Jim St. Clair raises goosebumps with Sounds in the Wind
Jim St. Clair
(Editorís note: This offering from historian Jim St. Clair is an eerie Halloween story passed down from people resident in Port Hood in the early 1900s).
Frankie MacKinnon (right) won first place at the Inverness Legion?s Halloween dance last Saturday night. MacKinnon was Pinhead from the horror movie Hellraiser. On the left is Frankie?s wife, Charlene MacKinnon, who had literally a thousand eyes. Costumes
In the early years of Port Hood, a family whose name has been lost had two daughters (letís call them Jane and Margaret). The girls were close in age but very different in appearance and character.
Margaret, the younger, was very beautiful and a kind person; her sister, Jane, was quite unattractive and quite jealous of her sister. She was also quite mean-spirited.
A young man came to work as a clerk in the store operated by Jane and Margaretís parents.
He quickly fell in love with Margaret, much to Janeís disappointment since she found him very attractive.
It was the custom of the two sisters to walk along the beach of Port Hood in good weather. They often sat out on the large rock which was quite reachable at low tide. The boulder had a large metal ring attached to it so that small ships could tie up close to the shore.
Margaret had long black curly hair which her sister Jane often combed and arranged into braids. When the tides permitted they often sat on the big rock which can still be seen in our time. It carries the name of Sallyís Reef and is identified by a warning buoy.
With her parentsí permission, Margaret agreed to marry the young man. Jane was increasingly jealous for she thought as the older daughter she should be the first to marry.
One day shortly before the wedding was to take place, the two sisters were seated on the rock. The wind was strong and it was time for the tide to begin to rise.
Margaret thought they should go back to the beach, but Jane suggested they remain for a little longer so that she could brush and comb and braid her sisterís long, long tresses.
As the tide began to come in, Margaret tried to rise from the rock but found herself attached to the metal ring by her long braids. Her sister had fastened her tightly. Slippery seaweed prevented her from getting to her feet.
With the rising wind, the tide came in rapidly and Jane jumped to the beach, leaving her sister calling to her to release her, to help her. But the waves soon overwhelmed her and she quickly drowned. Her voice begging for help was silenced, although the wind seemed still to carry the screams of the drowning young woman.
Jane returned home and told her parents that she thought that Margaret had waded out too far as the waves increased in size. A search party went looking for her, but as night came on they had to abandon the search. The next day the body was found washed up on the shore with strands of seaweed wrapped around it.
Pretending grief, Jane offered much sympathy to both her parents and her sisterís intended husband. Little by little, she ingratiated herself with him. After some months, he asked her to marry him for he wanted to remain in Port Hood and to come to take over the store of her parents.
But Jane was greatly troubled by nightmares in which her sister was calling to her for help and was seen wrapped in seaweed and then condemning Jane to some kind of punishment. Even during the days of high wind, she complained of hearing voices calling.
The wedding, however, took place and the young couple took up residence in their own house.
Jane was still troubled and at times said she heard her sister calling to her. She did not reveal her part in the tragedy.
A year after the marriage, Jane went into labour to birth their first child. The women who were attending her screamed in horror when the baby was born. For the new life was shaped like a fish and wrapped in some kind of growth which resembled seaweed. The creature did not survive.
When Jane saw her child, she called out in agony that her sister had gotten revenge. Soon after, she went to the rock at the shore and drowned herself in the incoming tide. She was heard calling to her sister to forgive her.
For years after the sad end to the two sisters, calls for help and screams of agony could be heard from the direction of the rock at Sallyís Reef.
Perhaps even today in the darkness of a Halloween Night, the voices of the two sisters may be heard. The spot may indeed be haunted by the spirits of Margaret and Jane. So beware the ghosts to be found at Port Hood beach!
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