Saturday, November 18, 2017

Call for info: Portland's haunted mansion... or castle?

Hi folks! I have a question that may be too far back for most of you, but just in case someone once upon a time told you a story about it, I figured it was worth asking. Does anyone have any stories/recollections of hearing about a so-called "haunted house" or castle on Munjoy Hill?

It's a crazy Gothic home that was just up the hill from the Observatory.  It was torn down in 1914, but I keep finding vague references to it being haunted (this may purely be because it LOOKED haunted). I know recollections about it were still lurking around as late as the 1940s/50s.

Any thoughts or loose bits of story rattling around would be appreciated, as so far I have very little to go on so far! Thanks guys!!!  ...also of course any other haunted house stories from Portland are always welcome!

Here's what the crazy thing looked like (in other words, no wonder it had a reputation for being haunted):

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Magical History Tour 2017 pics!

Every year for the last three years, the Maine Historical Society (mainehistory.org) has held a one-day event on a weekend in May when they give lucky ticket-holders a chance to tour through areas of approximately ten different historic sites that are normally off-limits to the general public.

I've managed to go every year since they started, come hell or high water, and it's been great.  Here are a bunch of photos from this year's tour on my Flickr page! I think I managed to get almost all of them labelled, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/darkbrilliance/albums/72157682286448194

Here are a few samples:
 We paid a return visit to the clock tower on top of City Hall, voted in as the favorite from 2016.
 We saw the lingering glory of a bygone era hanging in the now-empty WMTW-8 space at the Time & Temp Building.
 We tiptoed up into the organ loft at the Sacred Heart Church.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Brunswick Town Hall NOT HAUNTED!


A breaking newsflash from back in 1894!
Town Hall Not Haunted.
A school boy running up Main Street Monday evening exclaimed to a friend that the town building was crazy or haunted, "You never in your life heard such a noise as there is going on in some part of the building," said he. The [Bath] Independent scribe heard and investigated and found that it was the comb orchestra rehearsing for "Mother Goose" which is to take place next Monday evening in Town Hall for the benefit of the public library.
The kazoo had already been in existence for several decades at this point, but apparently the budget only allowed for makeshift musical combs in lieu of their high-tech kazoo cousin.
Maine has a pretty good history of enthusiasm for noisemakers, and kazoos have been a favorite at festivals and musical events in our state for many, many years -- a proclivity which continues to this day.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Early Gravestones! Upcoming talk & READ THIS BOOK!

What: Early Gravestones of Southern Maine Talk!
When: Thursday, August 18, 2016 @ 7:00pm
Where: Maine Charitable Mechanic Association, 519 Congress Street, Portland, Maine
Cost: Free and open to the public
FMI: email MCMA1857@gmail.com or call (207)773-8396

Meet Portland author, Ron Romano, and hear him discuss and read from his new book! Ron is a MCMA member and Spirits Alive Board member. He will discuss, sign, and read from his new book as well as present slides highlighting the incredible skill of Portland’s first gravestone cutter, Bartlett Adams. Light refreshments will be served.

This event is sponsored by Maine Charitable Mechanic Association (MCMA), The History Press & Spirits Alive.
http://www.mainecharitablemechanicassociation.com/
https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/
http://www.spiritsalive.org/

For those of you who don't yet have this book in your gravestone-loving hands, let me tell you -- you do NOT want to miss it. Ron Romano has outdone himself. After following Bartlett's career, and giving tour after tour in Portland's Eastern Cemetery highlighting his stonework, Romano was encouraged to write his account of Bartlett's life and craft. Luckily for us, he really did it!

It is a fascinating story from start to finish, and interwoven as it is with Romano's account of his search for the tale, it had me wanting to go out and search out Bartlett's signature in Maine's graveyards myself ASAP.

This is the gauge of quality of Romano's work -- he explains the finer points of gravestone studies in a way that makes you want to join in the gathering, and at the same time paints a picture of Bartlett's own life and times that brings them to life in your mind's eye.

