An Oak Bay Ghost Story: Beau's House
I recently had the pleasure of meeting a formidably talented and intelligent woman who we shall call Ellen. Ellen came into possession of her wonderful Oak Bay, Victoria, B.C. residence about 15 years ago and almost immediately started experiencing things such as her doorbell ringing, folded laundry being messed back into a pile when leaving the room for a few minutes and things being moved. They replaced the doorbell and even rewired it all, thinking that it was an old house and probably just needed updating. It continued.
She also kept finding various empty, older styled liquor bottles buried upside down in neat little rows around her yard wherever she went to put in a new flowerbed.
Ellen began to think that she was possibly losing her mind and ended up chatting with neighbors who started to explain what they knew about her house and a previous owner named Beau. She heard about him and his wife, his history in the home, the quiet dignity and pride he had in life. She heard about how the owners she had purchased the home from had complained of similar happenings and thought they were cracking up. They only owned the home 4 years prior to Ellen and her husband buying it.
"This is really Beau's story," Ellen confided in me while we were out having coffee in a lovely little shop at the Oak Bay Marina. "It's still his house, really."
A current picture of the main street in Oak Bay, Victoria, B.C..
In Honor of Fallen Friends......
"Out of the previous culture there will be heap of rubble and finally a heap of ashes; yet, over the ashes, spirits will hover." - Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein 1930
Beau was a WWI Veteran and lived in the home with his lovely wife Henrietta, nicknamed Ettie. They were the cute old couple we have all come across, who still seem to be living in their honeymoon phase. Neighbors reported that he was kind, polite and dignified. In his own ways he tried very hard to show those he loved the respect he felt was deserved.
An example of this was his sense of honor towards his Veteran buddies. Much like himself, many of them had no family so there was no one to care for their remains. Beau made miniature casket-like boxes for all of these men's ashes and buried them in his yard, his attempt at making them part of his own family is the common belief among those who knew him.
As for the bottles that Ellen kept finding........she found out that Beau had struggled in life with alcoholism. Though he went to great lengths to try to hide it from Ettie and his neighbors, doing things such as purchasing small amounts of liquor but from several different outlets, they were all aware of it and kept their silence in order to not humiliate him. At night he would go out in the yard, lift the grass, and bury his empties upside down in rows. Then he would tamp the grass back down and carry on. These are the bottles that Ellen is still finding.
When Ettie passed, Beau took her ashes and buried them beneath a rose bush he planted in the front yard of the home.
After Ettie died, Beau's alcoholism got the better of him and he got to the point where he could not care for himself. Not having family, a care giver was hired to come in the mornings, bring the groceries, care for Beau and the home throughout the day, then leave after dinner. Only a couple of months went by before Beau himself passed away.
Ellen was told that the neighbors soon discovered that an investigation into his death was done and it was found that the care taker hadn't been providing the care she had been hired to. She had been entering the home in the mornings through the front door and immediately taking the food with her out the back door. The ending result was that Beau had been starved to death.
Beau's ashes were placed beneath a separate rose bush that was planted beside Ettie's at the front of the house. Beau's rose bush just happens to be next to the doorbell.
Ellen has since found out that the owners before her and after Beau had removed all the wooden caskets from the yard, but left the ashes in their spot.
She's had other run-ins with Beau that ended up being more direct than messing with laundry. When on the computer one night, chatting online with a friend about what she had discovered in regards to the bottles in her yard and Beau's alcoholism, her computer suddenly just shut down. To make a month long fix-it story short, they tried new outlets, new parts, new wiring, even a new computer, all to no avail.
Finally one evening, Ellen asked out loud, "Beau, if that was you playing with the computer would you please stop now. I promise I won't discuss your personal business without your approval." The lights in the room flickered. She tried the computer and it worked. They haven't had a problem with it since.
Another time, her two small boys were playing in the attic as they often did. After a time had passed they both came to her, pale with saucer sized eyes. They told her of the man who waved his hand in her youngest sons face, the one who usually just watches them while they play. He's there often, they had said, but never quite so real before and it had scared them.
Due to these situations, Ellen and Beau have formed an agreement. She provides him with his own room in a front corner of the house, locked from the kids and they would not enter without knocking. Beau, in turn, has mostly stayed in that room and honored their pact for mutual respect. She still gets signs from Beau that he's there and she's of the opinion that he's welcome for as long as he chooses to stay. Occasionally, neighbors will come to her after she's been gone for a day or two and ask if she had someone staying in the home while she was away. They could see someone walking around through the windows in a front corner room of the house.
The neighborhood has changed over the years since Beau lived there and at the present time there is no one left who was around at the same time as him. Ellen says that there is a daughter of a couple who used to live on the road that remembers Beau and has chatted with her in regards to him on occasion. Ellen has quietly, within her own family, kept the knowledge of Beau's honorable life and tragic death. In her own way, she's showing him the same respect he tried so hard to show to those he loved.
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