Portraying Sarah Harris before the fire in the library. Photo: Fast Glazz
As October drew to a close, darkness fell quicker and the veil between this world and the next shifted.
Some see glimpses of apparitions or shadows, while others feel a presence around them, like someone is watching or reaching out.
At Eldon House the past came alive as visitors took a tour in search of its ghosts, hoping to look back in time.
This annual tour, The Great Eldon House Ghost Hunt, is an event not to be missed. I can’t think of a better way to spend an October evening than in a Victorian home left as if the occupants had just stepped out.
Just as I experienced Becoming Sarah Harris, other spirits were present at the Great Ghost Hunt as a part of the living history night. While Eldon’s hauntings are many, there is one ghost to rule them all: Wenman Wynniatt.
Wenman Wynniatt’s ghost awaits visitors in the dining room. Photo: Joseph O’Neil.
A British officer of the 83rd regiment, his ghostly appearance makes for one of London’s oldest haunted tales (perhaps one of Canada’s oldest). Wherever Sarah Harris is portrayed, Wenman Wynniatt is never far behind. I can’t write or research about Sarah without considering Wenman, the two are forever joined in this romantic tale from beyond the grave.
Wenman at the window (played by Mark Tovey). Photo: Fast Glazz.
Known for his sudden appearance in the library on May 14 1841, Wenman was seen walking through that room, into the hallway then into the ballroom (a room formally known as the dining room). During the Great Ghost Hunt, Wenman Wynniatt presided over the dining room, allowing visitors to sense an echo from the past and sample first-hand what his ghost might have experienced that fateful night. Images of an officer in uniform, staring broodingly out of a window are not soon forgotten. Nor is the sight of a man in love, who’s lost his chance, try mournfully to keep his promise. Theirs is an eternal love story that transcends time.
Another ghostly experience is a presence in the kitchen, where the service bells have been reported to ring, despite being disconnected. Who knows what phantom hand pulls the strings from within this house at the top of the hill overlooking the Thames River. Is it a cry for help from beyond, or simply a spirit who’s forgotten there’s to be no tea, evermore.
The bells of Eldon House. Photo: Fast Glazz.
In the green drawing room at the back of the building, a seance was once held in the 1960s, before Eldon House became a museum. A spirit board and glass were used to attempt to contact occupants from the past. In front of the fireplace, a small group sat at a table, arms outstretched as the glass moves slowly across the board, seeking answers from an unknown force. We know not the questions that were asked, but perhaps we know the last answer was final, as the glass hurtled off the table, smashing into the fireplace!
Sixties seance reenactment in the drawing room. Photo: Joseph O’Neil.
Guests during this tour were also shown the blue morning room, where a woman in white is said to have be seen sitting in a chair; and separately, in an unrelated manifestation, a pair of beaded slippers belonging to no one once appeared from out of nowhere on the servants quarters staircase.
As the tour ended, some ventured upstairs for a look at Eldon’s more intimate rooms where a restless spirit, sometimes sensed on the stairway, is portrayed by a mysterious woman roaming the shadows of the landing in period style clothing.
Upstairs apparition roams the hall, waiting for guests. Photo: Fast Glazz.
Whether guests continued on to The Grand Theatre for the last part of the tour, or to the Eldon House interpretive centre for cider and a tarot reading, they soon wouldn’t forget the spirits of Eldon, London’s oldest residence.
The library where it began. Thinking of Wenman, Sarah (portrayed Roxanne Lutz) and their tale that transcends time. Photo: Fast Glazz.
More about the Eldon House ghost story
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