Perth Museum, 11 Gore St. E., Perth, Ontario
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, located on the main street of the town, Gore Street. Some have claimed they heard unusual sounds, saw unexplained shadows, heard voices, thumping noises, or felt sudden chills or gusts of air at this old Perth landmark.
Have you experienced 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
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.
Senator Matheson of Perth
and his Beautiful Daughters…
Many of the beautiful old buildings in Perth date back into the early 1800s. Some of these historic, old, buildings, have changed hands many times over the years, like Perth Museum. It was first build 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 the stately 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 was an impressive backdrop, where he entertained the area politicians, the wealthy, and prominent business owners.
His seven daughters – Mary, Rose, Flora, Isabella, Joan, Anna, and Eliza – each one strikingly beautiful in her own way, milled about the garden at the Senator’s parties, greeting guests, and giving them personal tours of the impressive grounds.
Some local 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 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.
Birkacre Tea Room
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.
“Strong Vibrations from the Spirit World”
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.
“The Perth Courier”, Nov. 11, 1938
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.
“Unexplained Noises and Lights Along Gore Street!”
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 Perth Courier” April 21, 1939
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.
“I’ll Never Leave!”
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.
photo: Matheson House and rear garden (now the Perth Museum)
The Matheson House family garden
– For many decades, many have reported seeing shadowy figures at dusk, tending the plants and flowers.
Former employees have shared their eerie experiences over the years.
The Perth-Upon-Tay Legion bought the building in 1947, and it was their meeting place until 1967, when it became the Perth Museum.
Today, Matheson House is home to the Perth Museum, located at 11 Gore Street East in Perth.
A view of the formal Dining Room of Matheson House, restored to its former glory as a stately family home.
Matheson House Drawing Room – beautifully restored, one of the many opulent rooms at the Perth Museum
On your next visit to Perth, Ontario, step back in time at the Perth Museum, where you will see lovingly-restored rooms, as they were during the years when the prominent Matheson family occupied the home.
Remember to stop by the garden, where the lovely young Matheson daughters carefully tended their plants and flowers, and entertained prominent guests.
Don’t be surprised if you sense something unusual as you tour the old building. You may feel a draft, or see a flash of light, or movement.
You may even feel as though someone is watching you!
For more information on the Perth Museum (former home of the Matheson Family)
11 Gore Street East, Perth, ON, K7H 1H9
Read about an eerie encounter with the spirit world that took place in the 1960s. What happened on October 24th, 1967 when a young girl wandered into the garden at Matheson House? Who did she encounter? What happened next?
Discover who or what was lurking, in the haunted garden at Matheson House in:
‘Lanark County Connections – Memories Among the Maples’. ISBN 978-0-9877026-47
(some photos courtesy of the Perth Museum)