Mt. Hunger Massacre [1848]

Introduction

We’re heading out to the mid-coast town of Edgecomb, Maine. Population 1,200, give or take.  There’s a ton of history in this sleepy little community and while most of it’s celebrated, there are some events the locals have lost through time.  In this case… have lost on the side of a mountain.  A gruesome massacre leaving 6 dead, buried in graves that were dug before the murders took place.  These days the story is scarcely remembered by the older generation, but the rumor about town is the killings were done with either a gun or a knife.  We’re about to take you back to the 1800’s and tell you exactly what the press and first person witnesses had to say happened at the top … of Mount Hunger.

Historical Information

Mount Hunger is more of a hill than a Mountain, but since it’s the highest point in the area it’s known by the locals as “Mount Hunger”.

Mount Hunger was settled during at time when England needed masts for their ships, so they dropped people off in the New World to cut timber and serve the crown. People originally landed, quite literally, in a place called “Salt Cove” here in Edgecomb, but they quickly made a permanent settlement of houses up on the highest peak in town, and that’s on top of Mt. Hunger. Actually “Salt Marsh Cove” (I added this fact later, on 11-7-2017)

Up on Mt. Hunger there was very little tillable soil.  As a matter of fact, when settlers started building houses up here there were no basements dug because they couldn’t get that far down into the dirt before they hit something hard and impenetrable. The people who settled the top of Mt. Hunger were a sort of 2nd generation settler in this region.  By the time they got here there was no more land available to buy down by the water, so they had to buy wherever was available and whatever they could afford. These people were foresters and farmers, and that’s important because they’re used to living off the land.  They probably weren’t used to making a living off other people, other than selling what they grew or cut.

These are the people that wound up with the land on top of Mt. Hunger.

As already stated, the land lacked planting soil, and so you can bet there weren’t any big trees up there either. This is where the tragedy starts to form.

The earliest settlers landed here by order of King George – be it George II or George the III.  The point is, they were here before the Revolutionary war.  Which means well before 1776.

By the time this next generation of settlers of Foresters and Farmers had arrived, the plantable land was taken, and all the large pines had been cut and sent off to England to be used as masts in the King’s Navy. So, the people who bought land up on Mt. Hunger were either highly capable at some sort of trade or business that allowed for them to sustain themselves by the work of those in the lower lands, say, for food as an example – since this area *is* called Mt. Hunger – or they were very poor and sustained themselves by means that never really allowed them to get comfortable, let alone “get ahead”.  They were always in a life or death game of survival up here by the time the mid 1800’s rolled around.

It’s these circumstances that brought 1 man to commit a travesty unto his own family that was so horrible we’re sure it’s left a permanent mark on this land.

The Tragedy

On May 11, 1848 George W. Pinkham took an axe to his wife and his 4 children. The oldest was 11.  The youngest was 1.  George’s mother is the one who found them all. They were all in their beds.  The children’s eyes were closed and they were all pretty much decapitated.  Their heads were still connected, but just barely. Their eyes were all closed, which made the investigators think they were all sleeping when they were struck.  They never saw it coming.

George’s Wife was found half dressed, laying in bed in the same general condition, with her head nearly severed – but her eyes open.  George was found dead also, having slit his own throat from ear to ear with a razor blade.

The Reason(s)

You’re probably asking “Why”.  Why would someone do this to their family?

Some say they were starving to death up on Mt. Hunger.  Some say George, and for that matter, his wife Lydia both had ongoing issues with mental instability.  Others held firm to the notion that both George and Lydia were firm believers in a “Second Coming of Christ” religion known as “Millerism”.

Accordingly, they would have believed that suffering here on Earth meant a sure place in Heaven, and George was making martyrs of his family by moving them into the afterlife before Christ arrived on this Earthly plane – giving them eternal salvation.

The Neighbors

It was a tight little community up on the hill… and after reading these religious claims in the newspapers, as the reason for the murders, Pinkham’s neighbors – from the Free Will Baptist Church – came out in droves to denounce the notion, fully and emphatically.

They adamantly stated that not only was he not a believer in Millerism, he wasn’t a believer in anything.  He was, as they said, “an infidel”.  They even went so far as to voluntarily write a sort of Affadavit to attest to the fact that he was not, at all, an Adventist, which is a believer in the second coming of Christ.  But that he was, in the past few years, not himself – claiming him to have been having fits of insanity for stretches of time.