This is a rare thing in a history book. I recommend you buy it and experience this for yourself.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bangor PD's Facebook feed is your friend

Let it not be said that some of Maine's police officers do not possess a sense of humor or humanity. If it's not Detective Napijalo finding stolen mascot plushies and most recently writing a comic book for all ages, then it's the anonymous and quirky officer who is currently running the Facebook feed for Bangor Police Department.

If you have been missing the sidelong wit of Maine's old Police Blotter columns in local newspapers (gone the way of the birds, mostly), you will be delighted. If you have yet to check out their feed, then YOU ARE MISSING OUT!
https://www.facebook.com/Bangor-Maine-Police-Department-227432866078/

For instance:
1) One police officer was able to save a tiny chihuahua from a fire last week in spite of a biting from the nervous young lady pup. He tells the story better than I do:
In a celebration of National Puppy day we share the following information.

A structure fire on Hammond Street was discovered by Officer Jordan Bragan while on routine patrol. Bragan alerted folks to get out of the adjacent apartments by pounding on doors and waking those in danger.

Bragan also was able to enter an apartment in order to grab a 6 pound Chihuahua named either Bella or Stella. The pooch refused to come out. Nice save, Bragan. "Don't drop the Chalupa." It is unclear if he will add that slogan to his new tattoo. The dog is fine. He would have done it even if it was not National Puppy Day.

Bragan was bitten by Stella/Bella while carrying her from the building. He was wearing his gloves and was not seriously injured. We could hear him verbalize "doooohhhh" from his cruiser camera audio recording. We are putting it on Sgt. Bushey's mix-tape.

Bangor Fire arrived at the scene and put out the fire. Nice work ladies and gents.

Otherwise, several arrests for various illegal activity and someone dropped off donuts. They are all gone.

Have an awesome Thursday. We will be here!
Or how about
2) The way they handle reminding us all (duh) to lock our doors:
Please folks, if I gave you advice on financial decisions, food selection, roofing materials or what kind of flatware you should buy, ignore it. I know very little about those things.

My idea of a good investment is one which returns just fifty percent of my initial outlay. Flatware pulled from the McDonald's bag has been used on many a night in my little world and I think discarded street signs look pretty cool as a stopgap measure on the camp roof. I am not promoting taking street signs. I said discarded. Read all the words before contacting my supervisor.

I rethought my first paragraph and have decided that my food selection skills are superb. Add a half a cap of apple cider vinegar to your drawn butter when using it dip your steamed clams or lobster. You will be thanking me soon after the meal, possibly naming your next child after me. This child will be well behaved, a heck of a pool player and will move out of your house after his or her 36th birthday. I was a late bloomer as well. Trust me. I work for the government. Get it right. Capital T. Capital C. Sounds like "easy", and rearing him/her will be just that. Their middle name should be, Tangy-Goodness.

What does all that rambling have to do with police work. Nothing. You expect too much from me.

I need you to lock your stinking car doors. All over Bangor, we are dealing with a roaming dipstick or dipsticks that are ransacking your belongings, dropping your registration paperwork on the floor of the Civic and taking things of value. How hard is this for us? Obviously, it is tougher than I think.

Lock your doors. Just use the little button on the remote, hold down the mushroom looking thingie on the door, push forward or backward on that tab near the handle. They even make it easy by marking it with orange. Lock it. Lock it. Lock it.
Some of us might even remember next time as a result of this.

