Maine's maritime, indigenous, and colonial history is filled with stories of hardy people surviving in often harsh and challenging conditions. Many of these people died under tragic and violent circumstances, so it's no surprise you'll discover many haunted places in Maine. Whether you're seeking spectacular landscapes, historical experiences, or something else entirely, wherever you wander in Maine, beware of the ghosts that inhabit a hauntingly beautiful state.
The Strand Cinema
It might come as a surprise that moviegoers in Skowhegan aren't the only ones visiting The Strand Cinema. The theater opened in 1929 and is owned by Spotlight Cinemas. The original theatre was renovated, and two additional theaters added. In 1978, the woman who lived above the theater died, and she still makes her presence known. During renovations, construction workers blamed her for shocking them whenever they picked up a power tool not plugged in! She tossed and threw various tools about. The workers found stains on freshly painted walls. Newly hung wallpaper was ripped from the walls. It was clear the spirit wasn't happy with the renovations. If you go to the theater, you may see her shadowy silhouette standing in a corner or walking down the halls and then vanishing. One employee claims the spirit possessed her as she was leaving the basement and momentarily paralyzed her. Odd sounds come from behind the movie screens, in the balcony and, of course, the basement.
Swan's Island (not to be confused with Swan Island) is a town located in Hancock County. It was bought by Colonel James Swan in the 18th century. Only 300+ people live in the island town, serviced by the Bass Harbor ferry. The island ghost is the spirit of a woman carrying a baby. She leaves footprints wherever she is seen, mostly in the clam flats. Balls of fire bounce along the beach. If you're lucky, you may see one of the famous orbs that has a face lurking inside the flames.
Fort William Henry at Pemaquid
Fort William Henry at Pemaquid in Bristol was built in 1692 during what's known as King William's War. This war was against the Wabankai Confederacy (Indigenous Americans) and the French military over territorial rights. During this conflict, both indigenous warriors and French and British soldiers died. Full-bodied apparitions of Indigenous people and soldiers wander about the grounds and inside the fort. White and glowing orbs float about the front gate and in the surrounding area outside the fort. Cold spots and disembodied footsteps stalk visitors.
Admiral Peary Inn
The Admiral Peary Inn is in Fryeburg and was once the home of the famous Admiral Peary from 1877 to 1881, seven years before he married. Widely known for being the first man to reach the North Pole on April 6, 1909, Admiral Peary had many other amazing accomplishments in his illustrious career. The inn is a different type of haunting that you may find refreshing. The eight to ten spirits residing in the house aren't aggressive but seem content. A little girl and a little boy appear in the bedrooms. The apparition of a dapper gentleman likes to sit in the parlor or move furniture in the Admiral's quarters. The spirit of a woman named Abigail wearing a 1930s styled dress peers out the front window and tidies up after guests. The aroma of a pipe often wafts through the parlor while the delicious aroma of brownies baking drifts from the kitchen.
Creepy doesn't begin to describe what you'll feel when you visit the Anderson Cemetery located in Windham. The cemetery opened sometime in the 1700s and is a hotspot for paranormal activity. If you are brave enough to visit, you may see one of the full-bodied apparitions that moves about the cemetery. Be careful if you venture into the area known as the den. A malevolent spirit hangs out in this area of the cemetery and is aggressive to visitors. You might capture an orb or two in a photo or hear one of the disembodied voices or a spooky knocking coming from the Anderson family crypt. One of the most terrifying paranormal encounters is when you return to the parking area where you left your car. You may find your car is no longer where you parked it. If this doesn't scare you, then seeing your car lock and unlock on its own might make you jump inside and speed away. Of course, you might just have an unwanted passenger traveling with you.
Seguin Island Light Station
Commissioned by George Washington in 1795, Seguin Island Light Station in Bath is the second oldest lighthouse in Maine. It's also haunted! Three miles from the mainland can feel like the distance of the entire Atlantic Ocean when it's winter and you're stranded until spring. To make your situation more unbearable, have your lightkeeper husband give you a piano and only one sheet of music to play until spring rolls around and you can go to the mainland to buy more sheet music. The first few times the lightkeeper's his wife played the song was enjoyable, but playing the same song over and over and… Her playing drove her husband insane, and he took an axe to the piano, then her and then himself. If you visit this desolate lighthouse, beware, you may get a glimpse of the full-bodied apparition of the lighthouse keeper wielding an axe. If you listen, you'll hear the phantom piano music lilting in that repetitive song.
Located along the Penobscot River, Fort Knox (not to be confused with the United States Bullion Depository in Kentucky) was established in 1844. Today, it's part of the Fort Knox State Park as the Fort Knox State Historic Site in Prospect. The fort has many ghostly residents and features in various paranormal investigations. Although the fort never engaged in any battles, there certainly were deaths on the premises since it houses troops. Disembodied voices startle visitors. Locked doors open and close on their own. One room that isn't used harbors an evil presence. The full-bodied apparition of a uniformed soldier patrols the fort.
The McLellan-Sweat Mansion in Portland belonged to literary/art critic Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat (1823-1908) who married a politician, Lorenzo De Medici Sweat. She bequeathed the mansion to the Portland Society of Art. A male and a female ghost make their presence known, especially during renovations. The Society legally broke the deed stipulation that Margaret placed on renovations. It's very likely she isn't pleased with the changes. The apparition of a female wanders the house. The spirit of Captain Asa Clapp, the next-door neighbor, patrols the mansion. The museum is an educational venue, and the resident ghosts aren't acknowledged, so don't expect the staff to discuss ghosts with you.
Mount Hope Cemetery
Any avid Stephen King reader will immediately recognize Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor. The iconic storyteller of horror regularly visited the cemetery for inspiration. The garden cemetery opened in 1834. Historical people, such as gangster Al Brady, generals, ambassadors, and even a US Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, are buried there. In fact, Al Brady's spirit haunts the cemetery. Full-bodied apparitions move about the sweeping garden graveyard. Disembodied voices greet visitors and phantom footsteps follow them through the cemetery.
Museums of Old York
Museums of Old York in York is one of the United States' earliest English settlements. The apparition of the White Lady is a friendly spirit. She appears in the Historical Society building. She likes to open and close doors. Visitors often experience sudden cold spots and cool breezes in the building before her apparition appears or her shadowy figure flits around a corner. The White Lady enjoys scooting across the street to play with the children at the elementary school.