Haunted Harbours

Haunted Harbours by Steve Vernon Read Free Book Online

Book: Haunted Harbours by Steve Vernon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Steve Vernon
Tags: Fiction, Social Science, Folklore & Mythology, Ghost, FIC012000
rebury her in an undisclosed spot. They said it was the only Christian thing to do, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they had had enough of the nightly rambles of young drunken thrill-seekers.
    It has been said by more than a few storytellers that if you pass over a certain part of Mud Island you will feel a chill in your bones, as if you’d climbed into a meat locker. I don’t know about that, but I do believe that somewhere on Mud Island, about fifteen miles from Clarke’s Harbour, the mortal remains of one Maggie Flynn are lying beneath the soft black dirt, as pale as ice and as hard as stone.

8

THE CAPTAIN’S
HOUSE AT
YARMOUTH

YARMOUTH

    I was born and raised in northern Ontario. At the age of seventeen I took it into my head to travel from my home to Yarmouth to meet my mother, whom I hadn’t seen since I was a young child of three. I lived in Yarmouth for most of a summer, working at the imo fish plant and the Domtec cotton mill, and very quickly I fell in love with the Atlantic coast.
    I can remember landing in Halifax and getting off the plane, expecting to see the ocean. I’d forgotten to adjust my watch for the time change, and I missed my connecting flight to Yarmouth. So I walked out of the airport, planning to hike to Yarmouth. How far could it be? Nova Scotia was such a tiny spot on the map; certainly it couldn’t take more than an hour or so to cross on foot.
    I walked as far as the first mileage sign that told me the true distance separating Halifax and Yarmouth and eventually, I found my way to a bus.
    While I was celebrating my eighteenth birthday, my brother and sisters decided it was time I heard the following tale. Unfortunately, having just attained the legal drinking age, I didn’t remember much more than a snippet of the story. When I was putting this collection together, I decided to hunt this story up and after much research, I tick-tacked this version of it together.
    The old Stott house, also known as the Captain’s House or the Widow’s Walk, was built in the early 1800s by an enterprising young man named Thomas Dalton, who sadly died intestate. The Captain’s House sits at the top of a long, low hill on Main Street, overlooking Yarmouth Harbour. The large rectangular structure of one and a half stories was accompanied by a single large flat tower in the Victorian style that was added on in later years. This tower was crowned by a widow’s walk, and so gave its name to the imposing manor. For those who don’t know, a widow’s walk is that wee little iron fence you sometimes see atop a large old sea mansion. It surrounds a small railed observation platform and is custom-made for folks who have a reason for watching the sea.
    Back in the 1880s, the house was nearly lost in a brush fire which completely destroyed a neighbouring house and barn. The furniture of the Widow’s Walk was hastily removed for fear of losing it, yet the brush fire turned away from the house at the last minute. One eyewitness swore that it was “as if the house had simply refused to burn.”
    Following a surprising number of sales and transactions, the house eventually fell into the hands of Captain Jacob K. Hatfield. Hatfield was born on June 16, 1823, the eldest of seven sons, all of whom went on to become successful ship masters. Jacob him-self was the master of a clipper passenger ship sailing between England and Australia for many years. He was often away from his family for long stretches at a time. Such was the life of any sailor, yet Hatfield wanted to be certain that his wife and children were safe. So he purchased the Widow’s Walk and installed his family in their brand-new home.
    Jacob Hatfield’s wife, one Eleanor Jane Hatfield, called Gramma Jane and eventually Gramma Jake, was a tall and hand-some woman, although somewhat overweight with age and the strain of raising a large family mostly on her own.
    Her heart was broken at the

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