Monday, December 7, 2009
Weird, Wicked Weird: What a year.
By Kathryn Skelton and Lindsay Tice, Staff Writers
Published: Dec 05, 2009 12:04 am
Some things can nag when left unanswered too long.
Like, whatever happened to that mom with the maybe-haunted kitchen closet? Or the couple who turned their wedding into a super hero theatrical extravaganza? Joy? Regrets?
We wondered, too. So we updated five stories that kept us guessing.
Kick back, uncork a little marinating king cobra and enjoy. May 2010 be half as wicked weird.
Author back with more Maine lore, more mayhem
After tackling tales about ax murders and an unsolved decapitation, Bucksport librarian Emeric Spooner has written a new book.
This one features some very old Maine urban legends.
Oh, and a couple of murders.
"Because that's what I do," he said.
Author of the self-published and Weird, Wicked Weird-profiled "In Search of Sara Ware" and "A Return to Smuttynose Island: And Other Maine Axe Murders," Spooner has now written "In Search of Maine Urban Legends." Also self-published, the book is on sale at Amazon.com.
His latest book features among other stories, the supposed curse of Bucksport's founder by a witch, a white whale found swimming in the Penobscot River and a pair of nuns who were attacked by a creature with glowing red eyes, as well as two stories about female serial killers from the 1800s.
All were tales that had caught Spooner's attention over the past 20 years as he researched other works.
"These are the stories that are passed down from generation to generation," he said. "At the heart of them is a truth that needs to be searched out."
Some of the tales — such as the woman who killed her four children, first and second husbands and one stepson — are gruesome enough to seed the plot of a modern horror movie. Others — such as the elephant that got away from a circus train and spent four days roaming Bucksport and swimming in the local lake — are almost too absurd to be believed.
Spooner doesn't believe in the curse of Bucksport's founder or the evidence so often pointed to: the image of a leg dancing on Buck's gravestone.
"It's just a flaw in the stone," he said.
Still, with that story and others, Spooner tries to stay neutral. Maybe it's a curse. Maybe not. He lets the reader decide.
(Not to leave my friends from Strange Maine out, or Uncle Loren for that matter, I also include the next part, that was of course printed first in the original article. )
Bigfoot at home on Congress Street
A few people have been halfway through the tour when Loren Coleman says they've looked up and realized, "Oh, you're the guy on ‘MonsterQuest.'"
In November, Coleman opened the International Cryptozoology Museum and most days, he's the one running the show.
The museum is laid out in a single 500-square-foot room at 661 Congress St. in Portland, reached through The Green Hand Bookshop. With decades' worth of Bigfoot, Loch Ness and other strange paraphernalia, the cryptozoologist says he plans to rotate part of the exhibit four times a year. It all used to be kept, by appointment only, in his home.
Museum-goers are already bringing in their own finds, like a Yeti's Best produce box from Whole Foods and Vietnamese wine with a king cobra inside. For the latter, Coleman said he Googled and found that it's the Asian equivalent of tequila with a worm at the bottom. Into his collection it went.
He has a three-year lease on the property, with an option for three more, and plans to expand to the building's second floor.
Museum hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday noon-5 p.m., closed Monday. Admission is $5 per person.
For the entire article please check out:
Sunday, November 29, 2009
JONATHAN BUCK WITCH'S CURSE
IN NEW BOOK
THE BUCKSPORT ENTERPRISE
November 25, 2009
The assistant librarian at the Buck Memorial Library, Emeric Spooner, has published another book, this one entitled "In Search of Maine Urban Legends."
Spooner, long fascinated by things historical, supernatural and other things sometimes hard to explain, has a go in this book with some of the odd occurrences in Bucksport's past - and then moves on to explore a few incidents that occurred down the road a piece - but still in Maine.
In the process, he also seeks to debunk many of the misconceptions about Col. Jonathan Buck and the alleged witch's curse that still keep the tourists coming to the memorial in downtown Bucksport erected to honor the founder of the town.
Spooner admits he's never cared much for the legend, but in the interest of history and science he decided to pursue it anyway.
His book also makes random inquiries into such diverse topics of the elephant that once rampaged through Bucksport, the woman who may have been a serial murderer before (a) any woman generally had earned that title and (b) who apparently did so before the term "serial killer" became so common-place. And, oh yes, there's the doctor-mortician who couldn't keep his lamp lit while trying to shoot a lynx in the basement.
