If anyone is qualified to hazard a guess about the paranormal in Revelstoke, it would be Brennan Storr.
“I think without a doubt people see things, there have been too many unexplainable incidents,” says the author of a book on Revelstoke ghost stories. “Not that I know what it is. I don’t think we are meant to know.”
Storr spent three years researching and writing his book about the otherworldly happenings in Revelstoke, BC. The finished product, A Strange Little Place: The Hauntings and Unexplained Events of One Small Town, was released worldwide by Llewellyn Publications this past summer.
Born and raised in Revelstoke, Storr’s family sold their store, Bocci’s, in 2006. After a year of travel and work, he headed for new adventures in Victoria.
“When I was first looking for work, I went to a hiring centre and said, ‘I’ve finished high school, I’ve spent time making sandwiches in my family’s store. What can I do?’ They said, ‘Make sandwiches.’”
Storr shrugged off the advice, instead working in everything from shipping and receiving to working as an office manager.
His creative side came out after he moved from Revelstoke. “I had this drive to create, and I had never created anything before,” he told me. “And it turns out my muse has ADD. So I started a restaurant review blog and did that for a year. But I got bored. Then I wrote a multi-part feature called So You Want To Go To England on my website, Largely the Truth.”
Ready to commit to a larger scale project, Storr spent time researching the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding expo in Vegas 2011. “I researched everything: the philosophy, the background, and the contestants,” he said. ”Then I drove down there and photo-blogged the entire convention.”
Having successfully proved to himself he could carry out a project with sustained effort, Storr started contemplating his next project.
“I’ve always loved ghost stories. I would tell them at parties and they were a hit,” he said. “Plus, a couple weird things have happened to me in the store as a kid. You just shrug them off, but while I was walking with a friend in Victoria, talking about odd occurrences, it just clicked: I should write it down.”
Storr asked his parents to recount their experiences, only his parents didn’t remember much. “But they connected me to people who did, and then those people would connect me to other people until I had enough for a book.”
His next move was to educate himself on the ghost book industry. “I read around 50 books, I listened to podcasts, researched publishers, and sent my manuscript to a few that accepted open submissions. The publisher Llewellyn liked it.”
Having immersed himself in the world of supernatural occurrences for so long, Storr is positive these experiences are unimagined and real.
“The majority of people whose experiences are in this book are working class, no nonsense people,” he said. “Things happened that they can’t quantify, so they don’t dwell on it.”
Several times Storr was approached about experiences marked with silly, horror movie style tone that he decided not to follow up on. Instead, he notes, it’s the smaller, inconspicuous occurrences happening to regular, not overly dramatic individuals, that ring true.
“I know without a shadow of a doubt that things we can’t comprehend happen,” he said. “I don’t have any answers; I don’t think we are meant to have a handle on it. Life after death is immaterial — we can’t do anything about it but enjoy this life.”
Storr does want to let Revelstoke locals know there are several cases of pseudonyms used throughout the book, because some people wanted a chance to discuss what happened to them, but not have their identity common knowledge in a small town.
Currently promoting his book on radio stations worldwide and through Canadian bookstore signings, Storr is in the process of researching his next book.
“It’s the same kind of idea, but in L.A.,” he said. “Now that I’ve opened my eyes to supernatural occurrences, I’m compelled to find out more.”
You can meet Storr at his next book signing in the Chapters on Douglas Street in Victoria, B.C., on September 30 from 2-4 p.m. Find out more on his website.