Bar Harbor is one of America’s favorite vacation spots. It also has a rich history, between its magnificent coastline and the colorful people who have chosen Mount Desert Island for their summer homes.
However, many of Acadia’s residents close ranks rather than expose their many “visitors from the past” to the public. They would like their ghosts left alone, thank you very much.
These are just a few readers’ stories and published legends that I can share right now. I hope to expand this list in the future.
As time permits, I’ll also investigate these stories myself. In the meantime, they’re great starting points for other ghost hunters.
According to reader Jarrod, CleftStone Inn is haunted by two women who perished in a fire there, in 1947. These exhibit poltergeist-like manifestations: slamming doors, vases being thrown across the room, and so on. In addition, the air feels heavy there, like you’re in a slow-motion time warp. I’ve heard this kind of description before, and experienced it ourselves. Usually, this suggests ghosts more than poltergeists.
Jarrod also reports that, next door to the CleftStone Inn, the Blue Nose Inn is reportedly “cursed.” It’s burned to the ground three times so far.
It sounds like a classic urban legend, but I’ve been informed that there’s a haunted corner in the Bar Harbor Funeral Home. It has a white orb of light, and you can almost see it in your mind as well, if you step into that corner. The maids avoid dusting near it.
(This info was kindly provided by site reader, Jarrod. If you can add to his stories, or tell me about more haunted sites around Bar Harbor, leave a comment.)
The site around Jesuit Springs is supposedly haunted by the eight Jesuit missionaries who were killed there in 1613, by English artillery. Their white shapes are seen at night, boats disappear (last reported: 16′ skiff of the Colby family, 1975), and — in a ghostly boat, nearby — a man in brown robes carries a cross.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 107.)
The “Witch’s Grave” of Mary Nasson is not the only reason why the Old Burying Yard of York, Maine, may be haunted.
The Old Burying Yard was actually the second cemetery of York, and the graves in it cover the years 1705 through the 1850’s.
However, it is rumored that victims of the Candlemas Day Massacre are buried in this cemetery, in unmarked graves.(When a large group of people meet violent deaths and are buried, en masse, in unmarked graves, people often report hauntings nearby.)
In addition, many headstones in the Old Burying Yard present attitudes and half-told stories which suggest lives cut short, and reasons to suspect that spirits would linger at the graves.
For example, this inscription is from the marker of Mrs. Deborah Simpson, wife of Captain Timothy Simpson, who died at age 39 in 1799:
Adieu my Friends, dry up your tears,
I must lie here till Christ appears.
If she believes that she must lie there until Christ appears, her spirit may be seen around her grave. (Few spirits seem to wait patiently without some interaction with visitors.)
Another notable stone provides the following admonition:
JOHN BRAGDON a promising Youth, departed this life
June 19th 1744 in Ye 23d Year of his Age;
with some comfortable Hope in his Death,
after great Distress of Soul, & solemn
Warnings to young People,
not to put off their Repentance to a Death Bed.
That suggests the kind of regrets that lead to hauntings.
There are many such stones — and stories behind them — which could be reasons nearly equal to the legend of “witch” Mary Nasson, for the haunting of York’s Old Burying Yard.
Maine is one of my favorite states, not just because it features one of America’s most beautiful coastlines, but also because it has such a rich history and many ghosts.
There are few towns in Maine that don’t have ghost stories. Some of Maine’s ghosts are more famous than others.
Here are a few more documented sightings that make Maine one of America’s most delightfully haunted states:
Thomaston – Josiah Thurston house, Rte. 73
Lawyer Josiah Thurston began to build his grand Thomaston house in 1855 to impress the politicians he hoped to join in Washington. He was offered an appointment by the President, but the Civil War broke out before the position was secured. After the War, Thurston found himself bankrupted by the expense of his still-unfinished house. He sold the house and became a sailor. He is seen today in his seaman’s clothing, watching people from the roof of his former home.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 45.)
Thomaston – the “house of healing”
An 1830 house in Thomaston, dubbed the “house of healing” because it has been the home of three doctors (and their practices), and a boarding house.This house is not dramatically haunted, but the ghost of Walter James (one of the founders of Thomaston Bank, among his many accomplishments) slams windows closed, unlocks doors, and generally gives visitors a sense that they’re “being watched.”
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 33.)
Port Clyde – Lighthouse Road
The lighthouse road is haunted by a blond teenager named Ben Bennett and his murderer, a dark-haired bearded man who runs silently down the road in black boots, carrying a knife. The attacker is reputed to be an early 20th-century rum runner who caught young Bennett watching him smuggling.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 9.)
