Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Monday, September 08, 2014

In 1888, The "Ghost of City Island" Upset the Town of Pelham

The "Ghost of City Island" terrified the people of Pelham early in 1888.  Pelhamites knew the apparition as "His Spookship."  

No description of His Spookship yet has been discovered.  By early February, 1888, however, the apparition that appeared throughout City Island was "frightening the inhabitants a good deal" according to one account published at the time.  

The Ghost of City Island, it seems, is one of many spectres and phantoms that are said to have terrified the Town of Pelham (and environs that once formed part of the Town of Pelham), for the last several centuries.  

City Island's fear of His Spookship in early 1888 was quite fascinating.  In February, 1888, residents of the Town of Pelham who lived on City Island were fed up with the "Ghost of City Island."  Call the apparition "His Spookship" or call it trickery, Pelhamites no longer cared.  They were fed up.  All called for the "death" of His Spookship. . . . .

A brief article in a Yonkers newspaper made things clear.  Pelham residents believed the "Ghost of City Island" better be spectral.  If not, the spectre soon would be pushing up daisies . . . . . .  As the brief article put it so eloquently, "They now say that if he shows himself again they will send a load of buckshot into or through him, as the case may be."

Since there are no reports of murder by buckshot at about the time in Pelham, there can only be one explanation.  The buckshot must have passed through His Spookship . . . . .

A brief article about the maddening apparition known as "His Spookship" appears immediately below, followed by a citation to its source.

"CITY ISLAND HAS A GHOST.--Little City Island comes to the front again with a ghost story.  His spookship has been seen many times recently, frightening the inhabitants a good deal.  They now say that if he shows himself again they will send a load of buckshot into or through him, as the case may be.  The incredulous think it is some fellow out on a lark trying to see how much he can frighten people.  It may turn out costly for him."  

Source:  CITY ISLAND HAS A GHOST,  The Yonkers Statesman, Feb. 7, 1888, Vol. V, No. 1,301, p. 1, col. 4.

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I have collected ghost legends relating to the Town of Pelham for more than fifteen years.  To read more about examples that now total in the dozens, see

Bell, Blake A., Pelham's Ghosts, Goblins and Legends, The Pelham Weekly, Oct. 25, 2002, p. 1, col. 1. 

Bell, Blake A., More Ghosts, Goblins of Pelham, The Pelham Weekly, Vol. XIII, No. 43, Oct. 29, 2004, p. 12, col. 1. 

Bell, Blake A., Archive of HistoricPelham.com Web Site:  Pelham's Ghosts, Goblins and Legends (Oct. 2002). 

Bell, Blake A., Bibliography of Pelham's Ghost Stories and Legends (Oct. 2002).

Sun., Feb. 23, 2014: The Phantom Bell Ringer of Christ Church in Pelham Manor.

Fri., Jan. 30, 2009:  Article Published in 1901 Detailed Ghost Stories and Legends of Pelham.

Mon., Feb. 19, 2007:  Another Manor of Pelham Ghost Story: The Whispering Bell.

Fri., Aug. 18, 2006:  The Ghost Gunship of Pelham: A Revolutionary War Ghost Story.

Wed., May 03, 2006:  Another Pelham, New York Ghost Story.

Thu., Oct. 13, 2005:  Two More Pelham Ghost Stories.  

Wed., Oct. 14, 2009:  1879 News Account Provides Additional Basis for Some Facts Underlying Ghost Story of Old Stone House in Pelhamville.

Archive of the Historic Pelham Web Site.

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