Waterdown Wraith : Ghost or Prank?

Waterdown Wraith – – Waterdown, Ontario | Centre of Town – MAP

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Thanks to the Waterdown-East Flamborough Heritage Society Heritage Paper #155 for being the inspiration of the article

“The Walking Wraith of Waterdown”

It’s a Sunday in 1934 and Art Hood is driving home.  His family chatting away, wife turned to the back seat as a proud father follows along through the rear view mirror.  Movement from the road catches his eye.

Stage Coach pulls up outside Waterdown's American Hotel - - circa 1800's
Stage Coach pulls up outside Waterdown’s American Hotel – – circa 1800’s

A man in stark white at the side of the road, loose robes hanging off a tall figure.  Art didn’t stop out of fear for his family.

He tried to forget but the white figure kept appearing.  In random fields and throughout the town as if the thing was following him.  Despite looking crazy, Art went to the police.

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The police saying no one has seen the white figure, putting an end to the story, until… rumours got out.

Floods of reports from Waterdown residents pour in.  Sightings and fear spread as this supposed 7 foot high ghost with huge feet was seen and left footprints all over town.

This “walking wraith” is terrorizing Waterdown.

The wraith is a pervert —
The fourth concession was a famous location for youths to spend “time” together.  Our parents would have called it “parking”, teens using empty fields for romantic time.

The once beloved spot now dreaded when kids started hearing noises from the woods, a distant snap of a branch or heavy breathing from the darkness.  Looking up, some would see a white figure slowly walking up to the car.  Girls scream, guys afraid as the outline of a face covered by shear white fabric stares into the car and they drive off.

Or did the wraith run away into a field?  So many different reports.

My humble opinion?  These stories were made up at fourth concession were made up.  Adults scaring the horny teens to instill Christian values.

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Don’t get me wrong —
It doesn’t mean the Wraith was fake.  Horny teen sightings aside, there were some legit reports which attracted attention from outside media and tourists.  Most disappointed to find just a cute town with a waterfall, and not the expected basin of horror.

VERY INTERESTING :: A reporter from The Toronto Evening Telegram did see a white figure running through a field near the fourth concession.  It did not glide as one might expect from a ghost, instead lumbered and stumbled.  Seeing it run up to a fence, the reporter expected it to pass right through.  He was disappointed when it jumped over.

Scaring her husband —
She hid behind a tree dressed all in white.  The woman knew her husband was scared of the Wraith.  On the outside she supported him, but inside a joke was brewing.

Her husband walking back with milk and water bottles, passed the tree as his wife jumped out and yelled, “Boo!”  He screamed and she laughed, ready to take off the sheet when seeing the bottles swung.

He smashed her over the head, knocking his wife unconscious to the ground.  He’d wake her by pouring a cold bucket of water over her face.

The Wraith disappears

Believing the entire event was a hoax puts you in good company.  It’s popular thought for two reasons.

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1, the Thompson brothers —
Local boys known as genius troublemakers who could run fast.  The university track stars were suspected in all the fourth concession sightings.  Their family farm was not far.

Plus some local firemen witnessed a white figure wandering the fields at night.  Quietly following, they saw the “ghost” walk to a house, then calmly up the the Thompson family driveway.

2, it went away —
Ghosts don’t fade away.  Energy sticks around as some occurrences happen for hundreds of years.  Not the Wraith.

It lasted one summer vacation, ending in the Fall of 1934.  Begging the question… was it real or just a perfect prank pulled off by a couple of fast running medical students?

Either way, this remains one of the most interesting summers in Waterdown history.

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