Back then people were involuntarily committed to mental institutions for acts of insanity, including for holding opposing belief structures and denying the bible – which Pinkham did, publicly and without remorse.   So we have to wonder just how  truthful the “insanity” claim really was, considering they were all Baptist, themselves.

They also cleared up some more misinformation in the original telling of the murders as was printed in various newspapers.

George was originally stated to be a ship carpenter, making it seem as though he worked under someone else. But this was not true.  He was, as the neighbors stated, a “Ship Master” – which we’re assuming to mean “Captain”, since documentation and genealogic research has him titled as “Captain”.

George was a prosperous Captain and Lydia came from a highly respectable family.

They weren’t starving up on “Hunger Hill”, as some call it today.  At least not because they didn’t have a choice.   They were eating a very strange and strict diet because George had taken to believe that the “regular” foods people eat cause depression and ‘destroy’ us.  So his options were to starve or be destroyed by the food he and his family were forced to eat – because he couldn’t easily obtain the foods his strict diet required – or to take their lives himself.  And, so that’s what he did.

The Wife

Somewhere along the line it was proposed that both George and Lydia suffered from bouts of insanity over the course of the last few years of their lives, but no examples of insanity were given And the reasons for suggesting insanity could be as simple as “George changed his diet and decided he didn’t believe in God or the bible anymore”.

Lydia was known to be a God Fearing “perfectionist”. Worshipping the Lord as was her duty to do so.

One member of Edgecomb’s selectboard actually suggested that George was fine until he married Lydia, and that his instability was caused by her religious fanaticism.  Further suggesting he committed this heinous act of murdering his entire family because Lydia led him to do so.

Did Lydia give her permission for her own death, and the slaughter of her family?

A suicide note was found at the scene of the crime, and the first part was determined to have been written in a woman’s handwriting.  The note wasn’t signed but those involved believed it to be the handwriting of Lydia. The last part was signed by George.  The letter stated: [READ SUICIDE NOTE which is attached]

So, why are we blogging about this hill?

We’re blogging about Mount Hunger because, for years, hunters have heard strange sounds of screaming and crying from – what sounds like – little kids, and women.

People have walked the trails and woods up here and have had strange encounters with strong feelings of being watched, or having feelings of dread, suddenly and without apparent reason.

We have even been told of one person having a direct sighting of a strange looking apparition which happened ahead of them on the trail.  The apparition appearing solid but looking not fully formed – something between a person and something else… something they couldn’t really describe.  They stood an uncomfortable distance apart from each other and after being distracted by their dog, to look away, when they looked back, the figure was gone.

Conclusion

We hope you found our presentation of Edgecomb’s Mount Hunger to be informative and we encourage you to walk the River to River trail and experience these woods for yourself.

We think the burial plots of the 6 deceased are up there on the his hill somewhere.  It’s not a family tomb as requested in their suicide note, and it would take some searching around to locate the graves, but if you find them, please take photos and video and reach out to us.  Let us know where they are so we can pay our respects.

Remember to honor the dead in this area.  They lived in a time, and with hardships, we cannot imagine.  Their deaths are a testament to that fact.  There is no judgment for what was done.  That time has long past and it isn’t our place to do so.

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The Haunting of Ghost Road

Introduction This cemetery has a history so haunted it’s actually on a road called “Ghost Road”.  We’re taking you with us as we explore Springfield, Maine’s Cushman Cemetery.

Why it’s called “Ghost Road” The history of this haunting isn’t exactly clear.  No one is really sure why it’s haunted, or who haunts it, but there have been too many experiences by too many people to deny something weird happens out here.

First – we have the name of the road it’s on and how it got it’s name. The Ghost Road came into its name, it’s thought, because of this little blond haired girl that went missing and her body was never recovered.

There are 2 versions of this story floating around.  The first is that the little girl was playing out near the road and a woman known by townspeople as the “Green Eyed Witch” stopped her horse and carriage to talk to the child.  She beckoned the child to come closer and asked her get into the carriage.  The little girl told the old lady she wasn’t allowed to go off with strangers and ran home, telling her parents when she got there. Her parents warned her to stay away from the woman, known as “The Green Eyed Witch” but some time later the girl was outside playing in the area of the road again, and when it was time to come home, she was nowhere to be found.

She and the “Green Eyed Witch” disappeared forever.

