Hermitage Mansion in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, is reportedly haunted by the ghosts of William Black and Alma Dick-Laudner.
Background[edit | edit source]
Hermitage was a very large and impressive house but was destroyed by a fire in the 1930's, it is now a ruin. Only the walls of the building remain, there is no roof and the inside is scattered with rubble. Prior to the fire, the Mansion had been knocked down and rebuilt once before.
The first Hermitage Mansion was built in 1830 by Scotsman George Sheed, Sheed died before the Mansion was completed and the land was bought by Englishman, Otto Ives. Ives lived in the mansion for the rest of his life and died in 1853, after then the mansion was purchased by Irishman G.G Brown-Leith. It was Brown-Leith who rebuilt the mansion and knocked down the old one, it is Brown-Leith's mansion that stands there today.
Brown-Leith passed the Mansion down to his daughter, Alma Dick-Laudner, the last owner of the home. The fire that destroyed the house in 1934 started as the result of a broken chimney, After the Mansion collapsed, Dick-Laudner built a smaller house actually within the ruins. This small house still stands today, though slightly worn down.
Hermitage Mansion is quite haunted.
William Black[edit | edit source]
In 1833, William Black was a Scottish immigrant who worked as a coachman for Otto Ives, The man who owned Hermitage Mansion at the time. Ives was an English immigrant who had previously fought for the Greeks in the Greek wars of independence, it was whilst in Greece that he met his wife. After the war's in Greece ended, Ives, his new wife, and his wife's niece emigrated to Canada and bought the Hermitage mansion.
Ives's Niece, Magdalene Diamanti, could only speak Greek, And so Ives ordered Black to teach Diamanti to speak English. Black done this, and whilst teaching Diamanti to speak English, Black fell in love with her. Black fell hopelessly in love with Diamanti, and made plans to ask her to marry him. In order to ask Diamanti for her hand in marriage, Black would have to first ask permission from her superior, who was Otto Ives. When Black asked Ives if he could marry Diamanti, Ives said no, since Diamanti was the Granddaughter of a Greek Governor, and Black was only a Scottish coachman. Ives simply thought that Black was not noble enough for Diamanti and so he said no.
Black was completely heartbroken and devastated by this, he could not imagine living his life without Diamanti. For this reason, it is believed, William Black took himself to the barn around the back of the house, and hanged himself on the rafters within the barn. Black had committed suicide. The Next morning, Ives realised that Black had gone missing and started searching for him. It was Ives who found Black's body hanging in the barn.
Hauntings[edit | edit source]
Since people who had committed suicide could not be buried in concentrated ground. Blacks body was buried at a crossroad's near Hermitage Mansion, One of the roads that starts at the crossroads has become Ancaster's local 'lovers lane', Some people claim that at night there is a moaning sound at the spot. Blacks ghost is said to haunt the Hermitage Mansion however, His ghost is said to rise from his grave and walk to the house whilst carrying a rope (probably the rope he used to kill himself with). He sometimes walks from the house to the grave, or to the spot where he committed suicide. He is also sometimes seen as a dark figure standing around the ruins, or as a body hanging from a tree.
Alma Dick-Laudner[edit | edit source]
In 1902, Alma Dick-Laudner was the last born child of G.G Brown-Leith, the third owner of the Hermitage Mansion and builder of the second Mansion. Dick-Laudner used to have the surname Leith, but changed her surname to Dick-Laudner when she married Stair Dick-Laudner out of an arraigned marriage. Alma and her husband moved to Toronto but soon found out that they hated each other, the two eventually decided simply to never see each other again. Alma Dick-Laudner moved back to her childhood home of Hermitage Mansion
Alma became the legal owner of the mansion in 1902 and spent the rest of her life living in the mansion. She became known as very reclusive and strange. She would talk to animals and her pets, and occasionally even have 'tea parties' with them. Most of all however, she was known for her love of the house in which she lived in. Dick-Laudner would spend ages writing poems and letters to and about her house that she loved so much.
Alma lived her life this way until 1934, when a broken chimney set the house alight. Although Dick-Laudner escaped, the house could not be saved and Hermitage Mansion became the ruin it is today. This devastated Dick-Laudner who was simply unable to let go of her home, she built a tent outside the ruins and lived in it for a long time. Local people decided it would be a kind idea to rebuild her home, at least to a certain extent, and put a smaller house inside the ruins of the mansion. Dick-Laudner lived in this smaller house until she died in 1942, the smaller house is still there today but is damaged.
Hauntings[edit | edit source]
Since Alma's death, people have reported seeing her ghost wandering around the ruins. Most people agree that Alma Dick-Laudner was unhappy with the fact that Hermitage Mansion was never rebuilt, and that nobody will ever see what it was again. The ghost of Alma Dick-Laudner seems to have the ability to create illusions of the past. It is not unusual for people to approach the ruins of Hermitage Mansion and see, not a ruin, but a grand and impressive mansion like it once was. This Illusion will always fade and the ghost of Dick-Laudner is always seen immediately afterwards.