Strange Maine

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Haunting Attack in Lewiston Cemetery

Photo of Riverside Cemetery by Dan Bernard, used by permission of the artist.

This article originally appeared in the October 2008 issue of the Strange Maine Gazette.

It’s not uncommon for me to collect new and interesting stories from friends and strangers as I make my rounds with fresh issues of the Gazette. Earlier this year, Matt told me of his terrifying experience in one of his hometown’s cemeteries. He was deadly serious when he told me this story, which is one of the reasons why, come Halloween time, it came to mind again. He was kind enough to take the time to sit down and record his account for me.
About a year ago (Saturday, October 20th, 2007, I believe), my brother Mike, his now ex-fiance, and I decided to take a walk in the Riverside cemetery near my old apartment in Lewiston. It was a crisp Autumn afternoon, sunny with a slight nip in the air -- nice walking weather.

We entered the cemetery at the Summer Street entrance and took the first right, down past the winter storage sheds, then took a left along the edge of the hill, toward the river. We stopped at a nice, quiet plot with a small stone bench. I picked up an empty 24-pack of Natural Ice beer that some bozo had no doubt dumped the night before, and put it in the trash.

After a minute or two, we continued on our way and turned right along the side of the river. A leashless dog came running toward us, followed a moment later by its owner. The owner caught up to her dog just as it started to squat down and relieve itself in front of someone’s tombstone.

As soon as the owner was out of earshot, I commented to Mike and Nikki about how disrespectful it was to let one’s dog defecate on a burial plot, and not even have the decency to clean it up. They agreed. This led me to mention the kicked-in stained glass windows on the doors to the Libby Mausoleum.

Neither Mike nor Nikki had ever seen the Mausoleum, so I decided to lead them up to the secluded glen where it lies. Almost immediately after we got there, I started to get the feeling that we weren’t welcome.

There was a tension building in the air, and I felt like someone was glaring at me. Nikki was picking up on it too, and decided to attempt to communicate with the presence. I started to get really cold, and told Mike and Nikki that I was getting some really bad vibes off the place. When Nikki lit up a cigarette, I felt a shift come over the air, like it had become charged, and I felt my stomach bottom out.

I had turned around and was actually walking away from the crypt when I heard Nikki yelp, followed by a loud cracking noise. I turned just in time to see Nikki running towards me as the top half of a birch tree snapped off and came crashing down where we had been standing. As the shock of what had just happened started to sink in, I became acutely aware that the presence I had felt at the mausoleum was now bearing down on the three of us.

I started to run as hard as I could, occasionally looking over my shoulder to see if Mike and Nikki were okay. I never actually saw anything tangible, but still got the sense that, whoever or whatever it was, was not very far behind me until I had passed the winter storage shed.

The chill I felt while at the crypt lingered with me for the next day or so. I couldn’t stay warm. Nikki also could not keep warm, and she claimed that she could still feel the presence lingering about her for a few hours after the encounter.
Ironically, when I went online to see if I could come up with any imagery of the Libby Mausoleum, the only thing I found was a photo on by an acquaintance of mine, which was accompanied by the tale of an injury she incurred while trying to take a photo of the mausoleum. Uncanny, you say to yourself, as did I.

She pulled something in her leg while climbing the short slope to the tomb’s entryway, and the self-timer on the camera snapped its shot as she grabbed at her leg in pain. She comments, “I heard, did not feel, heard, a huge crack and then snap. For a fraction of a second I though my calf had cramped up. Then the pain came!”

So is the Libby Mausoleum cursed? It seems more likely that perhaps it harbors a jealous and protective guardian spirit that is sick of vandals and even the most innocent gawkers intruding upon the peace of the mausoleum’s location.

The disrespect shown to Riverside Cemetery’s “guests” (as their website refers to the buried dead, see is not uncommon in Maine’s graveyards, but to those who find solace in these quiet places, and to those like myself who use them as a source in field research, this behavior is effectively destroying connections with our history. Riverside’s caretakers have openly announced a $500 reward for information leading to the apprehension of the culprits of the latest wave of Riverside Cemetery vandalism.

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At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello im teshia and i was really amazed by your article on riverside cymetery in lewiston friend and i her name is michelle like to go to the cymetery at night around midnight and take pics and we have had some weird expirences there. like weird orb pics or just the unexplained we also had some really weird feelings of a presence that didnt want us there period if u would like to see the pics just email me at and we would like to share how we felt on the nights we went! thanks so much for reading this and i hope to hear further of any new hauntings in lewiston at the cymetery..

At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I was wondering who i would have to ask to spend a night there with video equidment digitals cameras and such.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Hello Anonymous-- I would contact the cemetery association through their website at

Thanks! :)

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i live in lewiston i have and still go to riverside all the time to walk and have peace and quiet i have never seen felt or heard anything that i would consider paranormal or anything that made me feel as if something didn't want me there and i sit at the libby tomb all the time and all hours of the day or night but i do talk to "Mr. Libby" when i go there and say i am just visiting and will pick up after myself and i have never had any thing happen to me i believe people go there expecting there to be ghosts and get themselfs so nervous that every little natural sound they hear gets them spooked i do not believe the soul follows the body in the ground if they are hanging around it would be where they died or lived when they died who wants to hang around there decomposing body for all time give me a break

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in the Lewiston area and have worked at the company that now owns the Libby mansion. If anything, Mr. Libby hangs around the mansion. My coworkers told me that he likes to ring the doorbell at night. I have visited Riverside Cemetery many times and never felt the slightest bit uncomfortable or afraid, even when visiting the Libby mausoleum.

At 12:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I ran across this when looking to see if anyone else had come across activitie in this graveyard. I lived for three years on the riverside dead end road that runs next to it. In the years that I lived there My sister, a few friends and I had a few experiences. It took until I finally decided to leave for some of the experiences to stop. None of my neighbors could contest to having such issues. Our house still lays empty and unsold. We refuse to go back. If the owner of this post or anyone else would like to contact me they can reach me at this isnt my first paranormal activitie. Im searching for answers on why things like this happen to me. What it is that attract these kind of things to myself.

At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went near that crypt before and nothing happned to me or my boyfriend.

At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is kind of interesting that out of the three people (including yourself) only two felt the unwelcoming presence. Even more interesting, both of you are female. Mike the only male out of the three of you, felt nothing. He seemed to react only because of your reaction and his ex's reaction. Maybe the "presence" has a dislike for female intrusion only. Maybe the vandals that are intruding on that area of the cemetery have in sme way a common tie to the female gender?

At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well I have a group and were looking for some haunted places were me and my group can investigate. Does anyone have any ideas were we can go!!! I really need some ideas

At 11:17 PM, Blogger dudeofwrath said...

I went there this past week and took some pictures. I didn't see or feel anything, but then again, I grew up playing in that cemetery. If there are any spirits there, I would surly be recognized as one of the neighborhood kids. But I do remember around the time I was 12 or so (1990) hearing a VERY LOUD strange sounding yell coming from Riverside 3 minutes after leaving at sunset. Scary sound, I can still hear it in my head.

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Roof Masters said...

Wow, what an interesting story. I love hearing paranormal stories and I'm actually surprised to hear that this is from my hometown, Lewiston. I know the exact location of this attach... Never want to go near there again!

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply not true the Libby mausoleum is where I go when I feel sad or when me and my fiance go on walks that is where we sit,we have never felt unwelcome,actually we feel peaceful and happy!

At 7:19 PM, Blogger PatriotsBlogger said...

I find this story incredibly hard to believe, me and my brother often go to the tomb and sit on the steps....nothing has ever happened. And we have pictures of us on the steps. So.....idk.

At 5:54 AM, Blogger paranormal talk said...

My name is Corey I live in Lewiston I tend to visit river side almost every day it's weird I'm drawn to that place many nights just going there but one night me an my girl friend we were sitting on the emerson s plots some reason I feel connected to them. But one night full moon a little fog rolling of the river I see this black shadow I do sense in normal things but we were sitting there I turn an there is a black shadow complete black just waiting over there by the tree my Gf don't see or sense the things I do but she knows I'm drawn in to what ever it is then I see a light blue outlined girl at this time I've freaked my girl out cause she knows what I see so she said a we gotta go but I just stair an walk towards these things I see she grabs my arm an pulls I now realize something is wrong we start walking up the path past Libby tomb creepy thing is we walk past a smaller tomb my girls name is Alison Neal the tomb said A.Neal so we are walking mind you she is know freaked the fuck out but as we were walking there was no wind what so ever but as we got to the gate almost a single flag just started blowing.

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous J-me Moore said...

I plan on going tonight i am also planning on starting my own paranormal team.

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visit it quite often, I always feel like something is watching me when i'm alone i'm not sure if it's paranormal or not but it creeps me out


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