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Anderson Cemetery - Windham, Maine

Location: Anderson Cemetery

City:  Windham, Maine

What can be said about the Anderson Cemetery… We made our visit to Anderson during mid-morning on a Sunday.  It was our first trip to the cemetery and I have to admit, we missed the entrance to it, probably 8+ times.  If you’re planning on going to Anderson Cemetery I’ll tell you that it’s down a long dirt entrance that looks like someone’s driveway.  It’s not someone’s driveway, its the Anderson Entrance and it doesn’t have a sign near the road like, in my opinion, it really should.

The reason we did a pre-investigation of the Anderson Cemetery is because we’ve been made aware of paranormal activity that has taken place here for quite a few years.  We’ve heard about weird mists, plasma, strange sounds, apparitions, orb activity, and other supernatural occurrences.  We did a dry run in an impromptu attempt at capturing EVP’s, and took quite a few daytime pictures at the location, some of which yielded a few question-worthy results.

[ Updated ]

Originally we thought this to be a Revolutionary War Solider’s burial mound, that of Peter Thatcher Smith. But after some light independent research, and the help of sites like, we later discovered this man to be a prominent member of early Windham.  In our search to find the significance behind grave symbology we had initially come into the belief that a raised bed over a grave, otherwise known as a “burial mound”, meant that the individual interred was a high ranking member of the armed forces, and was also likely to have been active during war time.  This turned out to be an incorrect assessment on our part, and we are grateful to be able to correct our original misinformation so we can present a more accurate biography of the persons interred.

The man buried under this prominent burial mound is named Peter Thatcher Smith.  He was a reverend in the town of Windham for many years, and a very important member of its social structure.  He lived to be 96 years old and even after he retired from his duties as a Reverend he remained in Windham to be close to his 11 children and countless grandchildren.  His home is well known in the town – the Parson Smith House – and is supposedly located in a close vicinity to the Anderson-Smith cemetery.

This burial mound is a family tomb, and Peter Thatcher Smith is surrounded by loved ones in death, as he was in life.  There may be numerous family members buried within, and while lists a number of interred as inscribed on the visible grave marker, there are likely names missing.

Another peculiar area of the cemetery is the “den” area that sets against the back boundary near the tree line of the neighboring farmland.  It has been said that a male spirit occupies this den from time to time and although we aren’t certain of his intentions, through our research we have learned that he may not be entirely open to having visitors.  We haven’t been made aware of any aggressive or negative actions by spirits in this area so we settled at this den area first.  TJ was eager to get some EMF readings and to make his attempt at capturing some EVP’s so we hit this den hard, and first.  Interestingly enough, I did capture a clearly red orb in TJ’s immediate vicinity, almost immediately.  The orb appeared as TJ was sitting inside of the den.  The skeptic in me says it’s just an orb, and the deeper skeptic in me says that my camera was catching sun-spots in my lens all afternoon.  The “believer” in me says that this red looking orb looks quite different than the other red sunspots caught throughout the day; shows up lower in the photo than the sunspots reflecting off my lens from other shots; and doesn’t seem to be subject to the same sunlight related issues the other sunspot orbs are indicative of.   Meaning, the red sunspots that occur, clearly as a result of lens flair, also show an obvious abundance of sunlight throughout the shot.  This particular red orb doesn’t appear in a photo with an exuberant amount of light.  As a matter of fact, the sunlight in this shot seems to be pretty uniform throughout.  I’ve seen many of our photographs exhibit many different types and forms of “orb”,  most of which we don’t get too excited about.  However, there is that occasional orb that causes us to take a deeper look.  I would have to classify this particular orb as one that deserves a second glance.  I openly welcome – heck, invite! – you to comment on this particular orb.  I’d love to hear what people have to say about it.

So back to this den area.  While TJ and I were investigating the den, TonyL was wandering about the nearby area snapping pictures with the digital camera.  As he was doing this, TJ and I were asking questions to any potential spirits in the area.  At one point I asked the name of the spirit I was speaking with at the time.   Flash forward to a couple of days later when I was reviewing the evidence.  For this particular batch of evidence I decided to review the audio evidence first, and the visual evidence last.   So I sifted through the different aspects of audio, wrote notes, and bookmarked the actual files, etc… In one particular spot, the point where I asked the spirit what it’s name was, I thought I may have heard a response of “Matthew”.  This was observed before I had looked at any of the video, or any of the photographs TonyL had taken.  After I finished with the audio, almost all of which I found to be less than impressive, and less than persuasive, I sifted through the photos when lo’ and behold I came across a somewhat recent headstone (within the last 40 years) that said “Matthew” on it.  It struck me, immediately.  Every now and again, as an investigator, you come across a piece of evidence, such as the EVP I thought may have been saying “Matthew” but wasn’t sure, that seems insignificant until you find another separate piece of evidence that corroborates what you thought might have been “slightly possible”.  When this happens to me it sometimes sends a shiver up my spine, lol.  I remember looking at this headstone thinking “I wonder why, of all the headstones, why is there a picture of this…. Matthew” and then it hit me.  There are those who believe that not much in this life happens by accident.  “There are no accidents”…  Maybe they’re right?  I don’t know.  It was just… very coincidental.

After this den area TJ and I went to the large and impressive Anderson Crypt, which takes up a good amount of space and at its center height is probably a good 10 to 12 f
eet heigh as measured from the floor to pinnacle.  TonyL took pictures while TJ and I attempted a run at collecting some EVP’s.   This is an area I’m glad we approached in the day time because there is no doubt in my mind that there was knocking coming from inside of this enclosed vault.  The knocking may have come from an animal nesting within the crypt but it’s “knocking” timing was incredibly close to moments we were looking for “knocking” responses from any spirits that may wish to make contact with us.  TJ did point out that there was at least 1 hole where a burrowing animal could enter the crypt, and was probably making its home within the enclosed area, safe from predators and the elements alike.  My skeptic side agrees it’s most likely an animal.  My “believer” side takes a little bit of time to tantalize the “what if’s”, but our scientific approach to all things paranormal leaves us with little choice but to reinforce the obvious: there are “burrowing” holes on both grassy sides of the crypt,  and TJ claimed to be able to look inside the crypt from at least 1 of these holes.  While we were all quite entertained by the possibility that these knocks may have been in response to some of our questions, the more likely and far more reasonable explanation would be “animal related”.

We ended our time at the Anderson Cemetery with a walk around the cemetery and shooting of some video.  The cemetery was starting to get really busy, surprisingly so.  As we were wrapping up our last 15 to 20 minutes we encountered 3 vehicles with 2 passengers each, one of which was parked and the occupants wound up touring the grounds.  I’ll say that the Anderson Cemetery wasn’t incredibly inviting, but it also wasn’t at all foreboding.  As far as addressing why people may think it’s home to eerie and suspicious paranormal activity, we definitely took note of some possible reasonings for that line of thinking.   We walked the grounds with intent to observe any such supernatural occurrences, or occurrences which could be perceived as supernatural.  I feel it may be best to stake out an area during a comfortable and relaxed time frame so we can get a general feel for the area.  If nothing else, at least we’d be able to get a lay of the land and familiarize ourselves with the surroundings, the sounds, the animals, the different wildlife we might encounter, and in cases where the outdoors is concerned, like this one, the wind patterns and how the environment impacts the natural course of gusts and/or bursts of wind.  We did find an area out past the tree line toward a neighboring farm we think may have been the Anderson family farm many years ago.  This patch of land is somewhat akin to a “strip” of land.  It looked to be roughly 40 yards wide, by at least 150 to 200 yards long, maybe longer.  It’s not flat though, it rolls quite heavily in certain places.  We got the impression that  the wind could really grab a hold of the trees and the dips in the hilly parts of this land, and that could make for some pretty eerie howls.  I, for one, would not want to be stuck down here solo at night, I can tell you that much.  There’s no light down here, also, so when it gets dark, I’m imagining it would rival the definition of the term “pitch black”.

Another visual aspect of this location is that, given the age of the cemetery, and the fact that not all of those buried here are of the same congregation, or even “religion” for that matter, there tends to be an interruption of continuity, to some degree.  There seem to be family plots, and while this is the Anderson Cemetery, dedicated to the Anderson family, at least at the start, it seems that the family grew quite large and branched out to include much more than just the “Anderson” clan.  There are clearly portions of this cemetery that are older than others, and there are clearly portions of this cemetery that have been taken care of better than others.  In looking at the overall layout of the land, and the care that’s been taken with the grounds, I’m definitely of the notion that someone needs to get down there to mow the place.  It appears to have been left to deteriorate in its own time, which is a shame because it has the potential to be a wonderfully serene location.  We’re planning our permissible night time investigation in the next 2 months and we’ll definitely be placing our “official investigation evidence” online to share with and members.




Pineland Cemetery - New Gloucester

Location: Pineland Cemetery

City:  New Gloucester, Maine

At the beginning of August, 2008 TonyL and I (KatM) took a drive out to New Gloucester to observe the gravesites of the numerous patients who died while in the care and/or under the guardianship of the Pinelands institution.  We’re still researching the matter but the history of Pinelands, as a mental health institution, really preceded its very name up until the most recent of times.  The accounts of patient maltreatment, abuse, neglect, and abhorrent human condition that plagued the earlier days of this facility have given rise to notions that those who passed-on while confined to Pinelands never really left this place; and some may still haunt the location of their final resting spot.

Another aspect of the Pinelands burial ground, which is of the utmost importance in the record of Maine’s social history, would be the exhumation and relocation of the Malaga Island graveyard.  It’s hard to imagine the state of Maine taking part in a racial movement so heinous it remains one of the deepest, darkest, skeletons in the closet of our social misgivings to this very day. Malaga Island, now known as Harbor Island, was once considered a safe haven for African-Americans and other “lower class” citizens of the state of Maine during times of slavery, Civil War, and the reconstruction era.  Malaga Island was home to citizens of various social and economic backgrounds.  Those inhabitants of Malaga very much depended on each other, the land, and the sea for their very survival.   Even though they lived a remote and often destitute existence the residents of Malaga often posed little issue to mainlanders, in presence or political clout.  If there were ever a time the cliché “they kept to themselves” would apply, I would figure it would fit here, the best.

Given its location and remoteness from the rest of the State it would make sense that those African-Americans and poverty stricken “Whites” would keep to themselves and make as little waves as possible when bringing attention to their situation.  They had a good thing over on Malaga Island.  They didn’t bother the mainlanders and the mainlanders didn’t bother them.  That was, until, out-of-staters decided that Malaga Island was a beautiful refuge for summer emigrants, such as themselves, looking for a rocky coast to perch for a couple of months each year.  It was then that the racial and socio-economic clash began, and the systematic and forced removal of all those persons who “scarred” the beautiful coastline of Maine with their low-class lifestyle was put into motion.

The governor of Maine declared, without conscience and without apology, that all African-Americans of Malaga Island were to be removed, whether they wanted to leave, or not; and went so far as to remove their dead from Malaga’s graveyards, having them interred 40 miles away in the cemetery of the Pineland Institution which was, itself, an institution of lost children and people who were “thrown-away” by family and forgotten by society.  The unwilling and unwanted exhumation of entire families from Malaga, reburied in a location many of them had probably never even been to before, in life…  The destitution of these people and their lack of ability to defend themselves and the places they called “home”, in life, and in death, must have been overwhelming.  Their displacement forever left a mark on the dark history the State of Maine goes to great lengths to hide.  It is for these reasons, and many others I have yet to mention, that we take stock in the notion that Pineland Cemetery may, indeed, be haunted by those souls seeking a fair and just resolution to their unfair treatment in life and in death.

