The Wild Man Of Cape Cod

: 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

he 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