Andrew Bennett held up two photos taken inside the haunted Brookside house on Ethel Street. - Carli Berry/Capital News

Former premier W.A.C. Bennett may be haunting his old house

Brookside Manor, located in Kelowna, has a few weird stories associated with it

As home to some of this city’s political pioneers, the Bennett house may have more than a few skeletons in its closets.

But its ghosts are what Andrew Bennett is most interested in.

When he was in his early 20s, Andrew lived there with his grandmother while attending Okanagan College. While he came away from that time with an education in business, he also gathered a few spooky stories.

Brookside Manor, located off of Ethel Street, was owned by Andrew’s grandfather the former B.C. premier W.A.C. Bennett. It was built in 1914 by Francis R.E. DeHart, the then-mayor of Kelowna, and it became known as the DeHart house. F.R.E. DeHart died in 1935 and his son Francis, who was born in 1897, sold it to W.A.C. Bennett.

READ MORE: Lake Country Halloween haunter fun for the whole family

The house is still standing, but Andrew said he last saw the place around 12 years ago.

“It’s been fixed up quite a bit, they used to have what we called memory lane in the basement as it had my grandfather’s memorabilia. (It’s) a three storey building really, and has an attic too,” he said.

The spooky tale starts in March 1982. Bennett’s grandmother left to see her sister in New Westminister and the family housekeeper, Aunt Winnie, warned him his home in Westbank after she left.

“I said ‘oh, I’m not afraid by any ghosts,’” Andrew said. “That night I looked at my college textbook, laid down on the couch and when I woke up it was 1 a.m.”

He went upstairs to his room on the third floor. Then he heard a sound coming from the staircase.

“I could hear this heavy breathing, shuffling on the carpeted stairway and rustling on the handle of the bannister like an old man going up the steps, going up very slowly and I could hear it coming all the way up and there (was) a door to the bedroom, right next to the stairway, and there (was) silence for a good minute, before a loud knock at the door,” he said.

“Oh my goodness, I just about jumped out of my skin, my hair went straight up.”

He left the light on all night and got up at sunrise.

Andrew said Aunt Winnie also saw a ghost in her bedroom, who she thought was one of the DeHart sons who had been killed in the Second World War.

But he isn’t sure of who the ghost belonged to on the staircase. “That’s a mystery because my grandfather didn’t use the stairs,” he said.

The visit from the ghost on the stairs wasn’t the only experience Andrew had while staying in the house.

He once saw a creepy figure in his grandfather’s old bedroom, which he described as “a lion-like being with huge ears and hands by its side.”

“I wouldn’t say it was my imagination,” he said.

Andrew also saw an outline of what he thought to be his grandfather after he died, sitting in his old rocking chair. And while he was praying one night, he said something knocked and twisted hangers in a closet.

“My dad (RJ) was one of the first ones to notice. He saw the man in the grey suit, which started the DeHart ghost stories as a young boy,” he said. “They thought it was possibly Mr. DeHart.”

Andrew didn’t stay by himself in the old house after his first weird encounter and believes there are lingering spirits on the property. But whose spirits they belong to remains the biggest mystery. The house is still owned by the Bennett family, but part of the property was developed into the Bennett Estate townhomes.

Michael Rowland is the ghost guy in the Okanagan and owns Healing Haunted Houses, an organization that purges homes of spooky happenings.

“Ghosts are essentially the spirit or energy or essence of the person who passed away,” he said. “Most of the time they cross over, as the term is, to where they’re supposed to be, wherever that is depending on your belief system, and the reason they don’t is primarily they are attached to loved ones, children, spouses, that sort of thing.”

“There are other cases where they don’t feel worthy to cross over, and feel like they’re going to be judged… or if they’ve done something they feel is unforgivable, they stay behind,” Rowland said.

He said ghosts will attach to houses or people and can change the atmosphere of the thing they attach to.

“It seems that earthbound spirits, like attracts like. If it’s a loving household, the earthbound spirit desires that, it may attach to that,” Rowland said. “They tend to collect together and I’m not sure exactly why that is.”

READ MORE: Ghosts and ghouls haunt Vernon’s O’Keefe Ranch

A haunted house will also have unexplained happenings, that can’t be attributed to things like a creaky floor, or a running refrigerator, he said.

“Houses have all kinds of their owns noises, from settling and floors creaking, but usually, if the house is haunted unusual things will happen like lights and TVs will turn themselves on and off,” Rowland said.

“Some people will have a knock at the door… some people can feel a sense of anger or anxiety in their house and when they leave they don’t have that feeling.”

But it’s not like Hollywood, ghosts can’t hurt people, but they can affect the health and wellness of the hosts, he said.

Although there necessarily more ghosts out and about around Halloween, Rowland thinks people are more attuned to them around this time.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Brookside Manor - City of Kelowna

Just Posted

CSOPA’s six spring productions in Chilliwack include play about boy with autism

Mix of musicals, comedy, mystery and more for Chilliwack School of Performing Arts’ May shows

Chilliwack’s hospital morgue needs an expansion

Fraser Health plans to more than double the space for ‘decedents’; upgrade antiquated elevators

Chilliwack Mounties pitch tickets to three-strike motorists

When street signage and Speedwatch didn’t work, drivers met with traffic officers

Chilliwack Hospice Society gearing up for annual Hike

Funds raised at Chilliwack walk remain local to help support programs for community members

Fraser Health reminds parents to get their kids fully vaccinated against measles

Health authority will send letters home to parents with catch-up program information

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Loud jets from Abbotsford are annoying residents of tiny U.S. town

Flights out of Abbotsford airport turn over border town and annoy residents, Sumas mayor says

Olympic auditions return to Lower Mainland

Event an opportunity for unknown athletes to shine and, maybe, change sports

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

Most Read