Ghost Stories of BBC
Every summer camp has its own ghost stories. BBC was no exception. At this time we are aware for five that were told. We will enhance these and add additional ones as they become available.
This is a topo map from 1958 that shows the houses and pond involved in many of these stories.
Relation to the Camp:
Lucy's was an old house one mile west of the camp along the Lee-Westfield Road (the road passing by the camp). At one time, it had the largest barn in western Massachusetts. It had multiple floors and was made of wood. The foundation, all that is left, is composed of rocks forming the base walls. All is now overgrown with trees and vegetation and is on posted private property. Originally the house had a wing making it "L" or "T" shaped. At some point, while the house was occupied, the wing burned down. When I first attended BBC, in the mid to late 60s, the main house was still standing. By the end (1973) it had completely collapsed. There were also many small outbuildings. Some on the opposite side of the clearing and close to the road, and also some further back on the same side of the clearing. The last owner and occupant of the house was named Eliza Whiting (and not Lucy).
Across the road from Lucy's house was a large blueberry patch. Many trips were made from the camp in search of blueberries and non-poisonous snakes. I also know that to the back of the property, up closer to Mitchell's Quarry there were more blueberry bushes, with berries the size of cherries...
Wheel Chair Mary's
Relation to the Camp:
Wheel Chair Mary's was the name given to a building atop Church Hill. This was the hill across the road from the camp. I remember it being a frequent destination for those trying to navigate by compass.
Relation to the Camp:
After passing Lucy's on the Lee-Huntington Road, you could continue to the intersection with the Becket Road. A short while later, on the right was Hatchet Harry's. I am not aware of any actual trips to this site, but I remember driving by it on the dirt road a number of times.
The inn was located along the Becket Road, not too far from the camp, maybe two miles away, just down the road. It was operated by a man named Harry and served the many coaches and carriages that passed by on the road west.
One night after the sun had set, they saw a dust cloud rising into the air in the east in the early twilight. There was another dust cloud rising along the road in the west. As darkness settled on the inn, a large black carriage arrived at the inn. It was pulled by two jet black horses and the driver was formally dressed in a black uniform. Immediately after the arrival of the black carriage came the arrival of a large white carriage. It was pulled by two pure white horses and the driver was formally dressed in a pristine white uniform.
They both climbed down from the carriages and asked about space at the inn. Although there was a large coach whose passengers were also spending the night, there were rooms available, so they began to bring luggage down from atop the carriages. On the black carriage, the luggage was all black, and there was a very large black trunk, 3 feet wide, 3 feet high, and about 6 feet long. On the white carriage, the luggage was very similar except it was all white. They asked if the large trunks could be placed in the basement and were told yes. The other luggage was taken up to their rooms. All during this process Harry did not see the passenger from either carriage.
Harry went inside the inn to sign them in, to collect payment, and to show them the rooms and the basement.
During the night there were some strange noises, but nothing that alarmed Harry.
In the morning, when Harry awoke, the black and white carriages were gone. At breakfast, four of the guests from the coach were missing. The coach driver and Harry went to the guest rooms to search for the passengers. What they found was horrible. In the beds of the passengers were their lifeless bodies. There was a little blood dripping down their necks from wounds and staining the sheets. The local sheriff was called to investigate. There appeared to be nothing missing, only the murdered passengers. A local doctor was called in to determine the cause of death. It was decided that it was the wounds on their necks and that they had bled to death. In fact there seemed to be no blood left in their bodies at all. The sheriff's investigation ground to a halt since there were no leads to follow.
About a month later, as the sun set, dust clouds appeared again in the distance. Just as dark was settling in at the inn, two carriages arrived. They appeared to be the same ones from a month earlier. One in all black and one in all white. Harry signed them in to the inn.
In the morning there was a repeat of what had happened a month before. 4 passengers from a coach had been murdered in their beds, and the black and white carriages were gone.
Once again the sheriff and the doctor were called, the results were the same: nothing was missing, the passengers had bled to death from the wounds on their necks, and there were no leads, except for the mysterious carriages.
Another month passed and once again dust clouds were rising in the distance. As darkness fell, the two carriages arrives, one black, and one white. Harry was now getting suspicious. After he checked them in, he headed off to bed. But rather than sleep he laid awake and waited. Soon he heard the strange noises again. This time he had brought a hatchet to bed with him for protection. He picked up the hatchet and went down the stairs. He found nothing wrong so he continued to the basement stairs. He went down, holing a candle high with one hand and his hatchet at the ready in his other hand.
Their, on the floor of the basement, were the two large trunks, one black and one white. He went to the white trunk and carefully opened the lid. Inside, amid white satin cloth was a beautiful woman dressed all in white. As he opened the lid, her eyes opened. She saw Harry and reached to grab him. Harry could see she had sharp fangs in her mouth and obviously meant him harm. Before she could grab him, Harry brought down the hatchet into her chest. She fell back into the trunk, dead. Harry then went to the black trunk and carefully opened the lid. Inside, amid black satin cloth was a handsome man dressed in all black. As he opened the lid, his eyes open and he saw Harry. He reached upward, and much faster than the woman had. He grabbed Harry by the throat and bean choking him. Harry, unable to breath, raised his hatchet and struck the man a number of times in the chest. The man fell back into the trunk, dead.
In the morning the other guests at the inn noticed the innkeeper was missing, they searched and searched and finally found him in the basement, dead, with bruises on his neck. He had a bloody hatchet in his hand, but the trunks and the carriages were gone. The murders were never found and the incidents did not recur.
The Trolley Bed
Relation to the Camp:
Cutting across the southern side of the camp property is a power line right-of-way. This part of the right-of-way follows an old abandoned trolley bed. It was the Lee-Huntington Trolley Line, known as the Huckleberry Line. Just of the left as you entered the camp property, before the trolley bed, was a small building that was a "relay station" for the trolley line. By the time the camp started, the rails had been removed, and by 1970, the relay station had collapsed. Currently there are only a few concrete foundations still apparent.
In the early 1900s, a trolley line was built to take people between the cities of Lee and Huntington. Public transportation was very important since people needed an inexpensive and easy to use way to travel that connected to other trolley lines in the area.
This trolley line cuts across the camp's land following the path of the Lee-Westfield Road where the camp's entrance is. In an effort to build this line as inexpensively as possible, it was preferred to keep it as straight as possible. After passing the camp going west, it camp to Mud Pond. This pond has a great deal of vegetation growing on its surface, and feels very spongy when you walk on it.
The original track was laid straight across the pond on pilings. Soon after the line was opened, the last trolley of the day was running late. It was dark, and the driver decided to stop and spend the night on top of the bridge over Mud Pond. This was a good place to protect the trolley and its passengers from local bears and mountain lions.
The following morning another trolley came to the bridge, and it was gone. Completely gone! No bridge, no tracks, no trolley, no people. It had just sunk into the swamp during the night without a trace.
The trolley company decided that this was unusual, and they rebuilt the bridge over the lake. One night, another trolley was running late and decided to spend the night on the bridge. In the morning it was missing again.
After this mishap, the trolley company decided to reroute the tracks around Mud Pond to avoid this happening again. This is why the trolley bed takes a turn after passing the camp.
My take on this story:
If you look at this picture of the path of the trolley bed, you will note that it is not even close to a straight line. It goes straight when it can, but it appears to me that it was much more important to keep it level.
It seems to me from this map, that the curve in the track actually moves closer to Mud Pond. A straight line would be close to the Orange arrow. It is apparent to me that they followed the land contours to avoid the hill near Mitchell's Quarry.
The Red Death
Relation to the Camp: