There are many theories about who the ghostly soldier might be. While some online rumours suggest the military apparition is of French stock, others believe he is British. One feasible theory takes us back to 1885, when Montreal was in the midst of a smallpox epidemic. During the era, smallpox was seen as the worst possible disease. Not only was it extremely infectious, but it could disfigure and even destroy people within a week or two. Infection was caused by breathing contaminated air or touching something that had been in contact with the variola virus.