Friday, March 25, 2011

Ragged Isle! Episodes 1-3 online

Fans of Dark Shadows and other gothic Down East fare will be really thrilled to find that three episodes of locally-produced show "Ragged Isle" are now available online. If you really want a treat, click through to their YouTube page and watch them in HD. It's well worth it.

Bangor Daily News does a great interview with filmmaker Barry Dodd:
There’s something in the water. Something dark, mysterious and possibly hostile. Everybody on the small, insular Maine island knows about it, but nobody much wants to talk about it directly — except one newcomer, who appears determined to figure out what exactly is going on.

That’s the basic premise of “Ragged Isle,” a 10-part Web series that launched online at on March 9, with a new 10-15 minute episode premiering each Wednesday through May 11. The series was written, produced and directed by a group of Portland-based filmmakers and writers called the Entertainment Experiment, led by the husband-and-wife team of Barry and Karen Dodd, both natives of Waldo County and graduates of Belfast Area High School.

Read full article here:
For those who want to dig further, there is a blog with lots of behind-the-scenes material here:

EVENT: Fort Knox Ghost Hunters premiere

SyFy Channel’s "Ghost Hunter" TV program will air the results of its February investigation of Fort Knox, in Prospect, Maine, on Wednesday, April 6 at 9 p.m.! Shown here is Leon Seymore, of the Friends of Fort Knox, sitting with Amy Bruni and Grant Wilson of TAPS, ready for the "reveal" segment of the episode.

A live public screening of the "Ghost Hunters" Fort Knox episode, which is titled “Residual Haunts,” will take place Wednesday, April 6 from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. at the Bucksport Golf Club on Route 46.

The special event fundraiser, sponsored by the Friends of Fort Knox, will provide viewers an opportunity to meet people who have reported paranormal experiences at the fort and watch the show on a big-screen TV.

Advanced tickets for the Bucksport event are $7 in advance, $10 night of the event, and may be purchased by calling (207)469-6553 or stopping by the Friends’ office at Fort Knox. Attendees will receive snacks, and a cash bar will be available.


Facebook event page:

Friday, March 18, 2011

EVENT: Orono UFO interest group

WHAT: Meeting of UFO Interest Group (held 3rd Sunday of each month)
WHEN: 4:00-5:00PM, March 20, 2011
WHERE: Fire Sign, 50 Main Street, Orono, ME 04473
FMI: call (207)866-3626 or email

Join other locals for a monthly UFO interest group. Open discussion about past, present and & future UFO activity in a safe and anonymous environment. To register, call (207)866-3626 or email

About Fire Sign:
Fire Sign is a shop which features items for metaphysical and New Age interests, including books, incense, crystals, jewelry, candles, magazines, cards, Tarot & more. Check their calendar of events for more classes and interest groups, and information about tarot, rune, and psychic reading availability.

EVENT: Death & Civil War lecture

WHAT: Death and Survival in the Civil War, lecture
WHEN: Saturday, March 26, 2011, 10:00 - 11:00am
WHERE: Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress Street, Portland, ME
COST: Free, Donations Appreciated

The last lecture in the series, "Death and Survival in the Civil War," will take place on March 26. “Dead Men’s Pockets: Gettysburg Bodies and Other Stories” will be presented by Margaret Creighton, Professor at Bates College. Creighton wrote Colors of Courage: Gettysburg's Forgotten History which considers the legendary battle of Gettysburg from the perspectives of white women civilians, African American civilians, and immigrant soldiers. This book was a runner-up for the Lincoln Prize and named as one of the five best books on Gettysburg by the Wall Street Journal.

The theme of this year's Spirits Alive 3-lecture series was chosen in support of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War (2011–2015). The lectures offer insight into this country's greatest national crisis in relation to death and dying. It is estimated that up to 700,000 people, or 2% of the population died in the War Between the States.

About Spirits Alive
Spirits Alive is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Portland's historic Eastern Cemetery through a range of activities including promotion and education. Founded in 2007, the group carries out an active program of seasonal tours of the cemetery, a winter lecture series, and is conducting a stone-by-stone inventory of the nearly 4,000 grave markers still existing in the 340-year-old cemetery.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Maine Ghost Hunters on WCSH6

Back at the beginning of March, the Maine Ghost Hunters visited the studios of WCSH-6 here in Portland to answer some questions on their morning show. Check it out!


Maine's sister-state in Japan

Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture
Bill Nemitz did a great piece in today's Portland Press Herald about Aomori, Maine's sister state in Japan. I was not surprised to find out we have a sister state there, knowing already about Shinegawa's sister city relationship with Portland, but apparently many Mainers were unaware of this relationship, and how it came about.

I've posted the article below, but for a quick link to Maine efforts to assist Aomori in its own hour of need, here are a few starting points:

-- Maine Japan Earthquake Relief Effort on Facebook!/pages/Maine-Japan-Earthquake-Relief-Effort/110509232363317

-- Maine + Aomori Partners Relief Efforts for the Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster in Japan

-- Japan America Society of Maine

How the relationship started over 100 years ago is well worth learning. Let us remember that we have Japanese friends who are struggling through a very difficult time.
Linked by disasters, sister-states bond
March 16
By Bill Nemitz, Staff Writer

Late last week, as the horror of Japan's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophe was just beginning to unfold, Gov. Paul LePage issued a statement of condolence and prayer for the victims of that country's worst calamity since the end of World War II.

