Monday, October 31, 2011

The Ghosts of Beebe's Girls

In June of this year, I spent a week on Star Island with several friends.  Located seven miles off of the New Hampshire coast, it is one of the Isles of Shoals and in 1677 was first permanently settled, regardless of the Native American warnings to white men that “something evil was there that was not of this world”.  Yes, ghosts.  And a lot of them, according to what book, what television show or what old Shoaler story you listen to.
 
This was my second trip to the island.  Last summer, I did have two strange experiences in the small cottage I shared with seven of my friends.  I heard someone running up and down the hallway in the middle of the night, which was impossible since the hallway was only twenty foot long.  I also ‘dreamed’ I was thrown out of bed by someone claiming that I was in their room.  The next morning, I had a large bruise on my thigh, as if it weren’t a dream at all.  This summer, I saw the famous ‘unexplained red lights’ that appear off the island, lights that have been reported for over two hundred years.  I called to my friend, Jerri Clayton, and made sure she saw them too.  Others said it was just the moon, but I’ve seen a lot of moons in my days, and I’m claiming it was the mysterious lights.  Period. 

There are several ghosts that have been seen over the years, and I know most of the stories.  One of my favorites is that three little girls have been seen playing in their small graveyard that can only be reached by a rocky path away from the central area of the island.  While exploring, another friend and I wandered out to the graveyard.  The heavy stone wall that once supported the railing and metal arch now look like an old foundation. In the center, covered in green and brownish moss is a small obelisk. To the right of the obelisk are three tiny headstones: the graves of Jessie, Millie and Mitty Beebe.



The small island was populated by impoverished fishing families in 1857 when Reverend George Beebe was sent by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Among the Natives and Others to minister to the residents.  He fathered a brood of children during his ten years on the island.  In 1863, Mitty Beebe was seven years old and had started going to school on the mainland, traveling by ferry.  It was there that she contracted scarlet fever or diphtheria, depending on the story being told, and passed it on to her younger sisters, Jessie and Millie, aged two and four.  

On the obelisk that stands in the graveyard are three inscriptions, one under each girls name.  Jessie’s is unreadable, worn over the years.  Below Millie's name the memorial reads: "Dying she kneeled down and prayed: Please Jesus, take me up to the Lighted Place.  And HE did."  Mitty's inscription says: "I don't want to die, but I'll do just as Jesus wants me to."   

Rev. Beebe built the family cemetery apparently intending to stay on Star.  But in 1867, four years after their deaths, the remaining members of the Beebe family moved to Littleton, NH, leaving the three sisters behind.



Did I see the three little girls playing in their graveyard? No. I tend to think ghosts know when you are looking for them and many times choose not to make an appearance. However, sitting in the graveyard, I was sure of their presence.  The sadness I had initially felt for them was replaced by another feeling, which I find hard to define, and can only describe as-- peace.  Three young girls, their family long gone. But they have each other--and an eternal playground to roam.

14 comments:

Loree Huebner said...

They died during the time the Civil War was taking place.

Peaceful. The girls do have their own special place...

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.

Amberr Meadows said...

Poor little girls. I don't know if I'd be brave enough to go seeking them out (or any ghosts, for that matter), but then again, I did just go take photos at a reputedly haunted grist mill.

I posted a pic with the creepy babydoll head I found in the mulch. The whole experience was not pants-wetting, but it was spooky.

Happy Halloween, lovely lady!

Kim Julian said...

Great stuff, thanks for sharing!

Ciara Ballintyne said...

This left me feeling a little sad. I find that stories about small children dying does that to me ever since I had my daughter.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Yes, Loree, it would be interesting to know what the people on the island experienced during the war. Hmmm.

Amberr, trust me, I'm not that brave person that seeks out much, but I do fake my courage once in a while for others.

Thanks, Kim--my Halloween contribution. Glad you enjoyed it.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Me, too, Ciara. I used to work in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, but after I had my own kids, I couldn't take it any more.

Jenny Katzorke-Dalton said...

What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing it. I love the girl’s attitudes: such perfect examples of faith like a child.

RachelintheOC said...

I dated a guy w the last name Beebe once. He was sweet in a bit of a creepy way. Does that count?

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Jenny, yes, the inscriptions made it all the more sad to me.

Rachel, I guess sweet in a creepy way is better than being creepy in a sweet way, so sure, it counts. :)

zencherry said...

Ooooo, I like a good ghost story. Inexplicable bruises from dreams and lights that are definitely not the moon. The gypsy nesters just had a vid on their site that showed these lights at another ghostly site. Interesting phenomenon! (Makes notes) Must look into.
I can just see those three little girls watching as you came up and read their inscriptions and following you discretely. (Shivers)
Very good post!

Kellianne Sweeney said...

I enjoy ghost stories. I enjoyed yours. Thanks :) I have a couple I may blog about if the mood hits me.

Carrie Green, www.CarrieGreenBooks.com said...

Thanks for sharing this spooky tale. I've visited a similar pioneer cemetery and it is especially moving to view the many tiny gravestones of young children and realize how lucky we are to have been born in modern times with modern medicine.

Suzi said...

I saw those little graves last summer too, but didn't know the story until I read this post. Thank you for sharing it. I have seen ghosts, but not (yet) in NH.

Kelly Stone Gamble said...

Zen, I saw the post at gypsynesters and it was so awesome I have to share with everyone here: http://www.gypsynester.com/scaryplaces.htm
I've been to the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs and it is great!

Kellianne, Carrie, Suzi-yes the graves of children are always sad and always a little spooky. Thanks for reading!