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Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

February 24, 2012


Tales of strange creatures, apparitions, wraiths and things that go bump in the night predate the arrival of Europeans to New England's rocky shores. The Passaqua Indians told the tale of the Eukaryotic (also known as the Kawasaki, Pasternak, Knicknack or Paddywhack among other northern tribes), a shape shifter who could appear as a beautiful woman, otter, hummingbird or tree. As no one ever saw one transform, it could have been any of the above. But, like any legend it persisted, and to this day the Indians that are still alive invoke its name before making any major life decision, such as marriage, land purchases or soup vs. salad. Curiously, the Toxoplasma Indians of the Chalupa region of Mexico had a similar legend, the Quazimoto, who could appear as a woman, lemur, buzzard or census taker. Many see this as proof that aliens once visited North America, others as an extraordinary coincidence.  Most couldn't care less. In any case, once New England was settled by white men, other legends sprang up. Among them are:

The Legend of the Singing Kelp of Bostwick, Maine was at one time as famous as Champ, the Yeti or the Loch Ness Monster. For generations there have been sightings of a large bed of kelp floating off the coast singing "strange and beautiful airs", much like the Sirens of mythology.  As mysteriously as they appeared they would disappear. Locals say the appearance of the kelp is a sign of good luck, although not as much as the Giant Lobster of Aberdeen, the next town over, but that goes without saying, doesn't it?

The Devil has many names; Lucifer, The Prince of Darkness, Beelzebub, George Steinbrenner. One day in 1876 Old Scratch appeared at the farm of Enoch Lyme in the small hamlet of Hamlet, Vermont. He offered Enoch a wager: In exchange for his soul he would grant him three wishes. No wanting to admit that he couldn't count that high, Enoch declined.

We've all heard of the Jersey Devil, Bigfoot, the Chupacabra and other strange creatures that roam the remote wilderness. Residents of northern New Hampshire tell the tale of the "Stoddard Notch Numbat", a fierce creature that would attack farm animals, dogs, bears, moose, beavers, badgers, porcupines you get the point. Ever elusive, no one ever saw the beast save for its glowing eyes and distinctive Slim Whitman-like yodel. Occasionally a dead hobo would turn up and, being in an advanced state of decomposition, be mistaken for the terrible animal. Some suspected it was supernatural, some said it was a prehistoric throwback, surprisingly few wondered how a numbat got to New Hampshire. Still, the people around Stoddard Notch and the surrounding towns of Yokelsburg, Enidbladder, Lefthook and Aitkenhead swear it exists, blaming it for everything from missing cats to crop failure. Most people remain skeptical, saying they're just making excuses.

The Shrieking Lady of Dawks Island (off the New Hampshire coast) is thought to be the ghost of Flora Fauna, a lighthouse keeper's wife who died under mysterious circumstances in the 1887. Her husband, Zebulon Fauna, a notorious womanizer was suspected but nothing was ever proven.  It's said that hearing the Shrieking Lady wail is not only a portent of death,  but really annoying, especially at dinner time.

One spring day in 1910 two sisters, Daphne and Hyacinth Lockspur, were walking to their jobs as millworkers in Lowell, Massachusetts. They enjoyed their work and, having just won the right to a 14 hour work day with no benefits, were feeling pretty chipper. That changed when they encountered a large vibrating cabbage floating at eye level, said to be the vengeful ghost of an Indian shaman. Good God fearing Christians, their faith was shaken by the strange encounter. They went to their parish priest, Reverend Lemuel Nonce, seeking advice. He told them to repent, and as an act of contrition from that day forward they never ate corned beef and cabbage again.

Every fifth of November in Ghastly, Rhode Island a curious thing happens. Every chicken in town faces east and clucks in unison.  Some see this as a sign of the Apocalypse, but as it's been happening since 1789 and we're still here it probably isn't.

There once was a girl from Nantucket. She used to write obscene limericks until one day she vanished into thin air. May islanders saw this as God's retribution; others believed she just moved to a different island, as coming up with rhymes for Nantucket became increasingly difficult.

Bastard Toadflax (1804- 1876) of Dubious, Connecticut was known as the "Molten Man". No one knows why or wanted to find out, as it sounds pretty disgusting even by the standards of the day.






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Surf Our Site

Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
. .
Ginger & Shadow. ..Embrace the Pun.. ..Cool Links . ..More Cool Links .
Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics .. ..Books for Sale . Online Store..
The Cartoonists ..In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . .Number 9