ELLSWORTH — If you’re looking for something scarier than costume parties and rooms full of mechanical monsters, you might want to try visiting local places that some say are actually haunted.
Chief among them is Route 182, which takes motorists through Township 10 between Franklin and Cherryfield. Some have claimed to see a woman walking along the road near Catherine’s Hill.
According to folklore, the woman, who is dressed in a light blue or white gown, was in an accident with her husband or boyfriend after their wedding or prom. Legend says those who don’t stop and offer help will lose control of their car, come down with a serious illness or suffer bad luck.
Catherine lost her head in the crash and her boyfriend or husband was never found. Some versions of the story predate the use of motor vehicles and place Catherine and her partner in a carriage.
The Tremont village of Seal Cove offers another piece of Halloween creepiness. In this case, a party of eight sailors rowed to the base of Butler’s Hill. The group, which included a woman dressed as an aristocrat, exited the skiff walked into the woods, several of the men carrying a heavy chest. Later, only seven men emerged from the woods and without the chest. They quickly got into the skiff and rowed to a larger sailing vessel off the coast.
In his book “Ghosts of Acadia,” author Marcus LiBrizzi writes that the seven sailors killed the eighth sailor and the woman and buried them with the treasure, possibly trapping their souls.
“Their deaths had been terrible acts of betrayal involving a strangling cord that cut off any cry for help and a dagger to the heart,” he writes.
No one ever returned to claim the treasure and, for the next 200 years or so, the murdered woman’s soul has haunted the Seal Cove’s shores. Today, the phantom is said to give visitors the uneasy sense of someone creeping closer but coming from different directions. These impressions are accompanied by the sound of a silk gown dragging on the forest floor.
In Bucksport, the squeamish should be extra careful in and near the water. LiBrizzi described Bucksport as “long known to be a portal to other dimensions,” inhabited by many supernatural beings, but the ghost seen under water is especially terrifying.
A woman scuba diving in Silver Lake in 2006 reported hearing gargles and moans and seeing bubbles rising to the surface. She claims to have encountered the figure of a woman with long hair wearing a long dress struggling to get to the surface. The diver tried to help the woman who then turned revealing she had no face.
In the 1980s, two women had the same recurring dream about a drowning woman with long hair wearing a long dress. Once they realized they were both having the same dreams, they did some research, concluding the woman in the water was Sarah Ware, a murder victim in a case that remains unsolved.
Ware disappeared in 1898 and, when her body was found three weeks later, her face had been eaten away presumably by animals. Her scalp and hair remained intact, however. When officials tried to move the body, the head fell off, according to LiBrizzi. Ware’s body and head were buried separately, her head under what has since become Silver Lake.
Legends of hauntings also surround the Prospect Harbor Lighthouse. Built in 1850, the lighthouse consists of a 38-foot tower and a detached two-story Cape Cod-style house. Now run by the U.S. Navy, the house is available for rent to active and retired military families. Visitors have reported hearing footsteps, seeing shadows cross the walls, lights being turned on or off and the smell of pipe smoke.
In the former lightkeeper’s quarters, the eeriest paranormal occurence involves a set of three figurines of sailors standing on a windowsill, facing the sea. According to the book “Haunted Maine Lighthouses” by Taryn Plumb, the center statue will sometimes spontaneously rotate.
Other apparitions include two young children and a man sitting in a rocking chair. He is believed to be the father of John Workman, the Prospect Light’s last keeper. The beacon was automated in 1934.
According to legend, many other local spots are home to ghosts and other spooky specters. LiBrizzi has authored another book, “Haunted Islands of the Gulf of Maine,” which includes ghost stories about some of Maine’s many islands, including the Cranberry Isles. Other notable local places include Bow-Arrow Hill in Winter Harbor and the site of a shipwreck on the southern end of Mount Desert Island.
For those interested in exploring these legends and possibly meeting the ghosts, plenty of information can be found in the books referenced in this article and through numerous online sources. Wherever you go, safe travels and, if you see Catherine, be sure to offer her a ride.