Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bangor's Victorian Rowdies

Bangor Daily News ran a great piece this past Monday on the wild times some local lads had back in 1908!
Bangor High boys had rambunctious night in 1908
By Wayne Reilly
Monday, May 26, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

"HIGH SCHOOL BOYS HAD WILD NIGHT," declared the headline in the Bangor Daily News on the morning of May 15, 1908. "Threw Students Into Watering Troughs, Paraded Streets, Besieged Windsor Hotel ... Police Were Kept on the Jump." ...

Bangoreans were used to riots of all shapes and sizes. Usually these events involved a few drunken sailors and loggers or a crowd protesting a liquor raid. Occasionally, a small army of noisy University of Maine boys marched through town on their way to the theater.

Usually, a half-dozen big cops with nightsticks took care of things. But the ragtag mob of high school boys, reported at 200 strong, that charged about the streets of downtown Bangor for three hours one spring night a century ago was as unusual as it was humorous to everyone but its victims — and the school board.

While the newspaper reports never explained exactly what touched it off, the riotous behavior apparently had to do with hazing freshmen by members of the school’s military cadet program. The rioters were upperclassmen. A few friends must have accompanied them, because there were only 60 cadets regularly enrolled, according to Principal Henry White’s report that year. Their targets were a handful of freshmen who ran through the streets of downtown Bangor like scared rabbits chased by a pack of dogs.

Events began early in the evening after the school’s battalion of military cadets was dismissed from drill in the high school yard on Harlow Street, (where the Abbott Square parking lot is located today across from the Bangor Public Library). ... Hardly had they finished when members seized one of their number and drenched him under the pump that supplied the school’s drinking water.

A procession then formed for a march up the street to the watering trough in East Market Square (where City Hall is today). Another freshman was produced and ceremonially dunked. From there, the students swept across the Kenduskeag Bridge and on into Haymarket Square (where the KeyBank complex is today across from Pickering Square).

A third freshman was thrown into the local watering trough. "This time the victim was about half-drowned, only the tip of his nose showing above the sluggish water," wrote the Bangor Daily News reporter.

The crowd of onlookers was growing, and the police were becoming quite interested. "Patrolmen Meade and Reagan came up from the [Devil’s Half] acre and interfered," the newspaper reported.

Instead of breaking up the festivities, however, the boys retreated up the street to the Unitarian Church at Union and Main streets, where they met up with yet another snag — a popular police officer described in the Daily News as "Handsome Dan Kennedy, Beau Brummel of the police force and custodian between 6:30 and midnight of the destinies of upper Main Street."

... They headed back downtown to the Nickel movie theater on Central Street, where another freshman was hiding inside.

"They wanted to go in, but Manager Forrest had opposite views and the sight of four patrolmen and a half-dozen unsentimental ushers drawn up across the entrance to the big lobby had a quieting effect," reported the newspaper. Meanwhile, the freshman, who was apparently a bit sharper than his fellows, slipped out a side door and, eluding his pursuers, ran up the street into the nearby Windsor Hotel at the corner of Harlow and Franklin streets.

Discovering how it had been outwitted, the student mob surrounded the big hotel. A huge crowd had assembled to watch the antics. Hotel staff blocked the doors. Students ran up fire escapes expecting to find their prey in one of the rooms. "For a little while affairs assumed the proportions of almost a real riot," commented the reporter hopefully.

Half an hour later, the boys realized they had been outwitted again. With the help of hotel staff and a police officer, the intended victim had been dressed up in the head chef’s white apron and coat. With the collar pulled up high, he had walked out the door, pushed through the crowd and disappeared into the evening.


Read full article by clicking link here: [Source]

Watch TONIGHT! Mystery Beast on TV

From Loren Coleman:

"MonsterQuest" kicks off Season Two tonight with their lead-in repeat from last season being the episode "Mutant Canines." This program features the so-called Turner Terror or Maine Mutant, made famous by the reporting of Mark LaFlamme. Being the "consultant cryptozoologist" on the case, I was doing interviews with radio stations in South Africa before that original media frenzy was over. :-)

Cameos by Mark and myself are to be found in the "Mutant Canines" show.

