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Haunting history of Vernon home unveiled

Centre hosting ghost tours as well as paranormal findings

Once known as the Halloween house, the Caetani Centre is living up to its legendary status by hosting two different events for those who believe in things that go bump in the night.

Said to be haunted, the Caetani house on Pleasant Valley Road opens for three nights of ghostly tours, Oct. 26-28, before the Canadian Paranormal Foundation (CPF) presents an investigation of the house on Oct. 29.

“This will be the second year we’ve hosted Halloween tours inside our 1895-built heritage home. What’s different is that this year’s event will be hosted by local actors embodying the parts of the Caetani family,” said Kristin Froneman, Caetani Centre tours and communications coordinator. “We are also excited to welcome the CPF who will reveal some of the unexplainable things their team uncovered when investigating the house earlier this year.”

On the tour, ticket holders will learn about the Duke of Sermoneta Leone Caetani, his partner Ofelia, and their daughter Sveva who escaped the rise of fascism in Italy and arrived in Vernon in 1921. When Leone died in 1935, the women secluded themselves from the world.

“Ofelia basically went into a paranoid state and never left the house again until her death 25 years later. She, unfortunately, brought her daughter Sveva and the family’s private secretary Miss Jüül into this lonely life with her,” said Froneman.

As time went on, the only time the gate to the normally closed-off mansion opened was on Halloween.

“Halloween was one of Sveva’s favourite times of the year. She and Miss Jüül would greet neighbourhood kids lined up outside their door and hand out these imported European treats encased in beautifully decorated loot bags designed by Sveva herself.”

The tour captures some of that history as well as the ghost stories and haunted happenings that both residents, staff and visitors have experienced in the house over the years.

Telling these tall tales will be professional actors Harrison Coe as Leone, Amelia Sirianni as Ofelia, and special guests. The tour also includes a rare peek upstairs, an area normally closed off to the general public.

Following the tours is the paranormal investigation, which will be hosted by CPF founders Peter Renn and Jason Hewlett. They will reveal their methodology of paranormal investigating, including evidence captured from various heritage sites in B.C. and the Caetani house.

“In one instance when they were recording in Ofelia’s bedroom upstairs, they captured a voice telling them to leave. You’ll have to hear it to believe it,” said Froneman.

Proceeds from the presentation will go towards the maintenance and upkeep of the Caetani Centre and its facilities and programs.

Tickets for the Haunted Halloween Tours, which take place Oct. 26, 27 and 28 at 6 and 8 p.m. are $25/adult and $15/youth 18 and under, available at or by calling 250-549-SHOW (7469). Tours take approximately an hour and are not recommended for children 12 and under or for those sensitive to frightening content. Mobility issues should be taken into consideration as guests will be required to climb stairs.

Tickets for the CPF Paranormal Investigation presentation, Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. in the Caetani Gallery, are $25 per person (for ages 16 and up only), and are also available at the Ticket Seller.

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The history, and hauntings, of the Caetani House will be on display for Halloween events this year. (Caetani Cultural Centre photo)

Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

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