Life of exonerated witch set to music
Album to fund proper grave for Goody Cole
By Nick B. Reid
Hampton Union, July 26, 2013
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON — Robert McClung, with the completion of an upcoming dedication ceremony, is hoping he can play a part in the ghost of Goody Cole finally finding a peaceful resting place.
McClung, a guitar teacher at Lincoln-Akerman School in Hampton Falls who grew up in Hampton about a mile or so from Tuck Field, where some people believe Cole is buried, has long been interested in the 17th-century woman who was convicted of witchcraft and spent many years in a Boston prison for the same.
So when McClung was coming up with the subject of his second album under the project Telergy, it was natural that it would end up being called "The Legend of Goody Cole."
"The idea (behind Telergy) is I used this big, epic, powerful progressive rock sound that I do to tell the story behind historical events," he said. The group's first album, Exodus, tells the biblical tale of the Israelites leaving slavery in Egypt.
The album follows Cole's experience, from the third track, "Rumors," to the tenth, "Incarceration," to the sixteenth, "Exoneration." There are several vocal tracks in which townsfolk shout accusations and a judge, played by Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, decides she's guilty, following the discourse as it may have played out on Hampton's Meeting House Green.
More than 40 artists appear on the album, including those from bands such as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Night Ranger, Porcupine Tree, Hawkwind and Spock's Beard. Some locals came into the studio in Dover where McClung records, while others, especially those from Japan and other overseas countries, sent in their parts digitally.
McClung described tales in which residents and even a Hampton police officer once reported to have seen Cole, dressed in gray, puritan clothing, wandering the town's streets at night searching for her grave.
It wasn't until the 20th century that Cole had a gravestone planted in the town, and even then it wasn't a proper one, McClung said. He's using some of the albums profits to rectify that.
He said, with respect to the man that worked to get a gravestone for her in 1963, "Quite frankly, it's literally an unassuming rock in the middle of the field that says nothing."
McClung has purchased a large, black marble stone memorial for Cole that will be dedicated Aug. 11 as part of Hampton's 375th anniversary gala.
"If Goody's ghost has been walking the streets all these years looking for her gravestone, and if the 1963 stone didn't serve the purpose, I would like to think this stone we're putting up on the 11th finally gives her peace. She can finally be at rest for eternity," McClung said.
When he was young, McClung learned all about Cole from a staff member at the Tuck Museum and was fascinated by the tale.
"It was like something out of a horror movie, but it was real life. You know it happened right here in my home town," he said.
And as he walked past the blank stone every day on his way to Winnacunnet High School he "had the feeling there was something missing, something wrong, that they'd left something out."
"I finally figured out what's missing: her name's not there," McClung said.
McClung is encouraging attendees of the 375th gala's final day to bring flowers to place on the newly-dedicated memorial.
"Actually having this stone in the ground and being able to put it there and give Goody the honor and respect I feel has been denied her 300 years is really going to feel like the final piece of the puzzle," he said.
Copies of the album are on sale at the Lane Memorial Library and the Tuck Museum.