Spooner is self-marketing his book, his sixth, as well as offering it at area outlets.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
In researching articles, I came across this not from Maine, thank the gods, but from a New England State. 1911 would have been beyond belief, this day and age, would have seen the militia called out. A misspent youth.
GHOSTLY NIGHT FROLIC
SOCIAL ELITE DANCE OVER GRAVES OF ANCESTORS
Lanterns Are Hung From Monuments While Orchestra is
Perched on Tombstones.
Hagerstown, Md., Sept. 8. Dancing over the graves of their ancestors to the faint glimmer of lanterns hung from monuments and to the music of an orchestra seated on tombstones, the social elite of Big Pool a town near here, gave an amazing ball in a cemetery there at night. So shocked are the more staid inhabitants of Big Pool that they sent a delegation to Justice E. B. Hartle of Hagerstown to ascertain if the participants in the gruesome function could into be arrested and put into jail. Several prominent citizens arranged this ghostly frolic. All the belles and beaux of the village were present.
The orchestra was seated upon mounds under which reposed the bones of the community's venerated dead. Lanterns hung from the tops of the taller monuments, casting feeble gleams upon the moss grown stones. The dance started at nine o'clock when most of the Big Pool had gone to bed. Round dances held sway until about 11 o'clock when the hilarity reached its height and the guests began to execute all the old time figures. The leader of the orchestra perched himself on the highest mound to be found and until one o'clock when the party broke up awakened the hills with his screeching violin and "calls."
The joy eventually became so unconfined that several residents were roused from their beds. Dressing hastily they crept to points of vantage behind tombstones in the rear of the cemetery and watched the proceedings to the end. These folks, it developed later, prepared the list of names which was exhibited before Judge Hartle.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
When you research a book, for instance lets say
Return to Smuttynose Island, a standalone tale
of 2 Norwegian Women that got butchered with
an axe, one dark night in 1873; you are bound
to come across side stories along the way. This
is exactly what happened with my soon to be
released book on Axe murders of Maine. I found
out that when they hung Wagner on the Gallows,
he did not walk the road alone. He was
accompanied there and into eternity, with
a man from the small town of Thorndike.
Who 3 months after the fateful night on
Smuttynose, took an axe to his own brother,
sister-in-law and baby girl. This next article
is a teaser to the standalone chapter included
in the book which details the first articles,
the trial, and finally the execution alongside
Maine's biggest villain, Louis Wagner.
JOHN TRUE GORDON
JOHN TRUE GORDON
the past, along with Maine's Most Famous Villian
Louis Wagner. My attempts to get their stories out there,
so that the victims might be remembered by the towns
and people that walk those historical streets, met with
little interest or acknowledgment. If you listen closely
you might hear the swing of an axe, or the muffled
cry of an innocent and then no more.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
A good chance to express my photographic chops, driving home tonight in the dark, I spotted a pagan-like bonfire on the Sarah Ware Property.
Never one to miss an opportunity I dashed for the video camera and digital. The conditions were perfect, the flames high and the fire light casting an eerie glow over the landscape.
Did I mention on or about the very spot, where Sarah's beheaded body lay, until it began to smell and Bill Treworgy had to move it up the Lane, where it would be found 2 weeks later?
Kind of puts things into perspective.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
My latest book had been out for 2 weeks, a little before Halloween. I had included 2 female serial killers. Rare, sure but there have been many.
In the wee hours of November 7, I watched a biography of H.H. Holmes, a Doctor that sometimes went by the name of Henry Mudgett. Of course I had read the books and known the story.
What I didn't realize was that they claimed him to be the first American Serial Killer. He killed in the 1890's, upwards to 200, but has 9 confirmed kills.
For whatever reason the Harp brothers are considered first by some and not by others. They killed in the late 1700's. The only discounting fact is they killed before there was a United States.
There are books claiming them first and more claiming H.H. Holmes as the first.
With this in mind the first female serial killer was said to be Jane Toppan who began her career experimenting on patients in 1885.
Belle Gunness was also thought to be the first, she is known as the Bluebeard Killer or the Black Widow.
The list is long and the numbers and dates are revolving. If Jane Toppan began killing sometime after 1885, then she is the claim to beat right?
So why does that mean H.H. was first. What disqualifies the Harp Brothers? These are all questions that nag at me, because why yes, my first Serial Killer included in the new book began killing in 1884.
1884 you say? Mad Mary killed her 3 daughters, 2 of her 3 husbands, 1 stepson and 1 infant son. Her first daughter Gracie was murdered on March 18, 1884.
Why, that would mean she started killing before even the known First Female Serial Killer Jane Toppan, by at least a year. That would also mean she killed almost a decade before H.H. Holmes.
Discounting what ever the Harp Brothers were up to, that could possibly make Mad Mary, the First American Serial Killer. Certainly the First Female Serial Killer.
Never one to make claims without backing, I can say this, if the Harp Brothers weren't the first, then Mad Mary was.
Did I mention the proof is in the book?
Thursday, November 5, 2009
This story is often confused with having transpired in New Hampshire. Since the Isle of Shoals is on the border between Maine and New Hampshire and the murders occurred on the Maine side, it is a Maine Murder Case.
The book "Return to Smuttynose Island and other Maine Axe Murders" was quickly dismissed by those outside of Maine, because it had a so called Maine Hook, or was told from a Maine Point of view.
I would like to point out that since the Murder occurred in Maine; Louis Wagner was tried, convicted and hung in Maine, how could the case be other then a Maine Murder Case?
Louis Wagner was hung on the gallows of Thomaston, at the Maine State Prison, when it was pointed out in the book that Wagner was actually buried on the grounds of the now Former Prison, it was claimed that "why yes, we have always known!" Yet it is never found in print or photos available online. When we mentioned it to people in the area, those that bothered to reply, asked "who?" or my favorite, "what Prison cemetery?"
I guess the point is, the Most Famous Maine Murderer the state has ever known is buried at Thomaston. You won't find a shrine; you won't find a tombstone, or monument; you probably won't even find the cemetery, all you will find is a small name plate. Maybe someone other then our group should take the stump and draw some attention to such an individual, so maybe his victims won't be forgotten or the case won't be considered claimed by another state.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The New book out by Emeric Spooner is a life long compilation of Urban Legends from the Mid Maine region. It is entitled In Search of Maine Urban Legends, book 5 of the "In Search of" Series.
I've worked with Mr. Spooner off and on for 7 years, I had heard of some of the Legends included in the Book, for instance the Jonathan Buck Witch's Curse, the Mummies used in paper making. I never even fathomed there was such a thing as Historical Female Serial Killers. Emeric has uncovered 2 and included them in the new book and it will soon be available on Amazon, the local Bucksport bookstore: Bookstacks and other area locations.
Its important not to give away anything and safeguard the wow factor of actually reading the book, but I can state that the textbook definition of a female serial killer is:
Female serial killers
Female serial killers are rare. They tend to murder men for personal gain, are usually emotionally close to their victims, and generally need to have a relationship with a person before killing them. "An analysis of 86 female serial killers from the U.S. found that the victims tended to be spouses, children or the elderly." The methods they use for murder are covert or "low profile", such as murder by poison. They commit killings in specific places, such as their home or a health-care facility (where they then become known as "Angels of Mercy" by the media), or at different locations within the same city or state. Each killer will have her own proclivities, needs and triggers, as specific reasons can only be obtained from the killer herself. On rare occasions, women may be involved with a male serial killer as a part of a serial killing "team".
"In a review of published literature on female serial murder, the most common motive identified was material gain." Sexual or sadistic motives are believed to be extremely rare in female serial murderers, and psychopathic traits and histories of childhood abuse have been consistently reported in these women. In a study of 105 female serial killers, the preferred method of killing was poisoning.
Historical criminologists have suggested that there may have been serial murders throughout history, but specific cases were not adequately recorded. Some sources suggest that legends such as werewolves and vampires were inspired by medieval serial killers.
When you read the above statement, your mind can't help but question how it was possible to occur in Maine, then when you read that it happened twice within a decade, you really have trouble comprehending the magnitude of the discovery.
Urban Legends are often told and retold stories that are based in truth. 2 female serial killers lost to time, certainly fall under this criteria.
When you read the truth behind the stories, then you begin to understand that Monsters are real, and walked the Maine land in the Victorian Age. For once I might add, they are of no relation.