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Some Real American Ghosts

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Peg Alley's Point is a long and narrow strip of wooded land, situated between the main stream of Miles river and one of the navigable creeks which flow into it. This little peninsula is about two miles long, from fifty to three hundred yards in width and is bounded by deep water and is overgrown with pine and thick underbrush. There is extant a tradition to the effect that many years ago a party of Baltimore oystermen encamped on the point, among whom was a man named Alley, who had abandoned his wife. The deserted woman followed up her husband, and found him at the camp. After some conversation had passed between them, the man induced her, upon some unknown pretext, to accompany him into a thicket. The poor wife never came out alive. Her husband cruelly murdered her with a club. The point of land has ever since been known by Peg Alley's name, and her perturbed spirit has been supposed to haunt the scene of her untimely taking off. About twelve years ago a gang of rail-splitters were at work on the point, and one day the foreman flatly refused to go back, declaring that queer things happened down there, and that he had seen a ghost. Mr. Kennedy, his employer, laughed at him and dismissed the matter from his mind. Some time after this Mr. Kennedy had occasion to ride through the woods to look after some sheep, there being but one road and the water on either side. As he approached the point his horse started violently and refused to go on, regardless of whip or spur. Glancing about for the cause of this unnatural fright, he saw a woman rise up from a log, a few yards in advance, and stand by the roadside, looking at him. She was very poorly clad in a faded calico dress, and wore a limp sun-bonnet, from beneath which her thin, jet-black hair straggled down on her shoulders; her face was thin and sallow and her eyes black and piercing. Knowing that she had no business there, and occupied in controlling his horse, he called to her somewhat angrily to get out of the way, as his animal was afraid of her. Slowly she turned and walked into the thicket, uttering not a syllable and looking reproachfully at him as she went. With much difficulty he forced his horse to the spot, hoping to find out who the strange intruder might be, but the most careful search failed to reveal the trace of any one, although there was no place of concealment and no possible way of escape, for which, indeed, there was not sufficient time.


The old family seat of the T.'s, one of the most prominent names in the community, is not far from the scenes of the above-mentioned adventure. In all this region of lovely situations and charming water views, its site is one of the most beautiful. The brick mansion, with all the strangely mixed comforts and discomforts of ancient architecture, rears its roof up from an elevated lawn, while the silvery thread of a land-locked stream winds nearly around the whole. Over the further bank dance the sparkling waters of a broad estuary, flashing in the glance of the sunshine or tossing its white-capped billows in angry mimicry of the sea. The gleam of white sails is never lacking to add variety and picturesqueness to the scene. In the dead, hushed calm of a summer evening, when the lifted oar rests on the gunwale, unwilling to disturb with its dip the glassy surface, one has a strange, dreamy sense of being suspended in space, the sky, in all its changing beauties, being accurately reflected in illimitable depth by the still water, until the charm is broken by the splash and ripple of a school of nomadic alewives or the gliding, sinuous fin of a piratical shark. In this lovely home it was wont for the family to assemble on the occasion of certain domestic celebrations, and it was at one of these that the following incident occurred: All were present except one member, who was detained by sickness at her residence, fifteen miles away. It was in early afternoon that one of the ladies standing at an open window, suddenly exclaimed: "Why, there's Aunt Milly crossing the flower garden!" The party approached the window, and beheld, in great surprise, the lady, in her ordinary costume, slowly strolling among the flowers. She paused and looked earnestly at the group, her features plainly visible; then turned and disappeared amidst the shrubbery. No trace of her presence being discoverable, it was natural that a gloom fell upon the company. A few hours later a messenger arrived with the intelligence of her death. The time of her apparition and the time of her death coincided.