As it turns out, History filmmakers were at my International Cryptozoology Museum yesterday, filming snippets for their MonsterQuest website on the topics of Bigfoot, Yeti, Yeren, Orang Pendek, Chupacabras, and Merbeings.

Here is the listing for the evening, in the Eastern Time Zone:

MonsterQuest : Mutant Canines
Airs on Wednesday May 28 08:00 PM
Something strange is killing Fido. In 2006, a number of pets were killed in Maine and Minnesota by a beast locals describe as a mutant–one of these creatures was hit by a car. The body of this strange looking creature will be DNA tested to see what it really is. Two expeditions will be launched to trap other dog killers still at large. One-part history, one-part science and one part monster, discover the truth behind legendary monsters.

MonsterQuest : Mega Hog
Airs on Wednesday May 28 09:00 PM
Do wild hogs in the United States grow to monstrous sizes? Many think so. In Georgia an 1100 pound hog was shot and killed, and in Texas beasts almost as large have been reported. But are these creatures raised and fattened up in a pen, or are they wild hogs, naturally more aggressive, that have somehow reached gigantic proportions? A MonsterQuest examination meets victims of vicious wild boar attacks, looks at the existing evidence and teams up with hog hunters, researchers and trackers to find a giant.

MonsterQuest : Mutant Canines
Airs on Thursday May 29 12:00 AM
Something strange is killing Fido. In 2006, a number of pets were killed in Maine and Minnesota by a beast locals describe as a mutant–one of these creatures was hit by a car. The body of this strange looking creature will be DNA tested to see what it really is. Two expeditions will be launched to trap other dog killers still at large. One-part history, one-part science and one part monster, discover the truth behind legendary monsters.

NOTE: For those of us who don't have cable, there are videoclips available on the MonsterQuest website.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stroll with the Ghosts of the Past

Spirits Alive of Portland, Maine, now in its second year, announced their June schedule of public Walking Tours today.

Sunday, June 1st at 2:00pm - Portland and its “silent city” - Stroll through 350 years of the Eastern Cemetery’s intertwined past with the Portland peninsula

Saturday, June 7th at 10:00am and 1:00pm - Art and the Elements - A fascinating introduction to the geology of the Eastern Cemetery, including its markers and monuments; a brief introduction to early mortuary art (as seen on the stones), and the effects of the environment on the site.

Sun, June 8th at 1:00pm - Earliest Portland: The Eastern’s Unmarked Past - In 1632, settlers began arriving at the place we now call Portland. No buildings remain from that time. The open land of Eastern Cemetery is an appropriate site to learn about some of the events of the 17th and early 18th centuries that occurred within sight of the cemetery and shaped Portland’s indomitable spirit.

Sun, June 22nd at 4:00pm - Through the “eyes” of the Eastern
Sun, June 29th at 1:00pm - Earliest Portland: The Eastern’s Unmarked Past

All tours begin at the Congress Street gates of the Eastern Cemetery. The Eastern Cemetery is located on Congress, Mountfort and Federal Streets at the foot of Munjoy Hill.

Tours take approximately one-hour. The ground is uneven at this National Trust for Historic Places site so please wear appropriate footwear.

Tickets are $7.00 for adults and $4.00 for seniors (62+, children under 10 and students), and is payable by cash or check.

Spirits Alive is a non-profit organization that supports public access to, events and education, and a master conservation plan for Portland’s Historic Eastern Cemetery. The Eastern Cemetery is listed on the National Trust for Historic Places. or (207)729-4817.

Zombie KB III Tips!

From the ZKIII MySpace blog come these helpful tips (click here to go to the Zombie Kickball site):
ZKIII - How to Help
Current mood: stoked

Zombie Kickball has been swamped with friend requests! Our inbox has been flooded with messages. So many friends of ZKIII have proclaimed their affection for the event, and pledged their undying devotion to the team! A lot of you have even offered to lend us a hand… or an arm… and a leg… in wrangling the undead hordes for the game.

Friends of ZKIII can do a couple of things – right now – to help us in corralling the zombies for game day.

Tell your friends about Zombie Kickball! Everyone is welcome at this event - participants and spectators alike.