LePage also noted that Maine "has a sister-state relationship with the Prefecture of Aomori," about 150 miles north of the all-but-obliterated city of Sendai.

Sister state? When, some Mainers undoubtedly wondered, did that happen?

Well, it depends on how you look at it.

The formal relationship was struck by Gov. John McKernan in 1994.

But the story, as told in a 1997 speech in Aomori by a local resident, Kou Ootaka, goes back more than a century.

It was late October of 1889. The Chesebrough, a three-masted ship built by Arthur Sewall and Co. in Bath, had sailed from Maine to Japan with a shipment of case oil, refilled its hold with 2,300 tons of sulfur and was just getting under way on its long voyage back to the United States.

It had been a rough trip. A typhoon the previous month had heavily damaged the Chesebrough, forcing its 23-member crew to lay over in the port of Hokkaido for 34 days while the vessel was repaired.

Their luck would be no better as they finally set sail on Oct. 28. Another ferocious storm hit the Japan Sea the next day, toppling the ship's main mast and leaving Capt. Peter Erickson and his men helpless as the Chesebrough broke up and sank within sight of the Japanese village of Shariki.

Villagers came running to the shore and built bonfires. Fishermen boarded a rescue vessel and headed out to search for survivors.

They found only four.

"Are you Napoleon? Are you Bismarck? Are you Washington?" asked a policeman, trying to determine the sailors' nationality. At the mention of "Washington," they replied, "Yes! Yes!"

"They are Americans!" the policeman announced.

One of those pulled from the water, a man named Wilson, was unconscious and appeared to be near death. But something remarkable happened.

"At this time, one of the women who had brought food from the village, Mrs. Han Kudo, 45 years old and the wife of Mr. Yoshiemon Kudo, did not hesitate in public," Ootaka recalled. "She took off her clothes and hugged Mr. Wilson in the sleet to warm him up. People still say she looked like a heavenly maiden. Miraculously, Mr. Wilson was revived."

For days, even after the survivors recovered from their ordeal and departed for their long trip home, Japanese villagers found the bodies of other crew members washing up on their shore. All of them, including 40-year-old Capt. Erikson, received solemn burials.

And the Japanese never forgot.

At the top of a hill overlooking the village is a religious shrine. And near that is a stone commemorating the wreck of the ship from faraway Maine.

"Every year since the disaster, the people of Shariki hold a service for the sailors who lost their lives on that night in 1889," Ootaka said. And for 100 of those years, few if any Mainers even knew about it.

That changed in 1990, when the mayor of Shariki sent a letter to Bath City Hall to tell officials of the annual memorial service, and to lament the fact that in 100 years, no representative from Bath had visited the village.

That simple communication, and the visits between dignitaries from both communities that soon followed, led to the establishment of a vibrant sister-city relationship between Bath and Shariki in 1996. (The connection was expanded in 2006 to include the city of Tsugaru, which encompasses Shariki.)

It also spawned the sister-state connection between Maine and Aomori Prefecture, which in the past 17 years has included a variety of trade missions, cultural exchanges and business deals.

And now this.

Tuesday morning, representatives from four Maine organizations that have strong tethers to Japan – the Japan-America Society of Maine, the Maine-Aomori Sister State Advisory Council, Friends of Shinegawa (Portland's sister city) and the Maine International Trade Center – met in Portland to compare notes about the still-unfolding disaster and explore what might be done to help.

The news from Aomori could be much worse – the port of Hachinohe on the east coast sustained considerable damage from the post-earthquake tsunami, but nowhere near the widespread death and destruction that occurred to the south. (Shinegawa, near Tokyo, also escaped the brunt of the disaster.)

Still, Steve MacDougall, chairman of the Maine-Aomori Sister State Advisory Council, said the various groups feel a need to do something – starting with contacting their counterparts in Japan to ask how Maine can help.

They've also created a Facebook page – Maine Japan Earthquake Relief Effort – where they hope to provide firsthand reports and images from Japan and, just as important, links to various relief organizations that are collecting donations.

"We are so saddened by the tragic images coming out of Japan," MacDougall said. "We have no doubt that Mainers will want to come to the aid of one of our country's and Maine's closest friends."

One last thing about the wreck of the Chesebrough, as recalled in that speech by Kou Ootaka:

Not long after the Maine ship went down, a villager named Nakamura found a pear that had washed ashore from the Chesebrough's food stores. It was much better tasting than the smaller ones grown locally, so he planted one of the seeds in his backyard.

The tree – still there in 1997 – grew to 24 feet, Ootaka said. And every year as it bore its delicious fruit, Nakamura would pick 19 pears and lay one as an offering at each Maine sailor's grave.

Concluded Ootaka, "We have such wonderful history. We won't forget this."

