Chatting with spirits at the pub

Shawn Leonard says ghosts can be nasty buggers.

Chatting with spirits at the pub
Something strange in your neighbourhood? Give Shawn Leonard a call at

Since the spirit of his father visited him as a teenager, Shawn Leonard says he's been able to communicate with the dead. He's helped families find closure, and worked with the police to solve murders. The Coast wanted to shoot the shit with a real live ghost, and Leonard was game, so we met at the Halifax Alehouse to see who we could find.

Does it happen automatically?

I've learned that I can focus. I like to give the analogy that everybody goes to Walmart. And when you're at Walmart, there's a lot of people talking. But do you actually listen to the conversations? You can hear them talking in the other aisle. So, I'm pretty much like every normal person. I believe I'm normal. My kids dislike me sometimes. My fiancee gets angry at me. I'm not like some special powers guy. 

It bugs me how often we jump from some unexplained phenomena to the cultural idea of a "ghost."

Well, let me tell you, there's a very vast difference between a ghost and spirits that have moved on.

What is that?

Well, ghosts are very proximal. They're in the house. They haven't moved on. The spirit realm is very much like the propellers on a helicopter. When they're stopped, physical, sitting there, you can see them. But when the vibration, the spinning is a little higher, they're there but you can't see them. That's what ghosts are, stuck here a bit.

You mentioned Halifax isn't as haunted as everyone thinks?

It isn't! I mean, it's very rare I actually see one or run into one. I usually don't talk to them, I avoid them. Most of the people I've run into that I would say are ghosts are pretty nasty buggers, not very nice.

We do have a culture of negative thinking, I've been told.

Well, they're people. They're people without a body. They still have a spirit body. They have an ego, an attitude.

You've seen ghosts here, in the Alehouse?

I was only in this place once, but being in this place I did see one fellow in here who looked like he was from the early 1900s. You can't make people talk to you either. Just because they're ghosts doesn't mean they're eager to come over. They like to be left alone.

Is there anything here today?

I don't see anything, no. 

Why are there so few ghosts in Halifax?

Well, no, I'm not saying there's few in Halifax. There's a lot more here than in other places I've been in Canada. But it's not like you see in the movies, where you think every place you go there's somebody roaming around. There isn't. I've gone to The Five Fishermen, I've gone to lots of places, but I've never seen anybody. 

They're probably going to be pissed.

Well I went there twice, looking, and they were pissed at me! They said they had some other psychic in who looked in a mirror and said there were 50 spirits connected to it. I'm like, "Well, good for him. I don't see anybody." I mean, I'm not going to make shit up. I don't do that. If I don't see it, I'm not going to say it. I don't have to prove anything to anyone.

Interview conducted and edited by Jacob Boon

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