With its secret coves, dense forests, and dark, isolated islands, Maine’s rugged landscape can seem older than time itself, forming an incredibly eerie playground for the supernatural. Add in a few literal centuries of tumultuous pre-Colonial history and restless spirits, and it’s no wonder that Maine is considered to be one of the most haunted states in the country! But while many of Maine’s most haunted places are well-known by locals, still others remain relatively obscure – especially in our quieter towns. By day, Damariscotta and Newcastle are positively charming, but strange and otherworldly happenings go on under the cover of darkness and behind closed doors. These are just a few of the ghost stories that haunt Maine’s Twin Villages:
1. Myrtle, the Resident Ghost of Newcastle Publick House
This historic now-tavern on Main Street was once owned by Myrtle Gascoigne, a lively, brazen figure who lived in Newcastle in the 1920s. To this day, her extreme, ghostly manifestations are well-documented by locals. Myrtle is most often felt here, rather than seen; however, her presence (visible or not) has been tangible enough to shake a number of the tavern's employees over the years. The basement is a known hotspot, and many of the staff have been visibly distressed by the goings-on below the floorboards.
While Myrtle's antics are typically taken in stride by the pub's owners, it has been noted that her visits have increasingly ended in property destruction. Numerous instances of liquor bottles flying across the room, and even entire store-shelves of the drink being toppled over, have cost them hundreds over the years.
2. An Assertive Spirit at the Tipsy Butler B&B
Uniquely, Myrtle's appearances do not end at the nearby Publick House. Her life and death places her visitations at these two separate, but historically related, buildings. The Tipsy Butler B&B is where Myrtle is most often visible in her full form, with reports coming from both guests and owners alike. A showstopper in life, it is here at the inn that Myrtle's ire results in tangible, eerie movements, particularly as she asserts her wishes for how the house is decorated and maintained. Objects shifting, catapulting across the room, or otherwise disappearing is a regular occurrence, along with a number of chilling apparitions.
3. The Marsh River Ghost Light
Maine's beautiful waterways are just as packed with the paranormal as its shores. Marsh River, a small tributary of the Sheepscot River, is home to some eerie appearances that are often overlooked by casual passerby: ghostly, ethereal lights with seemingly no source beyond the supernatural. Far away from any homes, ships, or lighthouses, these iridescent orbs float off in the distance, hovering just above where the water and sky meet. A number of explanations have circulated locally, but no one has determined the cause or source of the lights. One thing witnesses have noted, though: the glowing aura often seems to be drifting closer and closer to shore to where the onlooker is standing. Blink, and the mysterious orbs are gone. The best way to see the ghost lights is to take the interpretive trail along the marsh's edge near sunset.
4. The Eerie Ghost Ship of the Damariscotta
In the early 1850s, the beautiful, 210-foot
Ellen Austin was built in Damariscotta, Maine. Although made in Maine, her regular route was often between London and New York through the storied Bermuda Triangle. In the late 1870s, the multi-masted schooner and her crew met with another ship in the Atlantic, which is recorded to have been sailing erratically. The captain of the Ellen Austin sent a portion of his crew to board the small, drifting ship only to find it empty. Cargo, belongings, and equipment were all in order. The only thing missing was the captain's logbook and the ship's nameplate. Thus, the salvage crew was instructed to sail the ship alongside the Ellen Austin back to New York.
After a few days on the water, the two ships lost one another in a heavy mist. When the fog cleared, the unnamed vessel was nowhere to be found… until a few days later, when the ship appeared out of nowhere. A second crew was sent to board the boat and investigate. only to find the Ellen Austin's salvage crew vanished, with no explanation in sight.
While many story variations have surfaced over the years and the Ellen Austin has become an icon for Bermuda Triangle folklore, the second half of the story is often left out - that of how she ties back to Maine. The Ellen Austin was eventually renamed and shipwrecked a few years later in Europe, and for many, that's where her story ends. However, following the wreckage, not only did the unnamed mystery vessel disappear without a trace, but suddenly sightings of a distant, multi-masted ship haunting the distance of the Damariscotta River began to multiply. Inexplicable, unresponsive, and sailing erratically as though on the open sea, rather than near land, many locals believe this mysterious ghost ship to be the ill-fated Ellen Austin herself, sailing back to her original home in Damariscotta from her watery grave on the other side. Look southeast and off into the distance, and you'll see her masts slowly rise out of the water and began their frantic movements.
5. Buried Alive: The Haunting Story of Mary Howe
The story of Mary Howe, a local medium, being buried alive has been a local legend since the 1800s. Her family built the Howe House at the center of town and today the site is home to numerous hauntings, starting with apparitions of Howe herself. Well-known for leading seances, Mary Howe would often go into deep trances to commune across the line between living in dead.
In 1882 during one of these seances, Howe slipped into a strange, coma-like trance that lasted for over a week. Her heartbeat and breathing were imperceptible, but her skin maintained its vibrance and warmth. When two weeks had passed, there was no change for better or for worse. Unfortunately, the townspeople began to have doubts as to her living status, particularly Damariscotta's resident physician. Howe was pronounced dead, much to the protest of her family.
One clear December night, the doctor, assisted by the county sheriff and an undertaker, carried Mary Howe's body away in a wooden coffin and buried her in an unmarked grave. Some say an exorcism was performed before they did so. Today, rumors surrounding the Howe House and the cemetery abound. Some have reported seeing a blue mist making its way in between headstones. Others have reported more extreme encounters befitting a spirit wrathful about their untimely demise. While we'll never know the truth about what happened that night, the supernatural consequences in this century are well-documented.
You can even
book a stay at this historic home
Scenic lighthouses, historic B&Bs, and quiet beaches – none of the Twin Villages’ iconic sights are immune to the sights and sounds of its resident spectres. These five stories are just a taste of the spooky happenings hidden within the walls of Newcastle and Damariscotta – we have plenty more to share! Pro Tip: You can also take a
ghost tour to get up close and personal with the unique paranormal history of the area.
Have you ever experienced any spooky encounters in the Twin Villages or found yourself face to face with any Maine ghosts? We’d love to hear about it! Or, pay a visit to this
century-old haunted hotel in Kingfield, Maine.
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