Is the Cherry Hill House Haunted?

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"Beware the ghosts of Cherry Hill," they said...and I laughed. I don't believe in that. Fables of a little girl lurking around the house seemed all too surreal to me, as well was the idea that the stones used for the foundation of the house were taken from an ancient native burial ground. Right....

Then I decided to do a little research and I was shocked to find the amount of testimonies online claiming that this Mississauga landmark is, in fact, haunted.

According to S.O.P.S (Southern Ontario Paranormal Society), the Cherry Hill House is one of Canada's top haunted landmarks. So, I decided to see for myself.

Upon arrival, I noticed that based on the photos I had researched, the original 1922 structure was mostly still in tact, especially considering that in 1972, the house had been moved to a new foundation more than 800 feet away.

Apparently, this is when strange things began to happen and rumours of paranormal activity began to surface.

Residents in the area say that according to the story, members of the family who originally owned the house are upset that it was relocated and are haunting the people who visit.

Patrons have reported mysterious sightings of a small girl in the windows of vacant rooms upstairs. According to customers, many have experienced the lights dimming for no apparent reason, glasses falling off tables, cold spots in certain areas of the house and even apparitions appearing in mirrors.

"During renovations, I remember some contractors refusing to work here past dark," recalls bartender Ashley Pacheco. "I have worked here for years at night and I have seen some pretty weird stuff," she adds.

Pacheco, who works in the basement bar, has felt a paranormal presence for as long as she can remember. She recalls instances when she had put bottles or glasses down and was certain they had been moved when she went to pick them back up.

"It could be my imagination. We get pretty busy in here, but I don't find that happens to me anywhere else," she says.

She says she has become used to the lights dimming and then getting brighter.

So there I sat, with my glass of Pinot Grigio and my overpriced caprese salad, waiting for the ghosts to appear. Sure, I am a skeptic, and as sarcastic as they come, but c'mon, ghosts? Really?

Then it happened; my first abnormal experience with this place.

Sure, it could have been my mind playing tricks on me, or the pinot getting to my head, but I could have sworn I placed my fork on my left, and my knife on my right. I know this because I am left handed, and it is natural for me to place my utensils this way-not to mention I remember doing it! Yet, sure enough, I looked down and they were reversed. Weird...but not impossible. I asked the waitress if she had moved them and she looked at me like I was positively crazy.

According to a 2010 article on www.mississauga.com, the original owners of the house were the Silverthorn's. They moved to Canada after immigrating to the United States from England in the 1700s. The cherry tree saplings they brought with them flourished on the acreage of land surrounding the house.

Archives available in the Mississauga library system on the Silverthorn family reveal that Joseph Silverthorn and his wife Jane migrated to Mississauga from Niagara-on-the-Lake with Joseph's parents, John and Esther.

Their giant two-storey Georgian style home, wrapped with a beautiful veranda, was built by their own hands and became known as the most elegant house in Peel County. It was situated upon a small hill overlooking their 200-acre cherry tree farm.

Joseph and Jane Silverthorn had three sons and nine daughters. Three of their unmarried daughters (Janet, Helen and Augusta) inherited the house after Joseph and Jane died. When Augusta had died in 1913, she left the house to her great-nephew, William Stanislaus Roman Walsh.

Due to neglect, the house soon decayed and was lost in the Depression because of unpaid taxes. Years later, the house was adopted by the city as a historic site, and after undergoing many renovations, reopened as a restaurant.

Today, the Cherry Hill House is operated by Mickey Beloate and remains as both a restaurant and spectacle that people come from all over to see. Even though it is said to be haunted, people in the neighbourhood encourage others to check it out, even if just for the food. If you are from Mississauga, it is a great place to see where some of the original roots of this city were planted.

As I sat there contemplating the truth behind the 'haunted' rumours, I kept staring at a mirror on the wall across from me, hoping to see the ghosts of Cherry Hill's past...and after approximately 45 minutes I felt I could leave, assured that my skepticism was justified.

But then...just as I got up to leave, I noticed the mirror I had been staring at the entire time suddenly shifted and was now on a slight angle. Holy shit.

That being said, it is kind of a rush feeling stupid and afraid and I recommend checking this place out. Especially if you're from Mississauga; this place was home to some of our original settlers and it's quite nostalgic knowing they once lived here...even if they are haunting it now! The Cherry Hill House is open Tuesday to Sunday 4 to 10 p.m. and is located at 680 Silvercreek Blvd.

For more ghost sightings and stories, check out www.torontoghosts.org .

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