Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cold ghosts of Bethel

The Boston Globe did a neat article about Bethel's haunted history on Halloween.
Maine town appears quieter than its ‘spirits’
By William A. Davis, Globe Correspondent
October 31, 2010

BETHEL, Maine — Centuries ago it was widely believed that Halloween, the evening before the Feast of All Saints, was the one time in the year when spirits of the dead freely roamed the earth. There are still people who believe in ghosts and some who think there are places where numbers of these restless spirits are present all the time.

One such reputed haunt haven is Bethel, an old resort town of some 2,400 year-round residents on the edge of the White Mountain National Forest. “I think we have a dozen ghosts here, maybe more," says Stanley Howe, research director of the Bethel Historical Society.
At The Oaks, now part of the Bethel Inn but built in the 1890s and once used as a clinic dormitory, there have been sightings of a mysterious woman in black along with sounds of high heels where no one could be seen.
The Chapman Inn, which like the Bethel Inn looks out on the common, is said to have at least one but possibly two resident ghosts. One is suspected of being the daughter of the building’s original owner, a girl named Abigail Chapman, who died in her teens in the house after a long illness; and the other a woman who had been her paid companion.

“We kept hearing from guests about strange things such as the sound of women’s voices coming from empty rooms, a mysterious black cat, and a girl in a white dress who disappeared,’’ says Fred Nolte, who runs the inn with his wife, Sandra Frye.

Read full article, including info about visiting the sites, here:

graphite from the Colonies !

As early as 1630, when the region known as Massachusetts Bay Colony would have also been the address for a contiguous southern Mainer, colonial explorers searched the area for resources that were of especial value in London markets. None less than Governor John Winthrop's son- also named John- began a graphite trade with the Nipmuc. The native Nipmuc mined graphite from the hills in Tantiusques (near today's Southbridge, Massachusetts) to produce ceremonial paints. Winthrop used the mine to supply English pencil manufacturing. The Tantiusques graphite mine is among the oldest mines in America, and its fame is also connected to Captain Joseph Dixon who worked in the mine and built up a crucible-making business and the famous Dixon Ticonderoga pencil company. The mine was closed in 1910.

Today, the mine site looks like this:

In 1901, George H. Haynes wrote:
The mine is situated in the midst of a tract of land, still wild and desolate.
StrangeMaine readers might know that Henry David Thoreau's family business was a pencil factory. Thoreau pencils were made in the Tantiusques region- and were used atop Mount Katahdin by Charles T. Jackson for the early geological surveys of Maine.

Read the whole story about this ancient mine here

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ghost Trackers on track for TV?

Back at the end of October, the Maine ghost hunting team called East Coast Ghost Trackers announced a screening of a pilot episode of their nocturnal adventures, which they hope to find a home for on the airwaves.

WABI TV-5 in Bangor reported on the story, interviewing Ken Ort, founder and lead investigator of the group. You can read their article and see a video clip of the interview on their website here:

A preview for the team's proposed show can be found here:
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1393827300379&ref=mf (I suggest watching the regular quality video, as the HD one tends to misfeed if your access is at all slow.)

You may recall hearing about the Ghost Trackers in conjunction with paranormal reports from Fort Knox, near Bucksport, when during their investigation they believe they encountered a manifestation of the spirit of Leopold Heghyi, who was stationed at the fort and was buried nearby.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cougar: "Ghost of the Maine woods"

The Bangor Daily News has published an excellent and extensive article about cougar sightings in Maine.
Despite hundreds of sightings, cougar’s status remains in doubt
12/3/10 04:50 pm Updated: 12/5/10 06:57 am
By Kevin Miller, BDN Staff

Roddy Glover said he will never forget the day a decade ago he came face to face with the fabled ghost of the Maine woods, a predator that according to virtually all scientific accounts no longer existed in New England.

It was mid-September 2000 and Glover, then 39, was scouting out some easily accessible spots along railroad tracks in Monmouth where, with an injured foot, he could more easily bowhunt for deer.

Standing on an embankment above the tracks, Glover saw a large, tawny-colored animal strolling toward him in the mud beside the railroad ties, he said.

“I thought, ‘That looks weird. It doesn’t look familiar,’” Glover, a lifelong hunter as well as a taxidermist, recalled recently. “It was friggin’ huge.”

But when the animal turned sideways, revealing its characteristically long tail, Glover said he realized with a shock what was headed his way: a mother mountain lion with its good-sized offspring in tow.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he said. “I just laid down … because I couldn’t run because of my foot. They started coming closer and closer, and they got within 50 yards of me when they turned and went into the woods.”

A biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife later would say in media reports that the tracks he documented at the scene were “the most solid piece of cougar evidence we’ve ever had.”

In the decade since, DIF&W has received scores of reports — and even some grainy photos — from people throughout Maine convinced they spotted a mountain lion crossing a road, stalking prey in a field or lounging in the sunny backyard like a gigantic house cat.

Reports of mountain lions — including one sighting near Greenville last month — have come in from all around the state in recent years. But officially at least, self-sustaining populations of wild cougars or mountain lions exist only in Maine’s history books.


Read full Bangor Daily News article here (this excerpt is only the tip of the iceberg!):