Two boys get a scare as they attempt to prove or disprove the truth of a much told ghost story.
Sixteen year old Harris and his fifteen year old cousin Oliver, had heard the tale hundreds of times. A young woman promised to her boyfriend and very much in love, awaited his return from sea. The two had agreed to marry in November and even the date had been set. When the ship failed to return by the end of October, many expected the worst but the bride to be, certain of her boyfriend’s return, continued to prepare for the wedding. Lo and behold, on the very day they had planned to marry, the ship came sailing into the harbour! The young woman changed into her wedding dress and anxiously waited for her lover’s arrival. It was not to be however and soon the girl’s father brought her the sad news that her betrothed had been lost at sea. In her grief the young woman ran from the house to the shore, disappearing into the woodland on the other side of the harbour. Upon reaching a high cliff, she threw herself from it’s peak into the waters below. Legend had it that, not content with just one jump, she returned on the same date each year to once again hurl herself from the same cliff.
In the Newfoundland of 1935, telling ghost stories was a favourite pastime. There were few radios and those were reserved for listening to the news. After all the almost ten pound battery that accompanied the radio, would not last for ever, and television of course, had yet to make it’s debut. For some reason such stories always seemed more believable when told by old men who were the backbone of the church and who’s sincerity few people doubted. Harris and Oliver lived on the Placentia Bay Side of the Isthmus of Avalon, and this particular story it seemed went back to it’s antiquity, and overshadowed other stories of lights that followed ships, and the sighting of headless men for which the bay and it’s inhabitants were famous.
Harris and Oliver had made a pact that on the anniversary of that infamous day, they would go to the very cliff from which the young would-be bride had jumped and watch it’s re-enactment. It was nearly four o’clock on a dull November day and already there were signs of approaching nightfall as the two teenagers made their way along the shore. There were also those who claimed that anyone who encountered the ghost, risked being taken to the same purgatory that the young woman supposedly inhabited. This thought was very much on the minds of both boys, though none would admit having any fear. Their steps were more hesitant however, as the two came ever closer to the very spot that the legend talked about and each was sure that the other could hear his heartbeat. They were probably within two hundred feet of the cliff when they heard the sound of someone or something running and saw through the gathering gloom, a white form disappear over the cliff. Harris and Oliver did not stay to investigate, in fact if clocked, they probably broke the four minute mile some nineteen years before the young Roger Bannister completed that feat at Oxford in 1954!
The frightened boys soon related their story, adding even more credibility to the antiquated tale, especially among the young. If one had been watching carefully however, they may have noticed the hint of a smile on the faces of some of the older men in the community. Four days later, the dissipated remains of one of George Mason’s sheep was found washed up on the beach at Wild Cove, The animal had apparently stumbled over a cliff.
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