Thursday, June 28, 2007

Portland schooner with sea serpent tale to tell

Loren Coleman's post on Cryptomundo about a historical sea serpent eyewitness account is worth a read! Crewmen on the Portland schooner Edward Waite landed in Philadelphia and told their story to the press.

From the Plattsburgh [NY] Sentinel, May 30, 1884: "We were so much interested that I forgot to call the captain, who was below asleep, but all of the watch saw the thing as plainly as I can see the schooner there in the next dock. It was a sea serpent and no mistake." The complete article, with description of the monster, is here on the Cryptomundo page. Thanks Loren!

Bones in the mossbed - what next?!

A group of 10 biologists performing a field study on a type of wetland moss were surprised to find human remains suddenly appearing within the scope of their survey. Photo by Kate Collins of the Bangor Daily News shows the view from the scenic overlook on Route 9 in Aurora where fragments of a human skull were discovered on Monday, June 25.
Biologists stumble upon human skull, jawbone while studying moss
By The Associated Press wire report
June 26, 2007 01:22 PM

AURORA — Maine State Police have launched an investigation into a human skull and jawbone that a group of biologists stumbled across while studying moss samples in rural Hancock County.

The remains were found last week near a scenic lookout off Route 9 in Aurora, said spokesman Stephen McCausland. They belong to an adult male and are least two years old and possibly older.
[full article here: Source]
But that's not all... another article, this time in the Bangor Daily News, mentioned that this is the SECOND such event of human remains being found in Maine in recent weeks.
The skull found in Aurora was the second discovered in eastern Maine last week, according to police.

McCausland said another human skull was found in Milbridge last Wednesday by a surveying crew that was doing work on a private way off Rays Point Road.

"That one appears to have been buried and there was some wood nearby to indicate that there was also a coffin," he said. "It’s looks like it was a case of a burial site that was disturbed."

The skull in Milbridge appeared to be much older and was of less concern than the case in Aurora, according to McCausland.
[full article here: Source]

Crime spree group was in Maine in 2006

A group of assorted drifters who were recently brought to ground in Wisconsin spent part of their travels in Maine. Authorities are now attempting to track their activities over the last few years. The dirty deeds culminated recently in the murder of one of the group and the torture and imprisonment of her 11-year old son. Police discovered this when following up tips about a separate case of child abduction that had been connected to the group. Reportedly the group wound up in Wisconsin because they wanted to see snow.

"Larry Hartle, who lived with his wife, Sandy, next door to Sisk and Clark at 2005 Elm Ave., said Clark told him she operated an online sex business and read Internet horoscopes. He said he found that odd, though, because Sisk and Clark were always asking to use the Hartles’ phone and computer." [Source]

"Hahn said the group, with Sisk, traveled to Maine and purchased airline tickets to Alaska in November 2006. They didn't make that trip and instead arrived in Wisconsin in January. [Source]

"Hahn said investigators were trying to piece together the group’s activities and whereabouts across the country. 'We could have victims from all over in different parts of the country. Fortunately, it ended here,’ he said." [Source]

Explosive crime caper!

Back in February I posted on the upswing in daring thefts of catalytic converters (read article here). But recently two Maine youths went on a stealing spree at a New Hampshire junkyard that caused some unexpected alarm.
Junkyard owner tells of scramble to find thieves who unwittingly took an explosive primer
New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent
Saturday, Jun. 23, 2007

MILTON – Few people know better than junkyard owner Roger Libby the sort of weird things that are left in old cars.

So when Libby, a former ammo supply sergeant in the Army, found what appeared to be a small explosive primer in a car last week, he thought little of it and slid the charge, which looks like a shotgun shell, into a catalytic converter he was working on. He figured that he'd deal with it later.
Tuesday morning, Libby, who said he is a former Milton police officer, discovered the catalytic converter in which he stored the explosive primer had been stolen, along with 41 others. He and his business partner, Eddy Parret, sprung into action, trying to find the valuable car parts, not to mention the lost explosive.
Libby and Parret next checked with nearby junkyard owners, one of whom said kids driving a Chevy pickup had tried to sell some catalytic converters.