I would be remiss if I neglected to mention Westbrook Police Department's feed, which is regularly updated with useful and helpful info, including major traffic updates when roads are closed due to crashes, links to confidential victim support services, historic photos from the force archives, pics of new and outstanding personnel, photos of suspects they are trying to identify, etc.
https://www.facebook.com/WestbrookPD/

Portland Police Department is online on Facebook as well, and they seem to be trying to up their game in recent weeks in an effort at matching Bangor's outreach. Let's hope they continue! We need it here, guys. I'm serious!:
https://www.facebook.com/Portland-Maine-Police-Department-121900037821056/

NOTE: For those wanting to know more details, Portland Police Department Detective Andjelko Napijalo's comic book, Nightmare Warriors, is being launched by a Kickstarter campaign (47 hours left and it's just over its goal). If you want to check it out, here it is:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/34629306/nightmare-warriors

Here's to all of Maine's women and men in blue, and especially to those who handle such a difficult and frustrating job by finding a way through all the stress to help us with a smile on their face or by offering a helping hand in the worst times of need and distress. Thanks for doing a job that would drive me into a straightjacket. Thanks for being on the other end when we call. Thanks for having a sense of humor when you hear things like, "Oh, nope -- he just dropped the bullhorn out the window." We're glad to have you here beside us in the light AND the darkness before the dawn.

If you love your Maine PD's Facebook feed or have a favorite weekly Maine police blotter that's still running, please feel free to recommend it in the comments, and I will post it! :)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

BIgfoot in Maine update

Over the last two months I have been putting out the call for information on sightings of Bigfoot in Maine. The reason for this is to fill in the blanks in Maine's historic record when it comes to sightings within this state of large mystery mammals, specifically hominids.

I have had a reasonably good response, and have been able to add a few new incidents to the record. However, I would like to add more. Perhaps optimistically, I theorize that there are many unexplained sightings in Maine that are not on record.

If you or someone you know has had such a sighting or experience, please feel free to call me on my cellphone at (207)450-6695, or email me at michelle.souliere@gmail.com -- or you can write me at P.O. Box 5302, Portland, Maine 04101.

For those of you who haven't had an experience of your own, but who are interested in what has been gleaned so far, I can tell you that I have one very interesting sighting from up in Aroostook County (and honestly I hope for more from this quarter of the state, along with the Allagash and Golden Road). I can also tell you that I have been surprised by multiple reports from the midcoast area.

I am very interested in speaking to more people who have had inexplicable experiences with large mammals in the Maine woods. The more interviews I can complete, the clearer the patterns and trends will become, I hope. Also, with more accounts, the historic record of Maine sightings will become more complete.

The end goal of this is to pull all these stories together, no matter how far apart in time and distance, in a single volume, along with Maine's historic sightings and cultural expressions of interest in Bigfoot. Because if one thing is completely clear, it is that Mainers sometimes encounter things in the woods that are not run-of-the-mill. And even if we can't figure out what exactly those things are, we are definitely interested in hearing more about them from people who have run into them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tell me your MAINE Bigfoot experience!

Dear readers,

Many of you know that for some years I have been working on writing a book about Maine Bigfoot-related stories, titled Bigfoot in Maine. It has been over 10 years since I began digging around in Maine’s history in search of stories about Bigfoot and other mystery hominid encounters in the state. Even though my research has uncovered dozens of interesting stories scattered through our state’s history, it's not enough.

It is clearly time for me to take the next step. My goal is to start tying in all the current stories that are floating around, and talk to folks about what they’ve seen out there in the Maine woods. While archive sources are a great way to learn about Maine’s history, the state’s living history is just as important as its past.

I know there are folks out there working the logging roads and up in the Aroostook regions who have seen things they can't explain. I know there are also stories from mid-coast and Western Maine that have not been recorded yet.

In the wake of Finding Bigfoot’s Maine episode, which aired Monday, January 11th, 2016, I am hoping the new awareness of sightings within Maine’s borders will encourage eyewitnesses to step forward and have their stories added to the state’s historic record.

I am now actively searching for Mainers who believe they may have encountered Bigfoot or similar unexplained large mammals within the state and are willing to be interviewed, whether via phone or via email. Those interested should contact me using the information given below.
-------------------------------------
Contact:
Michelle Souliere
email: michelle.souliere@gmail.com ← best contact method
cell: (207)450-6695 (evenings and by chance)
mail: P.O. Box 5302 -- Portland, ME 04101