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The Jinxed House of Crown Point — Part 2 –After the Benders at the Grierson House

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The Jinxed House of Crown Point — Part 2 –After the Benders at the Grierson House
GRIERSON HOME AT THE TERMINUS OF THE DUNROBIN ROAD.
VIEW FROM OTTAWA RIVER-Grierson House at Crown Point photos by Jacquie (Hedley) Emerson, London Ontario

In 2017 I wrote a story about the The Jinxed House of Crown Point. It was a story about a home that certainly had its sinister history. When the Bender family left Kanata in 1975 and moved into the two storey stone structure located near Constance Bay on what is called Crown Point they joked about its haunted history. When they later moved out of the home they no longer joked about the house with a horrible history as many things had happened to them.

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
12 May 1975, Mon  •  Page 2

You would think that only one or maybe two stories would be necessary to document this house. Like my home, if things go bump in the night, they go bump in the night, and not much you can do about it. In November one of my readers, Lynn Lefevbre sent me a newspaper clipping from the West Carleton News from the late 1990s. It was a story written by Sarah Trant about the old Grierson Home, which is yes, The Jinxed House of Crown Point.

Maybe I should save it for Halloween I thought and it has been sitting in my pile of papers next to my laptop for months. That was until yesterday. Do I believe these stories about haunted and cursed homes? Why yes I do, as I live in one of these ‘shadow homes’. The only spirits in my home have been documented by myself the first week I moved in here, a psychic, a local hospital board member, and a bunch of ladies that like to sage homes to protect them. These spirits have not bothered me much, but they have bothered visitors and the only way my home is cursed is because of the constant things that break down every day and need to be fixed.

Last night, this clipping somehow found its way to the top of my pile and my brain started to wander. I always feel when something like that happens, the story needs to be told as soon as possible. It’s a sign. Doug Hill was the owner of Grierson House in the 90s after the Benders had sold it to him. The Benders had told him about the ghostly presences before he signed the dotted line as they wanted no surprises when he assumed ownership. There was even a clause on the deed of the sale that said: “local law has it that ghostly phenomenon have been noted on the property” Mr. Hill had no issue with the clause and thought it historically interesting for the 150-year-old home. No sign was posted over the property saying: “This is the famous haunted house” –but almost everyone in the area knows exactly where it is OR was. 

In the first few weeks affer the Benders had bought the home, all five family members suffered a mysterious rash which, after several doctors, was diagnosed as poison ivy. Their boat, moored to their dock, disappeared during an overnight storm, never to be seen again. Mrs. Bender’s father died of complications after a cancer operation. An old woman came to the house with a Ouija board and the board insistently pointed to one fact: “There are ghosts here.” 

Then, the worst tragedy of all happened in April of 1975. Their three-year-old daughter Natasha was let out to play. She always played near the house. But this time, for some reason, her footprints in the snow led directly to an open patch of water in the ice-covered Ottawa River. Police divers recovered her body in May of 1975.

Mr. Hill never discounted after occupying the house that things were not going on although he was not aware. He said he was a down to earth person but had heard all the stories the locals provided him with. However, some of his more ‘sensitive guests’ and his children did say they could feel a ‘presence’. A few years ago one of my friends here in Carleton Place told me when she lived near the Grierson house, she could not even turn around in the driveway of the home because she would feel physically sick.

One could say that it might have been mind games but no it was not. Mr. Hill had invited guests over for dinner at one point but was running late. Upon arriving home his guests were not there and after a phone call found out one of them had become desperately afraid and sensed an evil influence as soon as they pulled into his driveway so they turned around and went home. After that Mr. Hill thought maybe an exorcism would be the right way to go but Reverend Peter Coffin who was then Dean of Christ Church Cathedral suggested it might be better not to stir things up.

According to Pat Berney, the former house on Crown Point still exists and is a private home. Hopefully the only evil spirits remaining lie under a coffin shaped rock along with the stories of gold hidden deep under that rock guarded by………… Yes readers, the dots have to remain in the story and we will never know what or whom the gold is guarded by as the story was cut off. Perhaps, that is for the best. My job is done- for now, until “they” call again.

Sandy Kerry on  said: Edit

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

CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
27 Nov 1971, Sat  •  Page 35

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.

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
05 Jan 2001, Fri  •  Page 65

PHOTOS: The lost village of Hazeldean

Tales from Haunted Houses?

  1. The Spirits Are Alive and Well
  2. The Shadow People of Lake Ave East
  3. The Jinxed House of Crown Point
  4. The Continuing Curse of William Street in Carleton Place
  5. More About the Eccentric Stafford Family in Almonte
  6. The Secret of the Widow’s House
  7. The Mysterious Light in the Raine House
  8. The Ghostly Tax Break
  9. Murders and Mysteries of the Mississippi Hotel
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Susan14 hours

I believe in this as I was living in West Vancouver on Inglewood we sold the house kids were young the lady across the street 3 houses up the aunt knew me. The new the lady that passed she offered us the house to rent till we found one that we were going to buy again. She moved the furniture from the deceased grandfather that passed in that room, and across the hall the lady his daughter passed recently into a room in the basement and was locked. His workbench was there as he left if full of stuff when he passed years earlier. We moved in put kids in “his room” first night but next day decided to move kids into front room and we moved our bedroom furniture into his bedroom, we had a cat also. Took son to school next morning and daughter to preschool at end of street . After cleaning up etc sat on made bed with the puffy comforter on it (it was Nov) and was reading when I felt something sit down heavy on the end of bed near the door. I jumped up and look at comforter no mark then I looked under the bed, then looked in hallway (knew cat as outside) this happened at night too lots of times, also he would turn off power just for me so I would go down stairs and climb up on his workbench to get to electrical box to switch power back on. I didn’t say anything even when I felt I was being watched more than once. older Brother came for Christmas and we let him have our bedroom the second night , he never swore in front of me, got up next morning and said your fn bedroom is haunted , so I told him and husband who I hadn’t said anything too about this what I had been experiencing since we moved in./ Husband said he experienced haunting in the bedroom on his side of the bed. and didn’t want to say anything to me either. Found out that it was the grandfather who had his bed on a different wall and was not happy it was taken out of the room for sure, I spoke to a couple of the elderly ladies on the block and they said it was him as the daughter mentioned he did was in the house haunting it too. I had no idea. We spoke with the university or something to see what to do. However we moved out the next month ps brother said it went on every night he was in the room for the week too.l I am not joking about this, It was quite an experience and once I will never forget. Lucky the kids were to young . There is lots more of the haunting that he did but too much to put down here.

The Jinxed House of Crown Point

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The Jinxed House of Crown Point

 

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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

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GRIERSON HOME AT THE TERMINUS OF THE DUNROBIN ROAD.
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

 

 

historicalnotes

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.

 

 

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.

relatedreading

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

 

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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!!!
https://www.facebook.com/events/1211329495678960/

OCT 28th
Downtown Carleton Place Halloween Trick or Treat Day–https://www.facebook.com/events/489742168060479/

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