The Jesters Court : Surviving Port Perry’s Curse

Jesters Court Restaurant – – 279 Queen Street, Scugog (Port Perry), Ontario, Canada – MAP

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History

The original house on this land was built for a local Freemason named James Goode in 1857.  In 1871, Dan Ireland turned the house into a small hotel.  It would still be here if not for Port Perry’s horrible luck with fires.  The original burned down in 1890’s unrelated to the “famous” town fires.

The current house was built for  James Carnegie in 1914.  He ran a local flour mill, which, you guess it, burned down in 1902 (also unrelated to the “famous” fires).  He rebuilt and stayed a crucial part of the community until dying inside his house in 1921.

Changing hands until finally purchased by the McGibney’s who’d open Jesters Court in 1997.

The “famous” Port Perry Fires – –
In 1883 a fire started behind the town’s hotel in a blacksmith shop.  Winds carried the flames and destroyed a few businesses down the same row.

Port Perry's smaller fire of 1883
Port Perry’s smaller fire of 1883

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Only one year later, 1884, a second and much bigger fire broke out.  Winds were heavier and spread it to most of the downtown shops. By morning 50 businesses along with many factories, warehouses, stables and homes were gone.

Port Perry's larger fire of 1884
Port Perry’s larger fire of 1884

They never found a source to the fire that destroyed the prospering Port Perry.  The future would have been much different, according to Peter Hvidsten, a local historian…

(from Durham News) “There was every kind of manufacturing industry you could imagine. Port Perry was a thriving community prior to the fires. The 1884 fire was by far the worst of the fires; it literally wiped the town out”

 

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Ghosts

Two poltergeists (violent or noisy spirits) have startled employees of the Jesters Court Restaurant.  The first is a woman in a blue dress sneaks up behind employees and gives great big bear hugs.

The second is an older woman known for stealing off shelves and throwing them around the restaurant.

Jester's Court, Port Perry, Ontario
The Original 1924 House – – Now Jesters Court Restaurant

Blamed for chasing out a group of contractors hired to renovate.  After running outside they told everyone about the old woman who threw salt and pepper shakers at them.

Dishwasher (from TorontoGhosts.org) – –
It was late one Friday night as the last person left the kitchen.  Eager to go home, the dishwasher did a final cleaning and walked out.   From the hallway he heard noises back in the empty kitchen, like someone playing with pots and pans.

Walking back in he saw the movement, looking up to see the pots and pans neatly hanging off hooks.  They were swinging, banging into each other.  The dishwasher spun around, wanting to see someone, anyone laughing because it was all a joke.

He was alone, walked out and eventually decided this wasn’t the job for him.

The old woman’s spirit has been a conscious energy inside the house for a long time.  First reported by a family renting the house in the 1950’s.  He said an elderly woman would check on his children every night.  So often, they called her “their nightly visitor”.

Table 13 inside Jesters Court sun porch - - Current Day
Table 13 inside Jesters Court sun porch – – Current Day

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Table 13 – – 
Reports of an old couple seen sitting at table 13.  Can happen in the Jesters Court Restaurant, or afterwards when closed and seen from the street.  They never stop what seems to be an intense conversation, hinting it may be a residual energy.

Same spot, same energy since the 1970’s when the house was converted to a restaurant.  The next after that were just getting accustom to the building when their dog acted strange.

He ran through the kitchen, down the back hall and into a sun porch, then baring her teeth and growling at an empty table.  This was table 13.

The couple seen by staff members including a young man.  He called the owner late at night for help, saying “I’ve had enough of the ghosts”.

He told her the couple at table 13 appeared in a very empty sun porch, “it’s closed, I was locking up, I’m the only one here”.

The owner rushed over, the young man showing her the table with a lit candle.

“I blew it out!  Came back and saw a couple sitting here with an old woman serving them food”

He’d quit soon after, which proves one true fact of the haunted Jester’s Court… it’s hard to keep staff in that old house.

Read about other haunted restaurants like Keg Mansion (Toronto) | Our Top 10 List for Ontario

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