Book Launch “Lanark County Calling”

Lanark County Calling:  All Roads Lead Home

Travel back in time, through Lanark County, and beyond, in this collection of stories. The adventure begins in Perth, Ontario, where you’ll meet trailblazer, Sophia Haggis, a local confectioner, also known as ‘the Candy Lady’. Next, sample some popcorn at the Soper Theatre in Smiths Falls, while you meet the folks who made sure your night at the movies went off without a hitch. Your next stop is Ferguson Falls, where you may encounter a ghostly apparition, searching for their lost love, along the shores of the Mississippi River.  Join the unforgettable party at one of the most popular country music festivals of our time – the legendary Ompah Stomp.  Meet the Witch of Plum Hollow, an Irish fortune-teller, who helped local police solve crimes. Come along on this captivating journey, through some of the most intriguing places in Eastern Ontario.

Saturday, September 29th,  12 noon – 3 p.m.

at The Book Nook and Other Treasures,

60 Gore St. E., Perth, Ontario

Book launch for blog

 

7th book in the series of Lanark County stories

 

Lanark County Calling - book cover Aug

 

Acknowledgement:

Thanks to those who ‘pulled back the curtain’ for an insider’s glimpse behind the scenes at the Soper Theatre in Smiths Falls, Ontario:  Jan Stepniak, Gordon Evoy, Violet Gariepy, Scott Irvine Jr., and Tammy DeSalvo.

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Special thanks to award-winning country music artist Neville Wells, and also to Marilyn Taylor Dunham for sharing their memories, stories, and special recollections of the legendary Ompah Stomp.

 

for poster

 

The Legendary Ompah Stomp

Visit this unforgettable party through it’s beginnings in 1978, through it’s glory days, up to the year 2000, its final year.

ompah stomp for blog

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A Night at the Movies:  The Soper Theatre in Smiths Falls

Discover the history of this popular destination, and meet the fascinating folks who played key roles in this beloved movie theatre!

soper theatre for blog

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Sophia Haggis – Perth’s Candy Lady

Meet trail-blazer Sophia Haggis  –   take a trip down memory lane and visit Sophia in the pretty town of Perth, and sample some of her mouth-watering confections.

 

haggis candy for blog

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The Ghost of Ferguson Falls

Go back to the early days in Drummond township when the loggers came to town, sang their songs, spent their pay on liquor, and danced ’til they wore out the floorboards at Charlie Hollinger’s Hotel.  Meet local lad Jimmy, whose life ended all too soon.

lumber jacks

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The Witch of Plum Hollow

Visit this pretty hamlet, and meet an interesting Irish lady with some special abilities.  Discover the people she helped, and the crimes she solved.

witch of p h for blog

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Join us at the book launch on Saturday September 29th from noon to 3 p.m.

All are welcome.

See you there!

 

(lots of local names and familiar places in this collection of stories!)

Paranormal Perth: Garden Ghosts on Gore Street

Have you experienced any of 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

 

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?

ghost 1

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.

ghost 2

It’s been more than 200 years since the first settlers established the town of Perth, Ontario,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

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.  Soups, sandwiches and afternoon tea were their specialties, served in the beautiful garden, during the fine weather months.

 

AFternoon tea Birkacre July 21 1933 p 1

 

Birkacre Inn Aug 3 1934 p 28

From 1938-46 the building was called The Vanity Fair, a posh restaurant owned by Clifford and Alice Carr.

Vanity Fair Christmas Dec 23 1938 p 2

 

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.

 

Vanity Fair Nov 11 1938 p 10 Mme Cornel

“The Perth Courier”, Nov. 11, 1938

clairvoyant 1930s

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.

 

Vanity Fair Madame Kildare Apr 21 1939 p 5

“The Perth Courier” April 21, 1939

seance

1930s seance

 

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.

garden ghost 3

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 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.

 

 

Matheson House garden 2

 

photo:  Matheson House and rear garden  (now the Perth Museum)

Matheson House garden 1

The Matheson House family garden – where many have reported seeing shadowy figures at dusk, tending the plants and flowers.

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The Perth-Upon-Tay Legion bought the building in 1947, and it was their meeting place until 1967, when it became the Perth Museum.

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Today, Matheson House is home to the Perth Museum, located at 11 Gore Street East in Perth.

Matheson_House_Perth_Ontario_2012_1

A view of the formal Dining Room of Matheson House, restored to its former glory as a stately family home.

Perth Museum Dining Room

Matheson House Drawing Room – beautifully restored, one of the many opulent rooms at the Perth Museum

Matheson House drawing room

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.

Matheson House garden

Remember to stop by the garden, where the lovely young Matheson daughters carefully tended their plants and flowers, and entertained prominent guests.

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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.

 

ghost 3

You may even feel as though someone is watching you!

ghost 7

 

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For more information on the Perth Museum (former home of the Matheson Family) 

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Tel: 613-267-1947

11 Gore Street East, Perth, ON, K7H 1H9

 

 

 

 

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ghost 4

 

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Read about an eerie encounter with the spirit world:

“Matheson House: Perth’s Grand Lady of Stone”,
from –  ‘Lanark County Connections – Memories Among the Maples’.

 

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Lanark County Connections small book cover

 

http://www.staffordwilson.com

(some photos courtesy of the Perth Museum)