Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Edmonton’s Felicia Graham

A former teacher has haunted Westmount Junior High School in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for almost 100 years.

Felicia Graham
Felicia Graham briefly taught 9th grade English at Westmount in 1918. She was the daughter of a wealthy farmer, George Graham, from Lindsay, Ontario.

She attended Toronto University College and graduated with a Master of Arts degree. She was a beauty with a fiery personality. She spoke several languages.

So it did not surprise her family when she announced she was moving west to Edmonton for a new adventure. But soon after moving to Edmonton, Felicia realized she had made a mistake.

Westmount Junior High School
She was miserable at Westmount. The reason for this was this position paid her $100 less than her former teaching position at a high school in New Westminster, B.C.

She also felt it was unfair that male teachers were paid more. In September of 1918, she secured a new position at Strathcona High at a salary that she was happy with.

But before she could begin this new position, the Spanish flu hit Edmonton. By October of 1918, all the schools were closed. Almost every family in Edmonton was touched by this epidemic.

The schools were used as makeshift hospitals during this outbreak and many female teachers were recruited to act as nurses.

When the schools were finally reopened in January of 1919, Felicia Graham did not report for duty. She was never seen alive again.

High Level Bridge
It was determined the last time she was seen was in November of 1918. She was spotted wearing a fur coat walking across the High Level Bridge.

Lamarchand Mansion
She had left the luxury apartment building where she lived--the Lamarchant Mansion--heading for a south side shelter where Edmonton victims of the flu were.

A witness saw her cross the bridge and stop in the middle, she then just disappeared. Did she jump? Or was she already dead, and it was her ghost this witness spotted?

Felicia’s father refused to believe his well-educated daughter would have taken her own life. He thought she had just left the city for a new adventure.

George Graham
He offered a reward of $500 for information leading to his daughter’s whereabouts. He published it in newspapers across Canada and in New England. There were many leads, but none of them led him to Felicia.

At the time, several theories to explain her disappearance were put forth. Some felt she had just left the city without notifying anyone. Others thought she might have left in shame--finding herself burdened with an unwanted pregnancy.

Some wondered if she had become ill with the flu and died but her family verified she had gotten the Spanish flu and recovered.

One theory even connected her to a local serial killer. James Watson lived in the Arlington apartments that were located between the Lamarchand Mansion apartments and the High Level Bridge.

He later preyed on wealthy women in California. He robbed and killed these women, dumping their bodies in a river. Could he have met Felicia when he lived in Edmonton?

To this day no one knows for sure what happened to Felicia Graham.

But many believe her ghost haunts the last school she worked at--Westminster Junior High. * She is seen wandering the school’s hallways, and her boots are heard clicking as she steps into her old classroom.

Others claim she haunts her apartment located at the Lamarchand Mansion. She is seen near this building as well.

Witnesses also report seeing her ghost walking along the riverbank near the Shaw Conference Centre.

Westmount Junior High School 
*  Another ghost is said to haunt Westminster Junior High. His name is Harold and he supposedly jumped from the school’s bell tower.


edmontonf said...

Actually we do know what happened to Felicia Graham. She fell, jumped, or was pushed into the North Saskatchewan River. The coroner’s inquest on her body decided on suicide.

Virginia Lamkin said...

Thanks for the information.