At this point, I’m rarely shocked when I hear news of something strange happening in Maine. We are, after all, the state where an entire meteor lit up the night sky and crashed into a yet-to-be-determined location near Portland. We are also the home of
an entire museum dedicated to umbrella covers, a rock that inexplicably teeters over the edge of a cliff and an entire scale model of the solar system. It takes quite a bit to shock me. But, I did recently learn about a few things that have happened here in Maine that were new to me. I’ve listed them here to see if I can shock any of you. Read on for a few things that you had no idea happened in Maine.
1. An island was renamed "Hawaii 2."
In 2014, the founders of Cards Against Humanity purchased Birch Island in St. George Lake for around $200,000. They renamed the island "Hawaii 2" and used it in a holiday fundraising program giving 1 square foot of the island to a lucky winner who donated to the cause.
2. A University of Maine professor created a golf ball made of lobster shells.
Regular golf balls are not biodegradable, making them dangerous if they land in the water. With this creation, golf balls can now break down harmlessly in oceans, lakes and streams where they inadvertently land.
3. Maine is one of four states that banned advertising billboards.
The others are Vermont, Hawaii and Alaska.
4. The "North Pond Hermit" lived a completely solitary life for 27 years.
Christopher Knight was arrested in 2013 after a life of larceny in the woods. He claims to have only spoken to one person in this time and, more remarkably, not paid for anything since the 1980s. NOTE: This image is not of the actual hermit. He was a hermit and I have no photos of him.
5. The female voice of the NYC subway, Carolyn Hopkins, records from Maine.
She's a Maine resident and also does voice recordings for over 200 airports.
6. In 2013, the Great Northern Paper Company was saved from closure by the book "Fifty Shades of Grey."
GNP signed a contract with Vintage Books to produce 3,000 tons of paper needed for the book.
7. Not ALL Mainers use the 207 area code.
There are actually some households in the tiny village of Estcourt Station (in Aroostook County) that use the Quebec Province overlays of 418 and 581.
8. Wait! It gets worse! By 2019, the 207 area code is expected to be exhausted.
Meaning some unlucky Mainers will be forced to use a new area code and the rest of us will have the difficult task of dialing ten numbers instead of the time saving seven to which we are accustom.
9. In 1969, the plane involved in the longest hijack ever stopped to refuel in Maine.
The plane was heading from Los Angeles to San Francisco before the hijacker took it on a trip to Italy to visit his dying father. Along the 6,900-mile journey, he stopped for fuel in Denver, New York, Maine and Ireland. Strange, but true.
10. A Confederate soldier's body was buried in the town of Gray.
The town of Gray was awaiting the body of Lt. Charles H. Colley who was killed during the Battle of Cedar Mountain. When the casket arrived, it contained the body of a Confederate soldier. Believing the family would have wanted their son to have a proper burial, the town buried the soldier with a headstone engraved with simply, "stranger." They honor him every Memorial Day with a flag with a Confederate flag.
Dave Rowe Music wrote a song commemorating the story of Gray's Stranger: