MILBRIDGE (AP) – Some folks around this Down East town might be happy to see an aging farmhouse demolished Tuesday to pave way for a new home being created by Ty Pennington and the cast of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

It turns out the house where two local teachers and their three young children resided since the 1990s was haunted, according to a professor.

Marcus LiBrizzi, an English professor at the University of Maine at Machias, said the current owners, Brittany Ray and Ron Smith, reported that sharp objects in the home were manipulated in the years they lived there.

They’d discover pins, needles and even scissors balanced end on end inside the home, said LiBrizzi, who describes the creepy occurrences in a book, “Dark Woods, Chill Waters: Ghost Tales of Down East Maine,” published this month by Down East Books.

“It got to where the family would be cutting meat and they’d rush over to wash the knives and put them away. Nothing could be left out, not even a tack or pen. It’s kind of a series of bizarre and threatening activities,” he said.

An ABC spokeswoman confirmed that the Milbridge home marks the first time “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” has dealt with a haunted house.

The hauntings were believed to be caused by the spirits of either Ray’s great-great-grandmother, Etta Mitchell, or Mitchell’s husband, Augustus Mitchell, or perhaps both, LiBrizzi said. Etta Mitchell was known to be frightened of sharp objects, he said.

Brittany Ray and Ron Smith, who’ve been whisked away to Disney World while their new home is being built, were not available for comment Tuesday.

But Brittany Ray’s brother, Jeremy, said the family does indeed believe that the spirits of Augustus and Etta Mitchell, the home’s original owners, reside in the home. The family has come to believe that the spirits of “Nana” and “Gus” are protectors.

Over the years, the family would find pins that were left out stuck in wax candles; scissors that were not put away were found stuck in a countertop, said Jeremy Ray, who lives in Saco.

But the incident that reassured the family that the spirits weren’t sinister happened once in the middle of the night. Brittany was awakened by a presence in the bedroom and sensed something was wrong, but she couldn’t wake up her husband, her brother said.

She raced downstairs to find that the temperature had topped 100 degrees inside the house because of a malfunctioning furnace, he said.

Jeremy Ray said he believes the spirits have no objection to the destruction of the home, which has a failing septic system, no insulation, a cracked foundation, an outdated furnace, a leaky roof and ancient electrical wiring.

Just to be sure, “Extreme Makeover” held a reading in the house Monday night to get the spirits’ approval, he said. It must’ve worked because the bulldozers razed the house Tuesday and hundreds of volunteers prepared to start building the new house.


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