November 18, 2008

Multicultural Headless Ghosts from Kingstown, Rhode Island


After I posted about the Headless Horseman of Canton, Connecticut a few days ago, I realized I knew about additional headless ghosts haunting New England. Two of them, according to Charles Skinner, can be found in part of North Kingston, Rhode Island known as Swamptown.

Headless Ghost #1 - A traveler making his way through Swamptown one night saw the headless ghost of an African-American boy.
It was a dark night, and the figure was revealed in a blaze of blue light. It swayed to and fro for a time, then rose from the ground with a lurch and shot into space, leaving a trail of illumination behind it.
Yow! That's kind of psychedelic, but there's no indication of who the ghost is or why he has no head.

Headless Ghost #2 - A workman repairing a road in Swamptown unearthed an Algonquin Indian skull, and took it home as a souvenir. Since the women in his house wouldn't let him bring it inside, he stuck it on a pole in the yard. That night, he heard a rattling noise from the backyard. Looking out, he saw a large headless skeleton stalking around the house, waving its arms angrily. Everyone inside the house was terrified, except for the workman, who said calmly "I left your head on the pole at the back door." The skeleton put its head on, and stalked off, shaking its fists at the workman. The skeleton now guards other Indian burials in Swamptown, particularly those at Indian Corner, where there is a rock that bleeds when the moon is full.

It's interesting that neither Swamptown ghost is from the ethnic group that was in the majority when Skinner wrote his book. Again, the Headless Horseman of Canton is French, the Horseman of Sleepy Hollow is German. I'm just not sure what it means. This sounds like a good topic for someone's undergraduate thesis paper!

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