Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Goose River Ghost

On Friday, October 19, 1781, Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia. His band as they marched played The World Turned Upside Down. 

This song was the right choice for the thirteen upstart colonies, short on supplies, and men had achieved a victory over the most powerful army in the world.

These turbulent times left behind many ghosts and ghost stories within American’s first colonies.

Cornwallis surrenders to
George Washington.
The village of Goose River—now Rockport, Maine during the Revolutionary War was left with women, children and old men to defend their homes, lives, and possessions.

British naval vessels sailing the waters of the North Atlantic often raided Goose River to secure supplies.

The residents' angry over these raids, fought back in unique ways. Several female residents began to take to the nearby woods, each time they saw British landing parties. From their hiding spots, they were able to shoot down the unsuspecting invaders.

During one raid, two old men tried to trick the invaders. One sounded roll call on his drum, while the other yelled military commands to a nonexistent Patriot force.

One local effort to exact revenge was especially admired by all. A villager by the name of William Richardson, assisted an American privateer ship elude the British.

Samuel Tucker, who commanded this privateer, had recently captured a precious cargo of tea from a British vessel. A British warship was in hot pursuit.

Richardson used his fishing boat to guide Tucker’s ship through the hazardous Maine coastline, to a safe harbor south of Goose River at Harpswell. But the British caught up and blockaded this port. They then waited for reinforcements.

Richardson wisely advised Tucker to be patient, and wait for the next storm. When this storm hit, Tucker again guided by Richardson escaped the British, using this squall as cover.

By the time the British discovered Tucker’s ship was gone, he was well on his way to Boston Harbor.

When the news arrived in Goose River in 1783 that the war was over, no one celebrated more than William Richardson. He took to the streets, drunk with a pitcher of ale, offering salutations and a drink to all who passed.

Goose River
He wandered over to the village bridge, where three horsemen galloped toward him. Before he realized these men were belligerent Tories—British sympathizers-- he offered them a drink.

One of these men slammed his rifle butt into Richardson’s head. The three then rode away, leaving Richardson to die.

Ever since the Goose River Bridge has been haunted by William Richardson’s ghost. He is seen with a pitcher in hand--this is why the locals call his spirit, The Pitcher Man.

An area near this bridge is used as a lover’s lane. In the mid-1950s, there were two notable encounters.

A teenage couple was walking toward the bridge when the girl suddenly stopped in fear. She pointed out to her date a man dressed strangely, that was approaching them. Her partner moved to protect her, but within seconds, this figure just disappeared.

Several years later, two couples were parked in what is called the Passion Pit, next to the bridge. When the car’s windows steamed up, the teen boy in the back rolled down the window to get some fresh air.

He found himself looking directly into the face of a man offering him a pitcher of beer. He quickly rolled up the window and yelled to the driver to get the hell out of there.

Goose River Bridge today.
So many people have encountered this phantom, Rockport has a sign posted near this bridge that warns, “No trespassing between sunset and sunrise.”

But Richardson’s ghost is considered friendly. He is just trying to share his excitement about an independent America. 

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