Jack Welch's Death Light
: TALES OF PURITAN LAND
: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land
Pond Cove, Maine, is haunted by a light that on a certain evening, every
summer, rises a mile out at sea, drifts to a spot on shore, then whirls
with a buzz and a glare to an old house, where it vanishes. Its first
appearance was simultaneous with the departure of Jack Welch, a
fisherman. He was seen one evening at work on his boat, but in the
morning he was gone, nor has he since shown himself in the flesh.
On the tenth anniversary of this event three fishermen were hurrying up
the bay, hoping to reach home before dark, for they dreaded that uncanny
light, but a fog came in and it was late before they reached the wharf.
As they were tying their boat a channel seemed to open through the mist,
and along that path from the deep came a ball of pallid flame with the
rush of a meteor. There was one of the men who cowered at the bottom of
the boat with ashen face and shaking limbs, and did not watch the light,
even though it shot above his head, played through the rigging, and after
a wide sweep went shoreward and settled on his house. Next day one of his
comrades called for him, but Tom Wright was gone, gone, his wife said,
before the day broke. Like Jack Welch's disappearance, this departure was
unexplained, and in time he was given up for dead.
Twenty years had passed, when Wright's presumptive widow was startled by
the receipt of a letter in a weak, trembling hand, signed with her
husband's name. It was written on his death-bed, in a distant place, and
held a confession. Before their marriage, Jack Welch had been a suitor
for her hand, and had been the favored of the two. To remove his rival
and prosper in his place, Wright stole upon the other at his work, killed
him, took his body to sea, and threw it overboard. Since that time the
dead man had pursued him, and he was glad that the end of his days was
come. But, though Tom Wright is no more, his victim's light comes yearly
from the sea, above the spot where his body sank, floats to the scene of
the murder on the shore, then flits to the house where the assassin lived
and for years simulated the content that comes of wedded life.