New podcast and website keeps tabs on the spookier side of Maine and Hancock County
BAR HARBOR—There are many first-hand reports of paranormal and UFO experiences throughout Bar Harbor, Hancock County and the state of Maine and now two podcasters are sharing those experiences and a public data base where people can input their own experiences in a way that’s safe, positive, and engaging. The two have a December 11 release of Hancock County encounters on their podcast and encounter-tracking site Paranormal Maine.
Co-host Kel McGillis said, “I am having so much fun sharing these encounters and the rich history of Maine, and it’s really enjoyable to get to banter back and forth with Aster. It’s also allowing us to connect with a whole new community of Mainers about experiences that are really important to them and that have shaped their lives in some way.”
“Kel’s right about the tracker,” Aster Haven, co-host and the site’s tech wizard said. “I started it once I knew I was moving to Maine as a way of learning more about the state and to have something I feel connected to in my new home.” Haven moved up from California and had grown up in Utah. Haven has ten years of web engineering experience, which came in handy creating the tracker.
“The encounter tracking site is 100% Aster’s baby. She’s the tech goddess and does the coding and stuff that makes my brain hurt,” McGillis said.
When the two met, they realized they had a lot of interests in common. McGillis mentioned listening to true crime and supernatural shows and podcasts. Those overlapping interests resulted in the development of the podcast.
McGillis is originally from Maine, but resided in Georgia and South Korea before returning six years ago.
“The best part is all the fun stuff I am learning about that has happened in my own state. I didn’t know that the first documented ghost after America became a country was here in Maine! So it’s a lot of researching and reading, but it’s an interest, too, so it’s fun to do,” McGillis said.
They are not alone in those interests. There are many books that feature Maine UFO encounters and paranormal experiences. What makes their site difference is the tracker.
On the free site, users can input their own experiences or read others. There are several in Bar Harbor including, one downtown in 2020 that reports, “Hovering flashing lights in the shape of a saucer, bouncing up and down and side to side. Craft appeared to be gyrating.”
Or this one from the early morning hours of October 2014 (we have left the reports as is and not corrected the grammar):
“This evening in the town of bar harbor, maine a friend and i pulled into the hannaford (grocery store.) parking lot and my friend exclaimed “what is that!” i looked at what he was pointing at and saw 2 large highly reflective objects “hanging” in the sky. we observed them for over 1 min they were completely motionless. we watched a plane fly by and it was clear they were not moving by referencing them to the power lines near us and the plane in the sky that we could see at the time. i snapped the attached picture and we began to leave go to a higher vantage point to look at this anomaly as my friend was rather excited, as we got in the car the objects vanished at the same time. this cellphone picture is clearly not great but the objects can be clearly seen so i though it should be included here. i believe they were ufo’s because they clearly were not helicopters or planes but were somehow defying gravity in the open sky.”
The reports aren’t isolated to UFOs or Mount Desert Island. Here are a few sent in by Bar Harbor Story readers, but not currently in the tracker.
The Enchanted Forest – Gouldsboro, Maine – MadelEne Suzie Gowie
We were living in and finishing off an A-Frame on Rt 1. Next door was an old house built in the 1800s. We were friends with the family who lived there in the 1970s and visited the home quite often.
The story is the original owners had a very young black female slave they kept chained in an upstairs room. I saw the large metal ring that was embedded in the wall of the tiny room under the stairs to the attic. I don’t remember how the young woman died, but her ghost was seen quite often.
The first time I saw her was when I was washing dinner dishes and looking out into the night from the kitchen window that faced the neighbors. She was standing on the outcropping of rocks between our houses. She was dressed in a long white nightgown and she was crying. I went outside to see if I could approach her. I heard her crying that heartbreaking cry of a young child. She faded away when she saw me.”
They saw her again while having dinner with neighbors.
When she didn’t go back upstairs after 1/2 hour we asked our neighbor if their daughter was alright. We told her we saw her come downstairs over 1/2 hour ago.” The neighbor got up to check on her children.
She came down and told us her daughter and son were sound asleep in their beds. When we told her what we saw she laughed and said it was just their house ghost, ‘We see her quite often. She is harmless.’
Ledgelawn – The Shadows – Anonymous
Our house on Ledglawn had shadows that would just whisk by you. It never felt scary. It just felt like an old owner was stopping by. The same house had a smaller shadow that would brush up against your legs the way a cat would. That happened mostly in the kitchen. A lot of the family had that happen to them.
Sea Captain’s House – Prospect, Maine – – MadelEne Suzie Gowie
One winter night we were having dinner with Navy friends who lived in a very old house that was built by a sea captain, again back in the 1800s. We got to talking about the captain and the house and they told us, “He is still here. He knocks on doors inside the house, leaves cupboard doors open, and worst of all leaves the front door open in the winter.”
Our friends told us they would shout, “Close the d… door! I’m paying for the heat!”
Sometimes they would hear the door slam shut.
As the evening wound down and we got ready to leave, I saw a man walk past the window. He had a full beard, was wearing skull cap, and heavy wool coat. I mentioned seeing someone go by the window and when I described him he matched the description of the sea captain. When my husband and I went out the front door, we saw boot prints in the snow leading from the porch and around the side of the house, but no prints leading up to the porch.
Glen Mary Ave – Anonymous
One time while I was walking my dog down Glen Mary Ave at night, I saw a woman walking toward me. She was coming from the opposite direction and was wearing a dress like she was coming back from a wedding or party. The dress swept across the tar. The dog stopped. I stopped. The dog stayed still. I was cold and it felt creepy, so I urged her to come along. The dog refused to move and I looked up. The woman was walking closer and I was kind of embarrassed that I couldn’t get my dog to walk and then—poof! She was gone. Just gone.
The dog finally moved and we trotted forward. There wasn’t any evidence of her anywhere.
Waldo County – MadelEne Suzie Gowie
I was on my way to the Monroe church to attend a church supper when I saw a very large, very bright white light in the sky. I opened my car windows to see if I could hear the sound of a plane or helicopter. No sound. The light stayed just ahead of me for at least a mile and then it shot up into the air and was gone.
Sumit House Nursing Home – Bar Harbor-– MadelEne Suzie Gowie
I was working as a CNA back in the 80s. I took care of a sweet elderly lady who liked to talk with me about angels. One day as I was going by her room, I heard her calling for help, saying she couldn’t breathe.
All I remember as I reached her was hearing her say, “Thank G-d an angel has come.”
The next time I became aware of my surroundings, I was pulling the covers up over her as she settled in to take her nap.
She grabbed my hands and said, “Thank you for letting the angel take over your body.”
The next morning I woke up with back pain where my should blades were. I looked in the mirror and found bruises. When I went to work I asked my sweet lady what she saw, and she said she saw an angel enter my body and the wings come out of my back. The angel helped her to her bed and put her oxygen on.
Criterion Theatre – Bar Harbor – Anonymous
There are all sorts of stories from people about two men (Roy and George) who haunt the theatre, but the spirit I always see and feel is a woman. She’s not friendly. She pulls on your hair and hisses in your ear.
(Note: There is an extended Criterion Theatre ghost story that does mention Roy Baker and George Oper. The link for that is at the end of this article.)
My Cursillo Cross – Ellsworth – MadelEne Suzie Gowie
My cursillos cross is very precious to me and losing it was devastating.
I was driving to Hannaford’s in Ellsworth when I took my cross off and placed it in my lap because at that time I was self-conscious about wearing it in public. When I got to the store, I got out of the car without thinking about my cross being in my lap. Halfway home I remembered I had taken it off. I pulled over, got out, and looked for it in the car. I then thought it must have fallen off my lap when I got out of the car, so I went back to the parking lot and searched everywhere. I even went inside to see if it had been turned in at customer service, nothing there.
I cried all the way to the car. As I was getting ready to turn off Water Street onto Main Street I heard a voice next to me saying, “Go home and talk to Cheyenne.”
I quickly looked at the passenger seat and saw a very opaque figure. The male voice said again. “Go home and talk to Cheyenne.”
When I turned into our driveway, Cheyenne was standing on the porch holding my cross in her hand. I asked her where she found it and she said, “I was doing my homework when a voice said to me, ‘Go look in the sugar bowl on the hutch.’ ”
That sugar bowl never held sugar. After that experience I was never embarrassed to wear that cross in public.
I have always been open to the spiritual world.
The Shore House Haunting – Sullivan – Richard Rowland
Sullivan author Richard Rowland has a story of Shore House’s haunting on his blog, which he’s allowed us to use.
Sit back for a few minutes and indulge an old man as he spins a tale from the other side. You know the side; it is the one that fills us with wonder and more questions than answers. It will be a tale about the dark side, the unknown part of our reality that some of us refuse to pay attention to. It is a sometimes-scary place where you see things out of the corner of your eye that aren’t there when you turn to look. It will be about that energy you feel in the dark when you know something is about to touch you but there is nothing to see. Now that I have set our course and you are as comfortable as you can be, let’s get on with the story. Oh, one more caveat before starting the tale. Every single word is true and I wasn’t the only one there.
When I penned the book, Unspoken Messages, there was a portion of the book where I wrote about an experience I had when I went on my first ghost hunt and captured an intelligent response to a question I had asked and the response was audible. Scared the hell out of me, but made me thirst for more. For the uninitiated, people like me who investigate the unknown, use digital recorders to record noises or voices that you generally cannot hear. These recordings are called Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP for short, and you would be surprised at the things that go on in the silence. Some responses are called residual and are thought to be energy of things said or done in previous lives that play on a loop, repeating often just under the range of your ability to hear. Then there are intelligent EVP responses, where you record a response to a question you asked. You rarely hear the response but it can be recorded.
Becoming a ghost hunter or paranormal investigator wasn’t something I set out to do until being diagnosed with cancer twelve years ago. I was told I would be leaving here in 3 years. Although I gratefully missed the three-year boat, I was left wanting to know more about things that go bump in the night. I wanted to know why some people believed passionately in ghosts. I wanted validation about some kind of continuation when we die. I have managed to find answers, validation and more.
My wife, Jennifer, is from the Downeast coast of Maine. Before coming up here four years ago to care for her parents, we spent most of each summer at her birthplace. It was during one of these visits, we had the chance to investigate a historic house on the coast. The house had been owned by the sister of a very famous American doctor and writer whose name was commonly spoken and read. I do not want to say more because the house is currently owned by another family who know nothing of this tale. When the good doctor’s sister passed away, she left the home to a friend of ours, Kim Smith, who was her caregiver. Kim had many previous experiences in the house with unexplained noises and was excited to see what we could discover. She was getting the house ready to sell and agreed to an investigation, and willingly participated.
The first time we investigated the house and grounds, nothing happened. Well, not much happened. I didn’t catch any EVPs, pictures or video evidence other than a few orbs. But we all shared a feeling of an electric charge in the air upstairs. When you enter the huge living room, you have two options to go upstairs. You can enter either stairway, go upstairs to a landing where you will find 2 bedrooms and a full bath. You can exit the way you came or exit the other set of stairs. Yes, all of the stairs creaked. It was while standing on this hallway landing that all of us experienced a feeling that we were not alone. We all experienced goosebumps and the hair on our necks and arms were standing straight up. The air wasn’t heavy or foreboding but simply charged with electricity. We discussed the feeling in-depth but received no evidence to validate our feelings.
Fast forward a year. We knew that Kim had a buyer lined up for the house and we wanted one more shot at investigating this home. I was thoroughly surprised the first time that we were unable to document any paranormal activity and I wanted a do over. This house had stood too long not to have some kind of energy inside. We all agreed to meet one more time and see what we might be lucky enough to find.
The investigation went much like the first one. The energy upstairs was off the chart. Each of us had the same, if not more powerful reactions to being on the landing as the last time. Goosebumps, hair standing straight and convinced in our minds that someone is about to step out from around a corner anytime. I received no visual evidence. No video nor photographic evidence was captured. The audio evidence would have to wait for the next day as that part is a time-consuming process. We left the landing and relocated to the living room where the conversation about the energy in the house continued. I left the recorder going during this conversation. That decision paid off well.
The next day, I set aside time to review the audio recordings. It can take hours to review minutes of audio. I always attempt to get everyone to speak in their normal voice during investigations because it makes it easier to pick the subtle sounds out. You do not always get a completely clear EVP. During the review, I listen with headphones on and the volume all the way up.
I was setting at my writing desk, playing, rewinding and playing again until I got to the conversation we had in the living room. It was while listening to this portion of the recording that I did something I have never done before. I jerked the headphones off, threw them down and ran. Yep, that describes it perfectly. That feeling we had on the landing returned. Every hair on my body was standing up and I was covered with goosebumps. With mouth agape, I stared at the headphones like they were going to attack me.
It took a good fifteen minutes before I gathered the gumption to listen to the EVP once again. It was still there and it was unbelievable. You can hear Jennifer and Kim talking to each other about the feelings we experienced upstairs, when a new female voice talks over the top of them and says, “The door…there is someone at the door upstairs.” It was so clear that it sounded like she was standing beside us, and I guess she was. To be honest, I still get goosebumps as I type the tale.
Someone from another realm wanted to interject some information to the conversation and she did. Who was she? Who was upstairs? What did they want to tell us? Was this evil or just someone making their presence known? All questions without answers. Kim did listen to the recording and it startled her as well, but it was not the voice of the lady she provided with care. The next time I go on an investigation, I will review the audio while still there so I will know when to follow up EVPs with more questions.
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