By: Hillary Delaney
During the warm months of summer an eerie mist sometimes forms over the Ohio River, especially at night when the air is cool. Many along the river have witnessed this natural occurrence, but some campers in Constance saw more than just the fog. On several occasions, campers near the mouth of Dry Creek witnessed “wraith-like” apparitions floating in the misty air above the river.
The spot of the ghostly occurrences, a short walk upriver from the Anderson Ferry, was the recovery site of many an unfortunate victim of the waters of the Ohio. According to an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1908, many unidentified corpses washed ashore near this spot. This occurred with enough frequency that the Boone County Treasurer would offer a payment of six dollars apiece for each recovered body. Speculation in the newspaper was that the cause of these deaths were either rough waters or suicide.
Whatever the case, some of the lost souls seem to have remained at that very spot, visiting the campers at the “King Fisher’s Nest” camp site near Dry Creek. Local lore has it that there were at least five sightings of ghosts in this area. Some witnesses were so terrified by spirits who haunted the river’s edge, that they took out their firearms and took a few shots to scare the ghostly creatures away.
An account from one such sighting came from a man with plenty of experience with the dead. William Scott, who was camping at the “King Fisher's Nest” made his living working as an embalmer for Covington undertaker Gus Menninger. He was considered a man of solid character. Though his past experience with the recently departed was vast, he was not prepared for what was to come. Scott was awakened in the early morning of July 25, 1908 to a terrifying sight.
What appeared to be a human form came rising out of the mist near the shore, right where he and his companions were camping. The wraith was carrying a lantern, swinging it as it floated toward the campers. Scott, who was nearly frozen with fear, watched as the ghost approached and stood above him. It searched his face, appearing as if it was trying to recognize him. After a moment, it disappeared with a haunting moan.
Scott’s companions slept through the terrifying haunting, but the horrific tale spread throughout the area. After hearing reports of this and several other hauntings, campers made the decision to move to friendlier spots along the river’s edge. The “Constance Wraith” may yet be searching the river’s edge.