by Marcus LiBrizzi
For starters, that pale foot descending the staircase (with surely a creak or two) is enough to give me pause. I always enjoy learning new things about my local haunts, and if LiBrizzi is to be believed, they are very haunted indeed. This book spooked me more than anything else I read this autumn, and on more than one occasion I shut it quite sharply and had to give myself a shake.
I have lived on Mount Desert Island for over 5 years, and vacationed in the area every summer since I was 8 or 9. I am very familiar with Acadia National Park and the summer resort town of Bar Harbor, having hiked and biked nearly every bit of trail or carriage road and worked in several different establishments. It is a beautiful place for sure, with a very colorful history. I thought I knew a thing or two about some of the ghosts and other folklore of the area, but I had found just a few crumbs. LiBrizzi presented me with an entire cake.
His style is a bit melodramatic, excessively gothic in spots, but there is no denying that he unearthed a few gripping tales. Horror at Bass Harbor Head Light, The Creeping at Seal Cove, A Face in the Water, to name a few. Apparently the gates to hell are in Salsbury Cove (not Sunnydale, CA…), and a young bride-to-be who hung herself with her own veil when her fiance jilted her harasses folks at the Ledgelawn Inn. From old men with long mossy beards to black cats with red glowing eyes, the hauntings and supernatural happenings are all of a classic type. I’m not sure I go in for the “darkness at the heart of the island” business, but I’ll certainly be unable to forget the ship that sank off Otter Creek full of men and women who were destined for the slave markets, or the party of nearly 100 men who disappeared into the “interior” never to return, leaving the rest of their shipwrecked party to freeze and starve to death at Ship Harbor. Phew. Heavy stuff.
Many of the stories are based on reports from old newspapers, and some are supported by recent eyewitness accounts. Many grains of salt accompanied my perusal of the book, but on the whole I found it to be interesting and entertaining. I’m such a sucker for local history – I could hardly contain my glee when I noted that it had been published, and I wasn’t disappointed.
This was my 4th and final book for R.I.P. VI, Peril the First.
Until next year RIPers!