Lake Winnipesaukee Legend

“Mary Jane of Lake Winnipesaukee”

“At sleep-away camp…my camp was on a lake and their were three camps on the lake and all camps were told that there was a little girl named Mary Jane and when she was young she wanted to paddle across the lake to one of our brother camps and her um canoe like tipped over and she drowned. And so whenever we went in the lake, everyone one would say the weeds were her long finger nails and on June… no it would have to be July.. like 13th. She would come out of the lake an visit our bunks and say like… write on our mirrors in blood…   ‘RED RUM’…. Which is of course murder backwards.”

When I asked my friend when this legend was relayed to her she told me:
“At Robindel Camp  in Center Harbor, New Hampshire. Lake Winnipesaukee. It’s been camp legend for years.
We used to have on-duty counselors and for whatever reason on ‘Mary Jane night’ they would mess with us… like bang on the walls and move our bunks but then we got to do it to the young kids when we got older.”

It seems to me this story was created as a rite of passage for the campers.  The older more experienced counselors, which were once young campers themselves, crafted the story to play pranks on the younger children at the camp.  From online research, I have found that there was a Mary Jane Morse Greenwood who donated a substantial amount of money to New Hampshire Forest Society to preserve the area around the lake.  Her ancestors had inhabited that region for over 100 years.  Mary Jane’s importance to the community and the lake is demonstrated by a notorious ghost tale.

Annotation: Gift of 431-acre Reservation to the Forest Society Creates Morse Family Legacy. <>