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The Yankee Express

Rachel’s Curse

Mar 10, 2021 09:41AM ● By Thomas D’Agostino

In Plymouth, Massachusetts, there once lived an old woman the locals called “Aunt Rachel.” She earned a modest living telling fortunes to the locals, but it was mostly sailors who called upon her talents of predicting the weather and their future. Many seafaring folk relied on her predictions in regard to whether they would head out to sea or not. Sailors have always been a superstitious lot and Rachel often told them a safe journey or eminent danger lay ahead.

One day a few sailors called upon her for her talents, and she immediately recognized one as a friendly and decent fellow villager. The others she knew to be of shady character, and Rachel chided the local for keeping society with the “rogues” he was with. One of the other men interrupted her lecture by stating, “None of your slack old woman or I will put a stopper on your gab.”

It was then Rachel began calling them mooncussers; those who lure unwary ships onto rocks or shore for plunder by using false beacons. She looked the man straight in the eye and cursed, “He who rides the pale horse be your guide, and you be of the number who follow him.” The men laughed at her rambling and set off to the local pub for a tankard.

That night Rachel’s house mysteriously burned to the ground, almost taking her with it. A few days later, the brig with the men who had visited her previously was ready to set sail, and Rachel joined the townsfolk to see her off. The owner of the brig offered his deepest sympathies on the loss of her home. She retorted by stating, “I need it no longer anyway. For the narrow house will soon be my home and you wretches cannot burn that. But you! Who will console you for the loss of your brig? She now carries a curse and will not sail long.”

The owner scoffed at the old woman’s words, for he had no doubt his ship was seaworthy and his crew among the most experienced to sail those waters. This he assured Rachel as the brig navigated past the hidden shoals and bars that had claimed so many other vessels. All the while, the old woman mumbled and chanted curses in the direction of the brig, then in a blinding moment, she thrust her bony arm into the air and let out a scream like a banshee. The crowd immediately focused their attention on her but was quickly drawn away by a cry from another. The brig had come to a sudden stop and shuddered before breaking up. It listed and sank until only the tops of the masts were visible above the water. Rescue crews frantically rowed out to the sunken ship picking up the crew as they swam for their lives. All were brought to shore and accounted for, except for one; the man who dared insult Rachel and burn her home. During the melee, no one noticed that Rachel had died just after the ship had hit the rock previously unknown to the area’s navigators.

Rachel was buried on the site where her house once stood, and the rock that sent the brig to its doom was forever known as Rachel’s Curse.


Thomas D’Agostino and his wife Arlene Nicholson are seasoned paranormal investigators, authors, and co-organizers of Paranormal United Research Society. You can find out more about them by visiting