PROSPECT, Maine — Michelle Souliere has always been interested in life’s oddities.
“It must be all those Nancy Drew books I read as a kid,” joked the Portland resident Sunday at the fourth annual Psychic-Paranormal Faire at Fort Knox. “As I got older, I began researching all these little odd things — hauntings, unsolved mysteries. But when I started researching them, I realized there was no collection place for Maine-based weirdness.”
So Souliere came up with her own. In her spare time, she writes and edits a publication she calls the Strange Maine Gazette, which she offered for free over the weekend at the Psychic-Paranormal Faire.
“I try to shed light on things that are really buried or forgotten,” she said, displaying her latest edition of the Strange Maine Gazette that features an analysis of two skulls recently found near the southern Maine town of Bridgton.
It also features a collection of seemingly unexplained crimes and a review of “Shadows Over New England,” a book from brothers David and Scott Goudsward.
Souliere was one of a handful of vendors and lecturers who participated in the weekend event at Fort Knox, the only one of its kind in the state. Leon Seymour, executive director of the Friends of Fort Knox, said the Psychic-Paranormal Faire has developed a growing following in its four years, and he’s happy to hold it at the fort.
“It’s something different,” Seymour said. “And some of this stuff is really interesting, even if you don’t believe it all.”
Cindy Proulx, a self-proclaimed UFO enthusiast who lives in Brewer, said she understands skepticism of the paranormal.
“I think of myself as an open-minded skeptic,” she said. “I’m somewhere between the lunatic fringe and the fundamentalists.”
Proulx, who participated in the Psychic-Paranormal Faire for the first time last year and this year offered thoughts in a lecture on UFOs, said she grew up in a haunted house in Hampden and has been interested in the unexplained ever since.
“I think we’d be incredibly naive to think that there wasn’t something else out there,” she said, referring to her belief in UFOs.
Another Faire participant, Gordon Barton of Winter Harbor, is a dowser and former president of the American Dowsing Society. Dowsing is the practice of searching for water and other underground elements using rods and other devices.
“I enjoy it,” he said, “although I don’t get out as much as I used to.”
Aside from dowsing, Barton reads auras and tonal vibrations.
“There are people that always have a conscious objection to my hobbies,” he admitted, “and that’s OK.”
Loren Coleman, a national expert on cryptozoology who has been featured many times on TV, participated in his third consecutive Psychic-Paranormal Faire. Coleman, who has written books on the possibility of Bigfoot, said he became interested as a boy.
“I saw a movie about the abominable snowman and I asked my teacher about it. She said, ‘Don’t waste your time.’ So what did I do?” Coleman said.
Cryptozoology is the study of animals whose existence has not been verified. In 50 years, Coleman said, he has heard all sorts of weird animal stories.
“A lot of people are attention-seekers, so you have to be careful,” said Coleman, who lives in Portland. “But there are plenty of animals out there just waiting to be discovered.”
In addition to Coleman’s lecture on cryptozoology and Barton’s on dowsing, Proulx and Chris Gardner spoke on UFOs and members of the Bangor Ghost Hunters Association explained their equipment and techniques. Tarot card readers also had a quiet spot to themselves inside the fort.