New Brunswick

Bathurst historical house attracts 'ghost hunters'

While she hasn't encountered a ghost, Melynda Jarratt, president of the Maison Doucet Hennessy House Bathurst Association, doesn't doubt others may have seen spirits in the historic Bathurst house.

Canadian Paranormal Expeditions will spend time in house to try to connect with spirits

Melynda Jarratt, president of the Maison Doucet Hennessy House Bathurst Association said, while she's skeptical about ghost sightings in the house, she is open to seeing what Canadian Paranormal Expeditions might find. (Isabelle Hains)

While she hasn't encountered a ghost herself, Melynda Jarratt, president of the Doucet Hennessy House, doesn't doubt others may have seen spirits in the historic Bathurst house.

With reports over the years of an apparition at the top of the stairs and children playing on the landing, Jarratt said a team of  investigators from Canadian Paranormal Expeditions will spend time in the house over the next few days to see if those ghosts will make themselves known. 

The house is more than 200 years old. The homestead, which sits at the top of a hill on St. Peter Ave. and overlooks the Bay of Chaleur, was home to the Doucet family first and then the Hennessy family. 

With two large families living there and numerous guests over two centuries, Jarratt said deaths did occur in the house and a number of wakes were held there as well. 

Numerous ghosts

"I'm a historian and I believe in facts. So I do believe that people believe, there's no question about that. There's absolutely no question that people believe that they've had experiences in the house." 

Jarrett said it is thought the apparition at the top of the stairs might be Rufus Millikan, a Scottish immigrant who boarded with the Doucet family and died there unexpectedly in the winter of 1818.

"Rufus was a protestant and he was English and he was in a Catholic Acadian home. He died and it was winter and they heated the house with wood." 

Jarratt said with no embalming done in those days, and concerns with preserving the body, the Doucets put the body out in the snowbank. They also didn't contact the local protestant congregation to properly prepare the body.

The Doucet Hennessy House in Bathurst sits at the top of a hill on St. Peter Ave. and overlooks the Bay of Chaleur. (Maison Doucet Hennessy House Bathurst/Facebook)

"The local protestants were furious and then wrote about it in a letter to Fredericton complaining about the treatment of the protestant, Rufus Millikan who had died." 

Fast forward 150 years to the sighting of Millikan's ghost. 

"The story goes there was a young lad in the house, he was walking up the stairs and he looks up at the top of the stairs and there's a man standing there. 

"It is a ghost and he freaked right out. He got such a fright that he fell right backwards and he fell down the stairs."

Jarratt said tenants who lived in the house have claimed there are children dancing or playing on the landing. 

"There is certainly odd behaviour by animals in the house barking. What are they barking at, cats playing?" 

Open house

Other people claim something has touched them on the shoulder or they have odd feelings when they are in the house. 

"But hey, it's an old house and it creaks and it squeaks and it makes noises in the wind and you know it's drafty." 

Jarratt said the skeptic in her says there is always an explanation, but she says there has to be something to it. 

Canadian Paranormal Expeditions heard about the house and asked if they could visit to check it out. With the help of mediums they will try to connect with any spirits in the house. 

The public is invited to visit the Doucet Hennessy House on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. to meet the crew from Canadian Paranormal Expeditions. 

Jarratt said they are welcome to ask questions about their work and the type of investigating they do. 

"Maybe there are some people that have some more stories to tell about other buildings in the area. That would be neat." 

With files from Information Morning Moncton