My Foray with a Forerunner

One of the collections I have been working on for the past week is centered on the theme of myths and legends of Prince Edward Island.  Myths and legends (ghost stories in particular) have always piqued my interest-especially those from Prince Edward Island-although I have to say that I am what many would call a “scaredy-cat.”  Thus, I began my research with mixed feelings, torn between interest and paralyzing fear.  I started to peruse the Island Voices website, systematically making my way through Dutch Thompson’s countless interviews with Islanders.  I was surprised to hear that many of the interviews spent at least a short time talking about ghosts, phantom ships, Todd Hollow, or some form of Island legend.  One topic in particular, though, caught my attention, as I had never before heard of it.  It was the topic of “forerunners” which came up again and again in the interviews.  Never having heard the word, I decided to do some internet research.  I learned that forerunners are an event or sign of a coming event and can come in a variety of different forms, such as three knocks on the wall when there is nobody there to knock or a falling picture.  Upon reading this definition I realized that I had, in fact, encountered a forerunner before, although I had not known it was called that at the time.  

When I was twelve my Uncle Eric took my sister and I to Basin Head for a day at the beach.  On the way back we passed through Souris, where my grandmother’s family hailed from, to see the church where my great-great-great grandfather had built an altar.  It was late afternoon and mid-week, but for some reason, as we sat in front of the church, the bells started to ring.  There was not a person in sight around the church, no cars, the doors were closed and the streets dead.  My uncle commented on the oddness of the situation, but our minds quickly wandered elsewhere as we started back to Charlottetown.  Upon arriving in Charlottetown we learned that my grandmother had passed away just hours before; it was as though the bells had been a forerunner, warning us of this news.  

I’m only one week into my job here at Telling Island Stories and I’ve already learned so much about Island history, as well as my own family history.  Myths and legends may not be as integral to Island life as they once were, but I believe that it’s important to keep these stories alive.  

Stay tuned for our upcoming collections, and if you have an interesting myth or legend, let us know!

My email is acreamer@upei.ca  

Photo taken from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukeperrin/4666514681/sizes/m/in/photostream/