The other story goes like this – The little girl was out playing on her bike and the “Green Eyed Witch” drove up to her in a car and asked her if she wanted a ride home.  The girl kindly refused, but a short time later, playing out on that same road, the girl went missing, and the “Green Eyed Witch” was never seen again, either.

The older generation will tell you they see an apparition of the girl, always on the road, and always at a distance.  When she’s approached she disappears before anyone can make contact with her or talk to her in any way.

Reports by people in more recent times say she’s a blond haired little girl who’s seen riding her bike on the road. But the same thing happens when she’s approached.  You can’t get too close before she disappears.

The Haunting of Cushman Cemetery

Cushman Cemetery has quite a haunted history, and while no one really knows why, there are few who have been here who have witnessed the weirdness who can deny it has a paranormal edge to it.

One of the earlier accounts of odd happenings occurred in the 1960’s when some of the civil war graves were unearthed. The townspeople say the graves were mysteriously opened, but a more logical assumption was that someone dug up the bodies to retrieve Civil War artifacts the soldiers may have been buried with, such as guns, bayonets, or medals. There was never any definite conclusion as to how the graves of these soldiers were opened, so the mystery remains to this day.

That said, there have been personal experiences documented by a wide range of witnesses who claim this cemetery is definitely haunted.

The first was the experience of 2 young boys who accidentally found the Cushman Cemetery off the side of the road. In a state of disrepair and really overgrown, it was in pretty bad shape.  So they decided they’d clean it up.

They returned at a later date and brought garbage bags and rakes and things to clean up the area to make it look nice. At one point they came across this teddy bear over a grave.  It had been there so long it was tangled in a mess of plants and weeds.  They tugged it out of the entanglement and set it off to the side while they continued to rake and pick up trash. When they left, they forgot to put the bear back where they found it. When they returned the next time they looked for it, first thing, so they could return it to the grave site, but quickly realized it wasn’t where they put it.

When they went over to the grave they originally encountered it, they found it in the exact same position and circumstance they had seen it the first time. Entangled in weeds and plants, sitting beside this gravestone like it hadn’t been touched or moved in ages. After seeing the bear in this position, and knowing they had moved it the last time they were there, it freaked them out. They ran out of the cemetery area and out to the road. Just as they were making a mad dash for the road they heard a voice holler out from the cemetery “Help Me!”

They never went back.

Another account is of an older gentleman who was charged with conducting a land survey with a bunch of other men. Each member of the survey crew was assigned a specific area in and around Cushman Cemetery.

One man, in particular, was in charge of the area just off to the side of the cemetery and out of sight of the others. As he was doing his work he noticed the wind started to pick up and a storm was coming in fast.  Before he knew it he was completely overwhelmed with darkness and leaves blowing around, the wind whipping things up from the ground, and branches flying all over the place.  Clearly it was time to get back to the work truck.

So he headed out of the area and the closer he got to the road he noticed the storm was making its way out of the area.

When he reached the other guys on the job he commented about that quick storm that had just passed through, and they had no idea what he was talking about.  They told him it’s been just as bright and sunny a few minutes ago as it was right then.

And for a more recent encore –

There’s a report of a witness account within the past few years where a couple of women were out hunting for gravestones for a genealogy project they were working on.  We’re not sure if they found what they were looking for but when they came back out onto the road, after they were finished, one of them looked over into the brush and saw a little blond haired girl watching them.

They attempted to talk to her, but she didn’t talk back.  She just watched them.

Noticing the girl was dressed in clothes that seemed a bit dated, they grew increasingly uneasy about the situation.  After several attempts of trying to communicate it became clear there was something not right, here, and they fled the area in a very quick way, convinced they had just been in the presence of the ghost of the little girl said to haunt “Ghost Road”.

That’s basically what we know about the Cushman Cemetery on Ghost Road in Springfield, Maine.

There have been accounts of people hearing a little girl crying, and hearing their names called out by unseen people, but you can basically get the gist of why folks find this cemetery to be so haunted.

If you’d like to visit the Cushman Cemetery we ask that you do so with respect.  Be curious, but be respectful, first. A haunted cemetery is not a paranormal playground.  It’s sacred ground where people are buried, and we ask that you keep that in mind above all else.

The Ghost Road is located on Route 6 in Springfield and the cemetery itself is set off the side of the road. Not entirely obvious, but if you look, you can find it.

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