Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ghostly Tales From The Lonely Iles

I have heard of the story of the black man found dead upon the shores of Pointe-aux-Loups often enough. You must understand that the man had wash up on shore, only to be found by a culture who had rarely, if ever heard of a black race. To say this body disturbed them would be an understatement.

As the story goes:
"There is a sand hill southwest of Pointe-aux-Loups Island which is called 'Negre'. Here, many years ago, a giant of a man was found dead upon the shore. The color of his skin was black and there were no papers upon his person to tell whom he was or from where he had come from.

How he came to be on the shore was a mystery, as no ship had been reported wrecked at any time upon any of the islands. From the condition of the body, the man had not been dead for any length of time.

The fisher folk of the islands buried the man in the sand dunes on which his body was found. But their native superstition made them shun that lonely part of the bleak shore over which the terrific Atlantic winds blow for weeks without let up.

A few weeks after the man was buried, some men, wandering along the lonely shore looking for driftwood blown up on the beach, to use as fire wood to heat their homes during the long, cold winter, saw the body of a man lying near the spot where the unknown person had been buried and where a wooden cross stuck up out of the sand.

The mystified islanders found that the uncovered body was that of the man they had previously buried. The body was lying near the mound of sand that had been his grave, but which appeared not to be disturbed.

The islanders once again buried the body, this time next to the first grave, since no one would uncover the first mound of sand. They placed another cross in the sand beside the first, and the left him there.

The story spread about the islands that the man had refused to stay buried, and soon there were tales that the dead man trod the shore at midnight, searching the thundering waters in vain for the ship from which he had been tossed into the turbulent seas.

Another few weeks went by, and curiosity took several Magdalen Islanders to the double grave of the unknown man. As they suspected, the dead man was lying uncovered beside the two other graves that had been dug for him. Both of those graves seemed to be intact.

The people were reluctant to have a dead man, or his ghost, haunting their island, so after considerable discussion they decided to bury the man again. This time in a third grave beside the other two previous ones, each of which they had supposed was to be his last resting place.

This time, they buried the man face downward in the belief that he could not dig his way out. This time, the mysterious man stayed buried.

Later, green grass began to appear on the third grave, and to the relief of the men of the Magdalen Islands, there were no more reports of a dead man parading the midnight shore." All was well or so the people thought....

But apparently the story of the dead black man doesn't end there. Some time later, he was once again found upon the sand hill with three undisturbed mounds where he had previously been buried. This scared the people seriously and they decided to send word to the traveling priest, who visited the islands once in a while. Remember, this happened at a time when the islands didn't have a regular live-in priest, because very few people lived here.

To make a long, involved story short..., the priest came right away and the people gave the man a proper Catholic burial in consecrated ground. They didn't have a name for him and the cross that identified the grave has long since rotted away. But the man didn't come unburied after that. The people assumed that somewhere along the man's journey through life, he had been baptized and required a christian burial.

1 comment:

Lovenuts said...

Very interesting story! I love hearing about that sort of stuff.