The Ghost of Poplar Point


by Cynthia DeFelice
Reading level: ages 9-12

Synopsis

It’s summer vacation in the fourth adventure for Allie Nichols, “Ghost Magnet.” Allie and her friend Dub are looking forward to their roles in the town of Seneca’s summer pageant, which portrays the relationship between the area’s early European settlers and the local Seneca Indians.

Too bad ghosts don’t know about summer vacation.

During rehearsals, Allie is visited by a new ghost. To her embarrassment, it causes her to babble in a strange language in front of the director and all the other kids. It haunts her dreams with images of smoke and screaming people. As she tries to find out who the ghost is, and what it wants, Allie uncovers a centuries-old secret – and shakes up the whole town.

Author’s Note

I live in central New York State, originally the territory of the Six Nations of Native Americans (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora) that formed the Iroquois Confederacy. My house sits on the shore of Seneca Lake, at Kashong Point. Seneca is the largest of the Finger Lakes and was named after the Seneca people, the first to hunt, fish, farm. and live here.

On the highway, just a few hundred yards from my house, stands a monument showing a map. It commemorates the 1770 campaigns of General John Sullivan and General George Clinton “against the hostile Indian nations” on the frontiers of New York and Pennsylvania.

Kashong Point once held a thriving Seneca village, with orchards and fields and large stores of grain, fruits, and vegetables. Now the area is a community park for lakeside homeowners. Except for a small sign that says simply SITE OF A SENECA INDIAN VILLAGE UNTIL 1779, there is no indication of the drama that occurred here on a warm September day in that year.

When I stand alone at the Point, looking at the swings, the ball diamond, and the pavilion where we have neighborhood dinners and celebrations, I try to picture the village before it was destroyed by Sullivan’s army in a surprise massacre. I try to feel the presence of those Seneca Indians who lived and died here, and sometimes I can. Hence this book.

The story is fictional, but based on historical fact. The words spoken in the pageant by Dub (as Cornplanter, the famous Seneca orator), Joey (as General John Sullivan), and Brad (as General George Washington) are taken in large part from their letters and written accounts of their speeches.

Review

“Allie’s fourth adventure with the supernatural once again delves into a haunting and topical issue….Allie, the ghost magnet, is drawn as a brave, compassionate and smart heroine assisted by her sidekick and best friend Dub. The story, based on an actual historical event, has an important message with the added thrill of being a suspenseful page-turner. (pronunciation guide, author’s note) “ Kirkus, August, 2007

Product Details

Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (August 21, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0374325405
ISBN-13: 978-0374325404