Investigating Historical True Crime in Saskatchewan with Melanie Cole

I’m excited to introduce you to the first of the Ghoul Community Spotlight! 

The KDK Ghoul Community is slowly growing, from the initial BiblioGhoul Book Club to the LogoGhoul Writing Group, and now the ParaGhoul Paranormal group! The KDK Ghoul Community is all about connecting members interested in horror books, horror writing, paranormal, and other terrifying, yet intriguing, topics.

While researching paranormal experiences and haunted locations in Saskatchewan (one day, to be Western Canada!), I have met some fellow writers, researchers, and enthusiasts along the way. Today, I want to introduce you to one of them!

Melanie Cole is a writer based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. What started out as a curiosity about haunted locations quickly turned into a passion for uncovering true crime over Saskatchewan’s history.

Melanie and I have been chatting about our fascination with historical newspapers for a while now, so I was excited when she agreed to be part of my new Ghoul Community Spotlight. Check out my interview with her below! 

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1. What started your interest in Saskatchewan’s true crime history?

To be honest, it feels like I’ve always had an interest in true crime, starting with childhood shows like Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted and Forensic Files. If there was a documentary about serial killers on, I couldn’t stop watching (still can’t). I remember in high school being told I could write a paper on any historical figure, and I chose Charles Manson. 

In terms of historical true crime in Saskatchewan, that was a lot more recent. About a year and a half ago, I googled most haunted places in Saskatchewan. I’m actually a pretty big skeptic, but I figured for a place to be haunted, something (most likely horrible) had to have happened there, and I was interested in those stories. I scrolled through a lot of lists, none of which gave me a compelling reason to research further, until I came across the Kerrobert Courthouse. 

It was said to be haunted thanks to a skull kept in the basement evidence room for a murder trial. Now THAT made me sit up in my chair. Immediately, I needed to know who was murdered, how, by whom, why the skull was used as evidence. And with that, I swan dived straight into the rabbit hole.

2. Do you find there are a lot of true crime stories in Saskatchewan?

There are a TON of true crime stories in Saskatchewan! It’s mind boggling, honestly. Every time I think I’ve found the last one in a given decade, I find three more.

3. It is easy to find information about the events? What are your sources?

Sometimes it’s fairly easy, if it’s considered big news at the time then there tends to be a lot of coverage, but I’ve also struggled with some cases. 

For the Welwyn Massacre, I wasn’t able to find a lot of newspaper articles from the time and had to rely on research from other historians who were able to visit Library and Archives Canada. Most of the time though, I’m able to find original newspaper articles. Thank the universe for! I’ve also reached out to the provincial archives and the coroner’s office.

4. Do you find most of the suspects get caught? Or are there many unsolved cases?

I would say it’s an equal split of solved cases, unsolved cases and cases that were ‘solved’ but the convicted person was most likely innocent.

5. Have there been any cases that you’ve researched where the suspect was wrongly convicted?

There have definitely been cases where people were wrongly convicted. It’s rare for that to be rectified though. I’ve researched a few cases where now it’s quite obvious that the convicted party was innocent but at the time, society was convinced of their guilt.

6. Do you have a particular case that sticks out in your mind after researching? Why?

7. What is the oldest event that you’ve researched?

8. Is there a typical motive for the crimes that you’ve researched? Or any other trends that you’ve noticed?

Hmmm, a typical motive… I’ve found a lot of domestic abuse cases that ended with murder. Several cases have been based in greed. And I think a lot of them come down to isolation. You get these insular communities with very little education, some toxic personalities, add a harsh winter and terrible things can happen.

9. What is the drive behind the research you do? (i.e. do you hope to solve unsolved cases? Or do you plan to turn them into a book? Or something else?)

I would LOVE to solve an unsolved case, even if it’s just solved to me, haha. 

I am working on a book proposal that I will hopefully be shopping around this fall, so fingers crossed that one day there is a true crime book by yours truly on bookstore shelves. I really enjoy bringing these forgotten stories to light and showing a different side to the nostalgia we have for the history in this province. 

People think murder is new and it’s not. Recognizing why and how it happens is the best way to address the darkness, rather than pretending it doesn’t exist.

10. Have you ever researched a high-profile case in Saskatchewan? Or has there been a case that involved a high-profile person?

At the time, a lot of these cases were high profile. Now, not so much. As for high profile people, I’ve covered several murder trials involving John G. Diefenbaker, our former Prime Minister, who started his career as a defense attorney.

If you’re interested in reading some of Melanie’s articles, make sure you check out her website at

It was wonderful getting to know Melanie a little better. Thank you to her for being my very first member spotlight of the Ghoul Community! Hopefully one day we will be able to meet in person! 

Until next time, my ghouls… 🙂

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