We did not proceed with an official investigation at this location but we did scope out the area to determine how to best go about conducting one.  The cemetery is in a field that is open to the road, as well as to an adjacent cemetery called “Webber Cemetery”.  Pineland Cemetery is located near the tree line to a wooded area and the grounds seem to be meticulously maintained.  The grave markers are uniformly plain, lacking any sort of artistry or design, or personal creativity denoting the “person” each exists for.  While it may appear to have the uniformity of a veteran’s cemetery, this is a mere façade.  At least at a veteran’s cemetery there are symbols denoting each veteran’s accomplishments, dates of birth and death, and many times they are accompanied by a spouse, the latter at least expressing they’re loved, missed, and appreciated.  The grave markers at Pineland Cemetery are just that, markers.  Some lack birth dates, all lack any information other than birth, death, and name.  There are a few cases of multiple persons buried extremely close together, apparently “siblings” in some cases, but never an epitaph discerning their relation (if they have one).

While on location TonyL claims to have had an experience we tried to get on digital camera and on tape but couldn’t because the battery to my video camera was sucked dry, and all of the photos we took after TonyL announced that the “experience” was taking place came out purple and blurry.  My camera batteries for this digital camera also went from “full” to “dying” in an extremely short period of time.  We are planning a return nighttime trip with “permission” in hand by the proper authorities in the next 2 months.

Boston Burial Grounds

Location: Historic Boston Burial Grounds
City:  Boston, Massachusetts

This trip was a leisurely walk through a couple of Boston’s oldest known burial grounds.  We followed the Freedom trail through town and hit some of our historic buildings and hotspots, and then made 2 purposeful stops at these two in-town burial grounds.  Even though we’ve been there before, it seems like each time we visit there’s something different that catches our attention.  This time through it was the lively tour guide who had plenty to say about our founding fathers; Samuel Adams and John Hancock.  His exuberant characterization of Paul Revere was priceless.  If you’re ever wondering if it’s worth the money to take a guided walking tour my opinion is, “it’s absolutely worth it”.

Although we took a few pictures in each of the two graveyards we had a notion they wouldn’t produce any type of paranormal “evidence”.  This wasn’t an investigation, to any degree, but I figured I’d post the trip anyway, just for the fun of it.  The beauty among these old cared for grounds can leave an impression on a person.  It seems like a morbid sort of pastime but the fact remains, there’s a lot to be learned from taking a walk through the burying grounds of those people who passed on before we were born.  You can get a true sense of family and community from reading the headstones, and by observing the types of artwork that grace each of the markers.

One of my favorite stories of America’s history is somewhat exhibited here in the photo of Sam Adams’ headstone and the adjoining marker for the victims of the Boston Massacre.   The pro-revolution propaganda, the evil redcoats and the victim revolutionaries, and the poor 12-year-old boy shot in cold blood. I rather hear the story of the antagonized, intimidated and incredibly outnumbered redcoats backed against the wall of a building by an angry mob bent on making something out of nothing… the rogue shots fired by the English Soldiers in their anxious and nervous attempts to defend themselves before a community of angrily approaching rebels… and the very few “innocent victims” that fell during the onslaught that followed.  My favorite part of the story, however, was when John Adams defended the redcoat soldiers – not because he was loyal to the crown, no way! – but because he believed in justice and right versus wrong.  Winning American freedom from the hand of the English crown was worth more than a faked-up story of a ruthless massacre that didn’t happened the way the angry mob portrayed.  If Adams was to fight for the cause of the American Revolution he was going to do it with honor and dignity, and in doing so he brought honor and dignity to America.  He defended the victimized redcoat soldiers… and won.  John Adams was a great man, but above all, a true “American”.  Here’s a picture of a Samuel Adams memorial, with the Boston Massacre Memorial behind and to the left.

Spider Gates - Leicester, Massachusetts

Location:  Spider Gates Cemetery
City:  Leicester, Massachusetts

This was one of those investigations that reminds me of how awesome it is to be a member of Maine Ghost Hunters. On this particular investigation day, I have to tell ya, “I’m lovin’ life”.  We left Maine somewhere around 8:00 in the morning and made a leisurely commute to the great state of Massachusetts where the much-rumored-about “8th gate to hell” resides. Tucked in the back woods of a somewhat remote area, surrounded by brush, trees, and fields of farmland lay the prize; Spider Gates Cemetery.

