By Thomas D'Agostino
Bermuda is one of the most popular vacation destinations on the eastern seaboard. The 21-mile-long island owned by Great Britain is famous for its pink sands, historic sites and of course, Goslings rum and ginger beer. The island is also a corner of the famous Bermuda Triangle where many ships and planes have mysteriously vanished. The triangle and its legends do not stop vacationers from all over the world taking cruise ships to the land of fun and sun. There is plenty to see but there is also a side of Bermuda that is often not seen as much as it is heard. This is the other side of Bermuda.
The port town of St. George is laced with tiny streets and lots of history. Royal Naval forts are common everywhere on the island and St. George is no exception. The Old Fort St. Catherine, built in 1614, is the oldest and largest of these forts. The fort is tenanted by a ghost named George. George is an aggressive, angry ghost that takes pleasure in harassing visitors every way possible. George was so obnoxious that the islanders performed an exorcism in the 1970s to rid him from the fort, but it apparently did not work, as George is still seen and heard wailing in the lower chambers of the garrison.
The many pink sand beaches are a sight to behold. One such beach, on the northwestern end of the island, is where the ghost of Hugh Gray is often seen wandering. Gray was a famous hotelier who was found dead under mysterious circumstances at the bottom of his beach house stairs in the 1920s. Another beach of ghostly phenomena is the Grape Bay area where the ghosts of pirates are seen. This was reputed to be a place where the corsairs hid their ill-gotten loot as well as a burial place for murders.
An island without pirate ghosts would not seem very impressive, but Bermuda can claim at least a few. George Dew spent his early life plundering and smuggling but by 1699 the tides of his nature had changed and he renounced his wicked ways, settling into what is now called the Old Rectory Bed and Breakfast. Dew often amused himself by playing his harpsichord. Centuries later, the disembodied sound of a harpsichord can be heard trickling through the halls of the old building.
On the shores of a place called Granaway Deep sits a house called "Spithead." This was once the home of notorious pirate, Hezekiah Frith. According to lore, Frith killed a young maiden in the carriage house. Both he and the maiden's ghosts roam about the property. Playwright, Noel Coward claimed to have seen the spirits on several occasions during his tenancy there in 1956.
An old estate named "Winton" on the north shore is home to the ghost of Katy Love Dill. Dill and her husband, Captain Thomas Dill lived in the house a few centuries ago, but Katy has yet to leave. She is often seen wandering around the property as she did in life. She taps people on the shoulder or appears over their beds as they sleep. People in the house hear footsteps following them with no human form to accompany the patter. She also likes to pick up the phone during conversations, listening quietly to the callers. One family, the Mussons, lived at the house for eleven months in 1964. They experienced sudden temperature drops, strange noises and the feeling of a presence that left them sleepless on many nights.
A home in Devonshire Parish, set among woodland gardens, is one of the most haunted houses on the island. The ghosts of the home make themselves known regularly but one in particular, Laura Cox, seems to be the lead wraith of the pack. Laura died in 1861, but her spirit still watches over the gardens she so carefully cultivated in life. Doors slamming, misty figures and footsteps in the house are common, but many have witnessed the ghost of Laura standing near her garden pointing angrily at it as if trying to tell someone it needs attention.
There are other ghosts roaming Bermuda, but to finish this segment, there is a legend that is circulated throughout the island about "Old Morgan." In 1775, a whaling captain named Morgan had his ships ransacked by smugglers who were never caught. Now when a low-lying rain cloud hangs over the island in the summertime, it is said to be the ghost of "Old Morgan" looking for justice, and he won't rest until the descendants of those who pillaged his boats come forth.
During our visit to Bermuda, we did not see any ghosts that we know of, but it is easy to see why they would choose to stay.