Think about your role! Will you be documenting the event? Will you be playing kickball? Or will you be involved in the game in some other capacity – do you want to be a coach, a team captain, an umpire, a cheerleader, a marching band member? Will you be a spectator? Will you be cheering from the bleachers, or waving a banner or sign from the behind the fence? Will you be sitting on the lawn?

There will be a "refreshment stand" at this year's event. We will bring a table and drinks (water, iced tea and lemonade, along with cups and napkins) to the game. Maybe you'd like to bring some snacks?

We would like there to be a "first-aid tent" this year, as well. If somebody hurts themselves, we will (of course) call 9-1-1. But if somebody's make-up runs, we can send them to the "medic" for a touch-up. Maybe you'd like to bring your skills?

Think about your character! Are you an infected civilian? Are you an uninfected civilian, or a zombie survivalist? Or are you a re-animated corpse? If you're a zombie, what were the circumstances of your life, and death? Where were you when you died and re-animated? How long have you been undead? Are you a new zombie that is still relatively human-looking, or are you an old braineater that barely looks human anymore? How do you move? What do you sound like? How do you act in the presence of humans, and how do you relate to other ghouls?

Think about your costume! Do you have the clothes for your battered and bloody costume? Do you have the theatrical make-up to complete your bloody and grisly look? Do you know how to apply that make-up? Do you need to make any props?

If there is a first aid tent at this year's event, and you don't know how to apply theatrical make-up, perhaps you can have your make-up done by a medic prior to the game.

You can also do a thing or two – in a few weeks – to help us in herding the boils and ghouls on game day. We will post some more information here as it becomes available, and shortly before the game.

And remember… Nobody owns Maine's Zombie Kickball – it belongs to Portland's community. Feel free to message and comment as you like – all of your suggestions are welcome.

Thank you for all your support!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Perished twice in a week

I was pleased to make the acquaintance of Matthew Barker, editor of an Irish historical newsletter, last week when doing my regular stint at the Maine Historical Society. If we are lucky, we will see a lot more of him on our site as time goes on -- I hope to convince him to add his two cents to the mix here. Meanwhile, he passes to us an interesting article he found in an old issue of Portland's bygone newspaper, the Eastern Argus, about a peculiar case of the resurrection of a young Irish girl of Bangor, Maine.
The Irish Girl Who Went to Heaven

We get some singular facts from the Whig, of the case of the Irish girl, at Bangor, who our readers will recollect, being attacked a few weeks since with the cholera and apparently dead -- while her father went for a coffin, revived and told a wonderful experience of heaven -- whither she averred she had been, and of having seen her mother and friends in that happy place, and predicting the death of more friends. Here is the sequel to that touching picture:--

Although at the time of the seeming death of this child it was not supposed that her aunt Lynch was dangerously il, she not having cholera but attacked with dysentery. But she died the next day as stated.

On Sunday afternoon, Mr. Daniel Warren, a very worthy religious man, who has been much among the cholera patients, and feeling perhaps a little moved by curiosity, called to see the little girl, and addressing her cheerfully and told her that she appeared better and would soon be well, and get out in a day or two.

"But I'm going to mother again at four o'cl'k," she quietly and softly said.
"When, to-morrow?"
"No, to-day."

Mr. Warren endeavored to turn her attention to hopeful prospects of recovery; but the little sufferer was fast sinking away -- the death rattle was heard, and she soon ceased to breathe, her pulse stopped, and the fixedness of death was impressed upon her beautiful countenance. She was dead!

Mr. Warren looked at the town clock, in the distance, from the window, for there was no clock in the house, and it was four o'clock.

While pondering upon, to him the singular coincidents in this case, and about half an hour had passed when new signs of life appeared and again the spirit of the sweet girl returned. She asked for water and said she was tired and sunk away into a quiet sleep.

Since then she has been gradually recovering, but her elder sister who watched her so tenderly and who would so willingly have accompanied her to live with her blessed mother in heaven, was the next day taken with the cholera and the following day died and was buried.


Such are the simple facts in the case which we leave for the present without comment or attempted explanation.

