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Dem Bones (story)
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:49 pm    Post subject: Dem Bones (story) Reply with quote

Dem Bones

A New Jersey Ghost Story

retold by

S. E. Schlosser


My granny was told as a child that Captain Kidd, knowing the law was on his trail, traveled up the Jersey coast looking for the perfect spot to bury his stolen booty. And he found it near a grove of gnarled, wind-swept pines on Sandy Hook. One moonless dark night, the Adventure Galley slid silently into harbor at Sandy Hook. Before the wondering eyes of two hidden watchers, a crew of scurvy buccaneers armed with cutlasses and pistols had rowed boatload after boatload of heavy chests into the shore. They were accompanied by a tall, proud man with red-whiskers and a cocked hat that the watchers recognized at once as the bold leader Captain Kidd. The captain led his men away from shore, and they disappeared with them into the grove of pines. The pirates were gone along time; long enough, according to those who watched, to bury any amount of treasure. They came away before dawn and rowed back to the Adventure Galley and sailed into the last vestiges of the dark night.

Of course, the eager watchers kept their knowledge quiet and scurried down to the pine grove a few days later, armed with lanterns and shovels. But nary a gold coin found they, and in frustration, they shared their tale with other good folks in the region. After that, there was not a night when the pine grove did not see someone digging fervently with a shovel. After a few decades of this, the pine grove gave up the ghost and died away completely. By my granny's time, there was nothing left of the spot save a few stunted trees, some wind-swept grass, and on certain dark nights, Dem Bones.

Dem Bones are the skeletal crew of Captain Kidd. According to my granny, they come sailing up in a ship made of shadows. The ship moves silently up the coast at the dark of the moon, and anchors near the shores of Sandy Hook. Two or three boats are lowered from her side, and they are filled up with the eager forms of glowing skeletons wearing cocked hats and tattered buccaneers garb. Around their waists are belts full of pistols and long cutlasses. The biggest of Dem Bones - the one that is probably the first mate - has a skeletal parrot perched on his shoulder.

Dem Bones carry heavy trunks full of treasure onto the shore and scatter them all around the place where the pine grove once stood. Then the pirate crew hauls out kegs and kegs of whiskey and one of the skeleton's takes out a fiddle. A phantom fire is lit on the sand, and Dem Bones start such a rowdy singing and dancing that the noise would wake the dead - if they weren't already awake. When they are exhausted from the dancing, the glowing skeletons collapse on the sand and start telling stories about the ships they have captured and the treasure they have amassed. Some of Dem Bones open the big trunks and take out jewels and ropes of pearls and adorn themselves. Others toss gold coins back and forth as if they were a child's ball. At the darkest part of the night, just before dawn, Dem Bones pack up the trunks and row back to the ship of shadows. One by one, the glowing skeletons disappeared into the hold and the ship draws anchor and sails away.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:51 pm    Post subject: Ghost Ship of Captain Sandovate Reply with quote

Ghost Ship of Captain Sandovate

A New Jersey Ghost Story


retold by

S. E. Schlosse


When Captain Don Sandovate voyaged from Spain to the New World in search of treasure, he found gold in abundance. But among his crew there were many sailors who did not wish to share the new-found wealth with the monarchs of Spain. On their journey up the Atlantic Coast, the sailors mutinied and imprisoned their captain, tying him to the main mast and refusing to give him food or drink. Day after day, the captain lay exposed to the hot sun of summer, his body drying up as the treacherous sailors worked around him. Finally, his pride broken, Don Sandovate begged: "Water. Please. Give me just one sip of water." The mutineers found this amusing, and started carrying water up to the main mast and holding it just out of reach of their former captain.

In the terrible heat of a dry summer, the captain did not survive long without water. A few days after the mutiny, the captain succumbed to heat and thirst. The new captain, a greedy Spaniard with no compassion in his soul, left Don Sandovate tied to the mast, his body withering away, while the ship turned pirate and plundered its way up the coast. But Providence was watching the ruthless men, and a terrible storm arose and drove the ship deep into the Atlantic, where it sank with all hands, the body of Don Sandovate still tied to the broken mast.

Shortly after the death of the mutineers-turned-pirate, an eerie ghost ship began appearing along the coast, usually in the calm just before a storm. It had the appearance of a Spanish treasure ship, but its mast was broken, its sails torn, and the corpse of a noble-looking Spaniard was tied to the mast. The ship was crewed by skeletons in ragged clothing. As it passed other ships or houses near the shore, the skeletons would stretch out bony hands and cry: "Water. Please. Give us just one sip of water." But none can help them, for they are eternally doomed to roam the Atlantic, suffering from thirst in payment for their terrible deeds against their captain and the good people living along the Atlantic coast.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:52 pm    Post subject: Ocean-Born Mary Reply with quote

Ocean-Born Mary

A New Hampshire Ghost Story


retold by

S. E. Schlosser


Elizabeth and James Wilson were Irish immigrants from Londonderry, Ireland. In 1720 they set sail for America. They had been granted some land in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and were hoping to start a new life there.

As they neared Boston, Elizabeth went into labor and gave birth to a daughter. While she was giving birth, a strange vessel accosted the ship. They were fired upon and were forced to heave to. Their ship was boarded by a band of swarthy pirates. Their leader, a surprisingly young man not yet twenty years of age, was dark, handsome, and ruthless. He was called Don Pedro, and his English was flawless as he ordered all the captives killed.

At this fatal juncture, the cries of a newborn baby could be heard from down in the hold. Startled, Don Pedro ordered the captain to take him to the child. After gazing for a long time at the tiny girl, Don Pedro said to Elizabeth: "If you name this child after my mother - Mary - I will spare the lives of everyone on this ship." Frightened by the fierce pirate, Elizabeth hastily agreed.

Don Pedro sent one of his men back to the pirate ship. When the man returned, he was carrying an armload of gifts. Don Pedro presented these to Elizabeth. Fingering a green brocaded silk with an odd look of tenderness on his ruthless face, he said: "This is for my Mary's wedding dress." Then he and his men returned to their ship and departed.

Soon after their ship landed safely in Boston, James Wilson died. His widow and daughter went to Londonderry to claim the land in his name. Ocean-born Mary grew into a tall, beautiful red-haired woman. In 1742, wearing a green brocade gown made from the silk given to her by Don Pedro, Mary was married to James Wallace. They had five children, four sons and a daughter. Sadly, after the birth of his fourth son, James Wallace died.

Around that time, Don Pedro, having retired from the sea, decided to build a home in New Hampshire. Having never forgotten his little Ocean-born Mary, Don Pedro began seeking to discover what became of her. Finding her a widow in Londonderry, he married her and brought her and her children to live in his grand mansion in Henniker. He gifted Mary with a stately coach and four, in which Mary would often be seen riding around the countryside. One by one, her sons grew up, married, and settled down near Mary.

One day, coming in from an errand to town, Mary saw Don Pedro and one of his retired pirates carrying a large black trunk to the orchard in back. She heard the sounds of digging, and then silence. Don Pedro came back to the house alone, and they never spoke of the matter. But later, he told Mary that when he died, she should bury him and the treasure under the hearthstone. A year later, Mary came home one evening to an empty house. She started searching for her husband and found Don Pedro in the orchard, stabbed to death with a cutlass. Mary buried Don Pedro with his treasure under the hearthstone and there they lay to this day.

After her death in 1814, Mary's ghost began to haunt the house where she had once lived with her pirate-husband. People would see a tall, beautiful red-haired woman come walking down the long staircase. Sometimes, she could be seen standing beside an upper window, or throwing something down the well. Others had witnessed Mary driving in her coach and four up to the front door of the house. The house was finally abandoned and later torn-down, although the house where her son Robert lived still stands and is sometimes called the Ocean-born Mary house.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:53 pm    Post subject: Palatine Reply with quote

Palatine

A Rhode Island Ghost Story


retold by

S. E. Schlosser

The Palatine gleamed in the sunlight as she set out with a full crew, a long list of passengers, and a hull full of merchandise for the American Colonies the winter of 1750-1751. Certainly, there was no indication that morning of the destiny fate had in store for her.

It was not until the first of the storms blew the ship off course that the passengers began to sense the trouble brewing under the surface between the captain and his crew. By the time the storms had ended, the captain was dead, murdered by his crew, and the passengers were prisoners. During the days which followed, the sailors forced the passengers to pay exorbitant prices for a bit of bread and some water to drink.

One morning, the passengers awoke to find that the crew had stolen all of their money and stores and had abandoned the ship. Terrified, they could do nothing but ride out the next series of storms sent by the devils which rule the Atlantic in winter.

The Palatine came to ruin just off of Block Island. The shore folk bravely faced the storm to rescue the starving passengers from the wreck. Then they set fire to the ship so that it would not endanger any passing ships. But as the ship burned, the shore folk heard a wild scream. A mad woman, confined on the ship during the voyage, had been left on board!

Every year since then, on the day of the tragedy, the Palatine reappears off the shore and is wrecked and burned before the eyes of any who watch for her.
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