Puja Thapa / Administrative Executive Editor

Within the small rural towns around Franconia Notch State Park in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, there are a variety of stories telling of apparitions appearing throughout the State Park. In my opinion, the legend of Elias Whitelocke is a local tale that still keeps me up at night to this day. The legend of Elias Whitelocke begins all the way back towards the end days of the Revolutionary War.

The year is 1782, the end of the war was seemingly just over the horizon. A Colonist named Elias Whitelocke was living in the frontier wilderness of northern New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Mr. Whitelocke was known as an expert guide of the surrounding wilds to the nearby locals. Somehow he managed to stay out of the war that was seemingly becoming closer and closer to his secluded home but then one day, the war finally came knocking on his front door.

Early in the morning on October 9, a loud knock on the door shook the small wooden cabin of the Whitelocke homestead. So Elias Whitelocke being the head of his family went and answered the door. He was immediately greeted by a small group of British soldiers who asked him if he could guide them to the nearby Mount Pemigewasset. Elias was initially hesitant because he knew that there was a pack of wolves that lived around that mountain. Yet, he agreed to guide them to the summit.

As Elias guided the group of British Redcoats up the mountain, he overheard some of them talking about burning down the forests around them to make it easier for their horses to ride up the mountain side. When Elias brought up the fact that a Native American tribe lived nearby so they should warn them about it beforehand, the soldiers chuckled at him. As they all trudged up the mountain together their idea of burning down the surrounding forest quickly spiraled into a plan to burn down the forest that morning. So Elias decided to protest against the troops to not allow them to turn the beautiful forest around them but the British soldiers vastly outnumbered him. The soldiers very quickly cut Mr. Whitelocke to pieces. The soldiers dug a hole in the ground and threw the lifeless corpse of Mr. Whitelocke into the hole and then refilled the grave with dirt.

Shortly after burying Mr. Whitelocke’s body, the soldiers felt an eerie sense that something or someone was following them. Yet the soldiers went on up the mountain. As they began to near the summit, they heard some branches breaking a few feet away from them. Suddenly out of seemingly nowhere a ear piercing howl echoed all through down the mountainside. As the terrified and trembling soldiers ran back down the mountain, they noticed that the hole in the ground they made for Elias Whitelocke’s body was unfilled and his body was gone. Suddenly they heard the deafening shriek again but this time it was across the sky above them. When the soldiers looked up, they saw a light gray figure with two beckoning red eyes hovering above them. The soldiers rapidly readyed their rifles and then proceeded to shoot at the haunting figure above them only to find their lead bullet being flung right back at them. The surviving soldiers ran as fast as they could back down the mountain and all the way back to the nearest town. Once they reached the nearby town of Lincoln, where they told the townspeople about their encounter with the scary apparition.

Today, some of the locals swear that every 13 years a story of someone seeing a ghostly gray apparition with two bright red eyes, flying across the nippy October night skies, always appears in the local newspapers. My take on this legend is that I believe that this tale is nothing more than a fictional story. So until I manage to see this creature with my own two eyes, I will think of it on the same level as Bigfoot, which is nonexistent. Although I have been wrong about this stuff before…

 

Andrew Chase can be contacted at:

opinions@kscequinox.com