What Goes Bump In The Night?
Here are a few that can make your evenings shorter and your nights a bit scary.
Lost His Beard and Breeches:
The Hunt’s Hole Legend
There is a “Hunt’s Hole”, an opening in the rock face on the southward side of herring Cove, through which a dory can still be rowed at half tide. The story goes that Jackson hunt, picking dulse on the rocks of Matthews head, delayed his return to the Cove too long and was caught by the tide.
He was forced back over the reefs until a sheer cliff stopped his flight. He was clinging despairingly to a wedged drift log, when a huge breaker washed him loose, spun him dizzily past seaweed and barnacle and, in one wild rush of foam and brine, sucked him down and through the hole in the rock which now bears his name.
Vastly astonished and relieved, Hunt bobbed up on the other side, still clutching his dulse sack and made his way to the safety of the Cove Breakwater. His claim that he left both his side-whiskers and his homespun breeches in the underseas passage is one of the facts dimmed by time.
The “Long Dog” Ghost
“Hum’s Hollow” on the road to Alma has its ghost too, an unusual type, a great black dog of extreme length which travels on the darkest nights and always cuts across the road ahead, his long nose parting the bushes on one side of the highway while his rigid tail is still slipping out of those on the other side. For generations the “Long Dog” was nothing more than a darker shadow in a dark night, sometimes seen a little more clearly if the traveller happened to carry a lantern, but his fame spread with the coming of the first motor cars. Startled drivers would slam on the brakes as their headlights picked out the hound-like body spanning the road, and moving stiffly across it, never turning head nor eye.
Legend has nothing to say as to why he haunts the Hollow but perchance it may have something to do with the skeleton stumbled upon by two boys playing truant from school They were making their way through the undergrowth to a small pond called “The Tipperknot” and were frightened half our of their guilty senses at the sight of a grinning skull, a few mouldy shreds of gray cloth and an old rusty sword or musket or both—they didn’t stop to investigate. Later a few half-hearted attempts were made to find the spot but to this day the ancient bones remain unmolested.
A Ghost Story
The bridge at Bennett Lake has its ghost too, or rather the old bridge had, no one seems sure that the present structure is so patrolled. The Point Wolfe River runs through rich lumber territory and several dams are built across it to control the water supply at river driving season. One of these is the Bennett Lake Dam. The old bridge, a wooden one, was built over this dam. No traveller would cross it after nightfall for fear of being crowded off by a furiously driven horse and carriage, invisible but heard and felt.
Always it came from the same direction, clattering down the incline onto the bridge with a drumming of hoofs and a rattling of wheels over the creaking planks—toward the wooded hills on the western bank and the road that leads to Sussex. Sometimes the sound continued the full length of the bridge, sometimes it broke off in mid-span and the horrified listener held his breath to catch the sound of a mighty splash or a horse’s scream of terror.
A Syrian pedlar was held up, the story goes, at the top of the hill leading down to the river, murdered, stripped of his money belt and thrown into the gulch while his murderer turned back the way he had come, driving the pedlar’s horse and cart.
Guilt and fear caused him to lash the horse to a gallop. Darkness hid the near approach to the water’s edge and either his own confusion or the horse’s frantic efforts to escape his unknown driver plunged them through the wooden rail and down over the face of the dam. Bits of the shattered carriage, scraps of harness, and the bloated body of the horse were found miles down the river—but the murderer and the money belt were never seen again.
Captain Kidd’s Treasure
Mile Brook, Goose River and Goose Creek are all scenes of Captain Kidd’s adventures. His phantom ship has been seen times without number at the mouth of all three but it is at Goose Neck that the exact spot of his buried treasure was discovered. Driven by a dream of one of the treasure seekers, a party encamped on the bank of the Creek for days, digging at a spot left bare by the tides for a short three hours at a time, only to be forced by the incoming waters to give up once more, and next tide to find their excavations washed in. Nevertheless, persistent efforts finally hollowed out a shallow saucer in the sand and furious efforts took them down to strike metal at last. Sweating, panting, hardly able to breathe in their wild excitement, they cleared what was certainly the lid of a large brass box, but all their united strength failed to move it so much as an inch, it was apparently as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar—and the tide rolled in!
The next low tide saw a repeat performance and the third the same, but this time the digging was done by lantern and moonlight. As the shovels struck the metal a great gleaming ship appeared bearing in from the bay, all sails set, beautiful and fearsome with the moon behind her spars. On she came, riding high on the crest of a great rolling billow that swept in and about the terrified four, tumbling over and over, up the steep slant of the beach in a choking welter of crashing sound and flying spray.
Dawn found one dead in a tangle of seaweed and driftwood, one gibbering in frantic frenzy and the other two so broken and battered that it was days before they could make their way out for help. That ended the treasure seeking in that particular spot.
How Wolfe’s profile came to be etched on the cliff at the sea mouth of the Point Wolfe River is conjecture of course. Several tales are told, each with an explanation of its own. One has it that Micmac Indians* encamped on the bar, noticed the resemblance to a great face and that one of the medicine men, working stealthily by night, contrived with his hatchet to carve clearer features which he pointed out to his followers as that of “Manitou, the Mighty”, thus gaining their fearful respect.
Later a deserter from Wolfe’s army, making his way along the Indian shore trail, was struck by its likeness to that if his erstwhile general, and he also added a few telling details. Years later the pioneers of that section recognized the stone profile and named the river for the point and the settlement of the river.
**The original text reflects the language used in 1977, language which makes many people feel uncomfortable in the year 2017. We would now use more accurate and respectful terms to refer to people of the Mi'kmaq First Nation.
A Ghost that Rustles
The by-road to Herring Cove has a ghost that walks with rustling footsteps through the fall leaves—looking for his missing head, the natives say, turning over old logs with dull thuds and following any late traveller reckless enough to pass through “The Hollow” on foot. No one has ever been harmed by him, but it is rather un-nerving, to say the least, to hear hurried footsteps yet see no signs of their owner (if footsteps can be said to be owned). Those who have experienced it say that the very air vibrates with a voiceless beseechment.
At the time of the last Fenian Raid a small group of stragglers found their way up the shore road from St. Martin, plundering and pillaging as they came. No one knows why this poor unfortunate gentleman was shorn of his head but his body was discovered behind a clump of bushes in “Soiree Hollow” and though the sodden leaves were searched fearfully and even raked and scattered, no head ever came to light and the corpse was buried as it was found. Apparently it rests quietly enough through the seasons of the year, but when the Hunter’s Moon rides high over Point Wolfe, then the dead arises to seek its own.