Recollections of Plum Island Seeing The Light

By David Robb Home Back

Ghosts on the island?

Teslow came back from his afternoon watch at the light and reported that a group of girl scouts were camped near Lake Carol on the southwest side. Apparently, they got permission to spend a couple days on the island every year. Later, he sided up to me and quietly asked if I'd like to have some fun tonight. "Fun" was not the first word that leaps to your mind when stationed on isolated duty in the Coast Guard. My ears perked up. If you will visualize "The Fonz" from "Happy Days" TV show, you will get an idea of his personality. Physically, he was a little more "square built".

As a melted butter sun stroked the last licks of gold on a beautiful August day, we were in the second floor berthing compartment, digging eye-holes in two old bed sheets. From the wall, we grabbed two battery powered battle lanterns and headed out the back door as darkness and the crickets over took the island once again. Along the way, we reviewed the plan one final time and found it to be perfect.

As we neared the campsite, we heard the girls giggling and talking around a campfire at the edge of the lake. Alone with an entire island to themselves, they were secure in the fact if anything should happen, the mighty strength and power of the United States Coast Guard was nearby. Very nearby.

The sun was completely down, the stars were overhead from horizon to horizon, the forest was pitch black and we were ready. We pulled the sheets over our heads and clicked the lanterns underneath to "on". At the signal, we both took off on a path tangent to the campsite with a perverse howling and moaning that echoed off the water. What the girls saw were two illuminated ghostly and frightening apparitions dashing through the woods that scared the daylights out of them. What we saw was hardly anything.

The eye holes would not stay in front of our eyes and the light from the lanterns destroyed our night vision. The girls ran screaming for their tents. We made it about twenty yards. Teslow cold cocked himself on the side of a mature Elm tree at full speed. I managed to catch my foot in the fork of a fallen tree and went down with a yelp. Embarrassment overtook our pain as Teslow and I scrambled to get out of there fast before we were discovered. We turned out the lights, dumped the sheets and hobbled back to the station -Tesnow with a goose egg on his forehead and I with a painfully strained ankle.

The next morning at breakfast, the Chief noticed both of us and asked, "What the hell happened to you two?" We mumbled some incoherently feeble excuses and gulped our hot oatmeal with brown sugar. Theile came in the back door asking where the girl scouts were. He had gone out to give them some fresh breakfast rolls the cook had made and they were gone. I felt every eye in the room bore in on us but we remained intent on our breakfast and said nothing. The Chief announced that Teslow and I and Oldenberg were assigned to the forty boat for all day patrols - as if we hadn't had enough sea time already and he knew it.



This entire story is copyright by David Robb, and appears here with his permission.

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This page last modified 08/24/2003