Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ballast Island By Anita Moscoso

This is the first in a series of stories about the strange history of Duwamish Bay Village. Legend says that the Village still exists just beyond Lost Harbor. This story was given to me by a woman who's Great Grandfather may have seen the ending of the Village...or perhaps it was it's beginning.

Is Ballast Island Haunted? We use to ask our Great Grandparents, are there ghosts out there?

My Great Grandfather who was a Magician and could spin tales as easily as he could make a coin disappear and then reappear would only look sad and say, " It's full of Ghosts. "

Located in the Lost Harbor, Ballast Island is where ships would dump their ballasts. " It was a garbage dump, it was a disgrace to us all when they sent those poor people out to live on that thing. "

Of course nobody lives there now, in fact most of the Island is gone but on some days you can see what's left of it when the tide is low.

" It was a disgrace to us all" he said slowly " and then the Halloween Storm came. "

I'd been brought up on the stories about the Halloween Storm.

The Halloween storm was freak windstorm that came to our coast just before 6:00pm on October 31of 1896 with no warning.

The winds came up off the Harbor and raged and raged until November 2nd.

When it was over everything had been wiped off of Ballast Island.

Wiped off the island and straight into the Harbor.

My Great Grandfather told us that the next year on the 31st to the hour the storm hit the people working on the new Marina saw them coming from the mists.


They were coming towards the shore, and the people in them were looking over their shoulders at something...something large and dark and alive and just before they reached the new Pier they disappeared.

Lots of people saw them then, they still see them now.

My Grandfather was a young man back when he first saw them and he said he saw the sky pull apart and the world around him flooded with Shadows and then the winds screamed off the harbor and he was swept up in a storm that wasn't there.

He couldn't breath because the wind was pulling the air from his lungs and he could barely keep his eyes opened against the force of it.

Then in the shadows and the boiling waters he saw a woman fighting the wind and the waves in a canoe and he saw three little children desperately hanging onto the sides of the canoe to keep from being pulled over its sides.

" I'll never forget it Tiger, " he told me, " it was like the Wind you know was pulling at them trying to pull them out of that canoe. Then she saw me, I looked into her eyes and she didn't want to die she wanted to fight. The Ghost Woman saw me and then she dropped the oar into the harbor and she reached for me. "

I dove off the dock and straight into the Harbor because the tide because, well, I could feel it. It wasn't the harbor that wanted them. It was that damn Wind...so I swam out to her and then I put my hand out and she was gone. But I won't forget that look. Never, I will never forget look. "

" Well, don't you think I was the only person to see the Ghost People in those Canoes. Lots of people have. When I was down at the Pier just a few years ago they came back like they always do at this time of the year and this time Tiger I could hear them calling to the shore for help. Pleading and calling for help. "

" Do you know Mrs. Linden from the Hill? She was down there with her little kids and the winds came and the canoes came from the mists and we could hear them Tiger and the sound of it would've broken your heart. Well, Mrs. Linden starts shrieking like a lunatic, " Look at the pretty lights at the Marina ... look at the pretty lights. "

" And I'll be damned but everyone did, they all looked back up the shoreline and away from those poor Ghost People. "

My Great Grandfather told me that story every Halloween as we stood on the Pier and watched the Ghost People try to make it to shore.

It was the very least we could do.

Now I have Grandchildren of my own and when they ask me if Ballast Island is full of ghosts I tell them no.

I tell them the Ghost People are all around us...and they always will be.

That's what I tell my Grandchildren.
© anita marie moscoso 2005-text

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