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For years there has been a mystry on West Island that has confounded beachcombers, the young and the just plain curious.

On the backside of the island, or the eastern coast, for those not familiar with the area, lies a mysterious item and the mystery lies in why it is where it is and how it got there. It's location is down a former rocky path about a half mile long and lies on a beach another quarter mile from the end of that path.

Before the construction of the road to the present day sewerage treatment plant leaching field that the lies halfway on the trip to the mystery, the path was barely wide enough to get a vehicle down. There were boulders sticking out of the path that were big enough to rip the suspension components and oil pan out of most cars. Indeed, if you stayed out in the woods late enough that the sun had set, merely walking in the dark without tripping over the stones was a task in itself. Vehicular victims of the path lay scattered about years ago. One, a 1952 Ford station wagon expired right on the path about 40 years ago. That fact that it blocked the path didn't matter, the path ended up widening to the extent that a full width was available on either side of the old car. Years later when the area was cleaned up some, the Ford was removed, but the two branches of the path remained around a clump of trees. I guess you get the idea of how bad the road was.

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By the way, there were two other cars along the path. One a '55 Buick, resting on it's roof, fairly complete and another car that was at the very end of the path at the beach. I can't recall it's make, Either Buick or Oldsmobile I think, but I remember it being out on the rocks below high tide. It's about the only vehicle I have actually seen rust COMPLETELY away. A little more disappeared every year, until just the frame remained. Even that disappeared completely. I think there's still rust stains on the rocks where the car succumbed to the ravages of time and tide.

But back to the mystery. What is the item, you ask? Why it's nothing more than a hunk of cement. A rather large hunk of cement, at that, and obviously rather old. Its size is approximately six feet by four feet and the part above ground is about two feet. Nothing extraordinary to look at unless you consider where it is. After getting to the end of the path (admittedly, now a roadway) you have to cross a short beach path which cuts through a stand of beach grass, go down a 200 hundred foot sandy beach and travel another 100 feet or so over a boulder field of a shore.

Somewhere near a small point of land, just a few feet into the brush lies the block. But to construct it one would have needed to drive a fairly capable vehicle loaded with materials all the way out there. Possibly, a boat could have been used to ferry the concrete and forms out there. But the question remains. Why? What interest would anyone have in building a several ton cement block in the middle of nowhere?

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As kids we found the miniature edifice on our treks around the island. It was more prominent then, being less overgrown by hip rose, poison ivy and sumac. We also imagined it must have been part of some sort of military installation like the one formerly at the Town Beach. We questioned some of the older and more "knowledgeable" kids about it.

"It's an old Army tunnel that had been capped with cement after the war ended and made it obsolete" we were told. It seemed plausible to us. It also seemed possible that we could dig our way into the tunnel, with enough effort. Heck, there could be a room full of jeeps and guns down there, sitting, waiting for us all these years. We never considered how they squeezed jeeps into a 4X6-foot hole in the ground. About two weeks of digging had diminished a great deal of our curiosity as to why the block was there. The jeeps would be rusty by then, anyways, we reasoned. We did learn that it went down more than 2 feet.

I passed the legend of the mystery on to my nephew when he became interested in "exploring" the island. I gave him rough directions to the location, never expecting him to find it, but he did. I gave him the same explanation we were given at his age as to why it was there. He responded in a like manner, but I don't think he dug for the whole 2 weeks, as we did. My friends and I didn't have cable TV or video games then to keep us occupied, remember.

The nephew pestered me for a better reason for the blocks existence. "Why is it there, Uncle? What could it have been?"

I started thinking about my travels of back when we played out there. Around the concrete monster, between it and the beach, were small pilings, maybe made of cedar, about a foot high, driven into the remaining dirt. Also scattered about were old military style, metal spring cots. So maybe it had been a camp at one time. But the 2 or 3 cots wouldn't have fit above the slab, if it had been a foundation. Maybe the pilings were part of the foundation, but why not just use the pilings as the base and skip the process of bringing all that cement way the heck out there? Still no concrete answers. (Bad joke)

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Many years have passed since my friends and I discovered our mystery and several since my nephew did the same.

A couple of years ago my friend Karl came over the house with an article from the old Fairhaven Free Press.

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Sort of the precursor to the Neighborhood News. The topic was about the "Cube". It was actually the second piece about the Cube. The first posed questions and asked for readers to send in answers. Of the most plausible to me was the existence of a cabin used by the boys from Tabor Academy in Marion. The boys used the cabin as a storage shack while they were out sailing. The hurricane of 1938 wiped the cabin out. That would explain the cots and pilings but why the heavy concrete slab? As the wise old owl in the Tootsie pop commercial said when asked how many licks does it take to reach the center of a Tootsie pop, "The world may never know."

The block of concrete appears much different than it did in my childhood. Many attempts to discover what is underneath has left a hole big enough to crawl partly under it. Chunks of it have been broken and strewn about but nonetheless it still remains a curiosity

Nelson Raposa, an early resident of West Island recalls there being a hole there deep enough to be dangerous if one was to fall into it. Parents were concerned enough that a few got together and gathered supplies to cap the hole and the result was the Cube. It still makes me wonder though as to how deep and what the original cavern was made for.