Nor, in Japan's hour of need, should Maine.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

EVENT: Mechanic Falls ghost hunt

The Congregational Church, New Home to the Historical Society
WHAT: Mechanic Falls Historical Society ghost hunt demo
WHEN: Saturday, March 19 5:00 p.m. - 12:00
WHERE: 64 Elm Street, Mechanic Falls, Maine 04256
FMI: (207)345-3134
COST: $25.00

An authentic, hands-on ghost hunting experience is coming to Mechanic Falls on a full moon. The Mechanic Falls Historical Society in association with Everything Paranormal of New England will show how a paranormal investigation is done on Saturday, March 19 from 5 PM until midnight at the Mechanic Falls Historical Society, 64 Elm Street, Mechanic Falls (the former First Congregational Church).

Renee Alling and her troupe of investigators will guide, teach and show a paranormal investigation.

Mechanic Falls Historical Society website:{8F1AABA3-E2F0-410C-83B3-5B8381EB9991}

EVENT: Tomorrow! Gravestone symbolism

WHAT: William Macomber reveals elements of 'Gravestone Symbolism'
WHEN: Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 6:30pm
WHERE: Augusta City Center, 16 Cony St., Augusta, ME
FMI: Call Kennebec Historical Society (presentation sponsor) (207)622-7718 or visit

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries, and many interested in local and family history find themselves joining this group as they do field research.

Also of interest for taphophiles is Macomber's membership in the Maine Old Cemetery Association, and the Association for Gravestone Studies, which will hold its 34th annual conference June 14-18 at Colby College in Waterville.

Macomber noted that certain flowers and plants carved on gravestones have particular meaning. A broken tree trunk, for example, symbolizes premature death, while a weeping willow symbolizes grief, death and earthly sorrow. A wreath symbolizes victory in death, the indestructible crown and eternity.

Macomber will discuss these and other symbols during his presentation. “Hopefully, they’ll get a better idea of what they’re looking at,” he said.

If you would like to visit the Kennebec Historical Society, sponsor of the event, they are located at 107 Winthrop Street in Augusta, and are open to the public 10:00AM to 2:00PM from Wednesday through Friday, with additional research hours by appointment. They can be reached at (207) 622-7718

About Maine Old Cemetery Association
The Maine Old Cemetery Association, M.O.C.A., was founded in 1969 for the main purposes of locating old cemeteries in the state of Maine, encouraging the care and preservation of those cemeteries, and the gathering and preservation of historical information regarding these cemeteries.

The Maine Inscription Project (MIP) is THE primary project of MOCA. This entails transcribing all old cemeteries in Maine. MOCA is continuing to prepare its county cemetery listings for publication. This has been an ongoing project since MOCA's beginning. There are still many cemetery listings undone or incomplete. Contact us as to format and data collection procedures. Volunteers are urged to submit listings, updates and corrections for this project.

About the Association for Gravestone Studies
he Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) was founded in 1977 for the purpose of furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. AGS is an international organization with an interest in gravemarkers of all periods and styles. Through its publications, conferences, workshops and exhibits, AGS promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives, expands public awareness of the significance of historic gravemarkers, and encourages individuals and groups to record and preserve gravestones. At every opportunity, AGS cooperates with groups that have similar interests.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ghosts put on hold in Hallowell

The Kennebec Journal reported on the latest steps in CMPI's efforts to do an investigation at Hallowell's city hall building. Sounds like they really don't want them there, but don't want to come out and say it!
No ghost hunters yet for Hallowell City Hall
March 9
By Betty Adams, Staff Writer

HALLOWELL -- Paranormal investigators won't be seeking poltergeists at Hallowell City Hall anytime soon.

City councilors on Monday sent the investigators' requests back to the Property Committee to resolve some confusions.

In January, Holly Cooper of Central Maine Paranormal Investigations asked to observe City Hall for evidence of paranormal activity. The matter was referred to the Property Committee.

The committee then recommended the paranormal investigators carry liability insurance naming the city as insured, and that a police officer supervise the setup and takedown of equipment.

City Manager Todd Shea said one of the paranormal investigators he spoke with indicated the group does not purchase liability insurance.

Other councilors too wanted to be sure that the investigators would pick up the cost if police are called to for special duty to supervise the setup.

Mayor Charlotte Warren suggested possibly requiring a deposit.

Councilor Peter Schumacher will seek clarification of the issue at the next Property Committee meeting.

Hallowell City Hall, at 1 Winthrop St., was constructed in 1898-1899 in the Classical Revival style. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, because it located in Hallowell's Historic District.

Read full article here:
Back in January, Ms. Cooper broached the subject of an investigation at the council meeting. According to the meeting minutes, the request is very mild and unobtrusive in nature: "She asked to be able to come into city hall at night for a few hours to record some of the strange paranormal activities that have been reported. She will put together a package of what they document."

For those interested in seeing more of Hallowell's great wealth of historic buildings, there is a wonderful list of them which can be used as a walking tour on this page:{724BEFBA-4433-4E61-A6AD-04BC4A89956C}
Also at you will also find a brief history of the town, which rests on the banks of the Kennebec River, and aerial photos of the region which give a clear image of its presence on the riverside, as well as a detailed account of the ongoing restorations of their City Hall.