One of Niagara-on-the-Lake's busiest restaurants, The Buttery offers diners a fine bill of fare as well as it's own resident ghost!
A long suffering and abused wife of a long past owner (1850 was the year to be exact,) ended her torment and the life of her terrible husband early in the early Spring. She then took the wretch's corpse and buried him in the cellar of what is now this fine restaurant.
Oddly enough, it was her spirit, rather than the victims that troubled patrons and owners of the establishment. The details of this haunting we're still trying to find...
In 1981, an exorcism was held and apparently since then, the Buttery is at peace.
Again, many thanks to John Robert Colombo's Mysteries of Ontario for filling in some blanks. We will be revisiting this story soon!
I'd like to begin my report by describing the premises, as they were exactly 20 years ago when I used to work at the Buttery, performing as Lady Jane Seymour in their weekend Henry VIII feasts. These medieval feasts were held in two banquet chambers: one upstairs and one downstairs. The kitchens were in the basement, as were the washrooms and locker rooms for staff. Two stairways connected the kitchens with the main floor, but only one of those two stairways continued upstairs to the upper banquet chamber. We referred to it as the "back stairs". The upstairs banquet chamber was furnished with long lines of copper-covered tables, a dais (on which "the king and queen" sat on their "thrones") and at the back of the room was a music booth containing a stereo system, which was locked at all times, except for those moments when the royal couple’s "steward" would turn it on for period ambience.
Other colleagues often complained that the ladies staff toilets would flush suddenly while they were still seated. Others had a problem with those "back stairs". The lights would reportedly suddenly go off, which was a bit dangerous, as most staff would be coming up the stairs balancing loaded trays, or others even reported having trays knocked out of their hands. The only phenomenon, which I experienced, was that music would suddenly come on mid-feast, even though the music booth was locked and the stereo turned off.
A veteran staff member reluctantly related the following, when more and more colleagues grew alarmed. With a sigh, he commented that he had hoped "he" would leave us alone. Apparently some quite more dramatic strange occurrences had been the order of the day for as long as all who worked there, including the owners, could remember. A few years prior to my having started, a tourist from the U.S. (some southern state, I don't want to get it wrong because I can't remember exactly which) was walking along the main street and suddenly stopped dead in front of the Buttery.
She stormed into the main floor restaurant and demanded to speak to the owners, who were summoned from their home, as the woman was quite dramatically insistent. It turns out; she was a medium and had received very strong "vibrations" as she was about to pass by. She even gave a detailed account of what was happening to staff, even though she had never set foot in Niagara-on-the-Lake in her life. Because of the spooky accuracy of her descriptions, the owners agreed to a seance, in an attempt to contact who or whatever was causing the occurrences and with the hope of ridding themselves of this plague once and for all.
The veteran staff member who told us this, was a long-time and trusted worker, and was therefore invited along with the head hostess to attend the seance with the owners. This is what came out:
Around mid-19th century, a doctor with the given name of Phillip had inhabited the building. He was married and was the unhappy father of a physically (and mentally? I can't remember) handicapped boy. The names of the mother & son were revealed at the seance as well, but have been forgotten over time. Phillip was ashamed of his handicapped son, feeling that it would tarnish his image as a doctor, if he himself had a son who was so obviously not "normal" as he put it. His wife, however, doted on the boy and spent more and more time with him, nursing him, feeding him (bringing him food on a tray up the "back stairs" . The front stairs, it turns out, didn't exist at the time. They had been added later.) and reading and singing to him. Over the years, Phillip, who was on the road most of the time visiting his patients, grew more and more jealous of his son, feeling that his wife was neglecting her wifely duties. It came to heated arguments and accusations. The woman couldn't bear her husband’s attitude towards the boy and felt all the more so compelled to lavish her attention on him. Phillip argued that the boy was a burden who couldn't appreciate the efforts of his mother and she should be more concerned about her husband’s well being. The situation escalated, with the son being doted on more than ever. One day, Phillip couldn't take it anymore. He waited until his wife was downstairs in the kitchen before he entered his son’s sickroom and proceeded to smother him with a pillow. Suddenly, his wife appeared at the top of the "back" stairs with a tray of soup, saw through the open door what her husband was up to and screamed. Phillip looked up, bounded out the door and knocked the tray out of his wife’s hands, the force of which propelled her backwards down the stairs. She broke her neck and died on the spot. Phillip, being the only physician far and wide, simply coldly filled out the death certificates and explained to anyone who asked, that the boy had died of his long-term affliction and that his mother had subsequently die of grief. No one ever asked any questions.
I can't remember if Phillip also died a violent death or not, something in the back of my mind says yes: if anyone knows of this story, please comment on the latter. Anyway, during the seance, the medium was able to convince the spirits of the mother & son to move on, as they were not aware that they were in fact deceased. Only stubborn Phillip was not to be convinced "to go" and still "hovered about" years later.
After hearing the story, whenever strange things would happen, we would address him by name and not be afraid to tell him to cut it out. Eventually the phenomena grew less and finally stopped altogether.
I haven't thought about the story until I stumbled upon this web site. If others who are aware of it read this, I'd appreciate it, if any possibly false details would be set to rights.
Our thanks to the witness for sharing this report. Please note that we have not verified the above information at this time. We currently have one of our investigators following up and will update this page again in the near future.
Please Note: This website and page is a catalog and research site on stories and reports of ghosts and hauntings of various sites in and around Ontario and is in no way is related to, in business with or in partnership with the restaurant listed here. For information on this restaurant, please click here if you are looking for reservation information or need to contact the restaurant.
Also note: The restaurant may no longer (or never did) discuss or talk to the public about the legends/reports/stories attached at the site and we are in no way saying that this establishment is a "ghostly place to visit" but, simply has a past report that was made available to the public. The restaurant and it's staff may not wish to discuss or may have no information about the reports to discuss with their patrons.
It is a fine establishment and worth a visit regardless of the situation.