Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jonathan Buck Witch's Curse in New Book


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

Ghostly Night Frolic

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.



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

The Thorndike Slayer

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.



June 19, 1873

More About the Thorndike Slaughter.

The farm of the Gordon's lies on the road between Nelson Harmon's Corner and Thorndike Station distant less than half mile from each. It is pleasantly located with two-story house, a nice barn and convenient out buildings connecting the two. In this once happy home desolation reigns, and three lie cold in death, their mutilated bodies to be consigned to one common grave today at 10 o'clock. Crowds of people continue to visit the scene of the murder, and the funeral will be largely attended from adjoining towns, and the people of Thorndike will turn out en masse.

Almon Gordon was 26 years old, his wife 23. and the child killed outright was 17 months old, a fair-haired, curly-headed incarnate could strike--especially with such a bludgeon as an axe. The oldest a boy 5 years old lay in a crib in the same bedroom with its parents--the other child being in bed with them, and this received a blow from the edge of the axe, across the forehead cutting a deep gash clear across the forehead cutting a deep gash clear above the eyes mid way to roots of the hair, and from this cut, fractures of the skull extend transversely. Doubtless the murderer struck a glancing blow at this innocent as he lay in the sweet sleep of childhood, and seeing the bloody gash made supposed he had accomplished its destruction. The child was alive yesterday.

Almon Gordon has a bruise made by poll of the axe on his forehead near the hair, and a deep cut in top of the head made by the blade, where in his horrid earnestness for destruction, the wretch turned the instrument after stunning his victim and drove the blade into the brain, several minor bruises are also found upon his head, which shows the determination of the fiend who operated here.

Mrs. Gordon received a blow from the poll of the axe in the center of the forehead, which crashed in upon the brain, the whole poll of the heavy axe tearing through the skull.

The little child which was in the same bed had several bruises upon it, and is the most disfigured by fire of any of the bodies, being the last one rescued from the burning beds. It appears that the beds and bodies were sprinkled with kerosene oil previous to setting on fire.

The young man who worked on the farm, and who slept above, was by name, Ward, not Hunt as stated in my letter yesterday. There was also sleeping above a girl, a connection of the family, of some 8 or 10 years of age. The other child of the family aged 3 was sleeping with her. Ward, hearing strange noises below went down, and went to the bed-room door where the groaning issued, and where the bodies lay murdered. The axe lay partly over the threshold, but in dim light of the night he could make out nothing definitely; he saw nothing of John, who has since been arrested, and being aware of something dreadful, hardly knowing what, he took from the house like a frightened deer. When he had got some twenty rods John called to him to come back; luckily, perhaps, for him he kept on, and perhaps thus escaped being another victim. Seeing that alarm was about to be given, John called up the two girls, and sent them to the neighbors in haste to arouse them, as the house was on fire, he said.

It is supposed he was after kerosene or something else when Ward made the discovery of something wrong. The theory would seem to be good, that seeing alarm was raising he would send the girls, carry out furniture, and appear to be doing all possible to save things, thereby to avert suspicion. That if Ward had not awakened, the whole household would have been victims of one grand butchery.

Almon has lived at home some six years carrying on the farm with his father's help, and having no interest in it beyond a percentage of the crops. This spring he became dissatisfied and went down to Brigadier's Island to work, remaining there but a short time, leaving his family with his parents on the farm. The father then made a trade with John, when Almon left, to carry on the farm. John was expecting to be married soon. When Almon came back, a few weeks after going away, the father made a trade with him, giving him a deed of half the farm, upon conditions to be fulfilled by Almon. John, who is considered a dangerous fellow by the neighbors, was informed of the new order of things, and that he had better get a chance to work out the remainder of the season. He brooded over this, and his disappointment and desire for revenge, it is supposes has culminated in this unheard of crime. John is 28 years old. He had been stopping about home since Almon came back, not doing much, but loafing his time away down at the R. R. Station, and about the vicinity. He is now safely lodged in Belfast Jail. There is no shadow of doubt in the minds of the neighbors but that John committed the horrid deed.

A text book example of a monster. I believe in monsters. Anyone who can butcher women and children with an axe is a monster.
The Thorndike Slayer John T. Gordon is slipping into
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

Fire, Fire on the Mountain

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

The First American Serial Killer

New update on the Maine Super page, a little shocking in the wow factor, I might add:
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

Louis Wagner, The Smuttynose Axe Murderer

In 1873 Prussian Fisherman Louis Wagner stole a row boat and rowed out to the little Island of Smuttynose. He intended to rob the women left alone that night, but instead killed two of the three with an axe.

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

In Search of Maine Urban Legends

The new book by Emeric Spooner is finally available on Please click the above cover to be taken to Amazon, to view the book!

Maine Female Serial Killers

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.