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Learner story archives

May 31, 1999

photo of Lindsay Henry

Today, we are launching 5 stories from Samaritan House Training Centre in Brandon, Manitoba and as a special event you can read their stories as well as hear an audio version. The goal of the Centre is to help our students learn, and to improve their chances of finding meaningful employment through improvement in their academic, technical, communication, and workplace skills.

Wendy Woloski is originally from the town of Neepawa, Manitoba, which is less than an hour's drive from Brandon. She moved to Brandon in June of 1996 because she couldn't find work in Neepawa and to start up with an employment program. She really likes living in Brandon because it has more advantages (such as public transit) to living in a small town. Wendy was in the TechKNOWLEDGEy program at the Samaritan House Training Centre in Brandon. She completed that program at the end of March of this year. She really enjoyed the course and she learned a few things about computers in it as well.

Play an audio version of this story

MacNally's Halloween Massacre

by Wendy Woloski

A lot of you have probably noticed the old MacNally Foods Ltd. building across the street from here. You've also probably noticed what a shabby, run-down shack it is, not to mention the putrid, gut-wrenching stench that occasionally emanates from it. Have you ever wondered how the building got to look like such an old, decrepit haunted house? I've done some research into the business and found out a few things about it. One word of warning though; this story isn't for the faint of heart or weak-stomached person.

In its hey-day in the 1920's and 30's, MacNally Foods Ltd. was one of the biggest and most prosperous retail businesses in Western Canada. It was one of the biggest employers here in Brandon with over 100 employees. Getting a job at MacNally's usually wasn't very difficult, even during the depression years of the 1930's when high unemployment levels were rampant. MacNally's stood as a symbol of economic stability and viability in Brandon, especially during the "dirty thirties."

John Doe, a truck driver for MacNally's, found his job to be lonely and extremely isolating. He had a severe nervous breakdown and was consequently fired because MacNally's didn't want any "lunatics" or "phsyco's" working for them. John spent some time at the Brandon Mental Health Centre receiving treatment for his nervous breakdown and was released about a year later. When he got out of the Mental Health Centre, he tried to contact some of his former co-workers from MacNally's. However, they considered John a lunatic and wanted nothing to do with him because of his nervous breakdown. Because of this, he was extremely angry at MacNally's for firing him and he wanted revenge on his former employers in the worst possible way.

Each Halloween, MacNally's held one of the biggest and most-looked-forward-to costume dances of the year in the city and this year would be no exception. All past and present employees of the business were invited. It was the social event of the year.

The building was customarily turned into a haunted house for the Halloween dance. But what usually made the dance so memorable were the surprises planned for it. The surprises could include anything from special effects to a surprise guest showing up at the dance. The guests never knew what surprises to expect each year. How true that would turn out to be at this year's dance!

John bought a ticket to the dance. He figured this would be a good time to execute a vicious, cold-blooded surprise of his own on his former employers; when everyone would be together in one building

The night of the dance was an especially quiet one, a little too quiet for comfort. The moon was at its zenith, full and bright as a candle and the wind was a barely audible whisper, almost as if nature was in anticipation of what would happen that night.

A thick, heavy fog blanketed the city that night, making it difficult to know where you were. The fog was especially thick around MacNally's, as if it was trying to keep the guests from attending the dance.

MacNally's was decorated with streamers and balloons on the outside and some on the inside too. The inside of the building was decorated like a haunted house as usual. An upright coffin standing in the corner with a mummy inside, some cobwebs in the windows and corners, imitation spiders and bats hanging from the ceiling, and a statue of Dracula just to name a few things really made the place look scary

There were around 175 excited people at the dance. John was all dressed up in a bright, colourful, fat-looking clown suit along with a curly multi-coloured wig and big bright red nose for the event. What made him look so fat was the loaded semi-automatic gun and several rounds of ammunition he had hidden under his costume. During the dance, he made sure all the doors and exits to the building were locked. He went to the middle of the dance floor, pulled out the loaded semi-automatic and open fired at everyone, killing all 175 people at the dance, before turning the gun on himself.

In the distance, a lonely, miserable dog could be heard howling his heart out at the moon, as if he was calling the souls of the slain people back.

MacNally's was never re-opened after that. Instead, the corpses were left to rot in the building and the building was boarded up and left there as a memorial to the slain people. Behind the building is an obelisk that lists the names of the people killed in the massacre and has this inscription on it:

In this building lie the remains of the people who were killed by a deranged, psychotic maniac on October 31, 1938.

May God grant them eternal peace

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