Heron Island's Last Human Birth
The Legend Of The Phantom Ship Of The Baie
Some LaPointe Ancestry
The Mercier Connection
Beginning A New Life
Some Strange Occurances
The Day To Day Realities
The Five Dresses
The Family Grows Larger
The LeBlanc Fortune
The Last Son
The War Ends It All
Heron Island Today - a footnote
Last Word - The Legacy
Another Update On The Island and Some Photos
Some Strange Occurances
From time to time, large ships came over to the island to pick up
lumber, which Stella says was taken to "the old country". On one such
visit, the captain of the ship was from New York. He had two teenaged
daughters. The two young women had made the trip up from New York to see
their father for a few days before he sailed with his cargo. On Sunday,
the family was crossing to New Mills to attend mass and receive communion,
as they did as often as they could when the weather permitted. The captain's
two young daughters joined them. It was a beautiful day, and everyone
was in high spirits. The young women boarded the ship with their father
that afternoon. One of them was more adventurous than the other. She wanted
to see the view from the Crow's Nest. As she climbed high on the mast,
she began to lose her grip. She began to yell for help, but couldn't hang
on until someone could reach her. Her hands slipped away from the mast
and she plunged to the deck and fell off the ship into the water. She
was dead before anyone could get to her.
About a month after this devastating event, George had left the island
to go to work harvesting potatoes, probably somewhere in Minnesota, which
he travelled to for work from time to time, leaving Stella and the older
children to tend the lighthouse and post office. Stella was always a little
nervous when she was left alone with the children on the island. As she
went to the window to draw the curtains against the night, she saw a light
on the water, in the very spot where the young girl from New York had
plunged into the sea. She stared as a ball of bright red light danced
on the water. She was very frightened and quickly drew the curtains. She
didn't sleep much that night. When George returned, she related this occurrence
to him, but he told her she had an overactive imagination.
Several times afterwards, she again saw this ball of light dancing in
the same spot, but George simply refused to look.
She never asked any of the other islanders if they had seen what she had
because she was afraid that they, too, would say she had an overactive
imagination. Or worse, that they would not say anything, just think it.
Heron Island and the area around New Mills has had more than it's share
of strange phenomena.
Stella had seen this ball of light once before, when she was still single
and working in Montreal.
This time, it had been in the early hours of the morning. She had taken
the Maritime Express from Montreal to visit for a while with her parents
She arrived in New Mills just before daybreak. She was afraid to walk
along the tracks, so she went up the hill, where, she says, the minister
lived. Somehow, the fact that a minister lived on that road made her feel
safer. She was following that road until she could cross the byroad where
her mother and father lived.
Suddenly, in the dark, she saw her own shadow. It was a rather cloudy
night and quite moonless. Her shadow was in front of her. She turned to
see what had caused this to appear.
There, behind her in the middle of the road, was a large, bright red,
shining ball of light. When she stopped walking, it stopped. She broke
into a run, but then it was gaining on her.
She ran back down to the tracks, and now it was in front of her, blocking
her escape. She ran back up the hill, and finally, making it to the byroad,
she ran home as fast as she could, with her shadow always in front of
She pounded on the door, and the ball of light stood at the road behind
her. It seemed like an eternity before her mother finally opened the door
and let her in.
She didn't feel that anyone believed her incredible story. Those who conceded
that she may have seen something put it down to phosphorus gathered in
the bogs and disturbed by her footsteps in the night. She felt that it
was more than that.
Other strange sights were seen by Stella over the years.
On a winter's night, when the moon was bright, you could look out of the
window and everything would be lit up almost like broad daylight. The
crisp air hung cleanly over the snow and everything stood in sharp focus.
One night, in the dead of winter, the family dog, Scott, was in the yard.
There was a heavy fence between the yard and the barn area.
A strange dog appeared in the yard. Stella had seen this dog a few times
before, but no one on the island could say who owned it.
Scott didn't look too kindly on a strange dog hanging around his territory.
He began to give chase to the black dog. They circled around the yard,
and the black dog headed straight for the fence, and easily slid right
through it. Scott sent himself cartwheeling through the air when he attempted
to glide through the thick fence that the other animal had melted through
in front of him. Stella and a few of the children were taking all this
in at the window. They had a hard time to believe their eyes. They never
saw the strange dog again.
In the Pettigrew yard, there stood a large flat rock. When any of the
children walked near it, they could hear the sound of a man coughing.
This happened without fail. They were too frightened to investigate this
One night, when the whole family was in bed and drifting off to sleep,
they heard the sound of feet or hooves running on the roof of the house.
It sounded very much like a human being up there running back and forth.
The children were all frightened as the sound went on and on. Stella just
quietly said "I know what that is", but did not speak another word, as
they lay in the dark listening in fear to the strange noise on the roof.
The so-called Indian Burial Ground on the island must be considered
a sacred area.
Some say it is a burial ground. Others say it is merely the area that
the Indians inhabited when they were the residents there.
One of the island men decided that he would check the area out. There
was a very large rock which he felt covered some secrets. He hitched his
horse up and took it over to the area. There he tied ropes to the rock
and had the horse pull the rock forward out of the hole. Once he started
to go into the hole, the horse began to back up. He managed to climb out
of the hole just before the rock crashed back in place. He tried several
times, but each time, no matter how he was tied, the horse would begin
to replace the rock. He finally took the hint and gave up.
The location of the burial ground was known, but most of the islanders
had decided, perhaps because of some superstition, not to disclose its
whereabouts. Stella denied it's existence, yet some of the children professed
to know where it was.
A former islander said that it does exist, and where it is, but it was
immediately denied by another.
Some of the children sometimes sneaked off and went to the area. They
found arrowheads and even some cannonballs. They "sneaked off" because
they were always kept under a very tight rule of where they could and
couldn't go on the island.
Mainly they were supposed to stay on a grassy area near the road, unless
they were with Stella or George. Their safety was the main reason for
this. On a small piece of land surrounded by water, and with so many young
children to watch, they had to be kept in sight or it would be a case
of courting disaster. Also the fact that no other family on the island
had small children made Stella worry about the children wearing out their
welcome if they began to visit the neighbours too frequently. The best
way to avoid this was not to allow it at all unless invited.
According to some people who are familiar with the area, there is one
other strange thing that is not often mentioned by anyone. It seems that
a strange monster has been seen in the waters around the island by some,
including George and Stella.
They had been told of this monster by others, but felt that this must
have been a whale.
Until they saw it for themselves.
They were out fishing when they heard a great "whoosh" and felt the boat
begin to bob up and down in the water. They looked around toward the sound,
and there they saw it.
It was at least as big as a whale, but it did not resemble one. It had
a barrel-shaped head and, as it rose out of the water and slowly slipped
back under the waves, they could see that it had a row of many fins on
its back, unlike those of a whale. They left the area as fast as they
This was the only sighting they ever had of it, but they never forgot
it and what it looked like.
They remembered how they had laughed when others had told them about "it",
but they weren't laughing now. They were quite amazed. Perhaps it is still
around today, no one has ever men- tioned it. Maybe Heron Island has a
cousin to the Loch Ness monster and to the beast, Ogopogo, that has been
reported by many over a period of many years in Lake Okanagan on our own
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