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The Ghost of Laubach Island
Tom Gettings
Wildlands Conservancy
Jul 8, 2003
The first European settlements in the Lehigh Valley arrived in the mid 1700's. One of the most popular settlement areas were the islands in the rivers, especially the Lehigh River, because farming was the primary occupation and the soil was rich. One of the first islands settled was Freemans Island. Back in the 1740's it was named Laubach Island after the family that first settled on this rich 100 acre piece of farmland.

The Laubach family, an experienced farm family consisting of mom, dad, four sons and a daughter named Cara. Cara was 7 and loved to explore the island when her chores were complete.

One evening in the summer of 1743 Cara finished her house cleaning chores so she went outside to explore and play with the toy her dad had made for her recent birthday from a carved wooden ball, a piece of string and a hollowed out branch tree branch. Mom was fixing dinner, dad was tending to the animals, and the boys were working in the cornfield. As she tossed and caught the ball she wander closer to the river. On an extra hard toss the ball broke free from the string and fell into the water. Without hesitation Cara slipped into the water to retrieve it. The ball floated with the current and it took Cara some time to catch up to it. She finally grabbed it just as the water began to churn into a long steady rapid. She found herslf being carried farther and farther from shore. She tried to swim but her arms were too tired. She called out for help but her cries were drowned out by the sound of the rapids. Soon Cara was too far from from the island for anyone to help and then she was gone.

When mom noticed that Cara was no longer in the house and couldn't see her on the stoop she started to look for her. Mom called and called for Cara. Nothing, no answer. Mom had her sons go look all around the island for her, nothing. Dad and mom walked along the shoreline until dark, nothing. Mom would not give up. She spent the night calling for Cara. She called for her until she lost her voice. All that was ever found of Cara was apiece of the white dress she was wearing on that fateful day.

Cara's mom never said another word after that night in her entire life. She was a mute until the day she died in 1748.

About forty years later sometime in the 1780's when Cara would have been exactly the age her mom had been on that horrible day, there were reports from fishermen that a woman was seen walking along the shoreline of the island calling out "Cara." Sometimes late at night people would see her walking on the island, hand-in-hand with a little girl in a white dress. Sightings of the two of them have been reported for over 200 years.

But after all the years, on some warm summer nights, the woman can sometimes be seen all alone, along the shoreline, frantically searching for something in those same flowing rapids. Still silently looking for Cara, still finding nothing in the moonlight.

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