Lucy Keyes

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The Lost Child of Wachusett Mountain

“Lu-cy . Lu-cy.”. On quiet nights, it is said, the words echo through the woods of Princeton, Massachusetts. And there are those who believe the spirits of Lucy Keyes and her mother, Martha, can still be experienced on the southeast slope of Wachusett Mountain, where the Keyes family lived in the mid-1700s.

The Lucy Keyes legend – made into a movie  (“The Legend of Lucy Keyes”, click above for the trailer) in 2005 – began on April 14, 1755, when four-year old Lucy Keyes disappeared in the woods near Lake Wachusett. A widespread search by the family and neighbors, which included dredging the lake, proved fruitless. Distressed over the loss of her young daughter, Martha Keyes continued the search every evening, calling little Lucy’s name. She died without learning the fate of her child.

But years after the deaths of Martha and her husband Robert, a letter was discovered, shedding light on the disappearance. Written by a “hermit-like” neighbor of the Keyes family, the letter described the murder of little Lucy. Apparently, neighbor Tilly Littlejohn had a quarrel with Robert Keyes over a property line. On his deathbed, Littlejohn admitted he had killed Lucy by hitting her over the head with a rock. He then hid her body under an uprooted tree. Lucy’s remains were never found.

And so Martha Keyes continues to wander the woods, looking for Lucy and calling her name.