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The Wild Man Of Cape Cod






Category: TALES OF PURITAN LAND

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

For years after Bellamy's pirate ship was wrecked at Wellfleet, by false
pilotage on the part of one of his captives, a strange-looking man used
to travel up and down the cape, who was believed to be one of the few
survivors of that night of storm, and of the hanging that others
underwent after getting ashore. The pirates had money when the ship
struck; it was found in the pockets of a hundred drowned who were cast on
the beach, as well as among the sands of the cape, for coin was gathered
there long after. They supposed the stranger had his share, or more, and
that he secreted a quantity of specie near his cabin. After his death
gold was found under his clothing in a girdle. He was often received at
the houses of the fishermen, both because the people were hospitable and
because they feared harm if they refused to feed or shelter him; but if
his company grew wearisome he was exorcised by reading aloud a portion of
the Bible. When he heard the holy words he invariably departed.

And it was said that fiends came to him at night, for in his room,
whether he appeared to sleep or wake, there were groans and blasphemy,
uncanny words and sounds that stirred the hair of listeners on their
scalps. The unhappy creature cried to be delivered from his tormenters
and begged to be spared from seeing a rehearsal of the murders he had
committed. For some time he was missed from his haunts, and it was
thought that he had secured a ship and set to sea again; but a traveller
on the sands, while passing his cabin in the small hours, had heard a
more than usual commotion, and could distinguish the voice of the wild
man raised in frantic appeal to somebody, or something; still, knowing
that it was his habit to cry out so, and having misgivings about
approaching the house, the traveller only hurried past. A few neighbors
went to the lonely cabin and looked through the windows, which, as well
as the doors, were locked on the inside. The wild man lay still and white
on the floor, with the furniture upset and pieces of gold clutched in his
fingers and scattered about him. There were marks of claws about his
neck.





Next: Newbury's Old Elm

Previous: Nix's Mate



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