Source: Eastern Argus, Portland, Maine, October 15, 1849

The ashy pudding of proof

A couple of years ago, we posted about the legendary Dark Day of May 19th, 1780. On that day, a pall overtook New England, hastening thoughts of the Apocalypse in the minds of many. By late morning it was as black as night, and barn animals, confused, proceeded to their nightly slumber although the day was yet half over. Whittier's poem "Abraham Davenport" takes up the narrative most effectively:
'Twas on a May day of the far old year
Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
Over the bloom and sweet life of the spring,
Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
A horror of great darkness....
"Birds ceased to sing, and all the barnyard fowls
Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars
Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
To hear the doom blast of the trumpet shatter
The black sky.
One of our readers, Matt, pointed out a great new article in WIRED Magazine online that outlines the events of that dread day in history, and finally offers some evidence that backs up the widely accepted theory that the cause of the Dark Day was in fact a mammoth wildfire in Canada, whose effluvium spread far and wide with shocking effects.
In New Hampshire, wrote one person, "A sheet of white paper held within a few inches of the eyes was equally invisible with the blackest velvet."
Along with dramatic quotes from New England witnesses, such as seen above, the Wired article provides links throughout the text to a comprehensive series of articles about the event from varying sources, making it a terrific resource for those of you who, like myself, cannot help but be intrigued by this anomalous happening.

Click here to read the Wired article, and click on the links throughout it to find out more!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Make the time! Zombie Kickball III is on!

Portland's third annual Zombie Kickball event is working itself up into a feeding frenzy right now...

Hordes of the undead will overrun the Eastern Prom and infect Carter field on Sunday, June 29th at 2pm!

The field is reserved from 2 to 4pm.

This event is fiercely infectious... Masses of the walking dead will also plague Space Gallery at 4pm!

Covered in Bees, Man-Witch and Confusatron will play to throngs of zombies. This is an all-ages after party. Club opens up around 4, show gets going about 5pm.

For more information:


Thursday, May 15, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Zombie Kickball III for 2008!

Yes folks, it is going to happen. ZOMBIE KICKBALL III!!! The frolicking of the happy undead on the Eastern Prom will take place sometime very soon. I have spoken with the top secret Representative Zombie and I have been assured that all we are waiting for is a field reservation.

Once we have this exciting information in hand, dear friends of zombiedom, we will assuredly let you know!!!

Plans are in the works for an Undead Lemonade Stand to provide much-needed refreshment for the languishing teams in the heat of their sportsman-ish-like competition. We are hoping the cheerful band of zombie musicians will be there once again, doing their own special brand of rabblerousing and jazzing the crowd up with their unique razzmatazz whizzbang ditties!

Depending on the situation, it may or may not happen Memorial Day weekend, as is customary, so please don't show up to terrorize any Little Leaguers without the rest of the group. It just wouldn't do!
For glimpses of our coverage of past years' activity, please click here. Zombie Kickball is for all ages! Kids, parents, student, senior citizens, you name it! And if you don't feel like wearing zombie makeup and whatnot, come and cheer everyone on, or throw a "ZOMBIE FOOD" nametag on and go for it. It is the silliest of all ways to welcome summer.

Last year there were zombie nurses, zombies in wheelchairs, zombie slayers, zombie accident victims, zombie kindergarteners, zombie musicians, and many many other zombie characters too numerous to mention here. Want to see what it looked like? Click here to see my photos on Flickr! Come one, come all, and join the fun!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Strange Maine WMPG interview

You might remember that back in April I mentioned that Dan Knight, who hosts the bi-weekly show "Random Thought Crime Generator" on WMPG in Portland ME, was going to interview me live on the air April 14th, 2008. It did happen, and was great fun. We talked about the Strange Maine Gazette and the Strange Maine blog, and delicious topics -- from cryptozoology to the world of zines, and beyond.

Tonight, I finally finished squaring away the audiofile, got it formatted as an MP3, and edited it to exclude the musical playlist of the show to bypass copyright issues, and found an online home for it so folks could finally hear it.

Click the player below to listen, or visit the hosting site here.

