Our story begins during the Civil War, around 1861 when a young Confederate soldier was captured and imprisoned at Fort Warren on George’s Island in Boston. When no one would help the man’s young wife get in touch with her husband, she decided to rescue him herself. Her name has been bandied around a lot, but most people say it was Melanie Lanier.
The legend is that she took the train up to Massachusetts, where she is said to have stayed overnight in Hull with the island fort visible from the shore. The next day she dressed in men’s clothing, caught a boat across to the harbor island, and found her way into the fort. Apparently, she was able to free her husband from his cell, but during the escape attempt, they were caught. She attempted to shoot a soldier who was trying to intercept them and instead the gun misfired and she killed her own husband. It was then discovered she was a woman, and that she would be executed as a spy. They dressed her in a black cloak before she was executed, and she was hung seven days later.
Fort Warren was owned by the U.S. federal government until 1958. In 1961, It was reopened to the public after initial restoration. Today, the state maintains and administers the property, which is the centerpiece of Boston Harbor. The fort is reachable by ferry from various locations around the harbor. Transfers are then available for those who wish to visit the actual site.
Visitors to Fort Warren say Melanie’s ghost still haunts the fortress and that she is said to be a very violent ghost. Reports are that when she’s been spotted she lashes out by pushing and people have experienced scratches and cuts.
Thomas Godwin, who is a New England history professor, visited the fort in 2009 with a few of his students. This is his story:
We were permitted to research and investigate Fort Warren on Georges Island in 2009. We were allowed full access and our investigation was not limited to daylight hours. The plan was to try to validate claims of ghost activity and find evidence of the paranormal. I selected several students to join me. Our investigation went flawlessly and we found no evidence during our stay at the fort. It was an enjoyable experience and most felt well worth the effort. We collected nearly 20 hours of video, audio, and other data which we planned to review as a group. We thanked the caretakers and left the island.
When we returned home we began the long arduous job of review. We decided to be vigilant and each piece would receive no fewer than three examinations. Everything was clear except for one recording made at the Bartlett Battery. While no one knows for sure where Melanie was hung, one of the plausible locations was at this battery. The investigators were having trouble with the recorder and talking about how poorly the interface was laid out. In the background, an angry woman’s voice clearly says, “What are you doing here anyway!” After reviewing the project logs it was determined there were only two people on that battery at that time and both were men.
I know that this is not much of a story, but I hope your listeners will find it interesting.. Thank you for your podcast. I admire the work you do.
Thomas Godwin – Boston.
This Week’s Podcast:
On Ron’s Amazing Stories this week we have a collection of your stories with a Scottish slant. While none are connected they sure will have you saying, Humm? You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from Apple Podcasts, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Thursday at 10:00 pm and Sunday Night at 11:00 PM (EST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link