PROSPECT, Maine — Television viewers around the county will find out on Wednesday whether any ghosties or ghoulies are spending their time in eternity at the Fort Knox historic site.
The stars of the SyFy Channel’s popular “Ghost Hunters” program will offer their opinion on whether the fort is haunted when they reveal their findings from a February visit to the 19th century fort on the episode that airs April 6. According to the “Ghost Hunters” website, the show airs at 9 p.m.
“We hope by its inclusion in the ‘Ghost Hunters’ show, many more people will come to visit and enjoy the cultural heritage of Fort Knox,” said Will Harris, director of the Bureau of Public Lands which oversees the fort and its grounds. “It is a gem — with or without spirits.”
The crew of the “Ghost Hunters,” including the show’s stars, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, and co-star Amy Bruni, spent six days in February with a 19-person crew in the Prospect-Bucksport area. The show is based on the investigations of Hawes and Wilson, former Roto-Rooter technicians, who began investigating paranormal occurrences as a hobby, using highly sophisticated measuring equipment.
In addition to filming in the fort itself, they interviewed BPL state park historian Tom Desjardin, executive director of the Friends of Fort Knox Leon Seymour and other area residents about the fort’s history and reports of paranormal experiences at the fort.
“Visitors have repeated odd experiences to FFK staff over the years, which enabled us to connect the ‘Ghost Hunters’ with local people who related their experiences to the investigators,’’ Seymour said in a prepared release. “Though [the Friends] has not taken an official position on whether ghosts prowl the corridors of the fort, we are pleased that this will bring national attention to the historic site, and in so doing, increase visitation.”
He did not indicate what kind of “visitation.”
The fort is one of four National Historic Landmarks in Maine managed by the BPL. Construction was begun in 1840 to protect the Penobscot River and Bangor’s lumber operations, and, 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, according to Desjardin.
The fort’s barracks were not located inside the fort but were in a wooden structure somewhere on the fort property, according to Desjardin. Although there are no official reports of hauntings at Fort Knox, Desjardin noted that records indicate three soldiers died while at the fort. In 1866, he said, one artilleryman, who was a new recruit and spoke only German, died of disease while stationed there. He was buried in the fort’s unmarked graveyard.
Years later, two other soldiers died while serving as the fort’s caretaker.
“It will be really nice to see Fort Knox presented on the national stage, and it will bring attention to one of Maine’s unique places,” Desjardin said.