The Haunting of Bar Harbor

Ghosts Hang Out In the Fanciest of Places

BAR HARBOR—One of the first printed ghost stories of Hancock County is in the Feb 7, 1885 edition of the Lewiston Sun Journal. It’s a short piece that talks about a Bar Harbor Herald story.

“It is said that a boarding house on Thurlow’s Island is haunted. Raps are heard on doors, under the floors and in all directions, sometimes low, sometimes so loud as to drown the voices of those near. Several persons have been investigating the premises but no clue to the cause of the noises have been found. The boarders are leaving. It is said the sounds have been heard three or four months but not told of till lately.”

The voices sound terrifying and harrowing cries and screams are a staple of many a ghost story. The story about the Bar Harbor Club is no different.

Not the Bar Harbor Club, but the Balance Rock, which also features in LiBrizzi’s book. Photo by Carrie Jones

The club began in 1929 right after the Great Depression. The party had an Arabian Nights theme. But really only white, wealthy people could be nominated to be a member of the club. Its peak membership was around 1929-1946 according to a story by Susan Heath for the Bangor Daily News. Members paid $18,000. The club solicited some not-so-ghostly memories and lore, including one story that when local kids dipped into the pool one night, the members decided to flush the sullied water out to sea and refill it.

When the club closed for a while, the Tudor-revival building grew increasingly shabby. Eventually, after a lot of town and attorney back and forth about zoning and codes, the Bar Harbor Club reopened in 2005.

But before then, a lot of people snuck in and had some parties. Some of those people allegedly had close encounters of the ghostly kind. 

Marcus LiBrizzi, author of The Ghosts of Acadia, shares an unsubstantiated story that one day, a woman went into the Bar Harbor Club and was strangled in the  restroom. There was no police investigation. There was no body ever found.

“The killer apparently removed the body at night and buried it somewhere nearby on Bar Island. As the legend goes, the woman was wearing a perfume that lingered for a long time after the killer removed the body from the room where she died,” he writes.

And now she allegedly haunts the club. When she’s there, you can smell her perfume, he says, in the restroom where she died, in the Vanderbilt Lounge, and sometimes women in the building alone get a visit by the perfume.

The scent?

It’s patchouli.

Also not the Bar Harbor Club, but the Ivy Manor Inn, but a great local place that hosted a hauntingly horrifying fundraiser last weekend to benefit the Jesup Memorial Library. Photo by Carrie Jones

Another unsubstantiated story that LiBrizzi shares about the building’s alleged haunting is that an old member lost everything. Homeless, bereft and possibly looking for shelter from the frigid Maine weather, he found shelter in the club. During the night, it became so cold, that his whole body froze, but that happened after he turned off the light. Now, allegedly, the light in the room stays on, but guests allegedly can hear him moan and the breaking glass of the window from when he broke in.

How about you? Do you have a favorite Bar Harbor or Hancock County haunting story to share this Halloween? Leave a comment below because I’d love to hear it!

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LiBrizzi’s book.

Kennebec Journal Augusta, Maine · Tuesday, February 10, 1885

The Bangor Daily News Bangor, Maine · Thursday, June 25, 19

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