The Frederickson Farmhouse
Nearly forty years ago, strange occurrences at a three-storey homestead brought international notoriety to a quiet residential neighbourhood just south of Chilliwack’s downtown district. The following report deals with our investigation into the history of one of BC’s most famous and hotly debated hauntings cases – the Fredrickson Farmhouse.
In 1909, travelling salesman W. E. Bradwin constructed a three-storey, 12-room Victorian farmhouse in what was once the heart of Chilliwack’s thriving agricultural landscape. Like many other new houses of the time and region, the home was designed with a church-like appearance. For starters, white wooden slats trimmed the exterior walls, and single-paned windows were placed side by side to let in as much light as possible. The home even boasted a three-storey octagonal tower at the northwest corner, complete with a steeple-like roof. Bradwin lived there with his family for a number of years before selling it to Chilliwack dentist Clayton Hallman. The home changed hands a number of times in the years that followed, and during the 1940s it was converted into a rooming house. But it wasn’t until Douglas and Hetty Fredrickson moved in that things took a turn for the worse…
In December of 1965 Douglas Fredrickson, a logger by trade, moved his wife and five children into the home. Hetty, a Dutch immigrant and concentration camp survivor, was a skilled painter who quickly earned a reputation as an eccentric publicity hound. In the early months of 1966, Hetty was interviewed by a number of newspapers after she claimed to have spotted a Sasquatch (aka Bigfoot, Yeti, etc) near Harrison Lake. By May 1966 her involvement with local arts organizations prompted the Chilliwack Progress to write a mini-biography in which she is quoted as saying she intended to “…have Chilliwack on all the front pages of newspapers across Canada in time.” And make no mistake about it – Hetty did just that.
It all began with the recurring sound of footsteps on the third floor… footsteps which marched around the upper hallways at times when the entire family was gathered downstairs. Upon investigation, the Fredricksons would often find that the furniture they’d stored in an unused third floor bedroom had been moved about or left untidy.
One example reported in local newspapers in the 60s and 70s was an oversized iron bed frame that was often moved from its place in one corner to another spot across the room.
These seemingly harmless incidents continued for a number of days, but Hetty and Douglas soon found themselves having to deal with a more intimidating addition to the spook’s repertoire – dresser drawers in that same third floor bedroom could be heard sliding open, slamming shut or falling onto the floor.
“I am not afraid, but I would not mind to have a logical explanation for those mysterious footsteps and for the dresser drawers that slide out during the night,” Hetty told the Chilliwack Progress (May 1966). But moving furniture isn’t the only way the alleged spirits kept the family from having a good night’s sleep. Hetty was soon plagued by recurring nightmares in which she envisioned a dead woman sprawled out on the floor of what she believed may have been somewhere in the Fredrickson’s house.
“She is sort of mummified and she has a red dress on with yellow flowers, a cheap cotton dress, and she is terrified,” Hetty told The Province (May 30, 1966). A short time later, Hetty claimed that the spirit would appear for a few seconds every now and then as an illuminated mist without definitive shape. The appearances were often precluded by the scent of a woman’s perfume drifting into the room, Hetty said.
As the encounters were painfully brief at best, Hetty decided she’d stay up to all hours to try and catch a glimpse of the family’s unseen occupant. She even stayed up all night for three consecutive nights hoping to catch a sketch the spirit’s form in as much detail as possible, and after two disappointing evenings she finally struck the jackpot.
We have not been able to locate the portrait, however, one of Hetty's sons contacted us after this article came out. He didn't have much to add, however remembered quite a lot of media activity at the time this all took place. Sadly, we lost touch with him after a few months of correspondence.
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