Lady Liberty is an exquisite and monumental tourist attraction whose essence represents many levels of human experience. Her home is Liberty Island, a unique spot with a history all its own. Known as Bedloe’s Island until 1956, this tiny enclave was a favored spot for pirates, particularly the notorious Captain Kidd, who is said to have buried his treasure somewhere on the grounds where Lady Liberty stands.

Lady Liberty has a glorious and patriotic past

Created in 1886, the statue was a gift from the people of France and was intended to commemorate international amity and the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Despite grandiose planning, a lack of funds on both sides of the Atlantic delayed progress. It was finally agreed that the American people would build her pedestal and the French people would be responsible for the statue and its assembly in the United States. A massive fund raising supported and sponsored the effort

It is said that French sculptor, Auguste Bartholdi, gave Lady liberty the face of his very own mother. His design was realized with the help of engineer, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) who addressed important structural matters. The Statue of Liberty was completed in France in July of 1884. When it arrived in New York Harbor in June of 1885, it was a puzzle of 350 individual pieces that were crammed into 214 crates.

Re-assembly took four months.

Lady Liberty may have company on Liberty island

While she stands in gleaming grace as a symbol of hope and refuge to all who pass underneath her extended torch of freedom, legends whisper of other, not so patriotic and other worldly residents of Bedloe’s Island. An 1892 New York Times article reported a story concerning two soldiers named Gibbs and Carpenter who were stationed at Fort Wood, which was the military base on the island that would later become the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty.

The area was known to be a pirate haunt, and the young men had heard rumors of untold treasure buried by Captain Kidd somewhere on the tiny island. As the story goes, they had only dug a few feet when their shovels uncovered a box made of wood. They were just about to reach down and claim it, when, as they both told the press, a terrifying vision appeared before them.

What did these young men see that frightened them so?

Although their claims differed slightly, both men agreed that it was some type of otherworldly creature resembling a horned demon that breathed sulfur in their faces. Carpenter managed to run, but Gibbs stood frozen in fear and claimed that the entity, perhaps the ghost of Captain Kidd, hurled him into the waters of bay. Supposedly too, both the demon and the wooden box disappeared into the ether of the air.

Whatever may haunt Liberty Island remains to be seen. Don’t let that stop you from coming to visit the lovely lady in the harbor that so symbolizes the fabric of America’s destiny. It might not be a bad idea however, to always look discretely behind you, particularly when standing near her pedestal.