Perth, Ontario, is home to a number of beautiful old limestone buildings, dating back over 200 years. It’s not surprising that during this long history there have been many reports from residents, visitors, and employees of paranormal activity in the museum. Some claimed they heard unusual sounds, saw unexplained shadows, strange voices, thumping noises, or felt sudden chills or gusts of air at this old Perth landmark.
Many of the stately old buildings in Perth date back into the early 1800s. Some of these historic buildings have changed hands many times over the years, like the Perth Museum. It was first built as a home for a distinguished citizen, Senator Roderick Matheson.
Roderick Matheson’s home was one of the largest and finest in Perth. Being a Senator, he often held lavish parties in the beautiful gardens to the side and rear of his opulent home. The magnificent garden was lush and green, with apple and plum trees, gooseberries and currants, peonies, bachelor buttons, and row upon row of breathtaking, richly-scented rose-bushes. The garden made an impressive backdrop, where he entertained the area politicians, the wealthy, and prominent business owners of that era.
His seven daughters – Mary, Rose, Flora, Isabella, Joan, Anna, and Eliza – each one strikingly beautiful in her own way, busied themselves in the garden at the Senator’s parties, greeting guests, and offering them personal tours of the impressive grounds. Some locals say that the daughters were so attached to these gardens, and this impressive limestone home, that their spirits lingered, long after they departed this earth, and the girls may still be seen at dusk, tending the roses, strolling in the moonlight…
Some may not realize that the Matheson family occupied the impressive stone manor as their family home for almost a century. When the last family member, Eliza Matheson died in the house in 1929, the building was sold, and became the elegant Birkacre Tea Room from 1930-38, operated by William and Jessie Kinloch. Soups, sandwiches and afternoon tea were their specialties, served in the beautiful garden, during the fine- weather months.
From 1938-46 the building was called The Vanity Fair, a posh restaurant owned by Clifford and Alice Carr.
It was said that during the late 1930s and early 1940s members of the spirit world became particularly active in both the main building, as well as the gardens, as the owners played hosts to several prominent clairvoyants, at the Vanity Fair. Psychic Medium Madame Cornel was a regular guest during 1938. Madame Cornel was said to be a gifted medium, and people from the area flocked to the Vanity Fair to hear her psychic predictions.
In 1939, the Vanity Fair played host to another well-known Clairvoyant from Ireland – Madame Kildare. It has been said that when Diana Kildare sat at the table and laid out her 40-year old tarot cards that you could hear a pin drop in the room. There were many mysterious noises and lights seen both in the home, and in the garden, thought to be spirits brought back by the visiting psychics and mediums.
The Matheson family, particularly the beautiful daughters, didn’t seem to want to leave their home… Of the seven daughters in the family, only one married; and the other six girls remained at home, lavishing much time and energy tending the lush garden at the back of the property.
Although some paranormal researchers say that violence or sorrow may cause a spirit to feel bound to the world until justice is rendered, this is not always the case. Some say it can be the strong attachment to a particular location, and that spirits may return to a place where they spent their happiest times. It’s been said that these feelings of contentment, of the person never wanting to leave, can seep into a place, either in the walls of a building, or the soil of the ground itself, and leave a certain ghostly energy or impression. Researchers claim that ghosts tend to stay in places that they considered to be their own during their former lives, and areas that were once very closely linked to themselves as a living human being.