Monday, February 7, 2011

History: Ghost Stories

Late one night in October, 1864, a Confederate blockade runner slipped by some Union gunboats at the entrance to Galveston Bay in Texas and made it safely to port with its cargo of food and other necessities.

Louis Billings, the master of the sailing vessel, was getting ready to weigh anchor when he was startled by a shriek from one of the crew.

“A strange, old-fashioned schooner with a big black flag was rushing down at us,” Billings said later. “She was a fire with a sort of weird, pale-blue light that lighted up every nook and cranny of her.

“The crew was pulling at the ropes and doing other work, and they paid us no attention, didn’t even glance our way. They all had ghastly bleeding wounds, but their faces and eyes were those of dead men.

“The man who had shrieked had fallen to his knees, his teeth chattering as he gasped out a prayer. Overcoming my own terror, that was chilling the very marrow of my bones, I rushed forward, shouting to the others as I ran. Suddenly the schooner vanished before my eyes.”

Some say that it was the ghost of Jean Lafitte’s pirate ship
that sank off Galveston Island in 1821 or 1822. She was seen again in 1892 in the same waters with the same crew.

~ From Scary Stories Treasury, Three Books to Chill Your Bones, collected from folklore and retold by Alvin Schwartz and published by HarperCollins 1981

Of course Pride, which may or may not have existed, did not sink off Galveston and the fate of Jean Laffite was commemorated in yesterday’s post. All that said, what a lovely, spine-tingling tale this one is, and it persists in the Galveston area to this day.

Header: Ghost Ship by NooA at


Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! Jean Laffite, ghost ships and Galveston... All three things that you love, Pirate Queen. Nice.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy! It's weird how I just run into this stuff in a book my kid brought home from school. Go figure.