Friday, August 29, 2008

The Law says return the book, lady!

This has been an ongoing saga since last year, when JoAn Karkos removed a book from the Lewiston Public Library because she found it obscene. She attempted to charge the library with obscenity late in 2007 (read Sun Journal article here detailing the results). In her closing arguments delivered in court yesterday, "Karkos accused the public library of contributing to an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases by disseminating prurient information." [Source]
She'd rather go to jail
By Christopher Williams , Staff Writer
Thursday, August 28, 2008

LEWISTON - A local woman said Wednesday she's prepared to go to jail rather than return a library book about sexuality that she calls "dangerous" to children.

JoAn Karkos, 64, was confined to a courtroom at 8th District Court for about an hour after she was ordered by a judge to hand over the borrowed book: "It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health."

Judge Valerie Stanfill revised her order shortly after noon, giving Karkos until the end of the week to produce the property of Lewiston Public Library. Karkos also was ordered to pay a $100 fine within a month.
Stanfill ruled that Karkos had violated the library's policy and ordered her to return the book. The judge asked Karkos where the book was.

"I have it in my possession," Karkos said. She paused, then repeated that general answer each time the judge pressed her. Finally, Karkos said she had the book with her.

"Then return it right now," Stanfill said.

"I'm going to hang onto the book, your honor," Karkos said.

Stanfill advised Karkos she could be held in contempt of court if she refused to comply with a court order.

"Please return the book," the judge said.

"Your honor, I cannot return the book," Karkos said after a pause.

"I am ordering that book be returned today," Stanfill said. She told Karkos she would have to stay in the courtroom until she gave up the book. After the judge left the bench, a court officer ordered the public out of the courtroom.

Karkos sat in the courtroom until shortly after noon when the judge returned and revised her order, giving Karkos until 4 p.m. Friday to return the book.

Stanfill said she had no intention of hauling away Karkos in handcuffs and making her a martyr for failing to return a library book, said McAllister, who had returned to the courtroom.

Library Director Rick Speer, the only witness other than Karkos to testify during the short trial, said he was pleased with the outcome. "We felt that one person does not have the power to keep the book from 36,000 citizens of Lewiston."

After Karkos' actions were picked up by the media, the library received eight copies of the sexual education book from people around the country, including parents and concerned educators, Speer said.
"We believe an educated person is an empowered person," he said.

Speer, who has held his post at the library for 24 years, said Karkos borrowed the book last summer, then sent him a letter saying she planned to keep it because she didn't think it was fit for children. She enclosed a check for $20.95 to cover the cost.

Speer returned her check, explaining that the book was not for sale. He also explained the process she could follow if she believed the book should be pulled from the library's shelf.
The book, written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Michael Emberley, was published in 1993. It features frank but cartoon-like pictures of naked people in chapters on topics such as abstinence, masturbation and sexually transmitted diseases.
In her closing arguments, Karkos accused the public library of contributing to an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases by disseminating prurient information.

"Children are not meant to be sexually active," she said.
Read full article ehre: [Source]

Sasquatch sighting near Maine border!

Loren Coleman reports on this fresh sighting from earlier in August (click here).

The incident, reported by one witness to be "quite chilling," occurred in the Skiff Lake area, just north-east of the Maine/Canada border with New Brunswick. You can see the area for yourself using Google maps, here.

"What we saw was a black sasquatch,” said Dale Tompkins. He and his wife spotted the creature crossing the road. Close behind them was another car, which they subsequently waved over, and verified that the strangers in the other car had seen the same thing they did. (full article here:

According to Loren Coleman, "what is being seen in the area is a 'Black Sasquatch.' Specifically, it is described as a “pitch-black, sleek, hairy, approximately 8-and-a-half foot [tall] Sasquatch.” [Source]

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Witchcraft Scare of 1979

Imagine this. You live in a small town. During a chat with your neighbor, you hear that the local university is offering a new class -- in the occult! Not only that, your neighbor whispers to you, but also there are 13 people in the class. “Thirteen!” you cry, thinking to yourself, “Isn’t that how many are in a coven?!” It is even said that the class participants have been told not to speak about the class to any outsiders.

Never mind that the class is an English class. Never mind that they’re studying mostly literature and critically discussing the occult in history. The result is a perfect example of the start of a witch-hunting craze.

I myself would never have heard of these events if it hadn’t been for Tom Moody, one of my subscribers. He approached me shortly before this issue was due to go to press, related the capsule version of the story to me, and asked if I would be interested in hearing more about it. Would I ever!

We sat down and he mulled through his recollections of being one of the 13 people in the class that raised such hell. It was 1979, and the fall semester at the University of Maine at Machias started amidst controversy. Tom was enrolled in a class being taught by his advisor, Professor Alvin W. Bowker, and the topic was the occult.

The class focused not only on representations of the occult in literature, but also on society’s creation of, and reaction to, occult-related fear. Topics included witchcraft, vampires, demonic possession, and personal paranormal experiences. Discussions were to draw material from assigned texts. As a new curriculum addition, the course had required special approval from the administration. UMaine Machias was considered progressive at the time. However, some townspeople were not so easily drawn into exploration of the new and strange, and let their reactions be driven by superstition and neophobic reactionism.

As Bowker welcomed the class, he warned students not to discuss the class outside of the classroom walls. This was not out of any hermetic distaste for disclosure, but more likely, Moody feels, out of a genuine concern on the part of Professor Bowker that students might come to real bodily harm due to the high level of reaction that had come from people in the town of Machias when rumor of the class’s existence leaked out. Moody recalls the atmosphere in the community as being “very tense” at the beginning of the semester (though later it cooled down), but remembers this added excitement to the subject.

Almost 30 years later, Moody can recall some of the reading list. Texts included Stephen King’s Carrie and Salem’s Lot, Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby, and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, plus some non-fiction selections such as Hostage to the Devil, which details five American possession cases. The list hardly seems as shocking as the protestors imagined it to be, but it accomplished its purpose in class.

Moody, who grew up in a church-going family, was told growing up that “you don’t want to learn about the Devil, because you’ll be opening up your soul, making it vulnerable to him.” This never stopped his curiosity, though when reading Hostage to the Devil, he remembers feeling fear at how easy it seemed for the Devil to possess unprotected souls. It is this same fear that permeates all human dealing with the unknown, which can make things sticky for those of us who just want to find out a little more than what is written in books.

How can you differentiate thoroughly between good and evil, without having learned about them both? How much of the town protest would have subsided if people had just asked a few questions before reacting? These questions remain relevant today, as does the threat of the witch-hunt mentality in today’s society.

Some sidenotes:
-- Pope Paul II made his first visit to the U.S. in early October 1979. Could this highly anticipated event have triggered some of the reactions of the townspeople?
-- Another intriguing coincidence was the first airing of the Salem’s Lot miniseries in November 1979. I wonder how many of Bowker’s students took time from their studies to chill themselves watching it?
-- The author of the 2007 collection of chilling Maine lore Dark Woods, Chill Waters (Down East Books, $10.95) is Marcus LiBrizzi, who teaches English and cultural studies at the University of Maine at Machias, just as Bowker did before him.

Since my print deadline was so close, I was unable to establish contact with Professor Bowker, who appears to have moved to Florida (time to revert to good old snailmail). I’d also like a chance to find out if there was any material about the fracas in the local newspaper, the Machias Valley News. So stay tuned!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Comicbook urban legend targets Maine

Maine has a long and storied relationship with World War II plots for conquer (both fact and fiction), but this one has some interesting twists...
by Brian Cronin
Thursday, August 7th, 2008 at 11:27 PM EST

This is the one-hundred and sixty-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and sixty-six. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.

Let’s begin!

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: An Uncle Sam comic book featuring Pearl Harbor being bombed was released…in November of 1941!!


Reader John Trumbull suggested this one a couple of weeks ago.

Astonishingly, in National Comics #18, which was a Quality Comic starring Uncle Sam, the main story involved the bombing of Pearl Harbor!

And the release date of the comic was November of 1941!!!!

The story was written by Gil Fox, with artwork by Lou Fine.

The big difference between this comic and actual events is that in this comic, it was GERMANY who attacks Pearl Harbor.

The bombing attack was actually a ruse to lure the United States Navy away from the Eastern Seabord, where Germany attacks - with Maine being their first target.

