Sunday, December 30, 2007

Those Darn Cell Phones

The West End News reported on an interesting turn of events during a Portland crime investigation:
Cell Phone Helps Cops Catch Teen
by Marge Niblock

Officer Kent Porter received a call on November 29, at 4:20pm, about two teenagers who had stolen DVDs at Guitar Grave, 441 Congress Street. Porter was met by the store's owner who said he'd chased one of the thieves down Elm Street and then lost him near Portland High School. During the chase the youth dropped his cell phone, which was turned over to the officer.

After Porter saw a number for "Mom," he dialed it, got her name and address, and was told her son wasn't home yet. Police were waiting to arrest him upon his arrival.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

John Lennon's death and Stephen King

Well, I've heard a lot of interesting stories and anecdotes about Stephen King, but this has got to be the most peculiar. To sum it up, the far-gone conspiracy story originates with Steven Lightfoot, and "Lightfoot is the guy who thinks that there was a conspiracy to kill John Lennon, involving Nixon, Reagan, various police departments, and Stephen King. King, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Mark David Chapman, supposedly pulled the trigger."

The information comes from Donna Kossy, author of Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief, and founder of the online Kooks Museum. Her Steve Lightfoot Exhibit is online at The exhibit consists mostly of rant-and-rave texts produced and distributed by Lightfoot in a campaign to inform the public about the facts of the event as he perceived them.

He stalked King for years, even moving to Bangor (at least according to his far-fetched account of events). Talk about fringe elements...

Great shots of snowy Maine!

The nifty blog Five Squirrels has some pretty sweet shots of Maine covered in snow (a familiar sight for us over the last few weeks). Take a peek by clicking here! There's a nice variety, 6 shots taken by Mindy in different places near her, posted just a few days ago. Since I haven't had a chance to get out with my own camera, these'll have to tide both you and I over until I do!

92-year old surprised by early obituary

There's nothing like reading your own obituary in the paper to get your attention!
Wrong Maine woman declared dead in obit
By Aimee Dolloff
Saturday, December 15, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine - Anne E. Hathaway was somewhat shocked Friday when a friend called to see if she was still alive.

The Orono resident’s obituary had appeared in Friday’s Bangor Daily News. The information in the short obituary and the list of death notices was correct, except for the part about her being dead.

The deceased was actually Ann Hathaway of Bangor.

Both women had made advance funeral arrangements at the same funeral home. When pulling the file for the deceased Ann Hathaway, the funeral home employee didn’t realize there were two women with very similar names and grabbed the wrong one.
At 92, Hathaway admits she’s no spring chicken but said that she’s not dead yet.

"I just laughed," Hathaway said. "I went to the pearly gates and opened the door and they didn’t have any strawberry shortcake and they didn’t like the way my hair looked."
"It’s just a matter of us checking the vitals a little more carefully," a funeral home employee said Friday.
To read the full story, please click here: [Source Photo by John Clarke Russ of the Bangor Daily News.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The City Has Ghost Streets : Part 1 - The West End

With this new and occasional series, Strange Maine visits what can no longer be seen in the city of Portland: streets and sites whose references are merely their ground coordinates. Replaced, plowed-over, or built-over, these are the city's Ghost Streets whose silent witness is in the ground of the Forest City's very roots. Their documentary memory is fragmented, yet evidenced, in ancient maps and archival documents, but beneath the surface their stories are sensed in the spirit subsumed...

What we now see is surely not
all that has been
and whither one may travel in the state of Maine country, city, farm, and shore, the present day is built upon substrata that call to those who need only scratch the surface.

Portlanders who call the West End home may hastily pass by the sprawling Reiche Elementary School, which- for folks who are unfamiliar with the city is the neighborhood at the western rim of the peninsula city- seems an anomaly in a densely-packed district of 18th and 19th century houses and triple-decker apartment buildings.

On a second glance, the school's 1970's architectural contrast with the houses standing around it may be cause for curiosity, as well as the suspiciously levelled expanse in the heart of an ancient residential quarter, once known as the Bramhall Hill area.

The pictures above and below attest to over 40 homes which had been entirely demolished in the early 1970s; these are from the ghost lane called Bradford Street. The street and all its homes, in addition to Varnum Street, are completely gone. (Above is a view of 9 Bradford Street; below, the home at Number 11.) The photos were taken in 1924, and the one below shows a gaslight street lamp. (Photos may be enlarged by clicking on these smaller versions.)

Above is a duplex that was on the Numbers 17 & 19 Bradford Street lot. Today this is topped by the school yard, and behind this building is today's Aurora Provisions, on Pine Street. The child pictured, playing in the street, may have gone to the Brackett School- which is todays' Fresh Approach Market, at 155 Brackett Street.

