Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wanted: Haunted House

This item appeared in the Daily Kennebec Journal of May 24, 1905:
A man has advertised in a Lewiston newspaper for a haunted house, situated anywhere in the State of Maine. According to one report he wants it as a place of residence for some of his wife's people. It may be suspected, however, that his plan is to have some place in which to keep up spirits during the dry time now prevailing in the Pine Tree State.

Bin Laden Captured in Maine

Thanks for the lightning-fast tipoff from guest poster Carl on the Strange Maine Google site. Carl says, "Apparently he hates taxes too."

Full story here: http://news.mainetoday.com/updates/007754.html
Thomas J. Connolly, of Scarborough, a prominent defense attorney and 1998 Democratic candidate for governor was charged with criminal threatening this morning after an incident beside Interstate 295.

South Portland police were notified around 9 a.m. that a man wearing a rubber Osama bin Laden mask was standing on top of a berm along the highway carrying a sign that said “I Love Tabor,” and waving what appeared to be an assault rifle.

Four South Portland officers and two state troopers converged on the man. They drew their guns when he did not respond to their demand that he drop his weapon.

Police said instead he walked toward them dropping plastic hand grenades. His costume included fake dynamite and bandoliers, police said.

He eventually did drop the rifle, which turned out to be a toy and was arrested, at which time the man was identified as Connolly. He was taken to the Cumberland County Jail.

"The whole thing is just incredibly bizarre," said South Portland Police Chief Ed Googins. "It just crossed the line."

Connolly met with reporters briefly after posting bail to secure his release. Criminal threatening is a misdemeanor.

"There was a First Amendment this morning when I woke up. I don't know how it evaporated with the dawn," he said.

Connolly, a Portland attorney, has been known for wearing costumes to make political statements, typically donning a George W. Bush mask and dancing herky-jerky style for passing motorists. His wife has described him as "marvelously eccentric."
Connolly was carrying a sign that said "I love TABOR," a reference to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights on the ballot a week from today. But at least one of the people who saw it thought it said "I love the Taliban," Googins said.
Boy, what I wouldn't give for video of all of this. WOW! Mr. Connolly is nothing if not a character.

Those interested in the most affordable Bin Laden costume yet should check out these smart alecks' version, at Cheapie Creepys.

It's ALIIIIIIVE!!! Maine Impact Interview!

Happy Halloween, everyone! As a special treat, the guys over at the recently established Maine Impact broadcast website have a new podcast up which includes (at about the 13:30 time mark) an interview with yours truly, about the Strange Maine blog. Take a listen, I hope you all enjoy it! No tricks, I promise.

Strange Maine interview on the 10/31/06 Maine Impact Podcast
You'll be able to either listen to it on their embedded player, or download an MP3 of the interview via the little "AUDIO MP3" logo below the audiostream. The conversation swoops about through a number of Strange Maine elements, and wraps up with some fresh new goodies -- a wild new urban legend from Hallowell (more on this later on our blog), and a shivery ghost story that few people have heard before outside of my immediate family.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Back from the Dead

Okay. Fortified by the eerie glee of Dan Blakeslee's Halloween performance last night at Bubba's (which featured the also excellent Hot Rod Fury and Dead End Armory, not to mention the incomparably spooky DJ sounds of Matt Little), I am going to have a go at typing all this stuff up again, because I want you all to know about some cool stuff that's going on between now and Halloween. Wish me luck!!!


M I S E R Y novel by Stephen King
WHEN: Friday October 27, 2006 8:00pm, Saturday October 28, 2006 8:00pm, Sunday October 29, 2006 2:00pm
$: Ticket Price $20 Canadian
WHAT: Adapted by Simon Moore, produced by Capitol Theatre and Theatre Windsor. Misery is the story of Annie Wilkes, an obsessed fan of author Paul Sheldon. Misery is a psychological thriller certain to send shivers down your spine. You don't want to miss this one, and trust us...you don't want to make Annie angry. When you look into the abyss.....the abyss also looks into you. See Annie come to life like never before... She's back... and she's SCARIER than ever. Warning: Extreme language and violence
WHERE: Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre, Windsor
FMI: Call the Capitol at 519-253-7729 or on the web at www.capitol.on.ca


Haunted House
WHEN: Friday October 27, 2006 from 5pm to 7pm, Saturday October 28, 2006 from 6pm to 9pm
WHAT:Haunted House for all Ages. Put on by the Athens Rec Dept and the 8th grade class.
$: Free, but will take donations. All donations will go to help sponsoer 8th grade class Boston Trip.
WHERE: Athens Exhibition Hall, RT 150 Athens, across from Jim's Variety. FMI: Athens Rec, 431-1132


House of Frankenstein
WHEN: 8 p.m., Friday (10/27)and Saturday (10/28)
WHAT: Baron Frankenstein is bored trying to bring life to the lifeless so he instead tries to rid people of their vices. What?! Spend an evening rattling about between laughter and terror at this play.
WHERE: Waldo Theatre, 916 Main Street, Waldoboro
$: $12, or $7 for students
FMI: 832-6060 for reservations


Halloween Silent Film Night -- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
WHEN: TODAY! Friday, October 27. Costume contest at 7:00 p.m. (contestants should arrive before 6:45 for entry), film plays at 7:30 p.m.
WHAT: See this 1923 classic silent horror film accompanied as it should be by the gigantic, thundering Kotzschmar Organ! Guest organist Scott Foppiano will set the scene. Portland Ballet will perform two brief pieces, "Danse Macabre" and "The Funeral March for a Marionette," just before the film starts. Wow! Two of my spooky favorites.
WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, Portland
$: $10 suggested donation, $5 for folks in costumes, free for children under age 10.
FMI: Friends of the Kotzschmar online or possibly PortTix can also help at 842-0800


Haunted Hayrides
WHEN: beginning at 6:30pm every night through Halloween
WHERE: Next to Scarborough Downs, Route 1, Scarborough
$: $12, or $8 for children ages 6-12, free for children under 6. Cash only -- these ghouls like the old-fashioned stuff and do not accept credit or debit cards!
FMI: 885-5935 for reservations (encouraged)


Wharf Rats
WHEN: Friday Oct 27, Saturday Oct 28 at 7:30 pm, Tuesday Oct 31 at 9:00 pm (Halloween Show!), Thursday Nov 2 and Friday Nov 3 at 7:30 pm, Friday Nov 10 and Saturday Nov 11 at 7:30 pm
WHAT: Performed by Running Over Productions (infamous zombie-mongers so dear to my heart). An Original Suspense Thriller by Keith Anctil, Directed by Ariel Francoeur. Fog. Booze. Vermin. Murder.
$: $8 in advance at any Bull Moose Music location, $10 at the door.
WHERE: Presumpscot Grange Hall, on 1844 Forest Avenue (across the street from Tortilla Flats)
FMI:653-8898 (Joshua Douglas) or 409-3949 (Will Stewart)


The Passion of Dracula
WHEN: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30pm Sundays, through Nov. 12
WHAT: In a fresh-blooded version of the classic tale, director Michael Rafkin has done away with the stereotypical male predator/protector roles and given the stage over to a new breed of Draculas and Van Helsings. Do not fear, there are plenty of fangs and stakes through the heart still.
WHERE: Portland Players, 420 Cottage Road, South Portland
$: $17 opening night (10/27), $20 all other shows except for seniors ($18) and students ($15). No word on whether blood donors get a discount.
FMI: 799-7337 for reservations


All Hallow's Eve Horror Ball
WHEN: Saturday October 28, 9pm
WHAT: You'll not only see Goth darlings By Blood Alone, but also Taming the Shrew AND Covered in Bees. Taming the Shrew are a perfect Halloween band with angst and darkness running throughout songs like "Chamber of Thrills" and "Contessa." Covered in Bees are a Portland "death punk" band who like to sing about "Zombees," "Swamp Man," and care about their fans enough to warn them about dark woods and witches. 21+ show. Everyone's going to be in costume, so raid the wardrobe closet and show 'em what you've got!
WHERE: Pub 33, 33 Sabattus Street, Lewiston
$: FREE!
FMI: 786-4808


Ghost Train
WHEN: trains run hourly, at 4:00/5:00/6:00p.m., Saturday Oct 28 and Sunday Oct 29
WHAT: Halloween surprises along the track! Wear your costume on the train! Prizes for most creative costumes (age groups 5 and under, 6 to 12 years, and 13 years and over). Tour the decorated museum with its cabooses, parlor car, and ancient railroad artifacts!
WHERE: Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co., 58 Fore Street, Portland
$: $10, or $9 for adults age 62 and older, $6 for children ages 3-12, free for children under 3
FMI: 828-0814 or www.mngrr.org

A Haunted House
WHEN: Saturday, October 28, 6 to 10 p.m. Pretty scary at 6 p.m., very scary after 8 p.m.!
WHERE: North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth
$: $1 to $2 donation
FMI: 846-9051, ext. 357


A Victorian Halloween Magic Lantern Show
WHEN: Saturday, October 28, 7:00pm in Bangor, and Sunday at 2:30pm in Rockland
WHAT: Travel back in time with the boisterous fun of America’s only Victorian magic-lantern show. An authentic 1890s visual extravaganza projected on a full-sized screen…the kind of show that led to the movies! Halloween stories like Poe’s "The Raven", spooky animated comedy and outrageous songs—all dramatized on screen by a live showman and singer/pianist. The audience participates in the fun, creating sound effects, and joining in chants and hilarious sing-alongs! National Public Radio called it “… a living national treasure!” Produced by River City Cinema and the American Magic Lantern Theater
SATURDAY SHOW: Peakes Auditorium at Bangor High School, 885 Broadway, Bangor
SUNDAY SHOW: The Strand Theatre, Main Street, Rockland
SATURDAY SHOW: Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for 18 and under. Tickets available NOW at BookMarc's, 78 Harlow Street, Downtown Bangor and Borders at the Bangor Mall!
SUNDAY SHOW: Tickets are $12, $6 for anyone under 18.
SATURDAY SHOW: 989-9494 or for more information visit www.rivercitycinema.com
SUNDAY SHOW: www.rocklandstrand.com or call 594-0070


Spooky Stories
WHEN: Sunday, October 29, 2:00p.m.
WHAT: Storytelling by flashlight, with treats. Costumes are encouraged!
WHERE: Children's Museum of Maine, 142 Free Street, Portland
$: $6, free for infants under 1
FMI: 828-1234


Tales of the Supernatural
WHEN: Monday October 30, 7:00-9:00pm
WHAT: Storytellers Lynne Cullen, Lorna Stengel, and Jennifer Armstrong tell spooky tales for adults from England, Ireland and Scotland and from the Romany people.
$: Free, donations accepted.
WHERE: Bull Feeney's, 375 Fore Street, Portland


