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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 251

In 1802 an epidemic of assault went through the Berkshire Hills. The performance began in a tailor's shop in Salisbury, Connecticut, at eleven of the clock on the night of November 2, when a stick and lumps of stone, charcoal, and mortar were flung through a window. The moon was up, but nothing could be seen, and the bombardment was continued until after daylight. After doing some damage here the assailants went to the house of Ezekiel Landon and rapped away there for a week. Persons were struck by the missiles, and quantities of glass were destroyed. Nothing could be seen coming toward the windows until the glass broke, and it was seldom that anything passed far into a room. No matter how hard it was thrown, it dropped softly and surely on the sill, inside, as if a hand had put it there. Windows were broken on both sides of buildings at the same time, and many sticks and stones came through the same holes in the panes, as if aimed carefully by a gunner.

A hamlet that stood in Sage's ravine, on the east side of the Dome of the Taconics, was assailed in the same way after nightfall. One house was considerably injured. No causes for the performance were ever discovered, and nobody in the place was known to have an enemy—at least, a malicious one.

At Whitmire Hill, Georgia, the spot where two murders were committed before the war, is a headless phantom that comes thundering down on the wayfarer on the back of a giant horse and vanishes at the moment when the heart of his prospective victim is bumping against his palate. At times, however, this spook prefers to remain invisible, and then it is a little worse, for it showers stones and sods on the pedestrian until his legs have carried him well beyond the phantom's jurisdiction.

The legends of buried treasure, instanced in another place, frequently include assaults by the ghosts of pirates and misers on the daring ones who try to resurrect their wealth.

Forty-seven years ago, in the township of St. Mary's, Illinois, two lads named Groves and a companion named Kirk were pelted with snowballs while on their way home from a barn where they had been to care for the stock for the night. The evening had shut in dark, and the accuracy of the thrower's aim was the more remarkable because it was hardly possible to see more than a rod away. The snowballs were packed so tightly that they did not break on striking, though they were thrown with force, and Kirk was considerably bruised by them. Mr. Groves went out with a lantern, but its rays lit up a field of untrodden snow, and there was no sound except that made by the wind as it whistled past the barn and fences. Toward dawn another inspection was made, and in the dim light the snowballs were seen rising from the middle of a field that had not a footprint on it, and flying toward the spectators like bullets. They ran into the field and laid about them with pitchforks, but nothing came of that, and not until the sun arose was the pelting stopped. Young Kirk, who was badly hurt, died within a year.


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