The following excerpt is from an interview collected for the new self-published book True New Brunswick Ghost Stories. The book is a collection of true accounts compiled by local author Brandon Hicks.
Eighty-one-year-old Miramichi resident Malcolm Cogswell recounts his encounter with French Fort Cove legend “The Headless Nun”:
“Yeah, I knew the ‘Headless Nun’ for a long time — we were real close. But, I’ll tell you right now, she sure as hell weren’t no nun. Want to know how I know? Believe it or not, it’s ‘cause I used to go with her! Me and her were an item for about 15 years, give or take.
I was just a young lad then — this would have been ‘58 or ’59. I was working late one night on the wharf, when she appeared suddenly in a bright flash of light. Well shit, I never seen nobody that pretty before in my whole life. Of course, she didn’t have no head at the time, but still — my god, what a body.
Anyway, I’m a Nelson man, y’know? I ain’t afraid of no damn ghost, so I goes right up to her, I do, and I’m like: ‘Listen here, pretty lady, I want to tell you that I think you are one good-looking woman, and iffin’ you’ll allow me the chance, I’d like to get to know you a little better.’
She didn’t say nothing, on account of not having a head, but I could tell she was flattered. You wouldn’t know it now, but I was a real handsome fella at the time, so fulla confidence, piss and vinegar, so I took to talking to her every night, and after ’bout a week, we really began to hit it off in a romantic way.
With her, I was the happiest darn fella in the ‘Chi, let me tell yah. My parents liked her too — it was always important to my mother that I get myself a nice Catholic girl. She still knew where her head was, contrary to popular belief, she just didn’t find it all that comfortable to have on all the time. She kept it in a little wooden box, I remember. She would wear it sometimes whenever we had to go to some fancy event. I always told her, though, I’d say: ‘It doesn’t matter to me. Head or no head, you’re still my perfect woman.’ And, well, she seemed to like that. I remember she wasn’t much of a kisser, but she sure weren’t no saint. If I played my cards right, she was always willing to neck by the end of the night. Those were some great times. I can’t say I’ve never been that happy since.
Things were like that off and on for a few years. We’d fight like any other couple — conflicts about the celestial or spiritual realms and all of that, but we’d always make up in the end.
That was, until Headless Horseman came riding into town.
Well, a regular old Nelson man like myself couldn’t compete with a hot-shot spirit like that. Ain’t nobody writing books or movies about me. Plus, she and him had a lot more in common, being headless and dead and all.
So I started feeling real inadequate, and I would get jealous every time she’d go out with him — just to chat, she’d say. She’d always be trying to reassure me, telling me that she didn’t want to be with no one else, but I just couldn’t bring myself to believe her. It’s my fault, too, looking back on it now. She’d probably of stayed with me, but I started to become real distant, and I would get sharp with her, you know? After a while she just couldn’t take it. I drove her right into his headless arms.
I never saw her again after that. Still … there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about her.”
True New Brunswick Ghost Stories can be purchased now at any gas station in rural New Brunswick.