The grave of Mary Nasson in the Old York Burying Yard in York. There is a myth that Mary Nasson was a witch. Photo by Gregory Rec

It’s no coincidence that Maine settings fit so well with the horror stories of Stephen King. Under the cover of night, the iconic scenery, so quaint and serene during the day, gets kinda creepy. And there are plenty of legends about hauntings in Maine that up the fear factor even more. Here are a few of those supposedly haunted spots and the stories behind them.

1. PLEASE STAY PUT, MARY

Mary Nasson is buried in a beautiful old cemetery with a gorgeous, ornate headstone marking her final resting spot at the Old York Burying Ground. She died in 1774 and has been dogged for decades since with rumors of her being a witch. Her grave is said to be haunted, and a long stone that covers the length of her body was placed there to keep her from rising in the night. The folks from the Old York Historical Society have gone to lengths to dispel those rumors.

2. BIDDO’S WATCHER

Visitors to Biddeford’s historic City Theater are used to keeping their eyes on the stage. But they might not realize there’s purported to be a set of eyes watching them — from above. Rumors of a “seeing eye” peering down from the ceiling, lights flashing and unexplained voices surround the theater. It’s no surprise that drama surrounds the venue, with more than 100 years of opera, theatrics and tragedy.

One persistent story involves singer Eva Gray, who collapsed following her third encore of the song “Goodbye, Little Girl, Goodbye” on Halloween Eve 1904. According to the theater’s website, “The beautiful 33-year-old died backstage from heart failure with her 3-year-old daughter present. Many since have referred to Eva as the theater’s resident ‘ghost.’”

3. HANNAH, UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS

Newfield’s Old Straw House is named for Gideon Straw and is said to be haunted by his daughter, Hannah. According to legend, she is buried underneath the kitchen. She died in March 1826 at age 30. The ground was still frozen from the winter chill, so her father buried her underneath the kitchen floorboard in ground that was warm from the heat of the house. Folks who have inhabited the house over the years say they’ve encountered Hannah’s apparition, and for an extended period in the 1960s, that her image appeared regularly in a window. They’ve also reported footsteps in the hall and lights turning on and off when no one was home.

Many have reported seeing and hearing ghostly happenings at the Jameson Tavern in Freeport. Photo by John Patriquin/Portland Press Herald

4. TALL MAN IN THE TAVERN

Although its designation as “the birthplace of Maine” is disputed, many have corroborated the eerie happenings inside the Jameson Tavern, in a building that dates back to the late 18th century located right next to L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Freeport. A tall man in a top hat who stands in a spot between the bar and restaurant has been reported. And there have supposedly been sightings of child ghosts, the tavern’s website says, although all of the apparitions are of the friendly variety. A tavern owner, Tom Hincks, has said he has heard footsteps and banging, has seen the back door open and close by itself, and other incidents. Once, some unknown force rattled all the utensils hanging from an overhead rack. “I wasn’t a believer” before he opened the restaurant, he said, “but wait until it happens to you.”

5. CHILDREN CRY IN THE OLD CHURCH

Bath’s Winter Street Center used to be a church. According to some, hospitals were overflowing, so the church housed victims of the Spanish flu back in 1918. Groups have had unexplained encounters – one guest purportedly saw a child standing in the balcony of the sanctuary. Recordings have also picked up strange noises that no one could explain, like footsteps and cries for help.

6. THIS DEAD PATRIOT WOULD LIKE TO BUY YOU A BEER

Located on Pascal Avenue near picturesque Rockport Harbor, the Goose River Bridge is supposedly haunted by William Richardson, a town resident who lived there around the time of the Revolutionary War. There are at least two stories about his death. The first is that British sympathizers murdered Richardson in 1783 because they were enraged by his drunken celebration of the American victory. The second is that he got so drunk celebrating the American victory that he fell from the bridge to his death. Either way, the myth is that Richardson’s ghost can be seen haunting the area, offering pitchers of ale to passersby.

7. FOOTLESS AND FEARSOME

One spring night, in a second-floor bedroom in an old creaky house on Falls Road in Benton, 18-year-old Alan Linnell lay terrified in bed as he felt a presence sit on his bed. Then he felt something cold touch his arm. That experience was one of dozens of strange events Linnell, his seven siblings, his parents and visiting relatives said they had over 13 years beginning in 1964, a year after the family bought the home. The children’s stories would have likely gone unnoticed were it not for a grisly discovery made Aug. 15, 1970, when, while renovating the dining room, the Linnells found a shriveled and mummified human foot – along with some bones and a few corn cobs – in the wall. Other children in the house heard sighs and footsteps that sounded like a person was limping, or dragging a foot as it walked.
When the foot was later discovered between two beams in the dining room wall, Maine state pathologist sent it to a Boston lab for analysis. According to newspaper accounts from the time, the results indicated it was amputated from a 5-month-old child in a surgical procedure around 1900. The small bones found in the wall with the foot belonged to some sort of animal, according to the report. The newspaper reported that a doctor lived in the house around the time the foot was amputated.

Alan Linnell, standing in front of his reportedly haunted house on Falls Road, in 1977, in Benton. The second, I donÕt know whoÕs on top of the stairs, but: The staircase, pictured here in 1977, has been the site of many of the unexplained phenomena in the Linnell house. Throughout the Ô60s and Ô70s, the Linnell children said they heard ghostly footsteps going up and down the stairs and, at least once, saw a shadowy figure at the top of the stairs. Today, current resident Marty Golias said two of her cats have acted as if they were greeting a person on the stairs, though Golias could see nothing. Photo by Dick Maxwell

— Compiled from the Portland Press Herald archives

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.