During the initial Covid stay-at-home order, my husband and I started doing a lot of outdoor activities…many new hikes and trails. We searched for locations on Cape Cod that we had not explored yet, such as trails found throughout Brewster.
Nine months later, the routine has stuck, and this weekend we did a hike in Barnstable Village. While the trails were new, the location had significance…the Old Jail Lane Preserve plays a significant part in one of my novels, Haunted Souls.
This piece of conservation land is huge, and we
traversed several trails and enjoyed the peaceful scenery. While I shouldn’t go into how this area plays
a part in the novel (spoilers!), I can talk about how I came to learn about the
actual Old Jail that the property refers to.
|The Old Jail in Barnstable Village|
I’d never even heard of the Old Jail, and it’s truly a historic gem. It’s the oldest wooden jail house in the entire country, actually, and is thought to have been built in 1690, on orders from the Plymouth and MA Bay Colony Courts. It was in use until the 1800s, and was moved around a bit, eventually attached to a barn. It was rediscovered in 1968, detached from the barn, and moved next to the Coast Guard museum on 6A.
The structure itself is quite small, containing three cells which held large numbers of people sometimes. According to our guide, conditions were rough and people had to take turns lying down to sleep when cells were crowded. As you can imagine, many people died, and the site is considered actively haunted.
Goody Hallett, the lover of the infamous pirate Samuel Bellamy, was imprisoned there in 1716, and is said to be one of the ghosts in residence. If you’re so inclined, you can even pay to spend the night at the Jail. On our tour, we were shown photographs with shadowy figures taken by volunteers who work in the jail house. A few of the volunteers shared their stories as well, and one claimed that a ghost had followed them home and engaged in some poltergeist-like activities. Well, that got my attention right way, and my imagination started churning. My sister had her little daughter with her, and I started to wonder what would happen if a young child with sensitive abilities took pity on a lost soul, and actually invited a ghost to come home with them. The initial idea for Haunted Souls was born.
|Also on Audible!|