BY COLLIN KEEFE
Come blooming youths, as you pass by,
And on these lines do cast an eye.
As you are now, so once was I;
As I am now, so must you be;
Prepare for death and follow me.
Effie Jean Robinson
Rehoboth Village, a historic old New England town in the county of Bristol dates as far back as 1643, some 300 years or so. It’s no surprise with no less than 53 cemeteries that this old town has a ghost story or two to share with us. Perhaps the most unusual is one of a Spector known as Ephraim, an elderly fellow with dark hollow sockets instead of eyes; yes I said instead of eyes. This though is not what brings him to the forefront of Epitaphs from the Grave – it is that he has consistently been identified as 19th century gentleman whose treatment of women both alive and deceased is not only startling but disturbingly pitiless.
Ephraim known as the rudest phantom within New England. It sneers at everyone and unfailingly shows a particular distaste for women of all ages. Not only have there been accounts of him chasing women out of the cemetery brandishing a heavy cane, but he quite often beats another phantom in the midnight hours. This woman he has been seen screaming at and beating is known as “Catherine” on all accounts, and he continuously brings heavy language down upon her along with his cane until she lays motionless on the earthen ground.
These stories leave me curious and speculating just who is Catherine? Is she his "disobedient" wife who regularly received such treatment and this was the end to her lifelong suffering? A secret mistress whom old Ephraim angrily removed in order to protect himself and his social standing? Perhaps even a daughter? One who shamed him by a secret love for a man not if his choosing or in agreement with the cultural norms of the time? No one is quite sure who this poor girl is or why this event is incessantly played out. Are we seeing a glimpse of the past? A homicide? Disturbing indeed.
Many a ghost tale are dissimilar and quite often do not much up with other accounts or telling but the story Ephraim and the poor women Catherine is one that has remained consistent through the years in the recounting of their stories of from the grave.