Mattapoisett author brings ghosts to life

Nov 13, 2017

Darcy Lee has been collecting ghost stories for about as long as she can remember. Now, what started as a childhood passion has led to her second book, “Ghosts of Plymouth, Massachusetts.”

Lee, a Mattapoisett native, said she grew up interested in the paranormal, and continued to self-educate as she grew up.

“I always liked watching ghost and haunting shows, and I had always read about New England ghosts,” she said. “I made it a point while traveling to pick up a book about that place’s ghosts.”

Lee is a historian by trade, which gives her a different perspective than some other paranormal enthusiasts.

“Think about the stories that stick around,” she said. “They’re rooted in history, and that’s what I think is interesting.”

While researching for the book, Lee spoke to people in Plymouth about ghost stories they had heard or encounters they had experienced. Then, she hit the library for some research.

“It was really important to me that this was rooted in history,” she said. “…I didn’t want it to be stories like [urban legends] that couldn’t be traced back to real life.”

One example in her book is of the brigantine General Arnold, which got stranded in Plymouth Harbor during a particularly nasty winter storm. Many of the crew died, and their bodies were eventually brought to courthouse for identification.

“Those floorboards are still there,” she said. “There are ghostly apparitions of men trying to be [identified]. There’s rapping on the window.”

The bodies were buried on the nearby Burial Hill, where the ghost of the captain supposedly still hangs around.

“All that can be based and rooted in history,” Lee said. “They’re placed where people really suffered and perished.”

However, Lee was not able to trace all the stories she heard back to yesteryear. One story she was told was about the owners of a home who found worn children’s shoes in the wall. Though an alarming sight, Lee found through her research that putting children’s shoes in walls was a common tradition for hundreds of years, and was thought to bring health and prosperity to those inside, while also keeping witches away.

“I like when a story is debunked too,” Lee said. “I think truth is important in these stories.”

Lee will speak at Plumb Library on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. and the Mattapoisett Library on Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.