THE SPECTRE LEAGUERS – In 1792 the Gloucester Leaguers returned from the dead to plague Massachusetts 100 years after their horrors had first been unleashed.
During King Philip’s War in 1692 a league of French and Native Americans who were fighting against the New Englanders were slain to the last man. Supernatural tales abounded about the appearance on the face of the moon of a Native American bow as well as a scalp dripping with blood. Superstitious souls said this strange phenomenon meant that the Gloucester Leaguers were not through with their depradations.
In 1792 the dead bodies of the Franco-Indian force raised themselves from the dead, fully armed and clothed in the tattered remains of their clothing. The next two weeks were witness to nocturnal horrors which most people would have believed to be impossible in any world ruled “by a just God or the laws of reason.”
Walking cadavers in Native American garb would spring from behind trees and scalp their victims or drag them off into the fields to torture them to death. The screams of those unfortunate people would be heard until morning, but the exact location of the atrocities could never be located until the mutilated remains were found after daybreak.
After seven nights of these terrors the 4th of July arrived but celebrations ended at sundown for fear of that night’s attack by the zombie Frenchmen and Indians. By now all the men armed themselves and took turns keeping watch in the overnight hours.
At one farm a half dozen mixed French and Indians attacked. The head of the family and his three sons peppered the approaching figures with gunfire but on they came, paying no mind to the projectiles which would pierce their bodies. By the account of all the women of the household the men were bayoneted and tomahawked to death before their very eyes. The undead menaces then shambled off into the night.
And so it went. The next night eleven of the animated dead men attacked and killed a patrol of a score of armed Gloucester men patrolling in the night. This outrage at last brought neighboring garrisons to the aid of their fellows.
After the next rising of the moon several score of the zombies attacked a group of nearly forty soldiers armed with rifles and the odd antique musket. The New Englanders were in the blockhouse which was soon surrounded by their living dead foemen.
Again and again the soldiers fired away at their supernatural attackers to no effect. Soon the walking dead were forcing their way into the blockhouse proper. Ebenezer Babson – one of the militiamen armed with a musket he had last used against the Redcoats years earlier – ran out of ammo and, in a fury ripped off one of his uniform’s silver buttons and fired it from his aged firearm.
To his surprise the silver projectile caused his unholy target to dissipate in a puff of smoke and the stench of brimstone. Babson tore off another button and fired it from his musket, wiping out another of the undead legion.
Ebenezer shouted to the surviving few soldiers to adopt his strategy and soon the hail of silver being fired from muskets whittled down the numbers of the attackers. The rest fled and were in turn pursued by Babson and his comrades. The armed men chased the living dead men to the swamp their bodies had been thrown into a hundred years earlier.
By daylight there was not one of the Spectral Leaguers left. The New Englanders thanked their God and made a vow of secrecy about the Hellish events their community had suffered through. The slain were explained away to the outside world as victims of vagabond bands of Native Americans, tribe unknown.
The families of Gloucester passed the tale down among themselves from generation to generation. On the appropriate night in late June of 1892 the Spectral Leaguers rose again, only to immediately be cut down by silver bullets shot by the Gloucester men surrounding the swamp that was home to the unholy legion.
Supposedly that scene was repeated in late June of 1992 when the dead men walked again but there is no corroborating evidence. If history repeats itself in 2092 none of us will likely be around to see it. +++
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