It was the winter of 1894, and in Waltham, Massachusetts many men were unemployed and eager to accept any job, however if the work was to be performed on the Walker estate there were no takers. One man said, "I would not undertake it again if they would give me the Walker Estate."
The property in question was one of the finest in Massachusetts owned by two, wealthy maiden sister. The Misses Walker during the previous months had employed a large force of men to work on the house and improve the grounds.
One of the tasks was to draw off a large pond, and "it required the keeping of a gang at it all night." Come morning the entire crew walked off the job, and another gang was set to do the same work during the night. Before long they also quit and refused to return to the estate.
A local newspaper sent over a reporter to investigate what was going on. He interviewed the first men and they said that at midnight they "saw the door of the boathouse on the banks of the pond open. A man emerged, with a red lantern, and row out onto the pond. By the lantern's light they recognized the face of a former owner of the estate, some time since deceased." Needless to say they didn't stop to see anymore and left right away.
The second group of men did not know of the story, however they described the same thing.
The house was completed in 1806 for Christopher Gore and his wife Rebecca. He served as Senator and Governor of Massachusetts. Known as Gore Place, the Charles River flowed close by and it was referred to as the "Monticello of the north."
In 1856, the estate was bought by Theophilus Wheeler Walker, a Boston businessman involved in the textile industry. He never married, and lived there alone for the first 10 years.
In 1866, his nieces Mary Sophia Walker (1839-1904) and Harriet Sarah Walker (1844-1898) came to live there after the death of their mother. He died in 1890 and bequeathed the estate to them. These were the two spinster sisters who lived on the estate when the workman witnessed the apparition at the boathouse.
Upon Mary's death in 1904, she willed the estate and her $1 million fortune to the Episcopal DIocese of Massachusetts. In 1907, when her will was settled the church leased the property to a company who disposed of much of the original furniture and set up a sawmill on the grounds. In the process they destroyed many of the trees. In 1911, Charles Metz bought it.
The identity of the ghost and the reason for his midnight rendezvous at the pond remains a mystery.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer