PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Everyone, Northern Maine Community College English Instructor Jennifer Graham said Tuesday, loves a ghost story. And with Halloween just around the corner, Graham said she wanted to recognize the holiday by doing something she has never done before — researching and revealing the ghost stories of Aroostook County.
Graham will rekindle those stories and invite others to share their own tales of terror during a public lecture at 1 p.m. Thursday in the NMCC library.
Graham said Tuesday that she came up with the idea for “Haunted Aroostook” after collaborating with Gail Roy, NMCC assistant dean of learning resources. The two wanted to get the campus and the community into the Halloween spirit.
“Everyone loves a ghost story, and we talked about it and wanted to do a really fun event for the community,” said Graham. “Gail [Roy] has stocked the library with a lot of ghost stories, including books which include some of the more well-known and even lesser-known stories of paranormal activity in Aroostook.
“I did some research and compiled a series of those stories,” she continued. “I don’t plan to retell them, necessarily, I will just read them for the audience on Thursday.”
Graham said she found a variety of great stories during her research, including stories about area spirits and ghosts and a tale regarding what is believed to be a haunted section of Route 2 that runs from Haynesville to Houlton.
Graham also will read pieces from other interesting stories, including one about a reported UFO sighting in Presque Isle shortly after World War II.
The instructor said the tale has been passed on through the generations after a man on a solo camping trip reported seeing a “celestial object.”
“He said that it created its own whirring sound,” she said, adding that the man claimed to have also seen aliens with “four faces and four legs.”
Since the man was reportedly the son of a preacher, Graham said, many people believed the story. Others felt it was a hoax or that perhaps the man was recounting a variation of a story told in the Bible, in the Book of Ezekiel.
The instructor also plans to talk about a farmer from the Violette Settlement area of Fort Kent named Maurice Theriault. The St. John Valley native, who was deemed to be possessed, had his story chronicled in the nonfiction book “Satan’s Harvest.”
Graham said Theriault’s story is considered the most famous example of paranormal activity in northern Maine.
Other stories to be recounted include the lost hunter at St. Froid Lake in 1926 and Dyer Brook’s own Jack the Ripper during the log drive days. Graham also will talk about Maine’s most famous ghost story, that of Col. Buck’s cursed tomb in Bucksport.
Graham noted that the lecture coincides with the top movie at the box office this past weekend — the low-budget horror flick “Paranormal Activity,” which grossed more than $22 million.
Locally, an organization called Paranormal Aroostook County has formed with the goal of visiting and researching places in the area which are rumored to have had some sort of paranormal activity and to publish the group’s findings.
“There is an interest in this, not just on the big screen but among local people,” she said.
The lecture is open to the public at no cost. Interested community members are encouraged to attend. For information, contact Roy in the NMCC library at 768-2734.