The Shrieking Woman

During the latter part of the seventeenth century a Spanish ship, richly

laden, was beset off Marblehead by English pirates, who killed every

person on board, at the time of the capture, except a beautiful English

lady, a passenger on the ship, who was brought ashore at night and

brutally murdered at a ledge of rocks near Oakum Bay. As the fishermen

who lived near were absent in their boats, the women and children, who

were startled from their sleep by her piercing shrieks, dared not attempt

a rescue. Taking her a little way from shore in their boat, the pirates

flung her into the sea, and as she came to the surface and clutched the

gunwale they hewed at her hands with cutlasses. She was heard to cry,

Lord, save me! Mercy! O, Lord Jesus, save me! Next day the people found

her mangled body on the rocks, and, with bitter imprecations at the worse

than beasts that had done this wrong, they prepared it for burial. It was

interred where it was found, but, although it was committed to the earth

with Christian forms, for one hundred and fifty years the victim's cries

and appeals were repeated, on each anniversary of the crime, with such

distinctness as to affright all who heard them--and most of the citizens

of Marblehead claimed to be of that number.

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