A podcast series taking a deep dive into one of the most shocking crimes in the history of Peace Country is set to be released next week.
“Blood on the Prairie” will look into the June 1918 murder of six men of eastern European descent on two farms just outside of Grande Prairie. The series of murders, despite two trials, and plenty of media coverage at the time, remains unsolved.
Video Lead Chris Beauchamp says there is a lot to unpack in the story, in both as a historic murder mystery, but also in how it allows for listeners to be transported back to Grande Prairie in the early 1900s.
“There is a lot of historical context to the case too; it was affected by the Spanish Flu, by factors of the first world war, and certainly by the fact that it happened in what [local historian] Dr. David Leonard has described as North America’s last major frontier of European settlement,” he says.
“People were coming overland to a very remote place cut off from the wider Dominion of Canada Government, and these crimes occurred on two farms, on two consecutive nights, and that’s a long way away from “civilization.”
Beauchamp says one of the biggest challenges faced by he and Project Lead Cris Seppola was finding fulsome historical records of the victims. He says much of the time, they were working off of secondary testimony of who they were and what they were like.
“One of our challenges as storytellers is to humanize these people, and to humanize the effect of this crime on the community,” he says.
“A lot of families from the time that this happened are still in the region, they’ve put down long-term roots, and there are descendants of the people involved, and we’ve seen some ownership of the case.”
The first episode of four will be released on January 26th on all podcast platforms, and production of the work was made possible by a $10,000 grant from Telus STORYHIVE.