Party of the Undead
WHEN: Sunday, October 29, 10:00pm
WHAT: The Queers, Covered in Bees and Famous rock your socks off. Dress to impress! Costumes are encouraged (I know I'll be in one!).
WHERE: Geno's, 625 Congress Street, Portland
$: ? (usually around $5-$8)
FMI: 772-7891

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ghastly Goings-On

Well, I just spent over an hour typing up all the events that are going on this weekend, but then Blogger (or Internet Explorer) just *pfft* spirited them away in a blink, so since I don't have time to re-type it all, I'm afraid you're going to have to find a copy of the Portland Press Herald's "GO" section from today which has a massive day-by-day listing of the Halloween weekend events into next week! Great stuff! Go look now!!!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More Creepy Halloween Hauntings

Doug Harlow over at the Morning Sentinel reports on several terrifying new haunt attraction that will be open for Halloween weekend, some are even free of charge (although you may wind up paying in blood)!

Photo by Jeff Poulan shows T-Mobile senior manager Dan Digirolamo standing along The Haunted Trail.
A creaking door; the flash of moonlight on a sharpened knife blade.

A face peers from the shadows with a toothless, wicked grin -- then all is quiet.

Too quiet, perhaps.

Be careful this weekend. Be very careful -- after all, it is Halloween.
At T-Mobile on Kennedy Memorial Drive at the Waterville-Oakland line, the company's first Haunted Trail is set to run from 6-11 p.m. Saturday in the dark woods near the call-center headquarters.
"It is a haunted trail; it's going to be at nighttime and we are building things that are meant to be a little heart pumping -- certainly not for the little kids; but children, young adults and adults are all welcome."

Digirolamo, of Waterville, said the setting for the scary trail is a macabre logging camp where the chop-chop of the woodsman's ax means getting warm twice, as they say -- once from the fire itself and once from the hot blood of the victims.
The event is free of charge. The rain date is Sunday.

The haunted trail will include scary windows and scary doors along the trail, which runs about a one-third of a mile. There also will be graveyards, a scary wedding and a dark tunnel of some kind -- Digirolamo would not reveal much more.

He said T-Mobile has paid for much of the material and employee hours, but there also have been donations of time and lumber for the structures of the haunted logging camp.

"When the sun goes down on October 28," the Haunted Trail poster reads. "The screams are for real."
Over in Skowhegan, the Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring its annual Haunted Halloween Hayride at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday. Rides will go from 6-9 p.m. The rain date is Sunday.
And in Waterville, Colby College will hold its ninth annual Children's Halloween Extravaganza on Saturday from noon-3 p.m. The event is free and designed for children under 11.
In Clinton this year another Haunted Trail is scheduled to run Saturday from 7:30-10:30 p.m. at 499 Canaan Road.

"Come join the fun and be scared," is the rallying cry from the Clinton Haunted Trail "Enter at your own risk."

The trail can be found on Canaan Road, also known as Route 23, on the right about two miles from the Hinckley Bridge.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fort Knox Goes Bump in the Night

Once again, the folks up at Fort Knox are letting the demons and ghouls out to play! Tina Shute has a photo essay up on the Waldo Village Soup webpage that gives some tasty previews of the scares in store for you!

"The popular Halloween haunting will also be held 5:30-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27 and 28. Cost is $5 per person.

In addition, 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, is Kids Day, a tamed-down version of Fright at the Fort, which includes a costume contest and a parade. Cost is $3 per person."

Howling Halloween Stories

We've all got a few of them! In Portland, the area behind Deering High School became what was known as "The War Zone" on Halloween night. The trick or treaters that ventured out after dark who encountered their peers never knew quite what would happen next. Rumors abounded about goo-flinging sprees involving substances as varied as whipped cream, ketchup, and mustard, all the way over to the extreme of squirting Nair on victims' heads. You remember Nair, right? That white creamy goo that girls spread on their legs to melt the leghairs off? "We wear short shorts" commercials? Yeah, that's the stuff.

The first Halloween I spent in the Old Port, circa 1987, I encountered some of the best costumes I've ever seen, before or since. First there was the trio of pine trees. Then there was a trio of bananas. The guy with the huge mohawk standing outside of the State Street Church waiting for the Stagnation all-ages show to start didn't count. (Little did I know I'd have a mohawk of my own within a few years!) However, the guy dressed as a Ghostbuster who was chasing a monster up and down Exchange Street DEFINITELY counted. Cap it all off by sneaking into the R-rated "Lost Boys" which was then playing at the Nickelodeon Cinemas on Temple Street, and you've got yourself a great Halloween night!

So, what's YOUR Maine Halloween story?

Rats! A Tale of Too Many Tails

Local newspapers had a field day beginning in late September with news out of Richmond, Maine, that rats were running rampant in the town. Headlines included "Richmond residents revolted by ravenous rodents" and "Parents pepper officials with questions about rats."

The issue became full-blown when local parents received a September 22nd letter that informed them that the Marcia Buker School was one of the recipients of this rat population explosion. Parents' main contentions were over the fact that the rats had been in evidence at the school since June, but exterminators weren't hired to deal with the problem until mid-September.

"Principal Deborah Soule said rats have been crawling out of the ceilng tiles at night and doing a little chewing. She said there have been no sightings in the hallway by children, but one staff member saw a rat running across the parking lot and another said she thought she saw a little face peeking out of a ceiling tile." [Source]

Monday, October 23, 2006

EVENT: Wacky WCSH Film Archives

Northeast Historic Film 20th Anniversary Celebration and Screening:

The WCSH Collection
November 9
Maine Historical Society
489 Congress Street
Portland, Maine

Hosted by David Weiss, Executive Director, Northeast Historic Film.

This program will celebrate NHF’s 20th anniversary by highlighting one intriguing corner of their large archive: the WCSH Collection (1954-1998). Consisting of hundreds of hours of news footage, television documentaries, and advertisements, the collection documents life in Maine over a nearly fifty year period. Featuring everything from a 1957 forest fire, to political campaigns, to a 1978 disco competition, to Samantha Smith. Please join us for a look back at some entertaining, surprising, poignant, and funny selections from this important collection.

Refreshments will be served.
Free and open to the public.

Maine Historical Society

Guerilla Move Against Towing Pirates

In a surprise move, a Portland city councilor has turned the tables on local car towing renegades who have long held this cities' downtown residents in thrall. Any Portlander who has been awoken by the doom-laden sound of towtruck gear on the street outside their apartment, or has had to deal with the drivers' cutthroat attitudes when trying to get their car back before it gets towed away, will be happy to read this account.
Gorham bans towing on Munjoy Hill
Secret move prompted by anger over wreckers’ practices
By Chris Busby
October 20, 2006

(photo/Mich Ouellette)
Portland City Councilor Will Gorham had had enough. Tow truck drivers on Munjoy Hill had been speeding through the neighborhood, blocking streets, and bullying residents for months, he said. Then, this past summer, came the incident that finally pushed Gorham "over the edge."

A wrecker had a car on its hook, but had not yet moved the vehicle. The charge to get an unmoved car off the hook is $25; once it's been moved, it's $65. The wrecker driver saw the car's owners, an elderly couple, come out of their house to retrieve their vehicle. According to Gorham, the driver then "jumped in his truck, moved it two feet, and said, ‘Now you owe me $65.'" The couple did not have that much cash on them, so their vehicle was towed away.

"I said ‘F*ck this,'" Gorham recalled, and he got in touch with City Manager Joe Gray. "I said, ‘I want towing suspended immediately,'" and following a meeting with Gray, city parking division head John Peverada and members of the police department, Gorham got his way.
Gorham, who represents District 1 (the East End, downtown and islands) has kept the tow ban a secret, even from fellow City Councilors, because, he said, "I didn't want people taking advantage of it" by leaving their cars on the wrong side of the street. He also expressed concern City Councilor Karen Geraghty, who represents the West End and Parkside, will demand towing be resumed on the Hill.
"Tow truck drivers are out of control," Gorham said. "They don't give a sh*t." As another example of wrecker drivers' alleged callousness, Gorham noted the incident this past summer when a tow truck struck and killed a wayward moose on the Hill.

The drivers had been "acting like a bunch of freakin' renegade cowboys or something," he said. "We told them to slow down, and they gave us a big ‘F*ck you.'"
Gorham's other challenger, Kevin Donoghue, could not be reached for comment this afternoon. Neither could Gray, Geraghty or several other councilors contacted shortly before this article was posted. Councilor Cheryl Leeman, who represents East Deering, reacted to the news Gorham had done this by saying, "Good for him."

"It's the responsibility of the district councilor to take action, and he did that," Leeman said.

"I will be the first and foremost to say we have some tow truck drivers that give everybody else a bad reputation," Leeman continued. "They are relentless about this pursuit of $65 to an awful lot of innocent people. This has been an ongoing complaint for as long as I can remember."

Wrecker drivers "get a bad rap for a good reason," Leeman said, though she added not all the drivers are unscrupulous.

The Bollard was unable to reach any tow companies doing business for the city late this afternoon. Peverada said he's gotten no feedback from wrecker drivers about this decision.

Gorham has. "The tow truck drivers hate me for it," he said.

Chris Busby is editor and publisher of The Bollard. He can be reached at editor[at]thebollard.com.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Scared by Paper

The Morning Sentinel reported today about events in Shawmut, Maine, that took place on Tuesday (Oct 17), sending local emergency responders scrambling for their HAZMAT suits as they descended upon the small town. The mystery "white powder" turned out to just be paper dust, but responders are viewing the event as an effective test of their response times and resources.
Dust kicks up a scare
Staff Writer
Copyright © 2006 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc

FAIRFIELD -- Dozens of emergency responders descended on the rural village of Shawmut, off U.S. Route 201, Tuesday after a woman reported being burned by a white, powdery substance contained in her electric bill.

The substance, Fairfield police said later in the day, turned out to be nothing more than paper dust.
Police and fire officials said a call was received about 11:25 a.m. from the home of Grace and David MacKenzie on Bray Avenue, near a church in the picturesque village center. Police said Grace MacKenzie reported opening her electric bill from Central Maine Power Co. and immediately experienced burns and the numbing of her hands from a white, powdery material.

Hazardous materials units -- 40 or 50 people in all -- from Skowhegan, Sappi Fine Paper and Waterville were sent to the scene and set up trucks and equipment for decontamination. The MacKenzies, said to be in their 70s, were escorted from the house and hosed down in a special decontamination tent.

Capt. David LaFountain of the Waterville Fire Department, acting Tuesday as the hazardous materials operation chief for Team 5, also known as the Central Maine Emergency Response Team, said early theories had the material being a kind of corrosive chemical, such as Draino or sodium hydroxide.

"She did notice immediate burns to her hands and (she) was also symptomatic that it did create whitening spots on her skin, and there was relief when she went to the sink to wash it off," LaFountain said.

