AUGUSTA, Maine — A production crew from the SyFy television network’s “Ghost Hunters” will film an episode of the popular series in February at Fort Knox State Historic Site in Prospect, according to a news release Monday from the Maine Department of Conservation.
“It will be interesting to see what they find, and it’s always great when one of our historic sites gets national attention,” said Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands Park Historian Tom Desjardin.
A video crew will visit Maine’s most popular state historic site for six days looking for evidence of ectoplasmic apparitions, according to Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) officials. The fort structure is closed during the winter season, and the public will not be allowed on the property during filming.
The hourlong weekly reality show is based on the paranormal investigations of Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, two former Roto-Rooter technicians from Warwick, R.I., who began investigating paranormal occurrences with highly sophisticated measuring equipment as a hobby, according to the program’s website. The show – from the creator and executive producer of “American Chopper” and “Dirty Jobs,” Tom Thayer and Craig Piligian of Pilgrim Films — has gained popularity as the crew explores different “haunted” places around the country.
The construction of Fort Knox, one of 17 historic sites managed by the BPL, began in the 1840s to protect the Penobscot River and Bangor’s bustling lumber operations, Desjardin said. Though never completely finished, it was garrisoned with troops during and shortly after the Civil War and for a month during the Spanish-American War in 1898.
Last year, more than 96,000 people visited the fort, which has been the site for numerous activities, including Civil War re-enactments and the Halloween event, “Fright at the Fort,” which draws thousands of people annually.
“The fort has the feel of a big, medieval dungeon, so it’s really natural for people to wonder if it’s haunted,” Desjardin said.
The park historian said there are no official reports of hauntings at Fort Knox, and only one soldier on record died while at the fort. The fort’s barracks were not located in the fort, but in an unspecified wooden structure located somewhere on the fort property, Desjardin said. In 1866, an artilleryman, who was a new recruit and spoke only German, died of disease while stationed there.
“He was buried at the fort, but we don’t know where,” Desjardin said. “No one knows where the burial ground is. It was never fenced off — and he’s the only occupant.”
Desjardin will give the video crew a tour of the fort, help with setting up and do a historical interview. The crew is expected to do two nights of investigation, the park historian said. Leon Seymour, executive director of the Friends of Fort Knox, will serve as “the client” who points out where visitors have had unusual experiences.
The “evidence reveal,” during which the video crew reports its findings, will take place several days after the investigation, Desjardin said.
The park historian pointed out that Fort Knox is one of the few sites where the “Ghost Hunters” crew will do an investigation this season at an outdoor setting.
“We hope the crew will be prepared for winter nights on the Maine coast,” Desjardin said.
For information about “Ghost Hunters,” visit http://www.syfy.com/gh/. For information about Maine’s state parks and historic sites, visit http://www.parksandlands.com.