Spider Gates Cemetery is one of those graveyards who’s reputation precedes it.  It’s sad, really, when I think about it, because at the root of all the stories lay the relative of someone who’s ears these rumors may meet.  It’s my perception that people forget that they’re talking about someone’s mother, father, brother, uncle, cousin, or otherwise, when they tell these stories of evil that take place within cemeteries such as Spider Gates.  I’ll tell ya, when made the trip to the Friend’s Meetinghouse Cemetery in Leicester, Massachusetts I was wholly preparing myself for a downright menacing experience.  I had heard of ooze emerging from the ground, apparitions of small children, a “hanging tree” which sometimes reveals the reason it bares the name, satanic rituals and cults, and the manifestations those satanic rituals produce.

What I found when we finally arrived at the entrance to Spider Gates Cemetery was a beautiful, serene atmosphere who’s grounds are impeccably neat, clean, and obviously cared for by people who are wholly vested in honoring those interred persons at rest here.  I can’t tell you how wonderful the area looked and felt.  It was simply breathtaking.  It makes me want to give a scowling look of disapproval to people who pass such awful rumors about this location.   The grounds are absolutely stunning.  The stone wall that encompasses the outer perimeter of the cemetery has been neatly hand made by stacking rock upon rock, stone upon stone, and each one appears to be laid in place and held there by gravity and the weight of those stones above.  There is no cement holding this wall together.  It is meticulously maintained and rarely did we observe a stone out of place.

The headstones aren’t nearly as ornate as those stones in Puritan based cemeteries I’ve written about in the past, but they do depict a burial period that transcends the past couple of centuries.  The rumor that this burial ground is no longer used is a flat out lie.  We observed that a person was buried here as recently as this past year, 2008.  The headstones themselves may be simple, lacking much more than simple epitaphs, names, and dates of birth and death, but their simplicity exudes a certain level of beauty that is entirely communal. It’s as though the message you receive in this place is that these people lived as a community and they rest in peace, for eternity, as a community.  We have been to a few cemeteries in the past, and none have felt as warm and inviting as Spider Gates.

We were able to take a walk around the grounds and check out the different rumored sites of interest.  For instance, the “altar” location in the center of the cemetery.  It is said that Satanic Rituals may be performed here on a regular basis by visiting Satanists, which is why the area appears to be cordoned off in some purposeful way.  That “purposeful way” , according to rumor, is supposedly designed by the Satanists. The more historically accurate version of this “altar” area is that it’s almost certainly the footprint of the original Friends Meeting House foundation.  I was overtaken with the sheer beauty of the trees that grace the center of this beautiful cemetery and was somewhat affronted by the notion that anyone could consider this place to be any level of “evil”.

We ventured toward one of the back walls of the cemetery where we noticed some upright-standing granite blocks averaging a height of roughly 3 to 4 feet tall.  TonyL thought this area could have been considered the “altar” area, or an “altar” area as well, but we were at a loss for an ultimate conclusion as for what this was more likely used for.  We took notes of “the hanging tree”, and the “note” we took was that the limb used for the hanging is quite a distance off the ground.  The breadth of the tree would make it very unlikely that anyone who hung themselves from it “shimmied” their way to the limb.  Basically speaking, you’d have to really, really, want to hang yourself from this particular tree in order to get the job done, because the effort you’d have to go through to actually do it, is quite an involved process.  I’m not saying a young boy didn’t hang himself from this tree, I’m just saying he had to be exceptionally tall, incredibly talented at climbing the, virtually, un-climbable – or both.  We didn’t see any apparitions of ghostly children while visiting Spider Gates, but we did hear sounds that sounded like eerie children for a brief second.  Turned out to be high pitched birding vocals.  I’ll admit, it took me by surprise for a brief second, but once the sounds were identified as birds, and were repeated often throughout the rest of our time on the Quaker grounds, all was fine.

