The Shrieking Woman

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    During the latter part of the seventeenth century a Spanish ship, richly laden, was beset off Marblehead by English pirates, who killed every person on board, at the time of the capture, except a beautiful English lady, a passenger on the ship, who was brought ashore at night and brutally murdered at a ledge of rocks near Oakum Bay. As the fishermen who lived near were absent in their boats, the women and children, who were startled from their sleep by her piercing shrieks, dared not attempt a rescue. Taking her a little way from shore in their boat, the pirates flung her into the sea, and as she came to the surface and clutched the gunwale they hewed at her hands with cutlasses. She was heard to cry, “Lord, save me! Mercy! O, Lord Jesus, save me!” Next day the people found her mangled body on the rocks, and, with bitter imprecations at the worse than beasts that had done this wrong, they prepared it for burial. It was interred where it was found, but, although it was committed to the earth with Christian forms, for one hundred and fifty years the victim’s cries and appeals were repeated, on each anniversary of the crime, with such distinctness as to affright all who heard them—and most of the citizens of Marblehead claimed to be of that number.

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