Pelican Pranks- Night Crew Ghosts

This year in Vaughn Cottage I had an exhibit of Pelican Pranks.  I wasn’t sure how I would make those available to you, but I’ve decided to put a few installments on the blog.  If you have more stories to share, email me at saggerer@gmail.com and maybe I’ll share yours as well!

Practical jokes are a way to pass the time on Star, a remote island in the Atlantic.  There is a long history of our staff (called Pelicans) making fun and giving each other a hard time (lovingly of course).

Paraphrased from talking with Sumar Maji:

When I was on night crew we teamed up to scare folks on the front porch on windless nights.  We would choose someone to be nonchalantly hanging out on the porch and someone would go underneath the porch.  We tied a string to the back leg of a rocking chair and the string hung down under the porch.  The person under the porch would tug on the string and make the chair rock back and forth.  You had to do it on a night with no wind, when all the other chairs were still.  The person on the porch would exclaim something about how the chair was moving and get everyone excited about it.  Once we didn’t tell one of our crew members what we were doing and when someone went to the desk to ask him if this ever happened before he launched into a story about how Celia Thaxter died in that very chair when the dinner bell fell on her head and it’s been rocking ever since.  The really amazing thing is that no one ever looked for the string.  And also one time I had tied the string around my hand and a lady decided to move the chair and dragged me underneath the porch with her because I couldn’t untangle myself fast enough.

Paraphrased from talking with anonymous (I can’t recall if you wanted to be named, if this is ‘you’ and you would like to take credit, let me know!):

A night crew member saw a ghost one summer, they saw a woman in a rocking chair in Newton, late at night, with all the lights out.  They asked her if she wanted the lights turned on, but she didn’t say a word, she just kept rocking.  They continued on their round of the island, went into the chapel and saw the same woman in the same rocking chair in the chapel- there is no way she could have gotten there that fast, and there were no rocking chairs in the chapel.  They ran away and were quite scared.

The next night, when someone new was being trained on rounds, and they had just heard the story of the ghosts, the rest of the night crew members went into Newton before they got there, climbed high into the rafters and jumped down when they entered the building, scaring the new member quite completely.

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