From there, Libby and Parret said they were able to track down at least two of the kids, both of whom confessed and told them where the parts were taken, allowing police to trace them to Madbury and Haverhill.
Libby declined to name the two youths who confessed, saying only that one was a minor and one wasn't, and both were from Maine.
[full article here: Source]

A 'Bloodless War'? Check the books!

Ever wonder about mention you might have heard of "Aroostock's Bloodless War" over one of Maine's northern boundaries with Canada? Well, there's a great writeup about it over at the Strange Maps blog, complete with .... you guessed it .... a MAP!

Don't neglect to scan through some of the comments on the post, many of which are equally interesting.

While you're there, take a moment to pop over to another important Maine cartographical landscape -- Stephen King's Maine! Strange Maps did their second post ever on it -- yeah, Maine ranks up there.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pet caskets booming business in Albion, Maine

Mainers have long been lauded for their ingenious use of knowhow to make a buck. This April, Matthew Dow of Dow's Wood Products made a splash on the AP wire when an article about his personal business venture arrived in the media. His idea? Custom-made caskets for Mainers' beloved pets. And why not?

Visit the Dow Wood Products website here.

Click here for a complete interview with photos Source

UFO in Vassalboro, Maine?

A letter to the Kennebec Journal raises the question! Is there anyone else out there who saw something interesting on the night of June 16th?
Regarding a possible U.F.O. in the sky on Saturday night (June 16) at 9:45 -- I saw a very bright light overhead moving slowly west to east over Vassalboro.

The light lit up the sky enough to catch our eyes and then, as we followed it moving slowly, it suddenly took off at an amazing rate of speed, faster then anything we've ever seen.

Did anyone else, curious or crazy, report this?

Robert Bryson


Original article here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Weekly Photo: Davy Crockett of Maine

Our last photo was of factory workers coming out of the old Calderwood Bakery on Pleasant Street in Portland, changing shifts way back in 1937.

Here is another photo, courtesy of Abraham Schechter, who runs the Portland Public Library's Portland Room. This time our photo is a Munjoy Hill photo, taken in 1955. Who is our intrepid young explorer, our young Davy Crockett? What did he discover about Portland during his reconnoitering mission? Is his perch still there today? Click on the photo for a larger version to inspect details.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Haunted Boothbay Opera House

The Ghosts of the Prairie has an interesting entry on the Boothbay Opera House:
The Boothbay Opera House
Boothbay Harbor, Maine

The Boothbay Opera House building was originally constructed back in 1894 and for many years, it housed the local headquarters for the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal order in line with the Freemasons. Later on, the building was turned into a theater and has hosted every story of entertainment imaginable for this small Maine town, including minstrel shows; plays; movies; town meetings and basketball games.... and if you believe the stories, it has also played host to a ghost.

No one knows who this resident spirit may be, although some have an idea, but he is said to haunt the second floor room that was the meeting place of the Knights of Pythias. Since 1949, visitors to the building have spoken of a strange presence in the room. It is usually said that the piano that is located here will play by itself, as if some spectral piano player is manipulating the keys. Different witnesses also recounted the same thing happening in 1957, during a town celebration and again in 1977.

Some believe that the ghost may be that of a man named Earl Cliff, who played the instrument for programs in the theater in the early 1900’s, but no one really knows for sure.

Boothbay Harbor is located east of Brunswick, Maine on the southwestern coast.

© Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor
Other mention of this haunted location online include a 2004 mention on a chatboard by member Gislebertus of an EVP from an investigation there: "The best EVP I ever heard was a tape I heard while we were investigating the Boothbay Opera House. The guy was from the New England Paranormal Assoc. played it and in the background you could hear everyone in the background talking about things that had been going on in the house... It was very informal and the people were sitting about 10 feet from the recorder. All of a sudden you hear this male voice go "HEY" clear as a bell and louder than the other people in the room. They didn't hear it at the time, it needed no enhancement as it was clearer than the other voices. When he played it, it freaked out one of my students so badly she had to leave."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hail to the Chief

You might notice him as an anomaly on the landscape, while speeding north on I-295 between Yarmouth and Freeport- and surely you've had a detailed look while tooling along Route 1 which runs exactly parallel to the highway. Minutes north of the world’s largest rotating-and-revolving model of the globe ("Eartha," at the Delorme Map Company: ), stands the Freeport icon everyone calls The Big Indian. PC language notwithstanding, he’s always been “The Big Indian,” and for us locals, The B.F.I. More often than not, the “F” is for “Freeport,” particularly in the company of children.

