Iconic Hudson restaurant Willow Inn is soon to reopen — and it may be able to celebrate its resurrection by declaring itself officially free of paranormal entities.
Over the weekend, Global Montreal reported that founder of paranormal interest group Ghost Hunters of Ottawa for Scientific Truth (yes, that spells G.H.O.S.T.) Dan Ducheneaux and a team of several ghost hunters stayed at the inn for two nights to determine the haunted-ness of the century-old hotel.
Specifically, Ducheneaux were looking for the ghost of a servant child named Maud, murdered in 1837. But Global also did their research and contacted a local historian who said the Maud story was likely made up in the 20th century as a publicity stunt, because nothing says “authentic British pub” quite like the murder of a child working as an indentured servant.
The ghost hunters didn’t come up with a definitive answer, but refused to rule out the possibility of ghosts, based on Ducheneaux having a spooky feeling.
“There’s definitely something, something that’s not quite right,” he told Global.
It was also noted that any haunting could also be from a Maud who lived at the inn in the 1960s, or a steamship named Maud that sank nearby, killing three, also presumably if the ghost of a full-sized steamship was hanging out in the area, it wouldn’t go unnoticed for long.
The Willow Inn is set to reopen in the coming weeks (it closed in late 2016), under new ownership from Town of Mount Royal couple Patricia Wenzel and David Ades. Chef Shaun Hughes (formerly of Joe Beef and Toronto’s Black Hoof) will serve as executive chef, putting together a British-leaning menu.
Wenzel has popped up in stories about the ghost hunters’ visit to the inn — and while she doesn’t seem wholly convinced about whether spirits are lurking around her new business, she told the Gazette she was happy to let Ducheneaux and team in.
In any case, it’s some decent free publicity for the Inn — and it comes with the possible silver lining of being perhaps the only Greater Montreal area restaurant to be able to declare itself officially free of phantasms (although there is no official certification available for that status).