Headless Torso found at Old Waterloo Street Wooden Bridge in 1876 by Carole Huband, SDHS
The corpse turned out to be that of a prisoner, Henry Derry, who had died in the county jail. The headless body was later buried in Avondale Cemetery. Thereafter, the torso of Henry was said to haunt the riverbank in search of his head asking helpless townsfolks if they had seen a spare head. Fortunately, no recent sightings have been reported. Source: Stratford & District Historical Society FB. Researched and submitted by Carole Huband.
The body of a middle-aged labourer named HENRY DERRY was found in a pine coffin which was floating on the Avon River not far from the park behind the Board of Education building, on November 1876.The body was headless. After the inquest, a medical student confessed to removing the body from the Catholic cemetery and the head from the body to further his studies in anatomy. Thereafter, the Avon River was said to be haunted by the headless ghost of HENRY DERRY. A skull was found in the vicinity in 1980, and according to forensic scientists, it was probably DERRY's. (289, 354)
Joan Derry did a brief search for a HENRY DERRY in Ontario and found a death record on Ancestry.com that said HENRY DERRY died on 29 April 1876 in Perth. He was estimated to be born about 1839 in Ireland. The actual death record can be viewed which stated that HENRY died in gaol of pleurisy, that he was a cooper and was 37 years old.