Paranormal Perth: Garden Ghosts on Gore Street

Ghost in the garden

A chill that travels down your spine, the unexplained feeling of dread, or a sudden drop in temperature, are physical signs that many have experienced in a haunted locale. How do places become this way? Why do spirits linger in certain buildings, or even in certain rooms?

Some say that the history of a building is almost always a primary factor. When a building is very old, and has a long history of human habitation, it’s far more likely that someone over the years has experienced strong negative feelings in that space.

In 2016 Perth, Ontario will mark 200 years since the first settlers established the town, and many of the beautiful limestone buildings date back into the early 1800s. Some of these historic old buildings have changed hands many times over the years, like the present Perth Museum on Gore Street.

Matheson house for blog

Matheson House living room

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 died in the house in 1929, the building became the elegant Birkacre Tea Room from 1930-38, operated by William and Jessie Kinloch. From 1938-46 the building was called The Vanity Fair, a posh restaurant owned by Clifford and Alice Carr. The Perth-Upon-Tay Legion bought the building in 1947, and it was their meeting place until 1967, when it became the Perth Museum.

The Matheson family, original owners of the mansion, were wealthy and prominent in the community. They hosted many parties and social gatherings in the beautiful gardens behind the house. 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.

garden ghost 3          Garden ghost 2

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.


Have you experienced the 10 signs of paranormal activity?

1. Disappearance and re-emergence of objects in the house

2. Finding unidentified objects in the house

3. Appearance of unexplained marks around the house, e.g. scratch marks on the walls, odd marks on cupboards or walls

4. Hearing sounds of doors closing or opening, banging, laughter, walking, speaking, etc. in the absence of any source

5. Sudden changes in temperature

6. Lights or electronic equipment going on or off repeatedly or not working without any reason

7. Mobile phones not working

8. Cats or dogs whining or barking unnecessarily

9. Feeling a presence in the house

10. Feeling of being watched

Matheson House garden 2     Matheson House garden 1

Take a trip into the past and meet the prominent family who passed their days and nights in this building, long before the time when it became the popular Perth Museum.

Read about an eerie encounter with the spirit world in “Matheson House: Perth’s Grand Lady of Stone”, from –  ‘Lanark County Connections – Memories Among the Maples’.

Available at The Book Nook, The Bookworm, & Blackwood Originals in Perth, Mill Street Books and Divine Consign in Almonte, Arlie’s Books in Smiths Falls, Perfect Books in Ottawa, and through the website –

Lanark County Connections small book cover

(some photos courtesy of the Perth Museum)

2 comments on “Paranormal Perth: Garden Ghosts on Gore Street

  1. Jackie says:

    There are so many people out there interested in the paranormal you may find that you have a new following! Great story – lovely old house.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the story! There are so many old buildings in Perth with a similar history, I imagine that the town is quite a draw for paranormal researchers and ghost-hunters from all over North America.

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