Friday, December 29, 2017

Muck Monsters of Massachusetts... maybe?

Hi everyone!  It seems like most of us have survived a crazy year.  I am looking forward to some serious Strange Maine research in 2018, and I hope you can all look forward to seeing the fruits of that labor by the end of the year.

As a personal update, late in the summer of 2017 I finally found my way free from the other job I was working alongside running my shop.  I've spent the last few months getting settled back into running the Green Hand Bookshop full-time.  It's been challenging, but a much-appreciated change of pace!

January brings with it my reduced winter hours at the shop (closed Mon-Weds).  My plan for January through April is to spend my time well, diving deep into one big project that is long overdue for finishing, and getting some more traction on a couple of new ones!

I've already started chipping away at some of my files this month, and blearing my eyes with hours of microfilm searches.  This, of course, means I stumble across some fun stuff that I can't help but take note of.

While I'm still gathering material in preparation for bigger releases ahead, I did want to share this fun almost-a-monster story with those of you who love this kind of stuff the way I do!
While this story is not specifically from Maine, it did appear in the Portland Press Herald, hailing from our old nearby alma mater, Massachusetts.  In 1971, there was a brief scare (dig those headlines in the clipping shown!) about "swamp creatures" on a local golf course.

As you can tell from the headlines, the threat was not taken quite seriously by the press.  Read on to find out more!  Enjoy....
Swamp Creatures Panic Guards
Golf Course Adds Night Hazards
Boston UPI -- A security guard told today how he, two other guards and two police officers had a hair-raising run-in with "three, big slimy creatures" who emerged from a golf course swamp.

The guard told his story over an all-night talk show on radio station WBZ in Boston, but declined to identify himself or tell where or when the incident occurred because of possible embarrassment to the participants.

As it happened, he said, he and the two other guards were patrolling a golf course during the night when they stopped their golf cards atop a small hill.  Hearing a splash from a nearby swamp, they went to investigate.

"This big, black slimy thing came out of the swamp, all covered with weeds," Guard No. 1 said.  "Then a second creature emerged.  By this time we were a bit upset."

He said that when a third "creature" walked out of the swamp, "We decided to beat a hasty retreat."

Because it was dark and difficult to see, he said, one of the other guards ran into a guy wire and was knocked down, he ran into a water hazard, and the third guard managed to get away on a golf cart.

Guard No. 1, after getting out of the water hazard, went to the aid of his companion who was on the ground.  Meanwhile, the three creatures were "sort of hopping away."

While this was taking place, the third guard had contacted two police officers and brought them to the scene.  They immediately gave chase to the creatures.

When one officer fired a warning shot, the creatures turned and waddled back toward them.  The officers, understandably, also became upset.

Guards No. 1 and No. 2, hurrying to see what was going on, ran through the darkness and bumped into the officers, knocking one down.  The other officer dropped his revolver to the ground and put his hands up in the air.

"Hey, pick up your gun," the excited guard said as the creatures approached.

All turned out well, however, when it was determined the creatures really were three college students dressed in black scuba diving outfits, complete with feet flippers -- that's why they waddled.

What were they doing in the swamp?  Looking for misdirected golf balls so they could sell them.

File it under EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES and stamp it "NOT RECOMMENDED!!!"  Jeepers, guys, you almost got shot!

This is a great example of how under certain circumstances our initial reaction to "mysterious things" can turn into a regular Three Stooges episode, even in such a mundane environment as a well-groomed suburban golf course.

I have to say that the narrator's turns of phrase are particularly entertaining -- but I still would dearly love to read the police report that resulted from this!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Call for info: Portland's haunted mansion... or castle?

Hi folks! I have a question that may be too far back for most of you, but just in case someone once upon a time told you a story about it, I figured it was worth asking. Does anyone have any stories/recollections of hearing about a so-called "haunted house" or castle on Munjoy Hill?

It's a crazy Gothic home that was just up the hill from the Observatory.  It was torn down in 1914, but I keep finding vague references to it being haunted (this may purely be because it LOOKED haunted). I know recollections about it were still lurking around as late as the 1940s/50s.

Any thoughts or loose bits of story rattling around would be appreciated, as so far I have very little to go on so far! Thanks guys!!!  ...also of course any other haunted house stories from Portland are always welcome!

Here's what the crazy thing looked like (in other words, no wonder it had a reputation for being haunted):

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Magical History Tour 2017 pics!

Every year for the last three years, the Maine Historical Society ( has held a one-day event on a weekend in May when they give lucky ticket-holders a chance to tour through areas of approximately ten different historic sites that are normally off-limits to the general public.

I've managed to go every year since they started, come hell or high water, and it's been great.  Here are a bunch of photos from this year's tour on my Flickr page! I think I managed to get almost all of them labelled, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Here are a few samples:
 We paid a return visit to the clock tower on top of City Hall, voted in as the favorite from 2016.
 We saw the lingering glory of a bygone era hanging in the now-empty WMTW-8 space at the Time & Temp Building.
 We tiptoed up into the organ loft at the Sacred Heart Church.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Brunswick Town Hall NOT HAUNTED!

A breaking newsflash from back in 1894!
Town Hall Not Haunted.
A school boy running up Main Street Monday evening exclaimed to a friend that the town building was crazy or haunted, "You never in your life heard such a noise as there is going on in some part of the building," said he. The [Bath] Independent scribe heard and investigated and found that it was the comb orchestra rehearsing for "Mother Goose" which is to take place next Monday evening in Town Hall for the benefit of the public library.
The kazoo had already been in existence for several decades at this point, but apparently the budget only allowed for makeshift musical combs in lieu of their high-tech kazoo cousin.
Maine has a pretty good history of enthusiasm for noisemakers, and kazoos have been a favorite at festivals and musical events in our state for many, many years -- a proclivity which continues to this day.