If you want to download the file, just go to the hosting website here, and where the link to "Original" is, just mouseover and either right-click to "Save As" (PC users) or hit CTRL and click to "Download Linked File" (Mac Users). It's about 35MB.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Maine's cult history: The Kingdom

Frank Turek, collector of curiosities, recently pointed out to me a site about what is perhaps one of Maine's most historic religious sects, known familiarly as "The Kingdom." According to the website, The Kingdom was "founded in 1897 by Frank Weston Sandford of Bowdoinham, Maine," and grew steadily towards "the turn of the 20th century in the town of Durham in the State of Maine." The sect continues in a more modern form today, as readers will find, but still maintains itself as a strong religious presence in the state. The site is very comprehensive, and produced from within the viewpoint of those involved in the sect. If you're curious, take a look for yourself at As the editor notes:
For many years the complete history of the Kingdom was available only to the members of the church on a "need to know" basis, and that history presented in such a manner that a certain palatable image was deliberately cultivated. Few individuals born since 1925 are aware of the movement's real roots, and it has been the lifelong ministry of some within church leadership to keep it that way. It is our intent to present the past as objectively as we can, by posting as many original uncensored articles as space or time permits and are available to us.
Those in the know may recognize this group as the basis of Shirley Nelson's book, Fair, Clear and Terrible, which I have a copy of on my shelf but unfortunately have yet to get a chance to read.

I recently read an account of the experiences of some of the folks who went on a missionary crusade to the desert from Maine that may be of interest to students of examples of Mainers' religious fervor, which I will see if I can dig up again.

Photo of Frank Sandford from Wikipedia.

EVENT: Historic Fort Knox 2008 dates

Of special interest in the list of events from Fort Knox this year is the increasingly popular Paranormal/Psychic Faire in July, featuring Maine's own Loren Coleman, and paranormal groups from across New England. From the Ellsworth American:
Special Event Schedule Released for Fort Knox
Thursday, May 01, 2008

PROSPECT — The Friends of Fort Knox organization has released its special event schedule for 2008.

The group has added four full moon viewing dates at the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, which will stay open until midnight on July 18 and 19 and Aug. 15 and 16. The observatory’s regular daily operating hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. expand to a 7 p.m. close during the months of July and August.

The Scottish Tattoo sponsored by the Maine St. Andrew Society and the Friends will take place on Saturday, July 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event will feature traditional Scottish bagpipers, precision marching bands and a patriotic salute to America.

Tickets are available in advance at the FFK gift shop or by calling (207)469-6553.

The Psychic/Paranormal Faire takes place the weekend of July 5 and 6, headlined by renowned cryptozoologist and author Loren Coleman, who has appeared on the Travel Channel’s “Weird Travels” and whose new book, “Mysterious America,” has been published by Simon & Schuster.

The Central Maine Paranormal Investigation group will team up with the Massachusetts Paranormal Team to provide lectures and hands-on ghost hunting tips.

Yearly Friends-sponsored special events such as the 20th Maine Civil War encampments, cannon firings, Will Cotton’s Civil War Battery and a five-night Fright at the Fort will return for visitors to the fort.

Tickets for the fort and Penobscot Narrows Observatory go on sale to the public at Fort Knox beginning Monday, May 1.

The Friends of Fort Knox will sell advance tickets for the fort and observatory to groups of 10 or more. Fort Knox and the observatory are open to the public from May 1 to Oct. 31. For a complete list of Friends of Fort Knox special events and to check fort/observatory admission fees, visit online.

EVENT: Freddy Silva on Crop Circles & more

Please note for this event there is a suggested donation of $5-10!
WHO: Spiritual Horizons Maine hosts a Freddy Silva presentation
WHAT: "Orbs, Crop Circles and Sacred Spaces: The Manifestation of Soul"
WHEN: Tuesday, May 6 at 7:00pm
WHERE: 75 State Street, Portland. Entrance to event is through Gray Street side entrance.

"In recent years, the phenomenon of orbs and other luminosities, captured on cameras around the world has raised intriguing debate on the origin of angels, ET contact, even the human soul. Tonight, researcher Freddy Silva will share a 90-slide presentation examining various personal and eyewitness interactions with these fascinating light forms. He will also share the results of experiments that attracted orbs in Egyptian temples, their relationship to crop circles and sacred sites, and how their origin may be associated with the 'giants' or 'tall ones' from our ancient history. Talk about a 'standing room only' event! Suggested donation $5-10."

Open to all. Refreshments served. Donations are welcome.

To read more about Silva's theories about crop circles, please click here: