Sunday, August 21, 2016

From the Files: A Haunted Apple Tree

I've read this story in a number of places, but this version comes from The McKean Democrat, August 24, 1900

Murder committed under it and now its fruit is streaked blood red

"It is probable that to the town of Douglass, Mass., alone belongs the reputation of having a haunted apple tree," writes Samuel S. Kingdon, in the Ladies' Home Journal. "The tradition of the town is that a foul murder was committed in the orchard many years ago, and sine then it has been haunted by the spirit of the victim. As the story goes, a peddler, whose custom it was to sell goods from house to house from a pack, laid down to rest at midday under a tree in the orchard, and before the day was ended he was found with a cruel gash in the neck, from which his life blood ebbed away. Suspicion rested on the owner of the orchard, and he was said to have been constantly followed by the spirit of the victim. In an attempt to escape from its dreaded presence he moved away. Then the apparition became a terror to all who had occasion to pass over the road at night. So potent was its influence - standing as it had habit of doing, under the apple tree, with one hand at its throat and the other extended as though seeking aid, and uttering shrill cries that could be heard half a mile away - that the location of the highway was changed, and it is now a long distance from the orchard. The old trees still bear fruit, and the apples from the one beneath which the peddler was killed are said to be streaked with red, resembling blood, the streaks extending from skin to core."

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