The story of Jerome has been written up so often that it is well known not only in Nova Scotia, but abroad. Yet the facts of the case as related to me at Sandy Cove are different in some respects from the usual tale and, for that reason, should be related. There is no suggestion of the supernatural here, but it is one of this Province’s greatest mysteries of the sea. For this event we got to Digby Neck, a point of land that juts out from the mainland of Digby County like a long finger. It is one of our beauty spots, especially at the part called Sandy Cove. Here there are gentle hills on whose lush slopes white farmhouses give an atmosphere of peace, home and plenty, and here too are sand beaches, one on either side of the narrow village.

Many years ago a man named Martin Albright lived close to the west sand beach. His house had only one window and it looked out over the beach. At that time otter were thick and he often used to watch them playing on the beach. One day he got up at daylight and, as usual, started the fire. They he wandered over to the window and looked out, as he always did first thing in the morning. His eye was attracted at once by a moving object which he was supposed at first to be a large otter. He went back to his fire then and cooked his breakfast and, when he was through, he looked out again. He was surprised to observe that the object had not moved, so he decided to go out and investigate. As he drew near it, he was amazed to see that this was a man. Upon closer examination he was horrified to find that he was helpless, for both legs had been amputated and he had been left upon the beach with a bottle of water and some bread within his reach. Mr. Albright spoke to him, but the stranger made no reply, nor did he ever speak in all the years he lived in Nova Scotia. All anybody could ever get out of him were the words that might have been “Colombo” and “Jerome” and he became known by the latter name. the amputation was half way between the knees and the thighs, and had been very well done for days.

Mr. Albright hastened to his friend Mr. Eldridge and told of his incredible discovery. Together they mustered up some men and carried him to the Albright home where he lived for some years. Different people cared for him after that, but not always too happily. He is remembered as a man who could become very moody. When that happened he would refuse to eat or to do anything was asked of him.. The only person for whom he ever showed any sign of affection was Mr. Albright’s ten-year-old daughter. It seemed to please him when she came near him. He never nodded his head or smiled when people went by, but he would show signs of gratitude for kindness. He could feed himself and, by his eating and other habits, showed signs of good breeding. He had a beautifully shaped head and an aristocratic appearance, and hands which the people of Sandy Cove believed showed him as a man of good birth. People came from far and near to converse with him in many languages, but he would never talk. The only clues they ever got to his past was in his reaction to the rattling of a chain. He could not endure the sound and it made him very angry. It was then he made the sound that might have been “Jerome.”

To this day there are speculations about Jerome. Where had he come from, and why was he left upon the beach? From the quality of his clothes and his general appearance the people of Sandy Cove thought he might be of royal blood, one whom it might be convenient for political reasons to be put out of reach. He was a big man, and looked like a central European, either Spanish or Greek. Shortly after his arrival they recalled a strange full-rigged ship that had been seen the day before he was found. It sailed up and down and back and forth on the Bay of Fundy. It was a low-lying vessel, shaped differently from ours and of a superior quality, as far as they could tell from a distance and, from her lines, they knew her to be foreign. They also pondered upon another fact which may or may not have any bearing upon the case. This was that until then parties used to come to Ellsworth Island from Boston but, after Jerome was left on the beach, they stopped coming.

Source: Helen Creighton, "Bluenose Ghosts" in Bluenose Ghosts, (Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 1994), 152-153. Notes:

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