Below is a livery-stable, likely converted into a garage with the advance of the 20th century, on the even-number side of the no-longer-existing street. Perhaps the cafeteria stands above this.

And here (below) is today's surface- the humble "Bradford Walk" sign attached to the Reiche School building. Note the architectural style of what continues to stand sentry on Clark Street, and how identical it is to what was- on Bradford and Varnum Streets.

Now a map, showing the area in 1914- from the Richards Atlas of Portland streets. The peripheral Pine, Brackett, Spring, and Clark Streets encompass the Reiche School area, and excluding the row of buildings along Pine (at left), everything else you see within that periphery- including the streets themselves- were demolished and leveled in 1972. In the Richards Atlas, yellow indicated a wooden structure, and red meant brick.

Now we move a ghostly block- now existing only in spirit- to the southwest, and find Varnum Street. Immediately below is the Varnum Garage. Note the 1920s vintage gasoline pump- and the unique roof- which can be recognized in the Portland Evening Express picture further below, taken for the March 14, 1972 article, describing- not the structure or the displacement of some sixty households, but the magnet school to be built over the large site.

Like the once bustling Bradford Street, Varnum Street is understatedly memorialized by barely detectable plaque (right, in the photo) upon the Reiche School. In the background is the old Brackett School, which is now Fresh Approach- or for West Enders with memories extending before the 1990s, the late and beloved Good Day Market Co-op.

Below- two more from Varnum Street: Number 16 and Number 14. These were close to Clark Street, and we can see how these are also architecturally harmonious with prevailing Victorian styles typical in the West End. Look closely at the one immediately below, with a for-rent ("To Let") sign in the front window (and snow piled into the side entrance). The house at lot Number 14 has a Mansard "Second Empire" style roof. When you visit the Reiche Branch of the Portland Public Library, your steps have been warmed by those of the woman pictured in this scene- and an innumerable number of pedestrians- and vehicular traffic.

And once more, below, a view taken today- this time the side of the Reiche School which faces Spring Street (named after an ancient fresh-water spring in the neighborhood). Notice, in the far background, the mouth of the still-existing Spruce Street. Now scroll up to the map and see how Spruce Street once extended all the way up to Brackett Street. That block of Spruce Street is indeed a ghost street- all its homes leveled and paved-over. On a map made in the 1850s, Bradford Street was called Peach Street; now we can imagine a web of streets near one another called Pine, Peach, and Spruce. Perhaps the trees themselves, with the Dutch Elms, have ghosts too.

And finally, a murky 1924 image of Varnum Street. When you are strolling Cushman Street, and notice how it is abruptly cut off by the hard curb bordering the school yard, you'll have found where Varnum began. What were in those containers, in the picture? Whose lives were situated in these apartments? How do parts of our selves and our souls begin- and remain- to inhabit our living spaces? Might place be transcendant of structure? The City indeed has Ghost Streets that speak from beneath and beyond.

Holiday Greetings 2007

Well, it's been a great year here on the Strange Maine blog. We topped 60,000 hits, reached our 2 year anniversary in October, and overall had a great time. I met Loren Coleman, Glenn Chadbourne, and countless other friendly Mainers who intrigue me to no end. Abraham Schechter began adding his lore and research to our archives. I heard a lot of interesting stories which I'm hoping to get onto the blog to share with all of my readers. After two years of walking the path of Strange Maine, I can say with all honesty that I feel at home here still, and I love every minute I spend here. And I will never run out of interesting material!

The last few months have seen a slowdown of posts on the blog, and with the New Year I'm hoping to remedy that as I shift around some of my other obligations that have been leaving the blog unfairly short of my time and attention.

I'd like to take this moment to thank all of my readers, both the new ones and the regulars who have been with us for what seems like a long time now. Thank you for letting me know how much you like the site, and for bearing with us in our slower times. We promise great things as the years go on, and we hope you'll stick around to enjoy them.

We have some great stuff in the works -- interviews with Glenn Chadbourne, William Dufris of "Nightmares on Congress Street" OTR recording fame, exploration of Maine bigfoot sightings, exciting talk about Mark LaFlamme's new book and other great strange Maine fiction, and more, more, more! So stay tuned -- I promise you won't be disappointed.

As the year turns, I would like to share one thing with you all for sure -- my new tattoo. For almost two years I planned on getting a tattoo that commemorates my love of the strangeness of Maine. I finally drew up the design and set a date in late October 2007 with Wil Scherer, at Sanctuary Tattoo in Portland. After three hours in the chair, this was the result. It's official! Once I get organized, I'll be producing t-shirts with the design on them as part of a fund raiser for the blog and the Gazette.

Monday, December 03, 2007

EVENT: Massive Maine Movieshow @ Merrill!


On Saturday January 12th 2008, Motion Media, a Maine Entertainment Company, in association with John Lane Films and Emptyhouse Film, presents "A Night of Maine Film and Music" at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland Maine.

The events of the night include a film fair featuring various vendors from the Maine film and music community. The Film Fair will be followed by a performance by local musicians LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE, then, the world premiere of the horror/comedy MONSTER IN THE WOODS. The film will be followed with a performance by COVERED IN BEES and capping off the night, a screening of the zombie film "2".

"Monster in the Woods" tells the story of two Cryptozoologists sent to the remote backwoods of Maine to try and track down the elusive Bigfoot. All hell breaks loose when a high stakes reward is offered for the capture of the creature- dead or alive, and the Cryptozoologists race against time to try and maintain the beasts' safety. Click here to see a trailer for the film.

The zombie film "2" tells the tale of two survivors of a bio-terrorist attack that has turned everyone around them into zombies. Both films are feature length and contain adult content. Click here to see a trailer for "2".

Further details will be announced soon for "A Night of Maine Film and Music" including surprise guests, giveaways and much more. Stay tuned to, WBLM and WCYY for chances to win prize packs.

Tickets are $19/ADULTS $17.50/STUDENTS & SENIORS and are available through PortTix in person or by mail at 20 Myrtle Street, Portland, Maine 04101. To charge by phone, call PortTix at 207-842-0800. Internet sales at!

For more information, contact emptyhousefilm[at]

4:30-6:00 PM- FILM FAIR

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Maine/Quebec's lake cryptid needs love!

Guest post by Loren Coleman:

Ponik Needs Your Love

Quebec and Maine share aquatic cryptids seen in Lac Pohénégamook, which are “supposedly” some of “the ugliest-headed monsters around.” It may be time to send them a little love.

Investigate Further:

Photo caption: "The mayor of Escourt, Mr. Gaston Painchaud, indicates from his balcony the place where in 1957 he saw the monster in Lake Pohénégamook."

Images from forum discussion of Ponik!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Tukey

Maine Strangeness may be found in the least-expected crevasses and corners of our dear State, even (and surely) among documents and archives. A small detail may draw our glimpse- such as it does, at the Portland Public Library, this time in the Portland Room's map collection.

Indeed, though many Miles from Standish, notwithstanding Pilgrimage nor Courtship, and far from Plymouth (having Forded no water beside that of Back Cove), we are replete with Thanksgiving for the stuffing that now brings Tukey's Bridge to our feasting table. And that's no gobbledy gook!

While conserving an 1871 map of Portland, printed by F.W. Beers (in New York, take note), a modest detail caught the attention of the Archivist...
(Photos can be clicked to be enlarged)

...first in the smaller map, giving the layout and legend of the following larger maps, and...

...then in the detailed map, the name of Tukey's Bridge- a name that has existed from 1796 and continues today...

...has been printed throughout the Beers Atlas as Turkey's Bridge. An anomaly we have not seen on any other map of the city- old or new.

Just below is a picture, correctly labeled, as printed by the City of Portland, for the 1897 Municipal Annual Report, showing how the bridge appeared in its era as a swing-bridge which allowed passage for the city's trolleys and traffic between Munjoy Hill and East Deering.

John Tukey was among the settlers in the Portland region when, in 1744, it was still known as Falmouth. Tukey was a shipwright, and among his 14 children, all born in Portland, was William Tukey who had been among the builders of the Portland Head Light, the first lighthouse built in Maine.

Here is the present manifestation of the bridge, still as ever known as Tukey's Bridge. Above is a view from Munjoy Hill and below, a view from Baxter Boulevard.

And, finally, a detail from a new map...

(The "R" has been correctly (and thankfully) dropped- something that rarely happens in Maine??)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Small Plague of Rabid Cats in Norridgewock

The State of Maine's Health Officer released an alert about rabies on November 8th after a second rabid cat was found in Norridgewock, Maine.
To date, three domestic cats have tested positive for rabies, two in the town of Norridgewock and one in Greene; during 2006, six domestic cats tested positive for rabies. An average of one domestic animal per year has tested positive in Maine since 2002.
The continued incidence of rabies among domestic animals has prompted the State’s Health Officer to remind Mainers to be aware of animals acting aggressively or not exhibiting their normal behavior, and to vaccinate their pets.

Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH 207-287-3270
Or John Martins, Director
Employee and Public Communications (207) 287-5012

For more information on animal rabies in Maine, see the Maine CDC website or call 1-800-821-5821.

Photo Essay including Strange Maine store & Geno's

Thomas Michael Corcoran has a great style of journaling -- little photo collections and collages made of everyday passing-bys. In this entry in particular, he visits Brunswick and then Portland, and gives a little mini-tour of Congress Street, including the Strange Maine store (shown here) and Geno's Rock Club. Good stuff! It caught my eye, so I thought I'd point it out to any interested parties.

If you like what you see, he has plenty of other entries, mostly based Augusta.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Ghoulish Word from Glenn

No Maine autumn would be complete without a word from Maine’s own spooky artist, Glenn Chadbourne. Here we bring you a selection from an interview with the fiend himself. I’ll post the interview on the website as I transcribe it, so keep your eyes peeled!

- - -

As the month of August waned, I and intrepid Strange-Mainiac Stella Hell set out on a sunny day on our quest to visit Glenn in his well-appointed den of darkness. As we settled in to the Chadbourne house’s darkly furnished livingroom for our little chat, it seemed inevitable that the subject of cemeteries would come up.

SMG: In “The Hairy Tale of Lou Garoo” from your comic Farmer Fiend’s Horror Harvest, the characters talk about places that are “just off.” Are there any places like that you’ve encountered or heard of?

Glenn: There was a spot off the railroad tracks when we were kids here in Newcastle that was an old overgrown boneyard out there, a graveyard from way back when. There was an urban legend that one of the stones glowed. So when we were kids, around Cub Scout age, we’d creep out there, but no one would head for the stones or dare to go up and check them out, we were wimps.

According to the town of Newcastle’s Comprehensive Report (dated 2/6/06), “At least thirty-six cemeteries have been identified in Newcastle. Most are old and private with the oldest dating back to 1758.” The town today has a population of about two thousand living souls.

Newcastle isn’t the only place in New England where tales of a glowing tombstone have proliferated. A close neighbor of ours, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has one of its own which is well documented online and elsewhere (for instance, see or read Curious New England: The Unconventional Traveler’s Guide to Eccentric Destinations by Joseph E. Citro and Diane E. Foulds).

At the time I interviewed him, Glenn was up to his neck in artwork for the much-anticipated second volume of Secretary of Dreams, a fully-illustrated collection of Stephen King stories published by Cemetery Dance. The work looks terrific. Glenn showed us the stack of black and white pages, as well as a handful of gorgeous full-color pieces that will be featured in it. The book officially went on sale the other day -- I placed my pre-order as soon as I got the e-mail notice! You can order your copy at Cemetery Dance.

Stay tuned for a contest here on the blog -- we'll be giving away a couple of copies of Glenn's album by Nick Noxious and the Necrophiliacs, courtesy of Morbideus of Maine's own Postmortem Productions.

The Headless Halloween of 1940

This story made its debut in the October 2007 issue of the Strange Maine Gazette. I'm still hoping to do further research on the story, and would be very pleased to hear anything from folks who have any information or recollections about the events of that Halloween.

- - - - -

Halloween, while the haven of horror movies, pranks, and thrilling, terrifying darkness filled with unknown things, is still viewed as a mostly harmless occasion to indulge in the shadow world that is forbidden territory the rest of the year.

On Halloween night in 1940, however, events in Rockland, Maine, took a turn for the worse, and over the next week or so a story emerged in the Rockland Courier-Gazette that was as grim and grisly as today’s worst Hollywood imaginings.

John B. Phelps, 54, got in an argument with his 16-year-old stepdaughter Pauline Young yet again. Only this time, things went horribly, horribly wrong for Pauline.

Nine days later, police found Phelps wandering the streets near the police station around 2 o’clock in the morning, “bleeding profusely” from a suicide attempt, and ready to confess to his step-daughter’s murder.

The details of his hospital bed confession to Sheriff C. Earle Ludwick shocked an already wary town. A good number of the details created further questions in people’s minds.

For a week or so before the incident, Pauline had been avoiding her home at 28 Crescent Street, staying with a friend. On Halloween she returned home, planning to leave shortly thereafter. She never had the chance.

Phelps locked the doors of the house to prevent her leaving before her mother could get home from her job at the almshouse, although later he would tell Thelma Phelps that Pauline “ran out the back door.”
“She cursed me,” said Phelps, “and came at me with a butcher knife. I threw a hammer at her and it struck her on the forehead. [...] I didn’t know what to do with the body, but finally removed the head with an axe and a knife. The body I dragged down the cellar stairs, and wrapping it in burlap bags put it out through a cellar window under the piazza.”
Neighbors reported hearing four screams followed by a “dull thud” at the time of the incident. This did not necessarily agree with Phelps’ version of the events. Both of Pauline’s younger siblings were at play in the home’s dooryard during the time of their sister’s murder.

In the week after Phelps’ confession, neighbors spoke freely to the press, revealing that Phelps had acted “wild” the day after the killing, and did such peculiar things as asking Mrs. Alice Rich if she “noticed an awful smell,” and offering police the use of his pickaxe and shovel during the early days of their search.

The police search following Phelps’ confession uncovered five of the six burlap bags that he claimed to have placed Pauline’s body in. Although his story on when exactly the dismemberment occurred differed from telling to telling, the location in which the bags had been left was accurate. It must have been unnerving to realize that when they had come by earlier in the week to look for clues to the girl’s disappearance at the request of her mother, those grisly packages had been there the whole time.

The question that remained uppermost in local authorities’ minds was where had Pauline’s head gone? Taking the police to the northeast corner of the Maine Central wharf on the afternoon of his confession, John Phelps pointed into the murky depths of the Atlantic and cried, “There’s where I threw it; down there!”

Days passed, divers were called in, the harbor was dragged thoroughly, but no head was found. Stories circulated among local kids about where it could be. Adults pondered whether Phelps was cunning enough to have hidden it somewhere undiscoverable in order to hide “marks which would prove that more than a single blow was administered.”

Arraignment of Phelps occurred a week after his confession, at which time he pled “not guilty.” He spoke no other words during the court session. By the time of this turn of events, efforts to uncover the head were being abandoned, as the diver engaged to pursue the missing appendage had continued to stay away, and authorities decided that “the head has either become embedded in the soft bottom, or has drifted away from the wharf…”

The following Wednesday, Thelma Phelps announced plans to retire to her husband’s hometown of Danforth, Maine, with their two youngest children. Presumably Pauline’s younger sister, 13-year-old Evangeline, remained in the Pownal State School (later to become known as Pineland) where she resided at the time of the murder. Here ends the paper trail as it exists in the Rockland Public Library’s collected file.

I picked up the trail again in Home Front on Penobscot Bay: Rockland During the War Years 1940-1945 by Merriam, Molloy, and Sylvester. In the chapter titled “Crime of the Forties,” the story continues with Phelps’ indictment on February 13, 1941.

According to Home Front, Phelps pleaded guilty to murder, and two other charges, of mutilation and disposing of a human body, were filed. He served a life sentence at Maine State Prison, only released on parole “some thirty years later … to an out-of-state nursing home, where he died.”

Home Front co-author Theodore W. Sylvester, Jr., grew up playing on the streets of his neighborhood, which included Crescent Street, home of the unhappy Phelps family. He speaks of it in the chapter “Youthful Recollections”:
They never found the girl’s head. There was a lot of speculation and stories going around. The one that impressed us most was that the Phelps home was forever haunted, and that the head was buried under the porch. It was literally years before any of us would walk past the house – day or night. Sometimes we would race past the house on our bicycles, but that was the extent of our courage.
The book’s information about the case isn’t limited to dates and anecdotes. Among the interviews in Home Front is that of Cecile “Cis” Moore and her husband James A. Moore. Jim came to Rockland in 1940 as a Portland Press Herald correspondent. That first year he found himself present at Pauline Young’s autopsy at the Burpee Funeral Home.

The reporters didn’t actually get to watch the autopsy – the view was blocked by a screen. However, they “could hear the doctor describe the wounds to a nurse, who recorded the findings.” The doctor borrowed the knife of one of the reporters, Ray Sherman of the Bangor Daily News, part way through the operation, though after washing it off before returning it to Ray he remarked on its dullness.

By this point the newsmen must have been thankful they were spared the raw imagery. The stench alone was described as “nearly unbearable.” Cis recalled that it was months before Jim could eat a hamburger again.

To this day, the folks of Rockland who grew up with these events still wonder about what happened. The few who have tried to do research have come up with very little information. The story seems to have hidden itself away with Pauline’s missing head.
- - -
Special thanks to K. Gordon, who tipped me off to this tale, and to Dan O’Connor at the Rockland Public Library, who helped get copies of relevant newspaper clippings to me.

All material in this article (including photos), unless otherwise cited, can be found in issues of the Rockland Courier-Gazette from November 1940. I’ll be digging into this more, but so far it’s been a bit of a boggy march with lots of dead ends.

As a side note, I would highly recommend the book Home Front on Penobscot Bay: Rockland During the War Years 1940-1945 by Merriam, Molloy, and Sylvester to anyone interested in what coastal Maine life was like during World War II.

Monday, November 05, 2007

EVENT: Ghost Story performance WED 11/7

Having just arrived back from the ghost story themed World Fantasy Convention of 2007 in Saratoga Springs, NY, I find it my great pleasure to have brought with me the eminent British performer, Robert Lloyd Parry. He is here in Portland to tell you a tale, two tales actually... tales of delicious dread and ghastly ghosts.

He has brought to Portland his show "A Pleasing Terror," in which he performs a telling of two M.R. James stories. The atmosphere is perfect -- a darkened room, lit only by candlelight, allows those in the audience to develop a wonderful sense of suspense as the tales emerge and come to life in the shadows around them. Believe me, it is not to be missed. It is a must-see for any fan of ghost stories, Victoriana, or storytelling.

WHAT: One Longfellow Square and Seanachie Nights presents A Pleasing Terror
WHO: performed by Robert Lloyd Parry
WHEN: Wednesday, November 7th, at 8:00pm
INFO: Tickets are $10 and are available at or by calling 207-761-1757. Also available at Bullmoose Music locations. Free parking available behind Joe's Smoke Shop.

To find out more about Mr. Parry and the performance, please visit his website at

M.R. James is perhaps one of the most famous (and deservedly so) writers of ghost stories in the history of supernatural literature. If you haven't encountered him yet, please do pick up a copy of any collection of his short stories and find yourself a few spine-tingling delights for a cold November night's reading. Brrr!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

TONIGHT! Horror Stalks the Airwaves!

Radio drama rises from the dead this Halloween as WMPG unleashes a triple set of tales of terror. From 8:30-10PM on October 31st all manners of ghouls, gods, and ghosts will infiltrate the eardrums of listeners with tales by Mind's Eye Productions/William Dufris, The Grist Mill, and an original by Portland's own FinalRune Productions.

A demon may be loose in the world, but no one believes him. A god forgotten since ancient days confronts an awestruck human. Two friends head to a haunted house and awaken an ancient evil. The terror is non-stop Halloween night as we hear H.P. Lovecraft's "The Statement of Randolph Carter," Joe Lansdale's "God of the Razor" (winner of the 2007 Ogle Award), and Frederick Greenhalgh's "Dark Passenger."

This live audio event is a collaboration of WMPG DJs Eric Poulin and Frederick Greenhalgh, the latter of whom runs a weekly show dedicated to audio theater called Radio Drama Revival! Listeners can tune in to WMPG at 90.9/104.1 FM, stream online at, or hear the podcast of the presentation after the fact at

Photo features Chris Reiling butchering a pumpkin while Philip Hobby screams in terror (see on YouTube )...

Curious? You can also hear the promo for the whole thing online.

Who is this William Dufris, and why is he trying to scare the pants off of you? He is a Maine native, hailing from Houlton. After a 13 year residency in the UK, where he had the distinct pleasure of regularly performing in a number of BBC Radio Plays, as well as producing for The Story Circle, he returned Stateside in 2001, only to discover a lamentable lack of audio theatre in the area. He immediately sought out a number of theater friends and acquaintances from his pre-UK days, with the intention of producing a localized War Of The Worlds, a la Orson Welles. However, the events of 9/11 put that idea to rest, and thus was born the series Nightmares On Congress Street (with its obvious allusion to Nightmare on Elm Street). His original plan to produce a 'live' horror disaster set in Maine finally came to fruition with "The Horror Of Walker Point." But don't rest easy... he still intends to realize his original plans for A War Of The Worlds, but for now...).

Thanks to Mr. Dufris for pointing out that tonight WKIT 100.3 FM in Bangor (Stephen King's radio station) will be doing a Halloween broadcast of some old Nightmare favorites, as well as a new piece from The Tales From The Crypt series.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Zombies Invade Biddeford!

Anyone who was in downtown Biddeford on Saturday night may have been alarmed to see small groups of zombies staggering down the street. Thankfully they were not ripping limbs from innocent pedestrians or causing carnage. They were on their way to the City Theatre for the premiere of the new zombie movie, "2", produced by local filmmakers,Emptyhouse Film.

For those who missed the event, here are some photos from the night, including some of the entrants in the zombie costume contest. Those who bemoan the lack of blood should keep in mind that contestants were asked not to douse themselves in blood, as it would not be a good idea to ruin the seats in the theatre.
zombie poster art

Andy Davis on the mic

zombie Mr. T. pities the undead fool

zombie couples compete to be the best undead

some of the contestants in the zombie contest

all photos (c) Chris Wallace

more photos from the premiere of "2"

"2" was shot in Biddeford earlier this year involving a cast of more than 100 zombies, who gladly braved the frigid February temperatures to give their best impression of carnivorous stumbling death.

If you'd like to see behind the scenes photos of the making of "2", including makeup, zombie attacks, and lots of blood, here are some links.

photos from the zombie casting call and several days of filming

even more photos from filming

Thursday, October 25, 2007

EVENT: Maine Zombie Film "2" Premiere 10/27

For those who have been following the saga of the Maine-filmed zombie movie, "2", or indeed those who are just hearing about it now, the wait is finally over!

To read more about the history of the film, see:
  • Post about the Fangoria article

  • "2" music video and trailer

  • Photos and stories about the filming

  • The fire that plagued the filming

  • Photos of the original zombie casting call

  • On Saturday, October 27th from 6:30 pm- 10:00 pm, the zombie film "2" will have it's world premiere at the City Theater in Biddeford, Maine. The event is open to the general public. Admission is $15/Adults and $10/Students and Senior Citizens.

    "2" was filmed earlier this year at various Biddeford locations, including the Riverdam Millyard, Main Street, and the 3-D's Variety Store. Over 200 zombie extras helped create the eerie atmosphere of the film. "We were really surprised how many people from all walks of life came out to be zombies in our film, all the community support we received was amazing. We're very thankful", said Executive Producer John Lane.

    On October 27th, the film will be shown in its entirety. The filmmakers will speak before and after the film. Those attending are asked to come dressed as "Zombies" for the pre-movie "Zombie Fashion Show". Prizes will be given for a variety of themes including "Best Zombie" "Best Zombie Couple" and more. "You don't have to come as a zombie, but when are you going to get another chance to come to a film's premiere as a zombie? We really want to make a night of it", said Producer Olin Smith.

    "2" stars C. James Roberts and Molly W.B. Roberts as two survivors of a bio-terrorist attack that has turned everyone around them into Zombies. "2" is a feature-length film produced by Olin Smith of Motion Media, Executive Produced by John Lane of John Lane Films, and co-written and directed by Andy Davis of Emptyhouse Film. Music for the film was created by Portland band COVERED IN BEES. The film contains strong graphic content, adult themes and discretion is advised.

    For ticket information, please call the Biddeford City Theater at: (207) 282-0849

    A commercial for the event can be viewed here.
    For information on "2" go to Emptyhouse Film's site.
    For information on the Biddeford City Theater, visit their home page.
    Email any questions to: emptyhousefilm[at]

    A limited number of press tickets are available for the screening. Footage and stills are also available to the press. The film's stars and crew are available for interviews. Please contact emptyhousefilm[at] for more information.



    Doors open at 6:30 pm

    Zombie Contest begins at 7:00 pm

    Filmmakers speak at 7:45 pm

    Film starts at 8:00 pm

    Filmmakers speak at 9:30 pm

    BE THERE!!!

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Ongoing EVENT: Wicked Walking Tours

    Gordan Tweedie is running a series of Wicked Walking Tours in Portland's Old Port and waterfront as the spooky season commences.

    Tours are run daily, and are available in the daytime for more timid souls, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and at night for more stalwart adventurers, at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday evenings through Nov. 17. As the flyer notes, “your credit is no good in the afterlife,” so tickets are cash only ($15; $13 for seniors and children under 12). Look for your guide at Bell Buoy Park, on Commercial Street between Casco Bay Lines and Flatbread Company.

    For questions or to make reservations, call 730-0490, or check out

    You can catch my review of the tour online at The Bollard. (Click here to go straight to the review.)

    Photo by Michelle Souliere.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Halloween Awakened Spirits from the Library

    "Give me the calm of Days decline,
    to muse upon my own,"

    ...reads the frontispiece of the palm-sized Halloween, an artifact exhumed from the depths of the Portland Public Library's Special Collections. The volume was published in Hartford in 1847. The author, Arthur Cleveland Coxe (1818-1896), is simply attributed in the book as "A.C.C.," writes in the beginning stanzas of his narrative:

    "I have been roaming in that Spirit-world,
    and still my deathless love return'd to thee;
    And still thy brow, thy locks in lustre curl'd,
    And thy dear eye of beauty shone on me..."

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Local Urban Legends

    Some local urban legends collected by Mark LaFlamme are up on the Sun Journal website. Some, like "All is Well," might better be called "rural legends."
    Six years ago, a group of kids dared a pre-teen to explore an abandoned well behind an ancient barn in Sabattus. The well was at the far end of a long-forgotten cemetery and it was reputed to be haunted. The boy was eager to impress his friends, however. He agreed to be lowered into the well on a rubber tire attached to a sturdy rope. His friends, giddy with excitement, lowered the boy down and down and down into the dark hole until he disappeared into the blackness.

    After there was no sound from below and no movement on the rope, they hastily decided to pull their friend back up. But what they hoisted out of the well was not the young boy they knew as their friend - the lad's hair had turned pure white, his eyes were dark and wild, and he trembled with unimaginable terror. He babbled and cackled wildly and appeared to have aged decades in the few minutes down in the darkness of the well.

    The boy never recovered from his madness. He is said to shriek sporadically from his padded room in the county mental institution. [Source]

    Sunday, October 07, 2007

    Rumors of a haunted Maine library

    The Britannica Blog has a Maine library on its list of haunted United States libraries. The text it quotes comes directly from page 560 of The Whole Library Handbook 4 by George M. Eberhart (also the author of the blog post), which you can see online at Google Books here.

    To quote the source: "Eliot, William Fogg Library. A newspaper photo apparently shows a transparent skull floating above a staircase." This same quote appears on the Spirits of Maine page, with the addition of the following: "Also window randomly broke while kids were playing outside."

    I haven't found anything else explaining this online. Perhaps an inquiry is in order.

    Strange device is but a mirror

    People get weirded out by just about everything these days. Proof?
    Suspicious man causes brief stir at York inn
    October 04, 2007 6:00 AM
    by Dave Choate

    YORK, Maine — Police said a suspicious man who left a strange object in an outdoor ashtray at the Stage Neck Inn turned out to be harmless.

    York Police Sgt. Brian Curtin said the object was a mirror, partly obscured by leaves the man kept placing on top of it. The man was dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt and was behaving in a very suspicious manner, Curtin said.

    Officers considered calling in a state trooper and bomb sniffing dog but quickly discovered that the mirror was harmless. The man was found wandering around the loading dock at the inn and was transported to York Hospital for observation.
    [read full article here: Source]

    Ban on the son of the man from the Girl from UNCLE

    Will Harrison, who is the son of actor/singer Noel Harrision, who played agent Mark Slate on The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., is also the grandson of Rex Harrison. He's been attracting a lot of attention with his antics lately. To quote the Cinema Retro site:
    Try to imagine a scandal that directly or indirectly involves:
  • Legendary actor Rex Harrison

  • The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.

  • The Sound of Music

  • A public park in Maine

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Attacking actors playing Nazis with spray paint

    [Read the Cinema Retro writeup here: Source]
  • More on the event and the ones preceding it can be found on the Seacoast Online site:
    On Tuesday he could be found at the counter in the District Court clerk’s office, trying to straighten out some paperwork for a series of misdemeanor crimes for which he was arrested over the past couple of months.

    Behind him, security officers could be heard talking about his famous grandfather. To his left, a Herald reporter was asking questions about his famous father. To his right, a police officer was sticking around while a clerk figured out what to do about an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

    “I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone,” said Harrison, 35, with a broad smile.

    The warrant for his arrest was for failing to appear at the court for one of the open charges against him and running the gamut from spray painting the word “God” on a local bridge, pushing someone, and street fighting — to playing a guitar in Market Square while calling women who passed by “rude names.”

    “I’m bipolar,” Will told the reporter. “I had problems getting to my pills and it causes a mania when I don’t act like myself, which is really pretty civilized.”

    He didn’t make the recent court appearance, he said, because he went to New York City to visit some friends and to check into Bellevue Hospital for mental health treatment. He picked that hospital, he said, because “it’s the classic.”

    “No one wants to admit to being bipolar. There’s such a stigma,” said Harrison. “People with diabetes take insulin and there’s no problem. But it’s different when it’s the mind."

    Outside the courthouse, Portsmouth Police Officer Rochelle Jones approached to present Harrison with a no trespass order barring him from Prescott Park for a year. He signed it, then explained the “spontaneous” act “with an art statement” he committed during the local theater production and leading to his banishment from the park.

    Harrison said he put on a disguise of a cape and goggles, climbed onto the stage with a squirt gun and “squirted all the Nazis at the end.”

    “It’s sort of like a pro-Aryan movie,” he said. “Even the music is like pro-Hitler. I found it slightly offensive.”

    He then broke into a short chorus of Edelweiss.
    [for the full article, please click here: Source]
    The one thing that Cinema Retro got wrong? The park is in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, not in Maine. Ah well! It's still neighboring weirdness, at any rate. Just over the river!

    Photo by Elizabeth Dinan from Seacoast Online.

    Maine nude launches may be banned

    We've posted about Maine's enthusiastic-in-all-weather nudists before, but this neat little gimmick at the Black Frog Restaurant in the Moosehead Lake area escaped our attention until now. It would be sad if it was discontinued by one person's prudery just as we found out about it. Sounds like a good old fashioned North Woods dare to me!
    'Naked Lunch' May Be Banned in Maine
    Oct 6, 3:18 PM EDT

    GREENVILLE, Maine (AP) -- [...] A sandwich called the Skinny Dip, featuring sliced prime rib in a baguette roll, has been offered free of charge anyone willing to plunge naked from The Black Frog Restaurant's dock into a lake.

    Since the free sandwich offer was introduced three years ago, owner Leigh Turner has found plenty of takers. "We've had two or three a week," he said.

    But now the promotion is running into trouble: A patron apparently suggested to selectmen that the activity be banned.
    The skinny dip was typically done at night, no frontal nudity was exposed to customers and a towel was readily available, Turner said. "Most everybody applauded" after the plunge, Turner said.
    [for full story, please click here: Source]
    No mention was made of whether the dip is done in all weathers.

    Photo from the Black Frog's website.