LaFountain said later in the day, after the material was determined to have been paper dust, that the incident could have been the result of two separate, unrelated events.

"My guess is that she was exposed to a chemical before she opened the letter and that caused the problem," he said. "It could have been two separate events -- opening the envelope was a coincidence.
Bob Higgins, director of the Somerset County Emergency Management Agency, said all the training done by the hazmat teams proved valuable Tuesday in a flawless response.

"This has been a combined effort between Somerset and Kennebec counties for a three- or four-year period for this," Higgins said. "These are trained specialists and they've put in a lot of time and effort in obtaining this training to provide protection for the citizens.

"Overall, it's gone real well -- you see it right here," he said. "The training always pays off."

Doug Harlow -- 861-9244 -- dharlow[at]centralmaine.com

Monday, October 16, 2006

Congratulatory Cake in the Face

In the wake of the Windham girls' varsity soccer homecoming win over Kennebunk, coach Wally LeBlanc was ambushed and force-fed a messy congratulatory dessert. Kudos to Windham Independent photographer Shawn French for catching a shot of the aftermath!

Who doesn't like a little cake in the face?

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Banner Day for Maine's Mystery Beast

Check out the banner Paul Szauter created for Sunday's Mount Desert Island Marathon. It fancifully depicts the mystery beast found dead in Turner in August, and proven to be a dog a couple of weeks later.

Loren Coleman at Cryptomundo asks:
So, is there anyone reading this that is running in the MDI Marathon? Can you pick up this banner for my museum’s collection? :-)
Update: Loren is indeed getting his banner.

Gravestone Artwear

Gravestone Artwear in York Harbor creates "Unusual products reflecting the evolution of early gravestone carving in New England." Products include T-shirts, cloaks, and sorcerer's pouches (perfect for the Harry Potter lover in your life).

Maine Reporter of the Year: LaFlamme!

Congratulations and much in the way of back-thumpings and arm-pumpings and a gargantuan "HURRAH!" to shake the rafters is due to the hard-working Lewiston Sun Journal reporter, Mark LaFlamme, who was surprised and overwhelmed by this stunning recognition.

Loren Coleman reports on the events of the October 7th award ceremony here.

LaFlamme is also a bang-up horror writer, recently fledged into the publishing world with his excellent and hair-raising tale The Pink Room. Take note, Mainers!

A 150-Year-Old Load of...

A tipoff from the very helpful Jason has allowed me to bring this exciting and stinky story to you on this lovely Friday the 13th!

In all my years of hearing stories about bats coming in contact with the Average Joe of America, very seldom have I heard such a courteous, common-sense response to them as a part of daily life. Hooray for the little mosquito-eaters! It sounds like these folks have given them a very friendly home all these years.

Hmm... I wonder what they're going to do with all that guano?
Removal of bat droppings from Corinna Town Hall attic costs $7,000
By Sharon Kiley Mack

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - Bangor Daily News

CORINNA - It’s going to be a nasty job, town officials admit, but someone has to do it.

"It’s been building up for 150 years," Town Manager Dalton Mullis said Tuesday, referring to tons of bat guano, or droppings, in the Town Hall attic. The droppings are several inches deep in places. "There is a lot there," Mullis said.

Corinna recently hired Northeastern Environmental Services of Pittsfield to remove the guano, mostly due to air quality concerns.

"Bats are protected," Mullis said, "but we need to remove the guano." The removal, which is part of the Town Hall renovation program, will cost nearly $7,000. Bats in the Town Hall — as in most historic old buildings — are no surprise to town office workers.

"This is a big building, an old building," Mullis said. "Occasionally we see one of the bats down here." The town office is located on the first floor of the three story structure.

"When they come downstairs, we see them quickly because the ceiling is white," Mullis said. But office workers just go about their business, paying no attention to the little mosquito-eaters.

"We don’t pay them any mind," Mullis said. "They find their way out or back up to the attic."

The renovation project includes the attic clean-out, a new ceiling in the auditorium, a roof repair and window restoration.

BLOTTER: Who's Serving Who?

The October 5, 2006, issue of the Windham Independent reported in their Police Scanner column the following:

Sept. 26, 7:11pm -- A 17 year old was charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor. He has been released to his parents. Officer Robert Hunt and Sgt. Michael Denbow made the arrest.

Our question is, was he serving himself?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

CFP: Time Out--Images of Play and Leisure in Maine

Eighth Annual Northeast Historic Film Summer Film Symposium
Thursday, July 19 - Saturday, July 21, 2007

Recognizing that play and recreation are integral facets of modern life, the theme of the Eighth Annual Summer Film Symposium is “Time Out: Images of Play and Leisure.” Since the late 19th century Maine has been known as a tourist destination for the original “rusticators,” to tastemakers who turned Acadia into a playground for the rich and famous, to working class families seeking a week of quiet camping and fun.

As Maine’s traditional economic bases in timber and fishing have declined, the state has been transformed into “Vacationland,” and tourism is now recognized as Maine’s largest employer. Other regions around the nation and throughout the world have witnessed similar changes, changes that speak to the increasing importance of play and leisure to individuals in the industrial and post-industrial era.

We invite papers and presentations that explore aspects of play and leisure as a subject of amateur and non-commercial film. We are interested in moving images that offer us a new historical, cultural, and critical understanding of play and leisure.

By examining moving images of play and leisure made by amateurs and for noncommercial purposes the aim of this symposium is to consider the details, diversity and perspectives on play and leisure time. Potential paper topics might include, but are not limited to subjects such as:

  • Involuntary leisure (e.g., TB sanitaria)

  • Work in the tourism/leisure industry

  • Shopping as leisure

  • Back to the land movements

  • Fairs, carnivals and festivals

  • The Playground Movement

  • Religious holidays

  • Hunting and fishing

  • Tourism Dept/Chambers of Commerce Films

  • Gendered play

  • Scientific studies of play

  • Travel by rail, air, automobile

  • Marginalized leisure (nudism, drug use)

  • The NHF Summer Film Symposium is a multi-disciplinary gathering devoted to the history, theory, and preservation of moving images. The Symposium is noted for bringing together archivists, scholars, and artists in an intimate setting. NHF is located in Bucksport, a town of 5,000 on the coast of Maine (for more info about NHF, visit: http://www.oldfilm.org).

    Presenters have a full hour in which to deliver their paper and engage in discussion with their colleagues. Typically, presentations are 30 minutes, including moving images, and followed by 30 minutes of discussion. The symposium is open to archivists, artists and scholars from all disciplines.

    Northeast Historic Film has become internationally recognized for its wide range of amateur, documentary, personal and industrial films of New England’s people and those who visit from throughout the world. NHF is the repository of over six million feet of film and holds an international reputation as a regional archive at the forefront of collecting, preserving and studying our moving image heritage. It houses a 125-seat cinema with 35mm, 16mm, videotape, and DVD projection, and we are looking for presentations that include interesting moving images.

    Please send 250-500 word abstracts outlining your paper ideas to the Symposium Program Committee at the address below. We prefer e-mail submissions, but will accept any format. We are happy to discuss your presentation ideas with you in advance of a formal submission. The Symposium Program Committee will begin reviewing proposals on February 1, 2007.

    Please send proposals and inquiries to:
    Eric Schaefer, NHF Summer Film Symposium Chair
    Department of Visual and Media Arts
    Emerson College
    120 Boylston Street
    Boston, MA 02116

    NOTE: If I recall correctly, I attended a showing of a similar presentation by this group at the Portland Museum of Art a few years ago, and enjoyed myself immensely! Highly recommended. --Michelle

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Help Shed Some Light on a Lighthouse Mystery

    Village Soup, one of my favorite Maine independent newspapers, is trying to drum up some assistance in identifying the mystery man in this old photo of one of Maine's many lighthouse keepers of yore!

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
    Help needed to identify mystery lighthouse keeper
    By American Lighthouse Foundation

    WELLS (Oct 10): The American Lighthouse Foundation is asking for the public's help in identifying an old photograph of a Maine lighthouse keeper.

    "As we continue to document and record Maine's lost lighthouse history, it's like finding gold when we discover a old photograph of a Maine lighthouse keeper. However, it's very disheartening when you uncover a old photograph and there is no indication of the name of the keeper or what lighthouse or lighthouses he was stationed at," said Tim Harrison, president of the American Lighthouse Foundation.

    "We are hoping that there is a descendant of this person residing in Maine who might recognize him," said Harrison. Another possibility the group hopes for is that someone from one of Maine's many community historical societies might be able to shed some light on who the keeper in the old photograph is.

    "There are some clues," says Harrison who pointed out that the old photo board was embossed with the name of the photographer, which appears to be J.C. Dalph or J. C. Ralph and also is clearly embossed with the name of Southwest Harbor, Maine indicating that the photographer was probably located in Southwest Harbor. "This might well indicate that the keeper was stationed at one of the lighthouses in the vicinity of Southwest Harbor," says Harrison, who continued by saying he might also have been the keeper of the U. S. Lighthouse Service Lighthouse Depot in Southwest Harbor. However, the keeper could also have traveled some distance to have his photo taken or been visiting another lighthouse keeper at the time.

    The unknown keeper in the photo is wearing a vest and jacket with brass lighthouse buttons and the letter "K" sewn on the jacket's lapels indicating that he was a Head Lighthouse Keeper and not an assistant keeper. His pocket watch shows a Masonic emblem surrounded by a horseshoe.

    Harrison said that from time to time old photos like this surface and no one knows who the keeper is. "If they had just written the name of the person on the back of the photo," says Harrison, "But I guess they thought, like many people do today, they'd be around forever, or someone would always know who they were."

    If anyone can help identify the lighthouse keeper they are encouraged to contact Tim Harrison at the American Lighthouse Foundation, P.O. Box 68, Wells, ME 04090 or call 207-646-0245. Harrison can also be emailed at Tim[at]LighthouseFoundation.org.

    EVENT: Haunted House at St. Lawrence

    Saturday, October 21st
    1:00 - 4:00pm

    Come see the St. Lawrence transformed into a spooky haunted house! We will have activities for the whole family, ghost stories, costumes, refreshments, entertainment and plenty of thrills!

    The St. Lawrence Arts & Community Center is located in Portland, Maine, on Munjoy Hill at 76 Congress Street. There is plenty of parking within a one block radius. Overflow parking available at Theriault/Landmann Associates 118 Congress Street (one block up at the old Whole Grocer) and Adams School parking lot one block behind us on Munjoy Street. FMI call 775-5568.

    Invisible Turd Haunts City

    Yesterday was the day of weirdness. Not only was it beautiful, but also when Portlanders stepped out of their doors in the late morning hours to enjoy the day, they found it was... stinky. My roommate, walking to work with her headphones on, had to laugh as she watched people on the street as, one after the other, they stopped, lifted one foot after the other, and checked to make sure they hadn't stepped in any dog poo (a too-common occurrence on Portland's dog-friendly streets). I did the same thing myself when I stepped outside -- 1. Stop. 2. Lift right foot. 3. Lift left foot. 4. Look over porch railing to see if someone laid a huge one in our side yard.

    It turned out to be a farmer over in Westbrook (story here on WMTW-8's website), who spreads his fields each year with chicken manure in preparation for next year's crops. The wind was blowing just right for the odoriferous concoction to waft its stinky banner of stench all the way over to downtown Portland. Peeeeuw!

    While it certainly was stinky, farm owner Llewellyn Rand's intentions are good. "'The commercial fertilizer is what these people would like, but that's where your cancers all come from -- the chemicals,' he said. Randal said that in years past, he used less odorous sludge from the South Portland Waste Facility as a fertilizer, but since that is no longer available to him, he is forced to use the chicken manure."

    Mysterious Gassing at Shaw's

    Last night my roommates and I, enjoying a stay-at-home evening, were unsettled by the large number of sirens we heard from emergency vehicles throughout the evening. Upon watching the early news this morning, I found out why.

    According to the news, a mysterious airborne substance caused dozens of people to be evacuated from the Mill Creek shopping center's Shaw's grocery store last night, complaining of a strange taste in their throats, a tightness in their chests, and with some victims even vomiting. The events occurred around 6:30 or 6:45pm.

    Emergency crews from nearby towns reported to the scene en masse, and credited recent emergency exercises that accustomed them to working across town lines with each other with the success and immediate cooperation that occured on site. According to WGME News 13, ambulances responded from as far away as Freeport.

    Coverage of the incident online:
    WMTW-8 (most extensive)

    While initially it was thought that the probably cause was a leak from the refrigeration system (i.e., freon or another chemical), that has since been ruled out. None of the news outlets can say what exactly the gas was from, though investigators continue to center their search on the store's heating and cooling ventilation system. The store is reopened for business as of this morning.

    WMTW News 8 interviewed one of the victims, Michelle Bento, who told them, "Just the back of my throat was burning, and the sensation. And I was short of breath, and my son, he was the same way. And when he got outside, he started vomiting, and that's when they grabbed us and brought us, and we went to Maine Med."

    By the time of the interview, Bento's son was bouncing around in back of her, grinning at the camera, so it seems like they both thankfully made a full recovery, as had the remainder of the victims who had been transported to local hospitals. According to News 8, "A spokeswoman and Maine Medical Center told News 8 that the hospital treated 37 patients for complaints of nausea, vomiting and burning throats. Officials at Mercy Hospital said they treated about seven patients, and another two were transported to the Brighton Rehabilitation Hospital."

    Friday, October 06, 2006

    UFOs Over Midcoast Maine

    This video, titled "UFOs Over Midcoast Maine," was posted to Google Video yesterday with the following description:
    I shot this footage in August of 2000. I had been watching aircraft laying out grids with their contrails one afternoon. I got out the camcorder and did some filming. I switched on the nighvision feature "nightshot" and put on an IR filter to see how the contrails looked. These contrails are now refered to as "chemtrails". The first part of this video has a few still shots in the IR spectrum and then video of a cloud reacting to a close passing chemtrail. It appears like the cloud is sprouting roots or fingers downward. I zoomed in close to see what I could see and there appeared a slow moving light. The second light zips into view and then they go below the tree line.

    I've had some former aviation professionals verify these lights as being in the sky and not insects or dust etc. The sky seems to be active still, I'm just not quick enough with my camera! [Source]

    Yet More Sea Serpents in Maine

    I've just posted at All Things Maine some historical accounts of sea-serpent sightings off Maine's coast. This is a follow-up to Sea Serpents of Mount Desert Island, but see also two posts here at Strange Maine: Sea Serpents in Maine and Sea Serpents in Maine Redux

    Along Came a Spider...

    James Lee of Levant has had the best of luck and the worst of luck lately.

    Last month, he won a brand new Volvo by finding a winning game piece for the "Pirates of the Caribbean" game in his Big Mac extra value meal.

    A couple of days ago, he drove into a tree "after being startled by a spider that got into the vehicle."
    While trying to get it out of the SUV, his vehicle smashed into a tree Wednesday morning.

    Lee walked away with a bloody nose caused by the air bag.

    It could’ve been worse. He wasn’t driving his brand-new Volvo XC90 because he hasn’t yet taken delivery, according to Darling’s Volvo in Bangor. [Source]

    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    EVENT: Ghost Stories @ Spiritual Horizons

    From the latest calendar e-mail of Spiritual Horizons:

    October 24, Ghost Stories, an Open Discussion
    We will have an open discussion of myths and truths of ghost stories tonight. Bring some of your favorite stories and insights to share.

    Unless noted all meetings take place every other Tuesday, 7:00 - 9:00PM at the Adams Center at 75 State Street, Portland, ME.

    Open to all. Donations are welcome.

    FMI www.spiritualhorizonsmaine.org

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    Special Halloween issue of the Gazette!

    Just when you thought it was safe to go to the newsstand, the October issue of the Strange Maine Gazette hits the streets! Issue #5 is bright purple and covered with ghosts, so it is darn hard to miss. This issue veers away from fact and history to focus on everyone's favorite Halloween pasttime, SCARY STORIES!!!

    Starting with a quick note on Maine's own breed of ghost chasers, it proceeds to run amuck through the ghastly fields of Lovecraft's terror of the northern woods of Maine (The Thing on the Doorstep), Maine poet Edwin Arlington Robinson's short and shivery poem about The Tavern in his imaginary Maine town of Tilbury, and a recent fictional account of what was seen after the Cumberland County Fair by yours truly.

    Cavorting with glee around all these tasty textual treats are a host of haunting illustrations created as a special treat for readers of this issue.

    Have a great October, everyone!

    Poetry Comix #8 is out and about!

    Look for free copies in various local spots, including Strange Maine, the store, at 578 Congress Street, Portland, Maine. I've also dropped copies at The Kave in Bucksport!

    Issue #8 has a killer line-up of some very talented folks that are getting their fingers inky for you, including Emily Maiden, Bob Bergeron, Joe McVetty, Greg Souza, Sean Newton, and a brand new submittor, Boo (of Covered in Bees fame!).

    What are you waiting for? --SUBMIT your comic for issue #9 now!!!

    The guidelines are very basic:
    1. Art should be 8 1/2 x 11 (one piece per issue can be 11x17 for the centerfold) and photocopy-ready. It can be up to 4 pages in length, if it needs to be, though most folks stick to 1 or 2 pages.
    2. What do you do? Well, pick a poem, song lyrics, or a lyrical fiction excerpt that you would like to interpret visually, and go to it! We're pretty liberal here. Have fun!!!3. Submit by mailing to me at:
    Michelle Souliere
    Poetry Comix
    P.O. Box 8203
    Portland, ME 04104
    You could also get away with dropping it off at Strange Maine care of Brendan or Michael or whoever else might be working.

    Email me with any questions! michelle.souliere(AT)gmail.com

    Poetry Comix is a black and white zine that is distributed in the Portland, Maine area and elsewhere free of charge. And it's a good way to get up off your butt and do something FUN!

    EVENT: A grave announcement

    a grave announcement
    Originally uploaded by misfitgirl.
    Hi all, just a note to say that I am holding an opening reception for my gathering of graveyard photos during this First Friday Artwalk, October 6, from 5:00-7:00pm at Geno's here in Portland. Geno's is located at 625 Congress Street, Portland, Maine.

    The exhibit will run from October 6th - November 1, 2006.

    Photos are of graveyards and tombstones from around Maine and elsewhere, as taken by myself and my good friend Amie Neikirk. Please stop in and say hello! We will also have on hand copies of the latest issue of the Strange Maine Gazette.

    In Search of Sea Serpents

    Guest post by Loren Coleman

    Where is Cassie?
    As the leaves turn bright colors, it is time again to ponder the disappearance of Sea Serpents from along the Coast of Maine.
    Please Read Full Post...

    EVENT: 24-Hour Comic Day

    From the Casablanca Comics weekly news e-mail:

    This Saturday is the day....24 Hour Comic Day. We have lots of participants this year so it should be a fun event. Each artist will be attempting to write and draw a 24 page comic in 24 hours. The event will be held at the Maine College of Art on Saturday starting at 10:00 AM. Pre-registration is required, and the deadline is tomorrow.

    On a related note, if anyone would like to donate any snacks for the participants, they would be most welcome.

    FMI you can call the store in Portland at (207) 780-1676!

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    EVENT: Stroudwater Burying Ground Tour

    It's autumn! Join the world of the dead for an atmospheric fall tour of their land along the water.

    Tour Portland's historic Stroudwater Burying Ground, first used in the 1720s. See graveyard art and learn about burial customs of 18th- and 19th-century Stroudwater Village.

    WHERE: Meet at the entry to the Stroudwater Burying Ground on Westbrook Street, just past the Congress Street intersection.
    WHEN: Tours will be held on two different nights:
    Friday, October 20 at 4:30 and 7:00pm
    Friday, October 27 at 4:30 and 7:00pm
    COST: $7.00 each -- Reservations are required!

    For more info and to make reservations, please call the Tate House at (207)774-6177 or Elizabeth Oatley at (207)892-8812.

    You can view a topographical map of the cemetery's location here.

    Monday, October 02, 2006

    EVENT: Pirate Party in Bath!

    No, not in a bathtub, silly! In Bath, Maine!

    Saturday, October 28

    5:00-8:00pm at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath.

    Take part in pirate games and a treasure hunt, hear pirates' tales around the bonfire, sing sea shanties, visit the haunted pirate ship and much more! $6 per person or $20 per family in advance. $7 per person or $25 per family the day of the event.

    FMI (207)443-1316.

    Sunday, October 01, 2006

    Fright at the Fort

    The Friends of Fort Knox are resurrecting their Halloween event "Fright at the Fort."
    Visitors are treated to a frightening experience as they make their way through historic Fort Knox’s dark passageways where they encounter ghosts, goblins, ghouls and other indescribable scenes of the macabre. Fright at the Fort was not held in 2005, but attracted over 10,000 visitors in 2004.

    The event will take place the last two Fridays and Saturdays, October 20‚ 21 and 27, 28, from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. (visitors are asked to arrive by 8:30 p.m. and children must be accompanied by an adult), admission to Fright is $5 per person. [source]
    The Fort will also offer a "low-Fright children's day" the Saturday before Halloween.

    I remember going to Fort Knox when I was a little kid and finding it creepy even without the ghosts and ghouls.

    The photo above is from the Flickr photostream of Elle Michelin. For more eerie images of the fort, see the collections of Night Owl City and cottergarage.