George Washington Readey (1833-1920).
Choosing the most colorful and eccentric of the town criers would be tough were it not for the presence of “Professor” George Washington Readey in their ranks. He takes the prize. In 1886 — “not unduly excited by liquor or otherwise,” he swore — Readey said he saw a sea serpent emerge from Herring Cove, cross the dunes, and disappear down a hole in Pasture Pond. He said its head was as large as a 200-gallon cask. An eight-foot tusk and six dinner-plate-size eyes extended from it. The reptile was some 300 feet long and up to 12 feet in diameter. It was covered in red, blue, and green scales, each as large as the head of a fish barrel. Its colossal mouth held not two but four rows of teeth, each one about two feet long. Repeating so tall a tale endlessly may have had a salutary effect. Readey lived until he was 87. He is buried with his wife, Mary B. Readey (1822-1915), under a zinc headstone. She gave up the ghost five years before he did. Maybe she couldn’t take it any longer. The fate of the serpent is unknown, though the Cape Cod Item reported at the time that the hole down which it disappeared had been sounded to 250 fathoms (1,500 feet) “and no bottom found.” Perhaps the beast is still there.
¶ Last updated on 7 October 2017.
Provincetown’s Historic Cemeteries and Memorials, Key O-91, Page 27.