I’m so excited to be part of the blog tour for The Door to January by Gillian French. I read Gillian’s debut earlier this year and loved it! This book sounds just as amazing. Gillian is joining me today to talk about some spooky places in Maine!
Top Five Haunted Places of Maine
I don’t like to brag, but Maine may be the ghost capital of New England. The landscape is charged here; there’s a desolate, spooky vibe, from the unforgiving presence of the Atlantic to the isolation of the dense woods. As an author, I’m lucky to be steeped in this atmosphere. When I sat down to write The Door to January, I had my pick of creepy 18th and 19th-century houses to inspire my fictional 25 Morning Glory Lane. When a place has accumulated over two centuries of history, borne witness to generations of human drama, hasn’t it earned a wandering spirit or two?
As a ghost enthusiast, it wasn’t easy narrowing down my favorite hauntings to a lean, mean top five, but I did my best to rank the Maine phantoms that grab you with icy-cold hands and won’t let go—the most freak-i-fying eyewitness accounts I’ve ever come across….
Highest Gross-Out Factor: The Footless Ghost of Benton
For thirteen years beginning in 1964, the Linnell family experienced classic ghostly phenomena in their grand old home on Falls Road, Benton: dragging footsteps from empty rooms, a shadowy figure at the top of the stairs, distant strains of an unseen music box. It wasn’t until August 15, 1970, when renovations were being done in the dining room, that the Linnells discovered proof of something very wrong in their home: a mummified human foot was found between two beams in the wall. Seriously! You can look it up! The Maine state pathologist determined that the foot had been surgically severed from a five-month-old child around the turn of the twentieth century.
Most Malevolent: Bangor Opera House
Several years ago, I went to a paranormal fair held at Fort Knox in Prospect. During the q & a portion of the East Coast Ghost Trackers’ talk, I asked lead investigator Jamie Dube what the most “evil” presence was that he’d ever encountered in his investigations. His answer was whatever walks the halls of the Bangor Opera House. The building stands on the foundation of the original Opera House, which burned in 1914, claiming the lives of two firefighters; since then, actors, staff, and audience members have reported ghostly encounters. Some have seen a woman in the sewing room, a man in turn-of-century dress, a little girl known for committing small acts of thievery, and something intangible—what Dube felt—which brings with it an oppressive feeling of dread.
Closest to Home: Franklin Treat House of Frankfort
This eerie place built in 1864 is about a ten-minute drive from where I live, and I’ve heard stories about it being haunted ever since I was in high school. Honestly, the rumors are so prevalent in Waldo County that you couldn’t pay me enough to spend a night in there alone. The Treat house was featured in Haunted Houses, an exhibit by Brooklyn based photographer Corrine Botz, who photographed over eighty haunted sites throughout the US. Click through to view one of Botz’s photos of the Treat house and read a disquieting eyewitness account from a woman who lived in the house as a child. For some reason, the thing about the love letters really gives me the willies….
Wickedest Woman in White: Catherine’s Hill, Route 182, Hancock/Washington Counties
If you happen to see a woman in white walking along Route 182 between Franklin and Cherryfield, you’d better stop to ask if she needs help. Legend has it, if you don’t, Catherine—the spirit of a young woman supposedly decapitated in a car wreck along this stretch of road—will put a curse on you. She’s looking for her boyfriend, whose body was never found after the wreck. I wish I could say there was an actual documented car crash in Cherryfield records to confirm this one, but trust me, when you drive down spooky, tree-shadowed 182. . .you believe.
Creepiest Ghost Town: Swan Island
Okay, so I haven’t found any specific ghost stories about this abandoned island on the Kennebec River, but you can easily make up one of your own looking at the photos of the thirteen still-standing structures. Once known as the town of Perkins, the island was completely abandoned by the 1940s. Now a state-run nature preserve, one can hike, camp, and peer in the windows of the super-spooky houses, some of which are littered with belongings left behind by the former residents. It begs the question: what drove people from this place?
Oooooh! So creepy!! Here’s more info about The Door to January:
Ever since sixteen-year-old Natalie Payson moved away from her hometown of Bernier, Maine, she’s had nightmares. And not just the usual ones. These are inside her, pulling her, calling her back, drawing her to a door, a house, a place, a time. Full of fear, full of danger. So this summer, Natalie’s going back to Bernier to face up to a few things: the reason she left town.