Anais .. The Ghost of Long Island

In her book ,“From the Tropics to the North Sea(1883),” Fanny Barkly, the wife of the Chief Civil Commissioner (Governor),  recounts one of her experiences at the Quarantine Station on Long Island.

She was enjoying one of those “gorgeous tropical nights”.

 

The moonlight is so brilliant that it sheds a silvery light on everything…it touches the great rocks and flowers, glances over the white sands and large shells, sparkles over the phosphorescent waves, sheds a wide pathway over the sea, and shines also on me and my white transparent dress. And the little child with her golden hair, and white dress, and little delicate face. Everything seems to be, as it were, glorified by the silvery light. No more beautiful effect could possibly be imagined. One could easily fancy fairies, holding high revel, and dancing on these sparkling sands, or mermaids disporting themselves in those transparent waters”

When lo! What is this that I see; it is neither fairy nor mermaid; but a young and beautiful Creole girl, dressed in the usual costume of these islands, a white turban round her pretty head, white embroidered Indian jacket, and blue cotton skirt. She has large soft brown eyes, silky black hair, small hands and feet, and light brown skin. She appears to rise from the sea, at a distance from the shore. She walks right up the pathway of light on the sea, to the landing place. As she glides quickly across, she mutters fearfully, and keeps looking around, as if to see that no one is near, and throws a shawl over her shoulders, in great haste.

She does not walk up the path which leads to our house, but glides right over the walls through rocks, in a slanting direction, until she comes to a grove of trees, where she vanishes. As I know that there is not a soul on the island, but the guardian, no one being allowed to land, or approach it without permission, what I see, therefore, is no human form, but the spirit of a Creole girl. Being convinced of this, I am for the moment completely paralysed with a sort of awe; but as soon as I am able, I go into the house and awake my husband who, being most anxious to see the apparition, gets up and goes towards the grove of trees, where she disappeared. And finds there, on pushing away the branches which overshadow it, the moon shining brightly, a grave!

 

Next morning, we interview the guardian, and after some trouble we persuade him to tell us that the spirit of a young girl, named “Anais” walks at times as we describe.

 

She is supposed to have been “unfortunate”, as it is termed, and, and to have drowned her child close to the landing place, but her spirit still haunts the place where she committed the dreadful deed.

 

My Indian nurse comes and falls down on her knees before me, her hands clasped and her eyes streaming with tears, as she implores me to intercede with ‘Monsieur le Gouverneur” to send for the boats and let us leave the place!”as she also had seen the apparition from a “ …….(Barkly 1883:96-99).

 

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