Just in time for Halloween: The haunting of Brookside Manor in Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Just in time for Halloween: The haunting of Brookside Manor in Kelowna

FILE PHOTO - The grandson of former premier W.A.C. Bennett believes his spirit may still be found in his former Kelowna home, Brookside Manor.
Image Credit: Rob Munro
October 12, 2020 - 7:00 AM

The grandson of former premier W.A.C. Bennett believes his spirit may still be found in his former Kelowna home.

Andrew Bennett lived with his grandmother at Brookside Manor, located in Kelowna’s south-central neighbourhood, when he was in his early 20s and attending Okanagan College. He came away from those times with a business education, and knowledge of the supernatural.

The tudor-style manor was built in 1914 by Francis R.E. DeHart, who was Kelowna’s mayor at the time. It became known as the DeHart house and when DeHart died in 1935, his son sold it to former premier W.A.C. Bennett.

The ghost stories began for Andrew in 1982 when he stayed up late and alone one night.

Bennett’s grandmother had left to see her sister in New Westminster and the family housekeeper Aunt Winnie warned him against staying in the home alone when she left.

Brookside Manor, where former B.C. Premier W.A.C. Bennett lived in Kelowna, is pictured in this undated photo.
Brookside Manor, where former B.C. Premier W.A.C. Bennett lived in Kelowna, is pictured in this undated photo.
Image Credit: City of Kelowna

“I said to her, I’m not afraid of any old ghost. She shook her head and walked down the steps,” he said.

When heading to bed that night, he entered his room and thought the creepy eyes of a Spanish admiral painting on the wall were following him.

“I went to get ready (for bed) and I heard this heavy breathing from the stairway below from the kitchen. My grandfather when he would climb the stairs he would go the long way around, but these steps were coming up from the kitchen, directly below my room. I could hear this heavy breathing, slowly climbing the stairs and rusting on the bannister. Then there was silence for about a minute and a loud knock on the door.”

“My hair shot straight up," he said. 

He left the light on after that and got up really early the next morning. He never stayed alone in the house again.

Another time, Andrew saw the outline of his grandfather late at night in his favourite rocking chair. He had died in the chair.

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.

READ MORE: Boys and ghouls: Meet the ghosts of Vernon

He believes that multiple ghosts roam the halls of the manor, but isn’t sure who the ghost on the staircase belongs to as his grandfather never used the stairs. He also saw a vine-like creature in the corner of his grandfather’s room, which he believes his grandmother also saw.

His father RJ Bennett told him he saw a man in a grey suite who they associated with Dehart, who built the manor.

Sabina Magliocco, a UBC anthropology professor who specializes in folklore, said ghost stories are ways to explain and question our beliefs on the nature of reality.

READ MORE: Ghosts of the Southern Interior

“Every ghost story allows us to ask could this be true? Could this really happen? And of course broader questions about what happens after we die?” she said. “A lot of the appeal of ghost stories is that they allow us to have these kinds of conversations without coming right out and having philosophical or ontological conversations.”

Besides being questions about belief and reality, ghost stories also push against the boundaries of our culture.

The accepted view in Western culture is that beyond the material world, nothing can be verifiable or provable, but ghost stories offer a different narrative and also us to question that mainstream belief by asking “what if there’s something else out there?" she said.


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