Thursday, July 25, 2013

Would you like some tombolo on your pizza?

Words can be fun, and even funny. I've previously written about flongs, dingbats, pilcrows and other strange publishing terms. Today, I'd like to introduce you to the TOMBOLO.

Although the word came to English from Italian, it's definitely not something you'd enjoy on top of your pizza or inside a calzone.

A tombolo is similar to a sandbar, but it is perpendicular to the shore, not parallel to it, and connects an island to the mainland.

Here in Milford, CT, we have a famous tombolo (but everyone calls it a sandbar). At low tide, it connects Silver Sands Beach with Charles Island -- which may contain buried pirate treasure. At high tide, it's submerged.

Charles Island was allegedly cursed three times.

(1) The first curse was brought in the 17th century by a Native American chief, whose tribe fought for the island which they regarded as sacred. After white settlers defeated the tribe, the chief said, "Any shelter will crumble to the Earth." No building on the island has lasted more than a few years.

(2) The second curse was supposedly brought by Captain Kidd in 1699 when he buried his treasure there. Captain Kidd cursed with death anyone who attempted to dig it up.

(3) The third curse was supposedly brought in 1721 by five sailors who stole Mexican emperor Guatmozin's treasure. Guatmozin put a curse on the stolen treasure. After four of the five sailors suffered tragic deaths, the last sailor hid the treasure in the basement of a Milford tavern. When it was discovered by a drunk searching for beer, the fifth sailor transported it to Charles Island, moving the third curse with it.

Legend says treasure hunters discovered an iron chest in 1850. As they attempted to open it, a "screeching, flaming skeleton descended from the sky. It lurched into the pit where the chest was, sending forth a shower of blue flames." The treasure hunters dropped their tools and fled from Charles Island. They returned the next day and their tools were gone and the digging site had been smoothed over, as if they'd never been there.


I named my publishing company after Silver Sands Beach.

(photo by Randal Ferret)

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