Driving by the Big Guy,
and considering the marketing circus that Route 1, Freeport has become, you might wonder how long he’s been standing guard as it were only a smoke signal’s puff away from Staples Cove and the Harraseeket River. Indeed, he is a landmark in our common knowledge: “Goin’ to the Muddy Ruddahh? If you pass The Big Indian, ya went too fahh,” or “Take a left at The Big Indian.”

The 40 foot statue isn’t a Maine native, but was commissioned by the owner of the old Casco Bay Trading Post, a moccasin-selling business which occupied the Freeport site back in 1969. The owner, Julian Leslie, had sought out the Pennsylvania sculptor of the 12 foot tall raincoated fisherman at Brown’s Motel in Boothbay Harbor, to have the Indian statue fashioned. Even in transit to Maine, The Big Indian made news. En route from Pennsylvania to Maine, on the New Jersey Turnpike, the flatbed truck hauling the Indian drew so many picture-taking and gawking commuters the State Police had to make the driver pull over and continue the trip after dark. Lying on its back like a sleeping giant on a rolling semi, a New Jersey State Police Chief phoned Leslie saying, “Your Indian created the biggest traffic jam on the New Jersey Turnpike.” (Portland Evening Express, 6/23/89).

The property- and The Big Indian- have since changed ownership several times. In 1989, when the retail area was owned by Levinsky’s clothing store, Phil Levinsky had the sculpture restored. The B.F.I.’s facelift included structural reinforcement and a repainting using weatherproof marine paints to bring back the Indian’s bright colors. The restorers even had to pull arrows out of the beleaguered Indian that had been shot by Bowdoin College archers. As the social landscape shifts in southern Maine, The Big Indian has seen it all- once standing in front of a Native American goods store, to clothing outlets, to a ski equipment company, and now an image-marketing firm.

(Remember: Big Indians appear closer in mirrors.)

Mystery Beast on the loose again?

Loren Coleman wonders, meanwhile a second lethal attack occurs...

Here is the first article from the Portland Press Herald:
Killings of sheep blamed on dogs
A coastal Maine farmer puts his losses at $10,000, saying several ewes were intended for breeding.
By ELBERT AULL, Staff Writer
June 4, 2007

Police said they believe a group of dogs is to blame for an overnight attack that killed more than a dozen sheep this weekend in Wiscasset.
Farmer Lee Straw left the carcasses out near the road Sunday while he waited for an insurance company official to photograph his losses.

"It's kind of too bad that people have to look at them, but if they'd keep control of their dogs, they wouldn't," said Straw, who runs Straw's Farm in Newcastle.

The sheep were part of a flock of around 30 at a pasture on West Alna Road.

Straw said he got a call around 5:30 a.m. Sunday from a West Alna Road resident who said the sheep were loose on his property.

He drove to Wiscasset from his farm in Newcastle and discovered the rest of his sheep running loose, along with several carcasses.

Only a couple of the 15 dead sheep showed signs of having been eaten, usually a telltale sign of a coyote attack, Straw said.

"These were just chewed up and left," he said.

The attacks were the worst for Straw in three years. He said he lost 17 sheep to a group of dogs in 2004, but police never found the dogs.

Police, along with Straw and the pasture's owner, said they believe a group of area dogs either jumped or pushed over the farmer's electric fence and went after the sheep. They said they do not believe the attack was the work of coyotes because few of the sheep were eaten.

"It has to be dogs, and more than one, because one wouldn't do that much damage," Officer Kathy S. Williams said.

Williams said no one in the neighborhood reported hearing the overnight attack, and police have no suspects.

