I had the good fortune to spend this past week in Nantucket. If one word from this fairy tale book author can describe this place, it would be magical. It is like another world, filled with the seals of my stories and the innocent safety of a former time. It is a place where I felt safe walking by myself to the sea at sunrise and sunset. And it is a place of ghosts.
We drove around most of the island and passed by many homes that have stood on this patch of water surrounded land for centuries. We also passed the homes of those who lived and died on the island, its cemeteries.
I found one such cemetery captivating. It was a huge expanse of rolling fields, with only a sprinkling of headstones in the center. The sign said Quaker Cemetery. Why such a vastness of space?
I did not know the answer that was waiting to reveal itself to me.
I took a ghost walk Thursday evening. It was a historical walk, combining Nantucket’s history along with its resident spirits.
When the ghost walk started, I felt the hairs on my body stand on end, so I knew something would occur, something or someone would wait for my visit.
Sure enough, we passed the original Quaker Meeting House on the Island. I had taken photos all night, with no anomalies.
When I snapped my camera on the Quaker House, here is what greeted me.
So many orbs, where a second ago, there had been none on the street for the past fifteen minutes.
I learned some of the Quaker history during the tour, how many had died tending to the Indians who had been stricken with smallpox.
Thursday afternoon, I had visited a bookstore in Nantucket. There aren’t many places on the planet where I wouldn’t venture into a literary market place.
I bought a ghost book of Nantucket for one of my grandsons.
Friday morning, the day after the ghost walk, I awoke early and decided to read the story.
Ironically, it told the story of the Quaker cemetery; I had no idea that this was part of the plot. The Quakers believe that headstone markers were part of idol worship; therefore, they were put to rest in unmarked graves. Hence, the rolling fields I had seen that day covered the bodies of thousands of nameless souls at rest. Or were they?
Perhaps they wanted to make their presence known to me. Maybe they said hello to me in those orbs; I like to think so.
As a side note, there were offshoots of the Quaker religion in much later years and it is those few graves in the Quaker Cemetery that depict the name of the deceased on a headstone.
Nantucket, surrounded by water, surrounded by the death of many seamen, and surrounded by the suffering of both Native Americans and early settlers, is the perfect place for a haunting. And the island offers the stories of many.
Usually, connections to cemeteries involve past lives for me……I have longed to see Nantucket most of my life. Somehow, I always knew I would love it there. And I did.