The Jinxed House of Crown Point

The Jinxed House of Crown Point



This photograph is of the Grierson House in Crown Point. The picture and article were found at the Arnprior and McNab-Braeside archives by microfilm. – Archives October 1981


VIEW FROM OTTAWA RIVER-Grierson House at Crown Point photos by Jacquie (Hedley) Emerson, London Ontario


When the Bender family left Kanata in 1975 and moved into the most famous haunted home in the Ottawa Valley they joked about its history. The two storey stone structure located near Constance Bay on what is called Crown Point.

The story goes that a superstitious innkeeper in the 1870s refused to let a stranded traveller in one night because he thought he was the devil. The exhausted traveller who gave up after awhile asking the inn keeper for entrance crawled away and froze to death. He came back to haunt the house and there has been trouble ever since.

Of course the Benders said they would not have put down the asking price of $100,000 if they believed those ghost stories to be true. Yet the consequences of the century old jinx hit the family hard. In the first few weeks the whole family suffered a terrible rash that the doctors concluded might be poison ivy. The family boat moored to the dock disappeared one night after an angry storm never to be seen again. After Mr. Bender’s father died of cancer complications, the family began to think there might be something to the curse.


page updated by David Hedley  December 7, 2000


Out of the blue a few weeks later an older woman came to the house with a Ouija board and confirmed the fact the home had ghosts. The Bender children had heard tales at school of a stone in one of the two fireplaces that was was hollow. Sure enough, after testing all the rocks they found that particular stone that was hollow to a knock. They had no idea why the stone was hollow, and wondered if spirits lived in that stone. Was the hollow stone a dybbuk?*

Things got worse, in fact they got deadly. The story that went around was that hree-year-old daughter Mandy Bender was let out to play one day. When her parents lost sight of her they noticed small footprints in the snow leading to an open patch of water in the ice-covered Ottawa River. There was no word if police divers ever recovered her body at the point of this particular article. Later I found out that one month later they found the body of Mandy Bender.

Locals said the real story was that she had woken up in the middle of the night and walked a perfect straight line to the icy water, almost like she had been called to her death by something in the open waters.  After the tragedy the Benders got angry and wanted to meet these ghosts in their home face to face, but it never happened.

Mrs. Bender was so distraught she joined a group interested in psychic phenomenon and spoke in quiet tones about the hollow stone in her fireplace. Word had been passed on from generation to generation, and some older residents in the area won’t even speak about what has happened in that house.

The  history of the house has been written up in the Carleton Saga in 1968 and was built by a naval officer in 1928. Built in 1865 at Crown Point, the Grierson House was originally home to Lieutenant John Grierson. It was also visited by the Prince of Wales when his steamer anchored there to take on some much needed wood.
The ownership and usage of the home has changed hands over the years and has served as the Oddfellows Hall, medical clinic  and then an inn. A few years after it became an inn and the dreaded curse was placed upon the structure and it fell in disrepair until 1950 when a resident refurbished it and put in plumbing and electricity. After that, the ‘curse’ of the stranger has been attributed to a few tragic deaths attached to the house.

The Benders bought it in the 70s  from an Ottawa sports equipment dealer because they wanted a forever home for their young daughter Natasha and their two boys aged and and 14. The family said in the 70s they just couldn’t stay there, but they just couldn’t leave.

Joe Banks did an article for Arnprior Chronicle, in 1981 contacted Brenda Cain, who lived in the Grierson house in 1981. By that time, there had been a number of deaths in the house, but all explainable. The Benders did end up selling their home to a realtor, but have no idea what happened after. If you can fill in the blanks- drop me a line.


Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  12 May 1975, Mon,  [Second Edition],  Page 2



In Jewish mythology, a dybbuk (Yiddishדיבוק‎, from the Hebrew verb דָּבַק‎ dāḇaq meaning “adhere” or “cling”) is a malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person. It supposedly leaves the host body once it has accomplished its goal, sometimes after being helped. It is often trapped in a small box or hollow entity for safe keeping. Was the hollow stone a dybbuk?


Of further interest to ghost enthusiasts is the reports of mild poltergeist activity in the home. From doors rattling to phantom footsteps. From ‘thumping’ sounds in the attic to metallic rattling in the cellar.