She said the dogs probably toppled the fence, which delivers an electric shock on contact, to enter the pasture. She said the sheep were valued at around $2,000.

Straw said he believes the canines jumped his 4-foot fence. He said because about two-thirds of those killed were intended for birthing lambs, they would have been worth $10,000 over the course of several years.
[Click here to read full article: Source]
And here is the second article, from this morning:
Farmer loses 14 more sheep to dog attacks in Wiscasset
Police and game wardens try to discover whose dogs are responsible.
June 5, 2007
By ELBERT AULL, Staff Writer

The second dog attack in as many days decimated a flock of sheep in a pasture in Wiscasset on Monday, said police and game wardens.

West Alna Road residents found carcasses scattered throughout the neighborhood after the attack, which killed 14 sheep in the same pasture where more than a dozen sheep died the night before.

"Somebody has to know whose dog it is," said Lee Straw, 52, of Newcastle, a farmer who owns hundreds of sheep.

Police and game wardens spent much of Monday searching for clues to help find the dogs that are suspected of killing 29 sheep since Saturday night.

Investigators took hair samples and sent one carcass to a lab to measure bite marks.

Jeff Hunter, who lives about 50 yards from the sheep pasture, discovered the carcasses during a morning walk.

"I was having my coffee and cigar and I found another sheep dead next to my driveway, in a ditch," Hunter said.

He looked toward the fenced-in pasture on Bob Horne's property on West Alna Road and saw another carcass.

Hunter called Horne and the warden service. "What I saw was ugly," he said.

Investigators believe that a group of dogs, not coyotes, are to blame for the killings, said Mark Latti, a spokesman for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Few sheep were eaten, and coyotes attack prey for food, police said.

Straw, who runs a farm in Newcastle, has kept a flock of ewes on Horne's property for the past five years.

The flock trimmed and fertilized Horne's 30-acre field in return for the free stay.

It was an arrangement that ran smoothly until this weekend.

"We've never had this kind of kill on my fields," he said.

Horne said he checked on the flock after Sunday's Red Sox-Yankees game, which ended around midnight. The sheep looked fine, he said.

When morning came, Horne said, he and Hunter found carcasses "all over the neighborhood."

Straw said he believes that the same group of dogs was involved in both attacks.

He said that if investigators identify the dogs, his insurance company will likely seek damages from their owners.

Straw lost 15 sheep in the first attack and 14 in the second. The attacks whittled his flock on West Alna Road from 30 to just one.

Many of the sheep were pregnant ewes. Straw said they could have produced offspring and goods worth $20,000 during their lives.

Straw buried most of the carcasses on Monday, except two that had not been found and another that was sent to a laboratory.

On Sunday, he left a group of carcasses from the first attack near the road while he waited for an insurance official to catalog his losses.

Straw and Horne covered those carcasses with a tarp on Sunday night. He said he regrets not watching the flock overnight, with rifle in hand. He and Horne thought foul weather would deter predators.

"It was raining, and we thought we had them in a tight area," Horne said.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Lisbon Woman Owns Indecipherable Book

Viviane Dyer bought a weird book at a Farmington Falls auction in 1968. She's had it examined by academics and theologians, and no one can figure out what language it's written in.
"Rest milady!" wrote A. Baillargeon, in a 1983 response to Dyer. His letter was postmarked from the Vatican. "This semantic usage is impenetrable to all but long-bearded (Indians) who have toiled a lifetime in deciphering these languages."

Baillargeon told Dyer an archivist identified the flowing lettering as an obscure Indian dialect. Since his response, however, other scholars have said it's derivative of ancient Greek or perhaps a Slavic tongue.

Pere Raymond Giguere, a Dominican priest in Montreal, analyzed the text in 1980. His correspondence included conclusions the text is possibly Russian, but with the additional possibility of African origin.

Giguere's experts, to no avail, analyzed the book against 576 languages in which the British and French Bible Societies publish, he wrote. Its symbols seem to be derived mostly from Latin characters, the experts said, but with an apparent alphabet of 31 unique letters, as opposed to Latin's 26. [Source]