Ghost town, Saskatchewan: Bents: Photo Essay

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Bents, a Saskatchewan ghost town, is fucking terrifying

Bents Ghost TownThe first time I saw a UFO I was with my best friend Chris. We had watched in awe as a star-like shape zig-zagged across the summer night sky, so convinced of what we had just witnessed. Decades later I question my memories, similarly convinced that I somehow made it up.

Last summer, reunited with Chris – who now lives across the country, I asked if he remembered seeing the UFO with me.

“I remember,” he said. “I was actually thinking about it the other day, wondering if I made it up.

“I’m glad we saw it together.”

The fact that he agrees with what happened is enough however – I’m not crazy. But I spook easy. And I make sure I’m always with a friend when I trundle headfirst into a potentially frightening situation. It’s the first rule of investigating a ghost town.

Ryan and I cruise out west of Saskatoon towards Rosetown, turning at a junction I have marked in a map saved on my phone. There is no way either of us would have found Bents, Saskatchewan alone. I point and Ryan bombs down gravel roads. At one point we stop and double back – the road into the now-abandoned town is grown over and barely visible.

All that’s left of Bents is a slumbering grain elevator, a few scattered houses and a general store that still has some sundry items left on the shelves.

Most of the buildings are near the end of their lifespan. The floors – the parts that haven’t yet caved in – groan and creak quietly. The novelty of exploring the bones of a now-dead town, however, is quickly overshadowed by the shear creepiness of the place.

Part of what makes ghost towns so scary is the lingering idea that someone still remains behind

The previous owner of one house up the hill had the foresight to lock the door behind themselves before leaving forever – that didn’t stop people from breaking out every single window. Inside is a few scattered remnants of a life no longer lived: old prairie auction signs, kitchen utensils, galoshes and a wadded up sleeping bag.

Part of what makes ghost towns so scary is the lingering idea that someone still remains behind, living amongst the dead memories and rotted old bones of bombed-out houses.

The idea of a human eking out a living amongst these decayed prairie ruins, however, is infinitely more depressing than frightening.

But after surveying the next house I take back the idea – it’s entirely terrifying.

Inside the living room of the house is a baby carriage that has somehow sunk into the floorboards – in the kitchen someone has stuffed a teddy bear into the stove.

Ryan, I don’t particularly want to remember that part.

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– Words by Chris Morin, photos by Ryan Smith.

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