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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Brookside Manor - City of Kelowna

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Community pride always showed in Mansueti’s work

Retirement reflections revolve around so many projects and successes

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Cowichan RCMP warn of scammers pretending to be police

Callers identify themselves as police officers

Direct mail delivery to Penelakut Island a big benefit for residents

Service that started in mid-March has especially been appreciated since pandemic restrictions

Archie’s lets the good times roll

Blast from the past at new diner in the Chemainus Public Market

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

Victoria police investigating possible hate crime on BC Transit bus

A young Black man was randomly struck by a Caucasian man who he did not know

UPDATE: No COVID-19 at Nanaimo shopping centre as memo mixed up mall identities

Woodgrove Centre sent memo to tenants Tuesday advising them of positive case

Most Read