2006--“At Crown Point a fine stone home, now occupied by Mr. Al Federer & family, was the eventual home of the large Grierson family.After the Grierson’s, the property served for a time as a tavern and Inn for travelers. It is referred to in the “Carleton Saga” and other writings as the ‘haunted house.’ Apparently, a superstitious innkeeper refused to let a stranded traveller into the inn during a storm night because he thought it was the devil.So, in spite, says the legend, the exhausted wayfarer crawled away to die and returned to haunt the house.” There is also an old family plot is in Crown Point, Dunrobin road, as you come down the last hill before you hit Crown Point Road. Its in the field up the hill to the left.


Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee

Pinhey Cottage was built in the 1820s for Captain James Grierson of the Royal Navy. Grierson was born September 28, 1782 in North Leith, Scotland, and came to Canada in 1825 upon receiving a land grant in Torbolton as a reward for his service to his country during the War of 1812.  At this location, he built his family a log cabin, now known as Pinhey Cottage, a simple one and a half storey, gable roofed dwelling similar to log cabins built throughout Canada in the 19th century. Grierson lived there with his family for a number of years, eventually moving across the road to a more substantial stone house. In the 1930s, the 100 acre property where the house is located was purchased by The Girl Guide Local Association at the urging of Major E.C. and Mrs. Woolsey, after whom the property was named. It has served the needs of the Guide Camp since. When the land was purchased, the log house was in very poor condition and it was repaired through the financial assistance of  Ruth Pinhey, a resident of nearby Pinhey’s Point. It was subsequently named in her honour.



Steffany Penney-Christopher

You would also know about the lady on the community centre road in Constance Bay many declared they seen her or heard while driving and walking I was always freaked when walking home from any sports.Crown Point friends that lived there always knew it was haunted 


Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and Screamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.


More About the Eccentric Stafford Family in Almonte

Twitching or Grave Dousing– Our Haunted Heritage

The Haunted Canoe from the Jock River

The Secret of the Widow’s House



Join us and learn about the history under your feet! This year’s St. James Cemetery Walk will take place Thursday October 19th and october 21– Museum Curator Jennfer Irwin will lead you through the gravestones and introduce you to some of our most memorable lost souls!
Be ready for a few surprises along the way….
This walk takes place in the dark on uneven ground. Please wear proper footwear and bring a small flashlight if you like.
Tickets available at the Museum, 267 Edmund Street. Two dates!!!

OCT 28th
Downtown Carleton Place Halloween Trick or Treat Day–

Here we go Carleton Place– Mark Your Calendars–

October 28th The Occomores Valley Grante and Tile Event–730pm-1am Carleton Place arena-Stop by and pick up your tickets for our fundraiser dance for LAWS. They also have tickets for Hometown Hearts event at the Grand Hotel fundraiser

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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Apr 1975, Fri  •  Page 1

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

11 responses »

  1. My name is Sandy Kerry (nee Snyder). My mother is Judy Sprague, daughter of David Shafer Sprague who played football for the Ottawa Rough Riders and is in the hall of fame. He owned this house in 1967. I was 2 when my 4 year old brother and I were sent to play in the snow in March of 1967. We went to the river to walk out to the sailboats and the ice cracked because it was melting. My brother got on shore but I went under. They thought I was dead when they pulled me out but I was in a coma and after being transported to the hospital had a blood transfusion. I am very lucky to have survived. I’m sure I was under much longer than what a person can manage without dying due to the cold but I try not to think about that.

    David Sprague had been in the basement with my mother and had just come up the stairs and was at the top but very shaky and my mother had to help him. When he arrived at the top he had a massive coronary heart attack and died. Not long after the house was sold. It must have been 1971 since it was purchased from a sports dealer records state.

    I find it interesting that Mandy Bender and I share a similar story though sadly she didn’t survive. I’m so sorry for her family.

    I wanted to share this information with you since I believe my grandfather’s spirit may be one that is trapped there.

    Sandy Kerry


      • Hi Linda,
        I am the Joe Banks mentioned in your article on the Grierson House above. First, congratulations for picking up the story where I left off! There is much you’ve found out that I did not, and am hoping you can share with me how you got the information on the Bender family, and particularly the tragic death of the child. I did not have that information at the time of writing the piece nearly 40 years ago and am very curious what your sources were (are). In return, I will provide you with four unpublished photos that I took the day I was at Grierson House and interviewed Ms. Bain, the tenant at the time.
        In the meantime, best wishes and good luck with the blog!
        Joe Banks,
        Osgoode, Ontario


  2. Hi Linda,

    My family and I are wondering if the Grierson house is still standing and if it is, can we visit?
    Beleive it or not, I’m a Grierson and this is part of my family history.


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