The Legend of Lucy KeyesBy John Stimpson
Julie Delpy and Justin Theroux, stars of the forthcoming The Legend of Lucy Keyes movie.
The following story is true:
Robert Keyes and his family moved to Princeton, Massachusetts in 1751. They purchased a large tract of land, some 200 acres, on the southeastern slope of Wachusett Mountain.
On April 14, 1755, Keyes's daughter Lucy, who was 4 years old at the time, followed her sisters to fetch some sand from Wachusett Lake. Lucy never returned from the lake. She vanished in the woods that day never to be heard from again.
The towns-people made every effort to find the girl. Search parties combed the woods, the lake was dragged, all to no avail. Martha Keyes, Lucy's mother, was pushed to the edge of insanity by her grief over losing her daughter. Every evening she searched the woods calling her daughter's name.
Martha died in 1786. She never found Lucy.
Several years after the deaths of both Martha and Robert Keyes, a letter was found describing, in gruesome detail, the murder of little Lucy Keyes. The letter was from Tilly Littlejohn, the Keyes's hermit-like neighbor, who was furious over a property line quarrel with Keyes. To cleanse his dying soul he admitted on his deathbed that he found the girl, Lucy, in the woods and killed her by hitting her on the head with a rock. He then stuffed her body in a hollow log and waited until nightfall to return and bury her body under an uprooted tree.
Many people believe that Martha Keyes still haunts the wooded hillsides of Wachusett Mountain calling, "Lu - cy… Lu - cy.” And witnesses still experience the spirits of both Martha and Lucy Keyes to this day.
The Legend of Lucy Keyes is the subject of a full-length motion picture currently in post production starring Julie Delpy (Before Sunset, American Werewolf in Paris) and Justin Theroux (Mulholland Drive, Charlie’s Angles Full Throttle). The film was shot entirely on location on and around Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Massachusetts -- the site of the actual haunting.
Recent email from a witness to the spirit:
I saw the TV show, Chronicle (channel 5) and was interested in your Web site, having hiked Wachusett Mountain many times.
Once at your site, the hair stood up on the back of my neck and I got the chills. My hiking boots have spent many hours exploring the trails on that mountain. Many years ago hiking alone, I thought I heard a name being called. A breeze was blowing through the trees that day and the weather was favorable. Figuring it was just weird, I stopped and rubbed my ears. The calling went on for another 60 seconds. It sounded like the name was riding on the wind, drifting though the trees. (The general area was somewhere on the side where the visitor's center is located.) Figuring I was just hearing things, I kept hiking. It never really clicked until now.
In the near future, I'll take a trip to the cemetery where Lucy's mother is buried, for nothing more than paying my respects. That's an awful fate to be dealt in life. Horrific by any standards.
Thank you for sharing her story and best wishes on your film.
Pictures of spirits haunting our set
Shooting is now complete, but while we were in production we evidently disrupted the spirits at the Meetinghouse Cemetery where Martha Keyes is buried. These two photographs of Julie Delpy, me (John Stimpson), and our crew show some strange phenomenon. Alex Stark and Eric Shade, two local paranormal enthusiasts took these photographs and had them analyzed by Worcester ghost expert and researcher Sean Smith. Sean drew the following intriguing conclusions:
Filming shot #1
"In the picture labled [Filming shot #1] (see above), there does appear to be ectoplasmic vapor of a spirit by the wall (between the tree and the young lady in the shawl). With this type of spirit energy it is theorized that the spirit is at rest (not moving). This picture is interesting, but I have to say that the picture labeled [Filming shot #2] (see below) is far more interesting. This picture also shows ectoplasmic vapor, but -- more fascinating -- there is also evidence of a portal. A portal being a the doorway between our dimension and the world of the spirits' dimension. If you look closely, at about 11:00 above the head of the lady with the blue hat, you will see a swirling distortion of the tree, grass and headstones. The tree branches are also distorted. By contrast, the right side of the picture is sharper. The dark line across the ground is part of the ectoplasmic pattern. It is connected in kind of a spidery pattern as part of the vapor."
Filming shot #2
There were many other unexplained weather, wind, and sounds that were blamed on Martha Keyes during the shoot. Nothing malevolent though. I think she was just letting her presence be known. It is my belief that she approved of the project, since we stayed so true to the story.