Point Ellice House, a Victorian house museum set amidst restored gardens, is located beside Victoria’s picturesque (and haunted) Selkirk Water. The house was home to the O’Reilly family for 125 years and can claim to be haunted by the most ghosts of any place in town.
“Point Ellice House Ghost Tours” feature stories of “the boy in the barn,” “footsteps in the attic,” “please don’t lock me in” and “the lady in the blue dress” and recent dining room sightings.
Don’t forget to bring a flashlight.
Tours scheduled from October 20 through November 1 on most days. Times vary. Call (250) 380-6506 for information and reservations.
I found an article written by John Adams who I recently had the joy of meeting, John is a story teller and I am sure he will not mind me repeating his story below, please do take a tour with John:
Point Ellice House is a landmark heritage house in Victoria, British Columbia. The first wing – really just a small cottage – was built in 1862 to the design of Wright and Sanders, the first professional architects in the Colony of Vancouver Island. In 1867 it was bought by the O’Reilly family. Over the following years they made additions and many changes until they sold the house in 1974 to the provincial government. I had the good fortune to know John and Inez O’Reilly, the last private owners. The house had fallen into considerable disrepair, but they decided to restore it in 1967 and operate it as a private historic house museum.
Ghosts inhabit more buildings than we sometimes want to admit. Often, however, they lie dormant until something changes that “awakens” them. Likely the extensive repairs did just that at Point Ellice House. Inez first found out the place was haunted after an unusual visit from a family of tourists. She was home alone and was outside on a ladder painting the trim. The visitors arrived and she told them to go inside and she would come in to give them a tour very soon. Before she knew it, the family walked out. She had totally forgotten about them! She was very embarrassed and invited them to go back inside to have the tour. They were not annoyed at all. In fact, they explained there was no need for Inez to give them a tour because the “nice young lady in the blue dress” had shown them around the entire house. Lady? Blue dress? Inez was mystified and asked them to go inside and show her where the “young lady” was.
They couldn’t find her, but did explain to Inez many aspects of the house’s history even she was unaware of. Then they entered the bedroom of Kathleen O’Reilly, John O’Reilly’s aunt who had died in 1945. “That’s the dress she was wearing,” the visitors exclaimed, pointing to a blue gown lying across the bed. It was a dress Inez had found in a closet and placed there as a display. Kathleen had returned!
Kathleen O’Reilly is just one of many ghosts who have made their presence known at Point Ellice House. It is often featured at Halloween on local TV shows and I include it in my ghost tours whenever possible. Now operated by the Capital Mental Health Association, Point Ellice is a beautiful Italianate cottage set in extensive nineteenth-century gardens. It is open seasonally and teas on the lawn are a favourite feature during the summer. Next time you’re in Victoria, stop by for a visit. You won’t be alone!
About the author:
John Adams is a Victoria-based historian and author, now retired from the BC Heritage Branch.
His Ghostly Walks are one of the city’s most popular tours. Find information about his tours at www.discoverthepast.com