Ultimately, Uncle Sam and his sidekick, Buddy, help the residents of Maine drive off the German invaders, with an able assist from none other than the ghost of John Paul Jones (not the one from Led Zeppelin)!!!

As amazing as it sounds at first, the idea of Pearl Harbor being attacked was not exactly the most original idea - it was the home of the United States’ Pacific Fleet, so it was a natural location for an attack.

But still, for it to be released just a MONTH before it was actually attacked?

That really IS amazing.

Thanks so much to John Trumbull for making me hip to the info!

See the original post for illustrations from the comic and more: [Source]

Maine horror film 4-pack release!


Those of you who have been waiting to own a piece of Maine horror film history will be thrilled by the news that Emptyhouse Film is finally doing a limited release of 4 of their titles in a single package. On Tuesday, September 30th, they will be releasing 250 special edition copies of their movie four-pack.

Each DVD set will be serial numbered, signed, and will contain a deluxe booklet insert. The films included in the set will be MUD, I'M SORRY, 2, and MONSTER IN THE WOODS. The sets will retail for $49.95 + shipping and will be sold on a first come-first serve basis. In the future they may release more copies of the films, but never in this way again. This is a one-time deal and they wanted to make it special. If you'd like to order, send an email to emptyhousefilm[at]

As many of you who know of Emptyhouse are aware, they have been working to attract a distributor for their films, which have meanwhile been making the rounds at international film festivals from Rio de Janeiro to Seattle, to excellent acclaim. Here's your chance to hold the first pressing of these films in your hands, and to say, "I was there!" when someone smart like Anchor Bay or Lionsgate picks them up in the future.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Police blotter bonanza

I wound up with a copy of the Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier from January 18, 2007, after working on the Emptyhouse Film zombie movie "2" (the Courier had run an article about the production). I was getting ready to dispose of the rest of the issue when I noticed they have a great blotter on page 25, "Police Notes." This is some priceless stuff! The staff is to be commended for their excellent efforts in titling each item of interest.

For your enjoyment, I will transcribe the best of the bunch.
Police Notes
Lost laundry
Police received a call about a basket of laundry in the roadway. The caller said he picked up the laundry and moved it to the McDonald's parking lot. Officers were unable to locate the laundry.

Not a bank robber
Police responded to a call about a man that was pacing in front of the Biddeford Savings Bank for more than 10 minutes. Police approached the subject and learned he was simply waiting for a bus.
[I wonder if they offered him a ride? --M]

They're all going to laugh at you
A woman called police and claimed harassment after she alleged that a group of people were laughing at her at Common Connection.

Big money
A vehicle on Ura Street was burglarized. The owners reported $1 worth of items stolen.

Bah Humbug
The baby Jesus in a nativity scene in front of Notre Dame Church was stolen. It was valued at $100.
[Maybe it was time for him to move on? --M]

Darn teenagers
A 13-year-old girl was reported as a runaway shortly before being recovered in front of city hall on Main Street.
For those who, like myself on slow nights, enjoy the mild entertainment factor of unambitious crimes and confused call-ins about suspicious activity, the Courier has kindly made available the text files of their issues online, which you can search for Police Notes, and come up with a bumper crop of your own reading material. Here's the link:
Search the Courier for more Police Notes material!

The latest addition, as of the writing of this post, was from August 21st, and included such fabulous items as:

  • Police took a report of people swimming in a resident’s pool at 2:30 a.m. The caller reported at the time they thought it may have been an animal that made a splash in the pool, but upon waking they found a table broken by a person who stepped on it.
    [What?!! --M]


  • A person called police to report area juveniles had thrown apples at her vehicle. When police spoke with the woman, she said she was angry and admitted to making up the story about her vehicle being struck by the apples.
    What are you waiting for?! Go read more!

    Horror comes home again!

    Wisdumb Productions has just announced the emergence of their new partnership with Emptyhouse Film and Motion Media Entertainment to produce the feature-length horror film, "The Wrong House." Production is scheduled to begin in Limerick, Maine, in September.

