(These stories are genuine tales of the supernatural as related by islanders who had personal contact with them. For obvious reasons the names of the narrators are not given. There is no disposition to vouch for the supernatural elements of the tales: the facts are as given and the explanation may be left to the reader.)

1. The Crying Swamp

Near the north shore of the island just inshore from Cedar Tree Neck is what is left of the Crying Swamp. Here today is a small cranberry bog, surrounded by swamp bushes just like a hundred similar spots on the Vineyard.

Years ago even grown folks hurried past the place with a feeling of dread if they had occasion to be abroad in that vicinity after dark. To all the neighborhood the swamp was known as a queer, supernatural way.

At the time it was entirely wild; after dark, it was dense and foreboding. During wet times it was filled with black mud, and always it grew thickly with rank swamp vegetation.

Capt. Roland Luce, whose house was in the vicinity, was returning home one night from a social evening call. As he passed the swamp, the shrill cry of a child reached his ears. He listened and seemed to hear a baby wailing somewhere in the midst of the swamp. He quickened his step. A minute later the same agonized crying came again, this time just behind him.

Capt. Luce broke into a trot. His hat fell off. The piercing wails followed him as he ran from the Crying Swamp and reached his house breathless.

This was the first time that the swamp had been heard to cry aloud. Many people afterward heard the wailing and for years the Crying Swamp was known and shunned after dark. Some of the neighbors venture that two trees may have grown close together, and that the wailing may have been caused when the wind made them chafe and rub.

Perhaps this was the cause. At all events the Crying Swamp may still be pointed out to the inquisitive searcher, and many tales told of the wails which came forth on dark nights when nothing human could have given them voice.