One of the most beloved beach traditions of the Nelli family is the telling of the Long Beach Ghost story by bonfire. All the Nelli children, and the older grandchildren fondly share this memory... especially of being so scared as a child! Unfortunately, bonfires were outlawed on the beach and the story, in its true tradition, had not been told in over 15 years. Chris has shared this story with me and his own children so we were familiar with the tradition, but we had never experienced it in its full glory. This year, the older grand kids decided to resurrect the Long Beach ghost! They built a bonfire in hopes we could share the story before the local authorities told us to put it out! Here we are gathered on the beach.
Nick was chosen to be the storyteller. The Nelli kids, grand children, a great grand child and one on the way, spouses and friends gathered to hear the story. Do you want to hear it?
I couldn't possibly tell the tale as eloquently as Nick did or create the atmosphere of being under the stars around a bonfire with your family... but here goes:
The year was 1954 and a family was vacationing on Long Beach. There was a Mom, a Dad and two kids: a boy and a girl. The kids were playing out on the beach and it was almost time for lunch. Mom and Dad realized they didn't have enough food for lunch so they asked the neighbors to watch the kids while they ran to the store to get sandwiches. While Mom and Dad were gone, a hurricane began to blow in from the ocean. This was Hurricane Hazel but nobody knew about it because there were no cell phones or tvs at that time... The neighbors were concerned at how quickly the winds were picking up so they called the kids off the beach and drove them to safety. The kids left their toys on the beach because they were in such a hurry. Meanwhile, when the parents realized how quickly the storm had blown in and how bad the weather was turning, they rushed back to the beach to collect their children. By this time, the winds were howling and the rain had begun to pour and the waves had gotten really rough. The Dad ran up and down the beach screaming for his kids. A rogue wave came in and he was swept out to sea and died. And so... if you look out on the ocean on a night like this, you just might see him coming out of the sea to look for his lost children. (Everyone looks out to the ocean)
And suddenly... (lit by a bright flashlight)
The Long Beach Ghost comes out of the sea!!!!
(or rather a cousin draped in a white sheet)
And everyone screams!
Pretty scary eh? I hear in previous years, said Long Beach Ghost actually grabs a kid and takes them out to the ocean...
So yes, the Long Beach Ghost tradition was a huge hit for those who had never heard the story and for those who grew up hearing it every year. After the bonfire, we all gathered on the porch for fireworks to end another wonderful beach week.