Page 32 - Mystery at Blackett's Lake
ISSUE : Issue 55
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/8/1
the knees, long slim feet with toes up? turned. With a shrilling, horrible crackle of demoniac laughter the Thing floated up from the cellar and vanished into the air." Here is Blackett family traditional histo? ry edited from an article written by Isa? bel Blackett Kennedy around 1958. It ap? peared in the CAPE BRETON POST: Grandfather's Ghost By Isabel Blackett Kennedy This is a true story and if it is not well told it may be because "Grand? father's ghost" is peering over my shoulder, thinking: "Why bring this up now, when Grandmother and I have been resting in Cape Breton earth for more than one hundred years." "William Blackett came out from Durham, Northumberland County, in the year 1785. He was sent out (to P. E. I.), accompanied by a Sec? retary, by the British Government to purchase lumber of the ship? yards of England. He brought out with him, his wife, Diana Apple- cross, and two sons, John and Walter." Thus reads the record in the Archives of Prince Edward Island.... He settled on one hundred acres of good farm land, near a seaside place which still bears the family name. As John, the elder son, grew up he fell in love with, and married a girl whose mother was the daughter of an Indian Chief named Chief Wambolt. Her father was a Frenchman. Walter so disapproved of his brother's marriage, that he, with his fa? ther's consent and blessing, migrated to Cape Breton Island. Here with his own young wife, a Prince Edward Island girl of good family, he secured a grant of land from the British Crown, on the southward upper reaches of the beautiful Sydney River. Here, Walter William Blackett made his home and became the patriarch of his own line late in the 18th century... Visit an Underground Coal IVIine '''tTW ''' Miners' Museum Glace Bay, N. S. One of the Foremost l/luseums in Nova Scotia! Bring your family to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of touring an actual Coal Mine with a retired miner as your guide. After touring Museum and Mine, visit the well-stocked Gift Shop and the Miners' Village Restaurant on the same 15- acre site located just one mile from downtown Glace Bay. The Miners' Museum Is Open Year Round and Welcomes Group Tours. During August, Inquire about Tuesday Night Concerts with the "IVIen of the Deeps" For Information about Hours and Rates: (902) PHONE 849-4522 Stories have come down-as this story has-from one generation to another, that children, in the summer, swam the sheep from the edge of the meadow to the Island in the River. So it was a more gentle riv? er that when, in late years, a great Industry-in a growing town miles below-caused the river to be dammed up and so backed the water which covered the meadow and little islands, to make a lake of the lovely flowing stream.... At the time of the Ghost Story great grandfather was an old man; but still the stubt)orn Englishman. Most of his family had gone to different parts of the world. One son, Joseph, had gone to Haiti and married a planter's daughter. Another, owner and master of his own barque, was lost with his wife and children, in a typhoon in the Indian Ocean. A third man killed when his crew mutinied somewhere in the South? ern Seas. (In later years, this incident was woven into a Jack London story.) Only his eldest son, grandfather of this writer, remained on the homestead. A daughter had gone to Upper Canada; and great grand? father being now a widower had gone to live with her. But he did not like Ontario; so decided to return and build a cabin for himself on a knoll overlooking the river. He was urged not to do this by the family; but, being an Englishman, he must have his own castle. There were carpenters and masons in that farming countryside then, so work was begun on the house. A deep cellar was dug and a stone wall built around the four sides. A large, flat rock-which was too heavy to lift-was left in the cellar for a foundation fireplace stone, since the chimney was to be built from the cellar to the roof. But strange things began to happen. In the morning when workers arrived, stones from the wall were knocked out and strewn on the ground, but no foot-prints were around the place. Neighbors took turns watching after dark, but everything was silent through the night and the stones in the wall were not disturbed. They sprinkled sand around the house and went home. In the morning the stones were knocked out and thrown around, but no footprints were in the sand. It seemed that wall was to be built no higher! One evening, three daughters of the house, Elizabeth, Margaret and Isabel, were driving the cattle home from pasture at dusk. Not taking things too seriously, one said, "Let's go over and see Grandfather's ghost." They ran to the knoll and standing on tiptoe peered into the dim cellar. Below a dark SOMETHING moved from a corner and ut? tered a most unearthly sound! Terror-stricken, the girls ran through the fields to their home, telling in gasps what they had seen. Unbelief was on the faces of the family, but they quickly gathered a few neighbors and, armed with lanterns, pitchforks and rifle they went to the small building. The great stone from the cellar had been thrown over the wall and lay on the ground outside. Nothing else was seen nor heard. The mystery of Grandfather's Ghost was never solved. The family, being practical Wesleyan Methodist, decided it was something be? yond their reasoning. Grandfather's house was never built and he passed away quietly, later on, at the home of his son William.... The Ghost has vanished from my side; but the scent of water lilies seems to float around me, as I write. My Mother loved the water lilies. THE END Our thanks to Kate Currie of the Beaton In? stitute, UCCB, who introduced us to John Reppa at the the Institute. He was involved in further research about Blackett's Lake. We would like to hear from others who have information or who have also had unusual experiences regarding Blackett's Lake. Please write to CAPE BRETON'S MAGAZINE. Wreck Cove, Cape Breton, N. S. BOC IHO.
Cape Breton's Magazine