I do believe there really is a witch living over by Witch Hole Pond. Something was definitely going on around there yesterday when I walked by. I kept hearing thumps and booming sounds – some at a distance from somewhere across the ice, and some close enough to make me jump and then freeze in my tracks. Sometimes the sounds would start nearby and then travel across the pond, with a series of cracks and pops.
Ice drumming. The sound of the spring thaw. I LOVE it!
I had a fit of curiosity just now, and since I am conveniently located in the library, I dashed over to the MDI section and pulled Trails of History by Tom St. Germain and Jay Saunders down off the shelf. I wanted to know why the pond was called Witch Hole. Here’s what I found out about the area’s dubious past!
Apparently, some fellow named Josiah Doane was walking home from a party in Somesville to his house in Hulls Cove (sometime in the 1880′s?). On his way down the Breakneck Road, he was chased by a couple of black cats. He ran hither and yon, but the cats wouldn’t leave him alone until he gave in and followed them. He then met up with two mysteriously robed figures who told him to “Come” and then took him to a house in the woods where he was asked to witness a wedding.
The wedding turned into a fiasco when a stranger burst in, shouting and carrying on about how the groom had tried to kill him a couple of years back. The groom – a ship’s captain named Ralph Seton – had viciously attacked Reuben Haywood and then ordered a member of his crew to tie rocks to the fellow’s body and throw him in the nearby pond (Witch Hole Pond, of course). The crew member had pitied Haywood though, and had actually nursed him back to health, after which Haywood vowed to find and kill the captain, Ralph Seton.
In front of our hero Josiah’s eyes, the two men fought again, and this time Haywood shot Seton with a pistol, and that was that. I guess after this the wedding party broke up, and I would assume that Josiah tromped off home, and vowed not to drink so much at the next party he attended!
Since this story, the pond has been called Witch Hole Pond, and the area surrounding it Witch’s Hollow.
Good thing I didn’t know all this when I was walking around in that same Witch’s Hollow yesterday morning. Perhaps the booming I heard was the echo of Haywood’s pistol! Or perhaps he threw Seton’s body in the pond, and Seton’s ghost was floating around, banging on the ice, trying to get out!!