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The apparitions we had read about that appear in this area were basically a little girl, a little boy, and a slightly pre-teen or early teen boy.  There’s an awful story, that dates a few decades back, of a 6 year old boy from a nearby boy’s home that was beaten to death by one of the older teen-boy’s from the home.  His body was dragged through the woods and stuffed into a culvert.  The story is heartbreaking and the location of the culvert, which we found, intensified the grisly nature of the crime, start to finish.   The culvert was so small in its initial opening that it’s hard to imagine the condition the boy’s body was in if he was, indeed, stuffed into this culvert as we saw it.   As TJ explained, the culvert’s initial opening is small, but it “opens up” when you look farther inside.  It’s a dark hole under a less-than-busy dirt road.  I’m doubting many people, if any at all, traveled this route on a regular basis.

We took notice of the beautiful Kettle Brook, at a few different points, as well as the gloomy and buggy swamp areas that lay beyond the burial ground.  It’s important to note that there are 2 swampy areas, only 1 of which claims the paranormal activity.  Spider Gates Cemetery, itself, is not the location much of the paranormal activity in this area is reported.  It’s at the bottom of the hill near the swampy area that is a brief walk past the Spider Gates Cemetery.

Now, as for the term “the 8th gate to hell” or Spider Gates Cemetery contains “8 gates to hell”, both are preposterous accusations.  The cemetery itself has only 1 official entrance and that entrance is enclosed by 3 gates, each of which contain a wrought iron decoration in the center which resemble what many have compared to “the sun’s rays” or “a spider web”.    It is a fact that at least one of the gates is a reproduction since the original was stolen, and it is also a fact that that 1 gate does not “equal” 8.  I have read many variations of the “8 gates”, my favorite tall-tale version being the one where “the close you get to the 8th, and last gate…” the more apt you are to pass out.  And that people have not only passed out when approaching the 8th gate, but there are people who have suffered heart attacks upon reaching the 8th gate, and there has also been the occasional death-upon-reaching-the-8th-gate.  The short of it is, it’s all pretty insulting to the community of Quakers this place exists to serve, and to those community members buried within.  I was a little warmed by the notion that the official position of the Quakers, concerning these rumors about their cemetery, is that they find it all very humorous.

All-in-All the trip to Spider Gates was definitely a wonderful experience.  On the way out of the cemetery, as we were wrapping things up and approaching our car, 6 more people in 3 different and unrelated cars, were making their way to parking their various vehicles so they could get a good look, and personally experience Spider Gates for themselves.  We were even fortunate enough to meet people who had heard of us from our internet site.  What a treat that was!  If you’re out there and you’re reading this, thanks for complimenting our site!  We were tickled pink, to say the least!  Join our forum, let’s chat!

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Eastern Cemetery - Portland, Maine

Location:  Eastern Cemetery

City:         Portland, Maine

Here's a little something involving our last unofficial investigation-visit to the Eastern Cemetery.  It's sometimes good to go to a place we want to investigate, just to check things out first so we can really get our plan of action laid out when presenting it to the team as a group.   TonyL and I (KatM) went to the Eastern Cemetery on an overcast day in mid-August to scope out the area and see what we're up against when we do our actual investigation in the near future.  We want the planning of this investigation date to take the general public, the weather, and the overall environment into consideration.   The location isn't exactly secluded.  As a matter of fact, if I had to categorize it, I'd place it as being in one of the worst investigation locations possible.  The area is very public, very visible from all outer edges.  By daytime standards it appears as though there are many streetlights surrounding every side of the cemetery.  I'm not sure how we'll be able to debunk based on the environmental factors associated with the area so, if nothing else, this will be a super learning experience.  I'm really looking forward to it and I think the the guys are totally down with it, too.

The cemetery itself was opened in 1666 and it set on Portland's East Side.  There is also a cemetery on the West Side of Portland, which I'll get to in a little while.  I put together a great little video spiff with TonyL offering a brief documentary on the cemetery which I hope to post on our youtube channel pretty soon.  Just by walking through the East Side cemetery you can soak in a certain appreciation for the history of the people and the places they came from and lived in.  Most lived in Portland, which is, of course, why they're buried at the "ESC" but there are many who have been involved in critical moments of America's history.  There are Revolutionary War veterans buried here, soldiers involved in the War of 1812 (America's Second Revolutionary War, a pivotal point in the careers of James Madison and Andrew Jackson, and probably the most critically important battles ever fought to secure the independence of the United State of America.) and many seamen and their widowed wives.  The children of the East Side Cemetery may well bear the most intimately discouraging stories of "life and times" in Portland during this chapter in "Maine's" history.

One of the more interesting aspects of the old Eastern Cemetery would be the folks who lived into their 70's and 80's, who are buried here. The headstones of mothers, fathers, brothers, religious leaders, lawyers, and sea captains. People of these times seemed to take pride, not only in their community, but also in the roles they played occupationally speaking. A woman who passed on from this life was not just known as "Jane", she was remembered and revered for what she offered as a wife, mother, and sister; and how her presence in the community affected those around her presently, as well as those future generations not yet born.  By reading some of these headstones a person can really get the sense that people appreciated people back then. Tombstones aren't nearly as poetic these days as they were back then, and a short walk through a place like the Eastern Cemetery can be a great reminder that we're all of the same place; in life and in death.


Before we entered the grounds of the Eastern Cemetery we took a brief outdoor walking tour of the perimeter of the Historic North School. I'm still collecting historical information about this location, particularly regarding its role in the community during times of Portland's prospering seaport days, the "great fire of 1866", and the height of immigration influx and transition.  All are key factors in the constant changing of Portland's identity, and can be seen in some small form, or other, in the writings on the various tombstones as well as the size, location, and original intentions for the building of certain public establishments, such as the North School.


The North School has a reputation of being haunted, intimate knowledge to those residents of the North School Apartments that now grace its interior.   Although I've been told the North School was involved in the Great Portland Fire of 1866, I cannot substantiate the claim due to the building's establishment date of 1867.  The Great Fire swept through the city of Portland at a destructive rate but, by official counts, had a very insignificant death toll of less than 10 Mainers.  Most of the city saw some type of fire-related destr
uction, and the entire city was involved in the reconstruction that followed.  

The architecture of the old North School vaguely resembles the beautiful Kirkbride Architecture that came to grace many of the larger (and later considered "haunted") medical institutions such as sanatoriums, mental institutes, and tuberculosis hospitals.  The clock tower that graces the upper portion of the front of the North School is a particularly stunning apex in Portland's historical setting.  The fact of whether or not the clock tower is actually still functional, escapes me.  The building itself is such a prominent presence near the Eastern Cemetery that a person can almost not consider one without the other.

Now, back to the Eastern Cemetery. Since our visit to the cemetery, at this time, was geared more toward gathering information about the location, and less about data and evidence collection, we found we had more time to peruse on a deeper level. We enjoyed spending more time reading headstones and learning about people and their relation to others buried nearby. We had time to explore the various headstone shapes, sizes, and grades of stone, which were all very fascinating. The sheer size of some of the stones was incredible. TonyL stands over 6 feet tall and some of these headstones reached the height of his chest! The black slate beauty of these stone slabs, and the care put into the design of the art engraved and the scripts etched within each exhibited a clear adoration of the dead by those they left behind.Portland was a special, and dare I say "intimate" community back in those good 'ole days.

Check out some of these headstone art pieces. Most of the headstones seem to be graced with art that denotes their religious beliefs are of a more Puritan nature, but that's a clearly superficial speculation on my part.  It would make sense that the initial residents of the region would have been of a more rigid and traditional religious sect such as Puritans and Puritanism, as the Puritans were a pretty dominant force in the more clearly established regions of Massachusetts, such as Boston. In fact, if I'm not mistaken the Puritans were not only very well established within the more metropolitan areas of Massachusetts, they were also of the "ruling class", dare I speak that aloud. America is a democracy, indeed, but in the late 1600's the colonies were still under the rule of the King of England. Being righteous, pius, loyal to God and King meant reaping benefits the working class rarely experienced. Needless to say, if Puritanism was the dominant religion of the day, it was a long time in the coming before the social, religious, and political elite would let go of that power and control; regardless of how far they were from Boston. And, historically speaking, Maine wasn't released from Massachusetts for, at least, another 150+ years.  So, long story-short, a lot of the beautiful graveyard art seen on some of these slate headstones are indicative of Puritan-istic religious principles and beliefs.

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