    "Obviously, we're thrilled to have Emptyhouse Film and Motion Media Entertainment on board for this project. Their involvement takes the film to a whole other level," said Wisdumb Production's Shawn French, who will co-direct the film with Emptyhouse Film's Andy Davis. Motion Media Entertainment's Olin Smith will Executive Produce.

    "The Wrong House" was written by French after a string of area burglaries in March 2008. It tells the tale of five college-aged friends who break into an isolated house in the Maine woods, which looks like an easy mark to them while they're out camping in the wilderness. The thieves haul away several ounces of marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms in the heist. In the following days, the thieves are visited by the robbed homeowners, who deliver an ultimatum to return what was stolen. Thinking the homeowners won't call police to report stolen drugs, they ignore the warnings. Once the deadline passes, the thieves learn too late that there are far worse things than being arrested—and that they picked on The Wrong House.

    A strong narrative structure, increasing tension as the thieves argue whether to return the stolen goods, and a pair of serial killers who believe themselves to be agents of karma combine for a perfect blend of suspense and horror. "Shawn told me the story, and immediately I was hooked. I loved the brutal nature and the structure of the story. I'm really excited to help create this film" said Emptyhouse Film's Andy Davis.

    Emptyhouse and Motion Media Entertainment are some of the state's most prolific independent filmmakers, and must be familiar to readers of the Strange Maine blog by now, since we've enjoyed covering the production and release of their other Maine-made films, "Mud," "I'm Sorry," "Monster in the Woods" and the zombie opus "2".

    Casting for the film has been ongoing, with roles paid on a lo/no/deferred basis.

    Writer/director Shawn French has a decade of experience as a stand-up comic and has appeared in the feature films, “The Miskatonic Acid Test,” “2” and “Monster in the Woods.” “The Wrong House” will be the first film under his new banner, Wisdumb Productions.

    Cinematographer Andy Davis of Emptyhouse Film has directed five feature films, including the zombie opus “2” (which Fangoria magazine called “Smart, dark and bold” and Revenant Magazine raved “Incredible. One of the best Indie zombie films in recent history.”) Wisdumb Productions is thrilled to have a filmmaker of Davis’ caliber as cinematographer.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Shawn French at

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Doggy disaster avoided

    The West End News reported on a June Portland pet-related incident that turned out much better than it might have, thanks to a daring rescuer! This episode has a number of captivating elements in it, including but not limited to an already-injured hero risking life and limb, a tiny dog named Tuck Tuck, and the need to go to the bathroom really badly -- not to mention yet more effects, small but cumulative, of the recent drastic City of Portland budget cuts.

    Stay tuned for more odds and ends (especially the odds) as I continue to catch up on my web backlog.
    Dog Rescued from Winter Street Roof
    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    A dog who wandered onto the pitched roof of a Winter Street residence through an open attic window was rescued by the quick actions of a neighbor and a local contractor on June 2nd.

    Barbara Ward, owner of The Danforth Inn, spotted the dog on the roof's edge, about 25 feet above the ground, at about 10:30 AM. Ward and a housekeeper at the inn dragged a mattress off a bed, down the stairs and across the street, in the event that the dog, named Tuck Tuck, slipped off the roof. 911 was called but police policy does not allow them to respond to dog rescues, and the animal control officer was not available till noon.

    Ward also alerted Bob Graham, owner of Bob's Coastal Contracting, whose company is doing remodeling work on a house at Winter and Gray Street. The contractor, whose arm is in a brace because of a broken wrist, grabbed an extension ladder and rushed across the street.

    The dog was eventually coaxed to the side of the roof where he could be reached from the ladder. Before being rescued, Tuck Tuck reportedly completed the business that compelled him to climb out on the roof in the first place.

    If you want it done right, sometimes you've just got to do it yourself.

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    Paranormal Files debut announced

    EmptyHouse Film (a.k.a. Motion Media) announced that its local ghost-hunting series, Paranormal Files, is en route to its final destination -- YOU! They've edited the series down to four episodes that will air each week in October.

    The series follows around professional ghost hunters and teaches the viewer about the tools necessary to start hunting your own ghosts. It also explores some of Maine's haunted history, and finishes up the month by following the Ghost Hunters into one of Maine's most haunted places for an official Ghost Hunt. The new episodes will be uploaded to youtube one at a time, each Monday morning starting in October.

