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The Light That Guides You Home | by Quigley.
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The Light That Guides You Home

This was a concept that I have actually spent years trying to do. I am capturing a story that I heard over ten years ago. I tried a while ago, but I did not have all the details to the story. Finally this weekend, I found it in print. When I was little, my mom took me to story telling sessions at the beach. Quite a few of them were told by a local writer named Ed Okonowicz. We bought six books, all of which were filled with short ghost stories from the Delaware/Maryland area. At his events, he would read some of this stories aloud, and 'Molly on the Dunes' was one of them.

As it turns out, this is a well known legend in Indian River, Delaware. While it is told many different ways, the story almost always starts with Molly McGwinn, a 17 year old Irish indentured servant. She worked for a family of scavengers near Indian River Inlet. Molly stood on the dunes waving a lantern at night, falsely informing any ships that safe to approach the shore. Because of the sand bars along this part of the coast, the ships would become stuck in the sand bars and be destroyed by the waves hitting the hull. The family McGwinn worked for would pull the bodies and goods out of the surf as the washed up, claiming the valuables. McGwinn later met an English sailor whom she fell in love with. Promising to take her away when he returned from England, he set sail. McGwinn waited, becoming impatient. In the winter, McGwinn lured another ship in. During the collection of valuables, she discovered the body of her lover, which drove her to walk into the freezing waters, killing herself.

While this is not the type of story that I would normally explore in my work, it has stuck out in my mind for years. This photo was only shot a few miles from Indian River Inlet. While this is a legend, the story and characters were real, even if some of the details are a bit far fetched. The full story can be found in 'Terrifying Tales 2 of the Beaches and Bays' by Ed Okonowicz. Here is where you can find more books by Mr. Okonowicz:

While it was about 35 degrees when I shot this, it really wasn't too cold for me. The water rushed over me once, but it was worth it for the shot. People walking on the beach weren't really sure to make of me, but that is nothing new.

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Taken on October 17, 2009