Places right across the world have their own local tales and folklores to tell, passed down from generation to generation. You hear about them when young and it adds intrigue to certain spots and locations near where you live. They draw people in to an area who might otherwise never visit, to see and feel where the story was said to occur, however strange, however quirky. Mill Pond in Massachusetts with its tale of a wizard, the Devil and Satanic imps is a wonderful case in point.
The tale centers around an old sawmill built back in the 18th century by John Selee, later to be run by his son Nathan, the alleged wizard. The sawmill no longer exists and in its place is a sign that tantalises the visitor with the rough outlines of the murky tale. Erected in 1999 by the Easton Conservation Commission it states:
Site of the sawmill built by John Selee in the 18th century and continued by his son, Nathan, a wizard who purportedly used satanic imps to run the mill at night
It is a great and simple sign to draw you in and arouse your interest.
The legend tells of the Devil visiting Nathan Selee one night at his home and telling him to come and follow him. Nathan does this, taking one of his magic books with him as they leave the house. On opening the book a ferocious storm of thunder and lightening broke out, so scaring Nathan Selee that he ran back to his house and threw the book on the fire, stopping the storm. This infuriated the Devil, who gathered up some rocks as he went to follow Nathan back home, until crossing through a swamp he slipped, scattering the rocks that he carried. It was at this point while correcting himself from falling that the Devil stood on a rock leaving a huge foot print 24” long and 10” wide, a mark that can still be seen today.
From this point on local legend has it that the satanic imps arrived to work at the mill, though for reasons not especially clear. Whatever the deal, whether it was at the price of his soul or not, Nathan Selee in one instant suddenly had a free work force to help run his mill.
So what happened to Nathan Selee, the wizard. Across from where the sign has been erected is Easton cemetery, where the headstone for Nathan’s father John Selee can be found. However Nathan’s grave is noticeably absent. As a wizard with an understanding of the darker side of magic, and one with a pact with the Devil, did he ever leave this world and hence there would be no grave in Easton cemetery? Or perhaps at some point of his life he just moved. The beauty of such legends lies in the not knowing.
The Easton Conservation Commission have done well in putting up such a mysterious sign that entices the imagination. It draws people in, it makes you want to go and have a look, to sense the atmosphere, and just as importantly it helps preserve a local folklore.
In Pure Spirit
Have you been to any similar locations? What story did they have?
Have you been to the Mill Pond and the site of John Selee sawmill? What was it like?
(Image credit: Imgur)