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The Yankee Express

Abram’s Rock

By Thomas D’Agostino
This story is from our upcoming book, Ghosts of King Philip’s War due out on July 22, 2024. The book is filled with legends, ghosts stories, and haunted places from the war and subsequent skirmishes that took place years after the last treaty was signed. If you are looking for a nice small hike with a lot of history and perhaps a ghost, Abram’s Rock is the perfect place to visit.  
   At the outset of King Philip’s War, several tribes chose to remain neutral for various reasons. Most of the converted, or praying Indians sided with the English. Members of the warring tribes often dissented and pledged their allegiance to the colonies much like the Tories of the American Revolution pledged their allegiance to the throne instead of fighting for independence from the mother country. This is the legend of one of those dissenters during King Philip’s War called Abram by the English.
Abram was a renegade Christian praying Indian who deserted the Wampanoags during the conflict in favor of siding with the English. Abram became very close friends with the English, so much so, that there were rumors circulating among the Wampanoag that he even had an English girlfriend. This made Philip, whose real name was Metacom, very angry as Abram knew much of Philip’s plans and strategies regarding the proposed annihilation of the enemy. Philip sought to take Abram back and sent a search party out to find him. 
In the meantime, Abram had found a towering rock he used as a hiding place and lookout. The west side of the large boulder had a natural room formed by other large boulders. This was where he lived in seclusion for several months until he was found and captured. Philip, being merciful at the time, gave him a chance to live. Abram was given the choice of leaping from the massive formation three times or instant death. Abram chose to take a chance and leap from the rock. Some historians argue Abram voluntarily performed the act as a testament of his loyalty to Philip.
Tradition says he successfully completed the first and second leaps unscathed, but the third one became his demise. Legend has it that his ghost can be seen leaping from the rock, then appearing again at the top for another leap. The third time the ghost attempts to leap, he vanishes. Perhaps he is still trying to complete the task he failed. Sometimes a dark silhouette, alleged to be the ghost of Abram, is seen at the top of the rock looking down as if contemplating whether to leap or not off the precipice. The shade then suddenly vanishes into thin air.
Whether a hike out to the rock reveals a ghost or not should not deter one from soaking up the history and atmosphere of the place.
Abram’s Rock is in Village Park behind the Swansea, Massachusetts Town Hall and Library complex at 81 Main St. The trail leading to the rock is easy and there are signs to follow. One trail heads straight toward the site while another takes hikers past the cemetery in a more circular route that is both pleasant and scenic. The natural room formation is still there and is called “Abram’s Bedroom” as that is where he allegedly lived during his months of hiding.