the building.
“That bench is still sitting right there in the main entryway in the station,” Monks said.
Additionally, it is suspected that women who gave birth to a child from an affair would dispose of their offspring off the train.
“There’s a little bit of tragedy,” he said. “So, down along that whole rail line, right to the Maine border, are little crosses where babies had died or were buried.”
Money raised will go to upgrading the fire suppression system and electrical on the second floor, which used to be a hotel. The committee has already worked to revamp the main floor, revitalizing the original mouldings, flooring and benches, as well as breathing new life into an old diner with new chrome accents and red leather seating.
The fundraiser starts at 5:30 p.m. and will include Tarot card readings with Brandy Walton, a spaghetti dinner with live music, and a War Brides book presentation by Melynda Jarratt, followed by the paranormal investigation hosted by Canadian Paranormal Expeditions.
Photo courtesy Brad Monks