    It's about time! We here at Strange Maine have been eagerly awaiting its arrival.

    You can sample some of the Emptyhouse Film crew's other productions here on YouTube.

    Illustration (c)Michelle Souliere. All rights reserved.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Strange boom baffles residents

    Speculation with no solid answers has plagued the curious and worried witnesses who heard a loud explosion-like sound earlier late last week. The Lewiston Sun Journal reported initially:
    Sound possibly a sonic boom
    Staff Report
    Friday, August 15, 2008

    NORWAY - Several people in parts of Androscoggin and Oxford counties reported hearing an explosion-like noise early Thursday morning. The noise reported just before 9 a.m. may have been a sonic boom, officials said.

    An Oxford County Communications Center dispatcher said several calls came in from Oxford and Hebron but a firetruck dispatched to Hebron Station Road was unable to determine the source of the noise.

    Several people speculated it was a sonic boom from a military aircraft. A spokesman for the Brunswick Naval Air Station said he was unaware of any military training exercises in the area and that the noise was not created by aircraft from that base.

    John James, public affairs director for the air station, said it's "aerodynamically impossible" for any of its aircraft to go supersonic.

    James, a retired naval aviator, said the culprit wasn't from Brunswick. He said the sound barrier can vary depending on altitude and atmospheric conditions, but that the only military flights in the area that could break it would be Vermont Air National Guard F-16 fighter jets, which might be able to do low-level flights over northern Maine.

    Aircraft from the Otis Air National Guard station on Cape Cod in Massachusetts also conduct occasional jet-fighter training in the region.[Source]
    One reader (username Quido) had the following to say: "This 'boom' actually originated from the New Page mill in Rumford. A whole dryer section was taken out when a WOMAN accidentally LEANED on an e-stop button." A follow-up comment by another reader denied that this type of equipment stop would make such a loud noise, heard over such a wide area.

    The Sun Journal followed up with a story in which officials from various military bases who are known to practice maneuvers in the area were interviewed. Possible activity of flyers from Otis, Massachusetts, and Burlington, Vermont, were eliminated, but according to the article, "David McKivergan, a SAD 43 board member from Rumford, said he saw three jets fly over his residence between 8:45 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Thursday. He said the jets remained in the air for 45 minutes, but he did not hear a sonic boom." More discussion on the sonic boom theory can be found in the article by clicking here: [Source]

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    Freaky vegetable art - Tasty?

    The Bangor Daily News has announcements of an attention-piquing event that I thought some of you might be interested in -- a greenhouse-based art exhibit of two-headed hybrid vegetables (among other things).
    Mark your calendar
    By BDN Staff
    Thursday, August 14, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

    through sept. 6 It’s not exactly "The Island of Dr. Moreau" — but it’s something like that. Artist Sam Van Aken has created an installation at College of the Atlantic that’s equal parts science experiment, meticulously tended garden and commentary on the nature of reality and our perceptions of the world, in his new exhibition titled "Eden," on display through Sept. 6 at COA’s Blum Gallery. Van Aken, who has taught at the University of Maine and currently teaches at Syracuse University in New York, worked with a geneticist to create a line of hybrid seeds, which he then planted and grew inside a greenhouse, which he installed at the gallery. The result is a strangely beautiful orchard of what he called "excessively grafted fruit trees," growing bizarre-looking vegetables. Van Aken received a Maine Arts Commission artist fellowship for "Eden," which, appropriately, is in a gallery located on Eden Street in a town formerly known as Eden. The Blum Gallery is open 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 288-5015 ext. 318.[Source]
    The press release for the show announces that Van Aken has "transformed the Blum Gallery into a multi-media installation that floats somewhere among the biblical parable of the lost paradise, a do-it-yourself garage project and a science fiction fantasy, leaving the visitor pondering human's propensity to tinker with nature." Eden by Sam Van Aken will be on view from August 10 through Sept. 6, Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 207-288-5015 ext. 318. The Blum Gallery is located at 105 Eden Street in Bar Harbor, North Entrance. Use the outside stairs or enter at McCormick Lecture Hall for access to elevator and inside stairway.

    I'm going to try to visit it when I'm up there on vacation -- if I do, you can be sure there'll be photos if I'm allowed!

    Maine deep woods diner

    Maine has a penchant for cultivating little pockets of weirdness and wonderful stuff. And why not? As a huge state with a low population ratio, there are sure to be plenty of nooks and crannies. I came across an entry by the Giddy Garden Gnome (goodness) on her blog, wherein they explore one of these little pockets of wild Maine life.

    Back in October of 2007 (see post here, with many more photos!), she came across a peculiar little set-up in the North Woods. Below the outrushing of a natural cold spring, a bucket full of sodas had been placed. Passersby at this particular point in the remote woods were invited by hand-lettered signs to help themselves to the cold sodas at a reasonable price of 50 cents apiece, or a cup of cold water from the spring for a penny (with a handy mug provided). The enterprising vendor had also posted cookies (50 cents again), up high in a tree in a bucket to keep away from critters! They didn't have time to follow the signs directing them to Reggie's Way on that trip, but took note of it for future revisitation.

    Lo and behold, this August found them following the trail again, led by strange canoe signs (see the fisherman? Look closely, he's a skeleton!), and were delighted to find a little camper take-out lunch spot awaiting them on the shores of Getchell Pond. Read the full description here on the Giddy Garden Gnome's blog.

    All photos from the Giddy Garden Gnome's blog.

    Saturday, August 16, 2008

    BREAKING NEWS: Whistler Confronted by Locals

    At about 7:40pm this evening, Parkside residents heard the now-familiar signal of one of the Whistlers, and this time they responded in person. Locals at the corner of State Street and Sherman Street started verbally accosting the woman, yelling that they didn't want any whores on the streets here. A shouting match ensued, and the woman claimed she was whistling to call someone. The male she purported to be calling with her whistle appeared to be the same Hispanic male that was whistling outside the Parkside Neighborhood Association meeting this past Thursday.

    At first he denied knowing her, but when she decided to claim he was her husband, he stood by her and began threatening the neighborhood residents who had turned out of their homes to lend support to the effort. Nearing the end of the confrontation, he yelled at the gathered people a loaded threat: "I know where you live! I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!!!" Photos taken on the scene as it happened. Portland Police sent a car to followup almost immediately.

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    I Hear That Whistle Comin'...

    Well, it's just after 2:00am and the Parkside Whistlers are back in full swing. Off and on, all night long tonight, their song has pierced the night air. The first time I heard it was just after 8:00pm when, ironically, the piercing notes made their way into the Parkside Neighborhood Association meeting held this evening, during which this and other issues were discussed. One local resident observed that one of the Whistlers this time appears to be a Hispanic male, who has been identified by some residents as the same one who accompanied the original Whistler and her female teammate. This same male approached another resident and offered to sell him drugs.

    While Channel 13 sent a cameraman to the meeting, and Channel 6 News reported on it, no one bothered to mention that the peculiar problem of the Whistlers had started up again. I heard them at 9:50pm, 11:00pm, 11:15pm, and then into the morning I have been woken up by them at 1:20am, 1:40am, and 2:00am. They seem to be sticking mostly to the Mellen Street end of Sherman and especially Grant Street, if I'm hearing their direction correctly.

    So, once again, if you hear them, please do help the police track their location by calling PPD Dispatch (207)874-8575. Although activity elsewhere in the city may prevent a lightning-fast arrival, they have been doing their utmost to respond as fast as possible, often doing so immediately. We are their eyes and ears on the ground. Take photos if it is safe to do so, but DO NOT take unnecessary risks. If you notice suspicious activity in your area, please e-mail neighborhood police liaison Michelle Lauture at, or fill out an online anonymous tip form. The Parkside Community Policing Center is at 85 Grant Street. Their phone number is (207)756-8137.

    Thank you to the folks in blue for their continuing efforts, especially in light of the recent budget cuts to their resources.

    For original coverage of the Whistlers, see our posts elsewhere on the blog, and also check out Bill Nemitz's Press Herald article about the events.

    Police clipart from

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    (another) mystery photo !

    In these balmy summer days, Strange Maine brings you yet another Mystery Photo. Can you guess where this is ?? (Image below can be clicked to enlarge)

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Shopping Cart Attack!

    Back in June the West End News ran a story that had the kind of headline that makes you read it twice. Here it is!
    Man Attacks Car with Shopping Cart
    by Marge Niblock

    Police responded to a call from the Hannaford store at 295 Forest Avenue at 12:30am June 9th regarding a man who was smashing a shopping cart into a car. Everett Adams, 30, of Freeport, was arrested and charged with aggravated criminal mischief.

    The elevated charge was due to the amount of damaged sustained by the vehicle. Adams was out on bail at the time for a burglary to a motor vehicle.
    As if the high grocery prices weren't enough!

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Guilford Historical Society brawl

    Well, one doesn't generally equate a historical society's membership with a propensity for scuffling, but apparently there is always an exception to the rule. Witness the Guilford Historical Society, recently the focus of some member conflict resulting in assault charges.

    The Katahdin Regional Wiki reports that "The Guilford Historical Society was founded in 1983 by a small group of interested people." Very interested, it seems.
    Heated' historical society meeting leads to assault charge in Guilford
    Thursday, May 29, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

    GUILFORD, Maine - A "pretty heated meeting" among Guilford Historical Society members over the display of old photographs turned uglier Tuesday when fists and hair started flying.

    As members were leaving Tuesday’s meeting, the society’s secretary, Zarvin Shaffer, 38, allegedly punched member Al Hunt, 48, in the jaw with his fist, and Shaffer’s teenage son allegedly pulled the hair of Hunt’s wife, according to Investigator Guy Dow of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department.

    Shaffer, who was charged with assault, claimed Hunt had intentionally bumped into him as they left the museum where the "heated" meeting was held, Dow said. After Hunt allegedly was slugged, Dow said Hunt’s wife Laurel Hunt, 44, started yelling and she picked up a chair reportedly to protect herself. When she did so, Shaffer’s son allegedly pulled her hair, Dow said. The juvenile has not been charged but the matter is still under investigation, he said.

    The disagreement among members was because Robert Shaffer, society president and Zarvin’s father, had removed "one-of-a-kind photographs" of the town from the museum for display in a local restaurant, according to Dow. He said his department received a call last week reporting that some historical society members were troubled that the donated photographs had left the museum’s safe surroundings. Dow said the photographs have since been returned to the museum, but the disagreement apparently continued to smolder.

    Robert Shaffer, society president and father of Zarvin Shaffer, told Dow that club members had voted to place some of the photographs in the restaurant for viewing.

    About a month later, other developments ensued, related to the incident:
    Guilford: Teen charged with assault over museum
    Saturday, June 28, 2008 - Bangor Daily News

    GUILFORD, Maine - A second person was charged this week in connection with an alleged assault that occurred last month after a heated Guilford Historical Society meeting.

    Police charged Zarvin Shaffer, 38, last month for assault and this week they charged a teenager for assault. Both individuals are expected to make their initial court appearance on July 28 in 13th District Court.
    Shaffer claimed Hunt had intentionally bumped into him as they left the museum where the meeting was held, Dow said. After Hunt was slugged, Dow said Hunt’s wife, Laurel Hunt, 44, started yelling and when she did so, the teenager allegedly pulled her hair, he said. The teenager told police he was trying to protect himself.

    Dow said Laurel Hunt held up a folded canvas chair that she carried to the meetings to protect herself during the alleged assault.
    About 50 members attended a meeting earlier this week and voted a new slate of officers as follows: Sieferd "Stubby" Schultz, president; Brian Woodworth, vice president; Cindy Woodworth, secretary; and Laurel Hunt, treasurer.

    Schultz said members voted earlier to bar Zarvin Shaffer and the teenager from the historical society meetings and the museum.

    Read full article here: [Source]
    Guilford has other charms beside its active historic preservation contingent, including a covered bridge, and streets that sound delicious: Butter Street and Candy Road. Another feature is the Trebor Mansion Inn, described by Pamela Lanier's B&B site as "Unique and mysterious hilltop mansion on three acres of gardens with mature oaks and maples, overlooking the Pisquataquis River. On the National Register of Historic Places."

    Mysterious how? Well, the folks at the inn have a whole page dedicated to discussing the peculiarities of the place, titled The Mysteries of Trebor Mansion: The Inn on the Haunted Hill. The family that runs the inn are not shy about their own mysteries, and on the page titled Your Eccentric Hosts regale readers with hints of tales of themselves: "As to their background, the timid need not inquire and the bold will not need to be told, but let it suffice to say that various family members have sought high political office, been imprisoned by nefarious foreign governments, met everyone from Catholic Cardinals, Grand Rabbis and Sufi Sheiks to confidants of Adolf Hitler, been guests in the homes of Heads of State, broken bread with Communist revolutionaries (reformed and unreformed), and have lived everywhere from Monasteries and mansions to down and out on the streets of Rome and The Big Apple. We look forward to meeting you." Sounds good to me! Curious? Well, there are even links to television features on the inn, click here.

    Saturday, August 09, 2008

    35 Years Later: the Durham Gorilla

    Back in July, the 35th anniversary of one of Maine's most prominent Bigfoot sightings passed quietly. Loren Coleman spoke to the Lewiston Sun Journal's Kathryn Skelton about the incident.
    Durham's 'gorilla'
    Weird, Wicked Weird By Kathryn Skelton , Staff Writer
    Saturday, August 2, 2008

    Was it really a bear? A hippie? A costumed hooligan? 35 years ago, something funky had this town talking.
    Young bike-riding friends were the first to see it: something big, hairy, scary. After one mom saw it, too - she described an ape peeking out from behind bushes - 30 police cars circled Durham with orders to shoot.

    Over several days, more townspeople would describe the animal as a black bear, a large dog, a chimpanzee, an orangutan, a gorilla.

    "George Huntington went to Brunswick and bought a bunch of bananas because he was just so sure he'd seen it," said Elaine Sears, a longtime resident of the area where the sightings centered.
    On July 25, 1973, while Watergate investigators needled President Richard Nixon to hand over his secret tapes, kids out biking on Shiloh Road had a close, strange encounter. The next day, their mother, Meota Huntington, told police she was driving down that same road when she saw something like an ape peek out from a bush, according to the Sun Journal archives.

    That set off the police manhunt and a slew of new sightings. Faced with the variety of conflicting descriptions - bear, chimp, gorilla - Auburn Dog Officer Louis Pinette joked with a reporter that it could be "a hippie out looking for a free meal."

    Adding to the intrigue, days after that first encounter the owner of Drapeau's Costume Shop in Lewiston told police a gorilla suit rented there in early July hadn't been returned. The man with the suit gave a fictitious name and address. Police warned that if it was someone in a costume, quit messing around.
    Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, featured on the History Channel's "MonsterQuest" and shows such as "Weird Travels," was in Illinois in 1973, but heard about the strange sightings a dozen states away. He collected newspaper clippings. "I found it an intriguing case because you don't have any gorillas in Maine."

    Coleman looked into it and, with no reports of things such as zoo breaks, ruled out the idea of an escaped gorilla or ape. He's also ruled out Bigfoot and is skeptical of the costume theory.

    "In rural areas, a lot of people have guns in Maine. It would be absolutely stupid to walk around during trigger-happy (times)," Coleman said.
    Casts were made of footprints found behind Jones Cemetery. An Androscoggin County Sheriff deputy at the time said they might be chimpanzee.

    The elusive critter - if there was a critter - earned the nickname Osgood the Ape in town.
    Read the full article here: [Source]

    Sunday, August 03, 2008

    Strange Maine radio MONDAY!

    WHEN: Monday, August 4th from around 10:00pm to 11:00pm
    WHERE: WMPG, 90.9 FM and 104.1 FM in the Greater Portland area, or listen online here to their streaming broadcast.
    WHAT: DanK of the Random Thought Crime Generator show interviews me about the world of Strange Maine and the latest issue of the Gazette

    Who knows what will surface? The show customarily features a mix of soundtracks, novelties, spoken word, experimental, and instrumentals from all genres, especially jazz, surf, and r&b, but the Strange Maine interview show creates a neat hybrid of these elements with extensive interview segments interspersed. It'll be the second time we've done this. Nifty dandy!!!

    Tune in and check it out!