February 26, 2012

The Ghost of Enoch Pratt

Here's a great little ghost story I found in John Hanson Mitchell's book Ceremonial Time.

Back in the 1700s a wealthy farmer named Jeremiah Caswell lived in Littleton, Massachusetts. He owned many acres of fertile cropland, as well as an extensive apple orchard. Jeremiah had a son named Adam, and a daughter named Eve. Eve was quite beautiful.

When she was a young woman, Eve fell in love with Enoch Pratt, a hard-working farm boy from a modest background. They would meet illicitly almost every night in the apple orchard, where they were safe from prying eyes. Eve was afraid that her father would disapprove of their love.

One night Jeremiah secretly followed his daughter out to the orchard and saw her meet Enoch. To the young lovers' surprise, Jeremiah saw they were genuinely in love and gave his blessing. Eve and Enoch became engaged.

Before they could celebrate their wedding, however, Enoch was called away with other local men to fight in the the French and Indian War, which was raging to the west.

The might before he departed, he and Eve met once again in the orchard. "Swear to me you'll return," Eve said.

Holding her tight, Enoch said, "I will, in body or spirit."

Eve said, "And I will meet you."

Enoch left for the war, and a few months later word came to Littleton that he had been killed in the fighting. Eve was devastated by the news but carried on with her duties on the farm.

One night, as she was walking by the orchard, she heard someone calling her name. It was Enoch! Eve was overjoyed and ran to greet him, thinking that his death was falsely reported.

As she wrapped her arms around Enoch, though, she noticed that his body was unnaturally cold, and that his eyes stared lifelessly. Enoch did die, and his ghost had returned to Littleton. Terrified, Eve ran to her father's house and told him what she saw under the apple trees.

And do you know what her father said?

He said, "If you vowed to meet him, Eve, you must meet him, in the flesh or in the spirit."

Eve returned to the orchard that night and consummated her marriage with Enoch. All through that fall and winter Enoch called out her name from the apple orchard, and Eve would dutifully leave her bed to join him under the dark trees. Eve became weaker and weaker, and finally died when the spring came.

Although Eve passed over to the other side, Enoch's ghost lingered in Littleton. Locals reported seeing him throughout the 1800s, calling Eve's name in the woods and orchards. His ghost was even seen in the Caswell house.

His ghost was last seen in 1975, when a Littleton man who had been walking in the woods reported seeing a twenty year old man with his black hair pulled back, dressed in Colonial attire, with a mournful look in his eyes.

No comments: