While politics can be frightful at times, this B.C. Legislature Halloween event promises to be properly scary

·2 min read

Some would say a lot of scary things have happened at the B.C. legislature but, this time, there are ghosts involved.

To mark the Halloween holiday, legislature staff have set up a free, online video experience where guests can tune in and hear spooky tales about the place told by the ghost of the building's famed architect Francis Rattenbury. Or, more specifically, by actor Nicholas Guerreiro.

Guerreiro embodies the scandal-ridden spirit twice daily in Parliamentary Phantoms: A Ghostly Visitation with Francis Rattenbury, which is offered to the public at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. until Oct. 30.

"When the bell rings, the spirit appears," said Guerreiro.

Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
Legislative Assembly of British Columbia

And, according to Guerreiro, it is rumoured this is not Rattenbury's first postmortem appearance.

He said the British-born architect, who built not only the parliament buildings, but the Empress Hotel as well, has been allegedly spotted wandering the legislature and hotel lawns in his ghostly form before, likely lamenting the days when he was kind of a big deal.

Before, that is, his name became synonymous in some social circles with extra-marital affairs and murder.

"He sort of became the toast of the town for a bit and then his personal life caught up with him," said Guerreiro.

As the story goes, after being feted for his architectural accomplishments, Rattenbury started a relationship with a woman 30 years his junior.

It is safe to say the affair did not go over well with the prim and proper Victorian society set — let alone Rattenbury's wife.

So, while still very much a living, breathing human, he ghosted Victoria. In other words, he split town.

BC Archives
BC Archives

Rattenbury married his new love and left for the old world, returning to London to avoid gossip.

Spoiler alert — his plan failed.

And, in a sense, so did his second marriage when his young bride became cozy with a chauffeur.

So cozy, in fact, that, according to Guerreiro, her jealous 17-year-old lover would eventually sneak up behind Rattenbury while he was in his study and club him to death with a croquet mallet.

Now, legend has it, Rattenbury's ghost is nostalgic for happier times and returns on occasion to Victoria, wandering around in a dapper suit, tapping a cane and pointing out interesting features of the buildings he built.

And until Friday, he will also be regaling thrill seekers with spooky stories about those same places and the haunted happenings that have gone on in and around them for more than a century.

Or is it Guerreiro?

All shows are one hour long and promise creepy historical tales, including that of a certain parliamentarian's alleged doppelgänger.

Tap here for more information and to sign up to participate.

Vancouver Archives
Vancouver Archives