Northport – “house that wasn’t there”
In a tragic fire in December 1954, the estate home of the Edward Cosgroves burned to the ground, killing their two children and the couple that was taking care of them that evening. All that remained after the fire was the stubble of one (of two) chimneys, and some children’s items.Soon after the fire, someone took a photograph of the scene, but the print showed the house as it was before the fire. Many others have taken pictures at the site, with the same results, and Northport has become a stopping point for curious visitors ever since.Others have claimed to hear the ghostly screams of the children, from where the house once stood.Author Carol Olivieri Schulte reports that one photo of “the house that wasn’t there” is on the wall of the diner at Northport.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 63.)
Wiscasset – High Street: Smith House and the Musical Wonder House
The Smith House on High St. in Wiscasset has long been known for having a ghostly old woman who rocks in a chair by the window. Next door, the Musical Wonder House, a museum of music boxes, also has a ghost. He is rarely seen but often sensed, and appears to be a young man in his late teens or early 20s.
(Source: Smith, Haunted Houses for the Millions, p. 45.)
Wiscasset – Eastwind Restaurant
This restaurant on the main street of town was built by Charles Dana. The ghost is Lydia, also called “Mother Dana,” who may have been Mr. Dana’s wife or mother. She opens latched doors, manifests other poltergeist phenomenon, and–as of 1966–has pushed and shoved owner Dorothy Apgar many times, resulting in broken bones.
(Source: Smith, Haunted Houses for the Millions, p. 47.)
Pemaquid – Ft. William Henry
Wisps of light, sudden cold drafts, and a sad man seen walking one foot above the ground, are reportedly among the ghostly manifestations of Taukolexis, and Indian who died in the Fort’s prison in July 1696.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 69.)
Wreck Island – four miles SW of Friendship Harbor
Lights, and the forms of people outlined in light, are seen at Wreck Island at night. They are the eleven passengers of the Winnebec which went down in a December 1768 storm. They may have drowned before washing ashore, or been killed by some fishermen for their belongings. It is said that the fishermen each experienced the sensation of being strangled, shortly after the 1768 disaster, and many of them said their attackers were people in drenched clothing, surrounded by white light.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 57.)
Monhegan Island – Burnt Head ledges
A woman reported being pushed by unseen hands, towards the edge of the ledges. One possible ghost might be an 80-year-old woman who leaped to her planned death at this site in 1947.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 39.)
The spectre ship, Harpswell has been seen near this island.
(Source: Snow, Strange Tales…, p. 221.)
Several of these chilling legends are featured in Ghosts on the Coast of Maine, by Carol Olivieri Schulte, (c)1989, Down East Books. If you’re interested in Yankee ghosts and their histories, this book is a delightful read. It includes far more details than we’ve shared here.
Haunted coastal Maine has so many ghosts and eerie legends, I could probably spend a month researching each town. Maybe more.
Most Maine towns (and each cemetery) has at least one good “ghost story.”
Here are a few documented hauntings. (This list starts at the New Hampshire border, and continues up the coastline.)
Unless noted otherwise, these legends are from the references listed. I include them so that other researchers can investigate them, and because they’re great stories and provide starting points for further study.
For my original New England research, see our other articles at this website.
York, Maine – Old York Cemetery
According to several books, Mary Miller Jason, a “witch,” haunts the Old York Cemetery since her 1774 death. She was known as an herbalist and an exorcist in her lifetime. It is said that the crows which frequent the cemetery near her gravestone, are her “familiars.”
(Primary source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 143.)
I believe that’s a typo in the book. During my research visit to the Old York Cemetery, I found the headstone for Mary Nasson, d. 1774, which is supposed to be haunted.
It otherwise matches the description provided by Ms. Schulte.
Scarborough – Massacre Pond (formerly Black Point)
The bloody ghost of Richard “Crazy Eye” Stonewall is seen at the pond where he was buried in Oct. 1697. Mr. Stonewall’s wife and infant son had been killed by Indians, and he avenged their deaths by joining the military and killing every Indian he found.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 125.)
The “Desert of Maine” is now a tourist attraction, but it is the product of the ghostly work of Thomas Grayson who bought the 300-acre farm in 1797. Upon his death, Mr. Grayson made his second wife promise to give the farm to his son, David.
Instead, the farm was given to the widow’s own son from a previous marriage.
Everything seemed fine for the first dozen years or so. Then one day, a small saucer-sized ring of sand appeared to have been pushed up from the soil near the barn. The sand grew daily, and eventually covered all of the formerly fertile land, including trees, plows, the springhouse, and even part of the barn.
At its worst, 800 acres were covered with sandy dunes and valleys.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 119.)
Edgecomb – Boothbay Harbor region
Marie Antoinette’s ghost supposedly haunts the home of the late Arthur Clark and his wife. He claimed to have been part of a conspiracy to smuggle the Queen of France to Maine, and a ship loaded with the Queen’s possessions had been sent to Edgecomb. Mr. Clark’s home soon filled with the furniture, paintings, sculptures, and other valuables. It appears the late Queen of France isn’t pleased. In addition, this story accounts for some extraordinary French antiques that appear in auctions and antique shops in this part of Maine.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 75.)
Rockland – the former location of Jewell’s Boutique
This shop, formerly a funeral home, is haunted by a ghost named “George,” perhaps George Golden who — according to legend — was killed in a car accident on his way to serve in the military in Viet Nam. George moves items in the store, and closes doors, among other poltergeist-type manifestations.
(Source of Boutique legend: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 15.)
Additional notes: A reader reports that the house was originally a hospital. Then Mr. Davis bought the house and it became a funeral parlor. Jewel’s Boutique was the third owner of the haunted house. Today the shop is a private office.
This reader also spoke with the former owner of the funeral home and Jewel herself, and says that the ghost is the doctor who ran the hospital. The ghost not only opens and closes doors, and moves furniture, but he also pinches the bottoms of the ladies.
The former funeral parlor owner checked his records and found no notes concerning anyone named George Golden. He reports no other stories about a man tragically killed on his way to the military during the Viet Nam era.
Lincolnville – Mt. Megunticook Trail
13-year-old Sarah Whitesell’s translucent apparition appears at the top of the mountain at “Maiden’s Cliff,” where she fell to her death while picking flowers in May 1865. She appeared most frequently in the 1930s and 40s. Her last documented appearance at the mountain was in 1976.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 21.)
Bucksport – Bucksport Cemetery
A friend of Hollow Hill and former resident of Lincoln, Maine, reports that Bucksport Cemetery is very haunted.The grave of Judge Buck bears the mark of a foot, the result of a curse placed upon Judge Buck when he sentenced a witch to death. During this reader’s four years in Bucksport, she recalls the judge’s headstone being changed at least twice, and the foot reappeared on each new stone, no matter what was done to remove the mark.
Bucksport – Another cemetery
The directions are, “Taking one of the back roads out of town there is a large water reserve with a cemetery directly across from it.” The reader says that a young woman was decapitated in the 1960s and her head thrown in the reservoir. However, her body was not found; it’s assumed that it was washed out to sea. On foggy nights, many residents have seen the headless ghost of this young woman, wandering on this road, looking for her head.
Bucksport – Captain’s House, Bridge Street
Another reader has witnessed ghostly manifestations in this house, which is a captain’s house, not named the “Captain’s House.” It’s a particular style of building that allowed several wives of seafarers to live in one building, while keeping separate quarters. Today, these buildings are often used as apartments.The reader witnessed knocking sounds, a feeling as if she was being watched, and the water being turned on in an upstairs bathroom when no one was there. She reported marks like blood had dripped on the fireplace, and numerous other frightening manifestations.Before she left, the spirit in the house was “sent back to Hell where it belonged,” by the prayers of several men from church.After moving out of this house, the new owner of the home found two skeletons in the basement, apparently teenage girls from the late 19th century.
Rockport – bridge that crosses the Goose River
Since 1920, the ghost of Revolutionary War hero William Richardson has appeared at a bridge in Rockport, near “lovers’ lane.” Mr. Richardson is a jovial ghost, usually offering a pitcher of ale to anyone he encounters. He was killed at the Goose River bridge by three Tories who were enraged by his celebrating, at the time of the Revolution.
(Source: Schulte, Ghosts..Coast of Maine, p. 51.)
Tenant’s Harbor – East Wind Inn
Haunted by the ghost of Gilbert Armstrong, co-owner of shipbuilders Armstrong & Keane in the era of the three-masted schooners. His ghost is seen climbing the main staircase, and his footsteps are heard even when nothing can been seen on the stairs. Windows are closed with a slam, breaking the glass. Doors swing, unaccountably. There may be other ghosts in the Inn, as well. In 1987, a guest cheerfully claimed that she’d been held firmly in her bed by a ghost, putting pressure on top of her.