I have personally never seen anything except maybe I saw a piece of an old print dress one night. I’m night auditor and I’ve heard a voice but not seen anything or any sign except maybe things dirtied after being cleaned-Last fall when we were filming a movie a dude saw her in the window.— Danny Delahunt
In 1837, a servant girl named Maud was murdered at what is now the Auberge Willow Place Inn in Hudson. Her crime? Overhearing a conversation she shouldn’t have about the Lower Canada Rebellion, a Palriote revolt against the British colonial power in Quebec. At least, that’s what local folklore will tell you. The Willow Inn is the subject of plenty of ghost stories, according to Dan Ducheneaux, the founder of Ghost Hunters of Ottawa for Scientific Truth, or GHOST. His organization, which is made up of hobbyists who lake a scientific approach to ghost hunting.
There are many questions in the air about Maud’s story, including whether she actually existed. “At this point, we don’t know if a murder actually did occur. There’s actually no historical documents proving that. We also don’t know if the girl’s name was Maud.
Legend has it that in 1837, a servant girl named Maud was murdered at the Willow Inn, one of many ghost stories involving the inn. According to the Hudson Historical Society, Francois-Xavier Desjardins ran a general store out of the inn at the time of Maud’s supposed murder. Desjardins was a known Patriot, Ducheneaux said, and the Willow Inn became a Patriotic meeting place under Desjardins’s stewardship.
The story says Maud was eavesdropping on a Patriotic meeting at the inn and thai she was murdered and buried in the basement of the inn, according to the historical society. “It’s quite an interesting slory. There (are) so many contradicting facts,” Ducheneaux said, adding that the inn’s patrons have reported hearing singing in the hallways and seeing apparitions. Patricia Wenzel bought The Willow Inn wilh her husband, David Ades. They had been coming to the inn for 30 years and even had their first few dates there, Wenzel said. The (ghost) stories kept coming to us. It’s a lot of stories, it’s not just one or two,” Wenzel said. While she said she doesn’t know how much validity there is to the tales, she was intrigued and she did her own research.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada12 Jul 2017, Wed • Page 3
Slamming doors, chairs knocked over, mysterious mushrooms and a singing voice are part of the spooky stuff attributed to Maud, a ghost said to be very much at home at Willow Place Inn in Hudson. While there are those who not only dispute Maud’s hauntings, they are dubious about the existence of a flesh-and-blood woman with that name, don’t tell Donald Major she’s just a flight of fantasy – he’s heard her go bump in the night too often to think otherwise. Sometimes her presence has been strong enough to send him racing out of the inn; where he worked as a bartender from 1971 to 1976. “I don’t think she was abad ghost but sometimes when I was there alone the noises she made would frighten me so much I would just run out of the place leaving all the doors unlocked,” he said.
Through the years, as the legend of Maud grow, historians have tried to set the record straight as to her identity. It is known that the house was built in 1820 as a private home for Frances Mallet and his family In 1824 it was bought and used as a general store by Xavior Desjardin, who held political meetings there: with the Patriotes during the 1837-1838 Rebellion. During these troubled times it was reported that firearms were forged in the cellar. At that time, according to the lore, a young girl by the name of Maud was employed there and she overheard the plans for the uprising at St Eustache that took place on Dec , 14,1837. – Maud had made it known that her sympathies were with the militia and she was murdered to keep her from informing on the Patriotes’ plans. She was secretly buried in the basement of the house and since then has been the resident ghost. Not so, according to Roy Hodgson, who says he believes in ghosts but that the Maud story is pure fabrication.
“It’s a historical fact that no one was ever killed in that house. I think it was all dreamed up to put some spice into a sleepy little town,” said the Hudson historian, who has written three books on local buildings and is past president of the Hudson Historical Society Like most lore, the story began with a kernel of truth, he said. There was a Mary Kirkbride who worked for Desjardin and she did inform the militia about the Patriotes plans to the burning of houses in the area. Desjardin was cleared of the charges but was captured and taken prisoner at the Battle of St. Eustache when the Patriotes were defeated.
But Hodgson’s documentation is a hard sell to those like Major who say they have felt the ghostly emanations of a woman who supposedly came to a bloody end. Another former employee says that while cleaning up in the dining room she felt Maud patting her back and at the same time there was a strong smell of damp moss. Those who are Maud believers and have worked at the inn contend that the ghost displayed definite mood swings. At times she could be like a playful child, hiding pens or bookends, and then she would become surly, particularly on cold nights when she was in a hurry to get warmed up.
Her mode of entry was to go hurtling through a window knocking down a set of Chippendale chairs. During her placid periods she sat in a rocking chair humming a pretty song in a little hallway alcove outside Room 8. One waitress saw the empty rocking chair going back and forth as if someone had just risen from it. It could only have been Maud, she said, because everyone was downstairs at dinner. At first Major tried to attribute the melodic tones he heard to the wind but he felt theywere much too pretty to be air moving through the walls.
Then there was the curious case of the manicured mushrooms that grew on the spot where Maud was alleged to have been buried. According to Major, mushrooms thrived in the damp basement and when they grew to a certain point they would suddenly appear to be neatly clipped, as if someone had snipped them with a sharp knife or scissors. It is still a mystery as to who cut them. No one has said they have seen Maud, or any type of apparition, but there are those like Major who are convinced that strange things begin to happen when the wind begins to cross Lac des Deux Montagnes and there is the sense of snow in the air. These strange things were reported 20 years ago but Maud’s legend lingers since then the original building was demolished by fire and was replaced with an new structure in its Georgian-Victorian style.
“When the old house burned down I think that’s when Maud disappeared, because that had been her home all these years,” Major said. While the blaze was being put out one of the firefighters was heard to say: “I guess Maud is really toast now.” Has Maud really gone? “Every now and then one of the staff will feel the sensation of a cool breeze in the hallway – and this is a new building where it is unlikely for draughts to penetrate the walls or windows,” said owner Michael Dobbie, who has himself had no run-in with Maud since buying the inn in 1982.
One of his present employees, who doesn’t want her name used, has the feeling that an unseen presence is trying to get a foothold in the inn. She doesn’t know whether it is Maud or not but there have been some unusual manifestations leading her to believe that perhaps some type of haunting is going on again. “On two occasions, while I was working late, the front door came flying open and I felt something come into the building, and our doors are heavy and close very tightly,” she said. “One night a Japanese businessman checked in and five minutes later he came down the stairs asking for another room,” she said. He explained: “I can’t stay there, I feel eyes on me everywhere.” Is Maud trying to get back into her old home?
Read more at
Local Hauntings – The Willow Inn By Jules-Pierre Malartre–Undated picture of a ghostly figure allegedly taken at the Willow Inn (printed with kind permission from the Hudson Historical Society).
Yes the Willow Inn is open— click on their website
Service options: Dine-in · No takeout · No deliveryAddress: 208 Rue Main, Hudson, QC J0P 1H0Hours: Open ⋅ Closes 3 p.m. ⋅ Reopens 5 p.m.Health and safety: Reservations required · Mask required · Staff wear masks · Staff required to disinfect surfaces between visits · More detailsPhone: (450) 458-7006
Hudson and the Patriote Rebellion of 1837-8.
Hudson was involved in this important event in pre-Confederation history. The (original) Willow Inn, then owned by a Mr. Desjardins, was a site for Patriote activities. A Mr. Whitlock was another prominent English-speaking Patriote. John Thompson’s book Hudson: the Early Years Up to 1867 provides a wealth of information about the turbulent events of that era.
Those amongst you who read French should also have a look at the ethnologist Robert Lionel Seguin’s important work on the history of the insurrection in the county of Vaudreuil entitled Le mouvement insurrectionnel dans le Presqu’ile de Vaudreuil–1837-1838, published in 1955. As well, you might want to read Seguin’s history of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, also in French, published on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1947. This last mentioned work is both difficult to come by and more than just a history of St. Thomas Parish. It is also a history of that part of the country of Vaudreuil that stretches along the Ottawa river. Read more about Hudson’s history CLICK HERE
Maud wasn’t the only one buried in the bottom of a building