But apples also can be tattletales, as they are in this story from Connecticut. The best version can be found in Michael Norman and Beth Scott’s 1995 book HISTORIC HAUNTED AMERICA.
Is it any wonder that Clement Clark Moore, in his poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas”, compares Santa Claus to “a peddlar just opening his pack”? The peddlar, whose itinerant wanderings survived up into Mom’s childhood, was very like Santa, indeed. He generally would come into a community only once or twice a year, carrying all his wares in a great pack on his back. Unlike Santa, though, he walked everywhere, with a stick that served him as support and, if need be, weapon. (When Mom was a little girl, the peddlar drove a panel truck.)
And his pack was as full of surprises as Santa’s too. In it he carried necessities and what hillbillies once called “fooleries”: cloth, needles, thread, tinware, seasonings for the kitchen, small tools, pipe tobacco, and all sorts of funny gimcracks for the little ones. He also would carry news from village to village. He would sell all he had, go back to his suppliers, wherever they might be, and replenish his stock for another trip.
One such man came to what was then Nine Mile Square (near modern Franklin), Connecticut, in 1693, when winter was turning its back and spring was tiptoeing in after it. His name was Horgan, according to tradition. He was greeted happily by the community, and by the end of his first day in the village he had sold nearly everything in his pack.
Unfortunately, he chose a poor place to spend the night.
Every community has a bogeyman, and in Nine Mile Square that man was Micah Rood.
Micah Rood was surly at best and downright evil at worst. Rood had only one thing he cared about: his orchard, which was full of trees that produced beautiful red apples, which he refused to share with anybody. He was even known to sit up with a blunderbuss and fire at anyone who tried to steal fruit.
Nobody knows for certain why Horgan stayed at Micah Rood’s that night. When the trouble began, early the next day, Rood swore the man had gotten up and left before daylight.
The trouble was that Horgan was found beaten to death under one of Rood’s apple trees that morning, his nearly empty pack ripped open and his nearly full money pouch empty.
Suspicion is no good without evidence, but the only evidence wasn’t anything that would stand up in court. There was something funny happened that spring in Micah Rood’s orchard; the apple blossoms, usually pure white or creamy pink, all had peculiar streaks of blood-red slashed through their petals, and on the tree where Horgan’s body was found, they had no pink or white at all.
Still, Micah Rood might have bulled his way through, had not something even more peculiar happened when the apples began to mature. The pulp, normally a lush juicy white, suddenly began to have red in it in the shape of drops of blood.
Micah Rood, it’s said, was driven mad by what happened to his beloved apple trees. No longer did he run anyone off who tried to steal fruit; on the contrary, he begged them to take whatever they wanted. When the sheriff went to talk to Rood again about Horgan’s murder, figuring the old man was ready to confess now, he found him dead in a chair by a window that overlooked his orchard.
Not much else to tell, except that Norman and Scott say there are still trees in that area that produce fruit with blood drops in the pulp–descendants of Micah Rood’s apple trees.