Molly Willard was the wife of Jack Willard of New York City. Both Jack and Molly had grown very cynical as they grew into middle-age and almost all passion had drained from their marriage. Often she complained to others about Jack’s excessive drinking.
Benjamin Willard developed a disliking towards the Collins family governess, Victoria Winters. He wanted to keep Victoria away from Henry Collins and in order to do so, he instructed Molly to impersonate the ghost of a woman named Winifred Ray. Molly did as she was told, but took no true pleasure from maintaining the hoax.
There were three incidents where Molly was required to dress up as the ghost of Winifred Ray. The first time she did so, she appeared before Victoria and frightened her inside of her bedroom. A few nights later, she accosted Vicki again in the wine cellar of Collins House during a lightning storm. Later still, she appeared before Vicki on a darkened road late in the evening.
Once, Molly was in the car with her husband, when Jack veered off the side of the road in an effort to run Vicki down.
The hoax concerning Winifred’s ghost was eventually exposed and Benjamin Willard died. With nothing to keep them at Collins House any longer, Molly and Jack returned to New York City.
Molly was described as having a sullen and worn face, with wispy, dyed, straw-colored hair.