Sails & Tales | Stories

A Call in the Night

Megan Lane MacDonald

Some time in the 1920s my great grandfather, Patrick Sharkey, inherited the family farm in Corraville, PEI. He settled down with his wife, Annie Fitzgerald, to raise their family. Meanwhile, his brother Owen moved “out West” to the prairies for harvest work. Owen and Patrick had always been very close so the two kept in touch by writing to each other frequently. It was well known in the Sharkey family that Annie had the famous second sight of the Irish. This is one of the many tales that supported the claim of her supernatural abilities.

Early one morning in Corraville, when Patty and Annie were sleeping upstairs in their house in Corraville, Annie heard a voice calling, “Patty! Patty! I need you!”

Annie surmised that their neighbours, the Redmonds, had come to collect the cream and Patty must have forgotten to put the can out for them. She woke Patty to tell him to go get the cream and went to the window to call down to Mr. Redmond. But when she looked out the window no one was there. It was still dark and the sun had not even begun to rise yet. Confused, Annie and Patty went back to bed.

The next day Annie asked the Redmonds if any members of the family had come to call that morning but none of them had. She interrogated her children, suspecting mischief, but they all claimed to have been asleep in bed. She had no other explanation, so she let the matter rest. She did not get an answer to this mystery until a couple of weeks later when they received a letter from Owen that said:

I’m sorry to say that I’ve met with an accident. I was out riding my horse late one evening when she stepped in a prairie-dog hole and threw me. I broke my leg in the fall and I couldn’t get home. Patty, while I was lying there out on the prairie, alone in the dark, I thought of you to comfort me. In my pain and fear, I called out for you like when we were children. I was a boy again crying for your help.”

As far as Annie and Patty were concerned, it was Owen’s voice that she had heard that one morning. My family still maintains that Annie’s gift allowed her to hear Owen’s call for help and that Owen’s strong connection to his brother enabled his voice to ring out clearly in the night from halfway across the country.