The study of spirits and hauntings with a fair amount of skepticism as well as belief.

    Sarah Soule


    Gender : Female
    Posts : 27
    Age : 36
    Location : Planet Earth
    Join date : 2011-08-06
    Zodiac : Capricorn

    Sarah Soule

    Post  Admin on Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:53 am

    Ghost ships, in the mythology of the sea, are almost as plentiful as barnacles on a rock.

    One of the most celebrated is the phantom schooner of Harpswell which was seen by many people, usually in the late afternoon, fully rigged and under sail; a breathtaking sight, though apt to vanish without warning in a shimmer of light or a sudden rising of fog. This vision has been immortalized in the poem The Dead Ship of Harpswell, by John Greenleaf Whittier, whose opening lines are as follows: What flecks the outer gray beyond The sundown's golden trail? The white flash of a sea-bird's wing, Or gleam of slanting sail?

    The period around 1812 was a splendid time for industrious young men to make a legitimate fortune on the high seas. A couple of boys barely into their twenties could prosper trading cod and lumber for the rum, molasses and coffee of the Indies, which was precisely the career George Leverett and Charles Jose envisioned when they set out from Portland, Maine. Their destination was the Soule Boatyard in South Freeport and their mission was to arrange for the building of their own new vessel.

    However, shortly after arriving in South Freeport they met the lovely Sarah Soule, fell violently in love with her, and out of sorts with each other. Perhaps because of his Portuguese blood, Jose pursued her more hotly, though in the end it was George Leverett she preferred. After a bitter argument, during which Charles tried to hurl George into the Royal River, the friendship between the two men ended. Charles disappeared and George proceeded with construction of the ship. When she was finished, he appropriately named her Sarah and prepared for his wedding to Sarah Soule.

    Ill fortune arose on every side. At first there were strange obstacles in the wedding preparations. Then Captain Leverett found it oddly difficult to line up a crew. Still, he was a determined young man and, at last, with his bride in his house and a crew on his ship, Leverett sailed into Portland harbor to take on cargo for the West Indies. At the same time, there arrived a curious black craft which flew no flag and was outfitted with cannon. The ship was the Don Pedro Salazar and her captain was none other than Leverett's former partner and romantic rival, Charles Jose.

    Much like a storm cloud on the horizon, the Don Pedro trailed the Sarah south. As the voyage progressed the Sarah's crew grew more and more uneasy and petitioned Captain Leverett to head for Nassau to report the menacing pursuer to the British Admiralty. He never reached the harbor. As soon as the Don Pedro saw what course Leverett was taking, she opened fire, killing all but Leverett and severely damaging, though through some miracle, not sinking the unarmed Sarah.

    Still blinded by jealousy and seeking murderous revenge, Jose could have tortured the survivor in a variety of traditional methods. However, Jose, after looting the ship, chose only to tie Leverett to the foot of the Sarah's mainmast and head him out to sea.

    It was then that Leverett experienced an extraordinary phenomenon. Helpless as he was and facing certain death and destruction on an unmanned and shattered vessel, he still was possessed by a strange notion that the ship was under control. Indeed the dead crew began to rise up and take their posts one by one. Sails were set and the ship's course was turned toward home. Captain Leverett, at this point, understandably lost consciousness.

    On a bleak November day people on Potts' Point saw a fully rigged yet tragic wreck sailing with uncanny accuracy along the unmarked channel. Suddenly the ship came to a full stop without benefit of an anchor. A pale and silent crew lowered an apparently unconscious man into a boat, rowed him ashore and laid him on a rock, his log book beside him. Without even the squeak of an oar-lock, the ghostly sailors returned to the ship just as a heavy fog suddenly blanketed the harbor. When it had lifted the ship was gone. The unconscious man was soon recognized as George Leverett and it is said that he recovered at least enough to relate this tale, though he surely never went out to sea again.

    The last sighting of the Sarah was in the 1880s on a crystaline summer afternoon. A guest seated on the piazza of Harpswell House looked seaward toward the horizon in time to see a wondrous vision.

    A great schooner, under full sail, her canvas gilded in the sun, was heading slowly for the harbor. He summoned a friend, but when they looked again the ship had vanished. Believers say that the magnificent wreck and her ghostly crew, weary from wandering, had reached home port for the last time.

    From Classic American Ghost Stories edited by Deborah Downer. Copyright 1990 by Deborah Downer.


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