Revealing Macpherson House mysteries, Napanee Ontario


Will Clermont and Cindy Elford of Bytown Paranormal prepare equipment for their final paranormal investigation at Macpherson House on March 22. They and their fellow investigators will present their paranormal findings at a public event on Saturday, April 26. Staff will also talk about their own mysterious experiences at the house over the years.

By Meghan Balogh, Napanee Guide

If you are looking for ghosts, the Allan Macpherson House in Napanee might just be the perfect place to hunt elusive but persistent spirits.

That’s what Bytown Paranormal was hoping would be the case during the past few months, as they investigated paranormal activity in the historic house that can lay claim to being one of the oldest residential homes in Canada.

Bytown Paranormal investigators have spent at least two separate evenings moving through the house with special gear — digital video recorders, Electromagnetic Field and temperature readers, infrared cameras, hard drives, audio recorders, and handheld cameras, all tools of the ghost-hunting trade.

They will present their findings at two public tours and presentations on Saturday, April 26, one at 2 p.m. and one at 7 p.m. The event is open to people ages 10 and up.

There is plenty of lore that surrounds the Macpherson House, which has been active in a historical capacity since 1967 — for many years before that, the historic building was a boarding house for several families.

Lisa Bird, a member of the Red Cow Society and a previous volunteer at the Macpherson House, has experienced strange things in the old house that leave her puzzled.

“I have heard things, felt things, but not once was I spooked because you just feel part of this house, part of the Macpherson family,” said Lisa Bird. “There is nothing sinister about the house.”

Bird and other staff will talk about the strange things they’ve experienced in the house during the two tours on April 26, and Bytown Paranormal will do an audio-visual presentation of their investigation findings.

The team goes through a building first to take baseline temperature and EMF readings before they begin their “interviews” with the potential spirits present. Then, they begin asking questions — they listen back to their recordings later for answers.

They prefer to work at night when it is quiet and dark, and they’ve had some success during their several investigations across eastern Ontario and western Quebec in the last few years.

Though it’s hard to prove the existence of a spirit world, some interesting things have occurred during Bytown’s explorations, including one chilling incident at a property in Bristol, Quebec.

“There were a few of us in a room and the EMF detector was going up,” said Cindy Elford, who both investigates locations and reviews footage gathered for clues. “When we did base readings it was zero zero. In the time we were sitting there it went up to 21, and the temperature dropped from 18 degrees to -2. It came back up after.”

“These days so much is explained,” said John B., one of Bytown Paranormal’s investigators. He says he’s had many strange experiences himself, and that those first set him seeking answers. “I’m logical about stuff…it’s just trying to explain what you’ve been through. The other side of it that I wanted for this group, there’s a lot of history that people don’t know about. It helps educate people. It’s a different way to get people into these places.”

The Macpherson House was the first house on the north shore of the Napanee River. It was built in 1826 by Allan Macpherson, a prominent local businessman and community-minded individual.

That community mindedness is well-rooted in Macpherson House today, a building that was painstakingly and lovingly restored nearly 50 years ago and continues to be mostly managed by volunteers and donations.

Bytown Paranormal offers its services on a volunteer basis as well.

“For us it’s not just about the ghost-hunting, it’s also helping raise money for some of these historic houses,” said John B., one of the investigators. “Everything that people pay goes back to the house, it’s an honour for us to be here.”

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