It takes more than a spooky noise, a flicker of light, a hushed voice or a curtain moving in a chilly draft or air to make an authentic ghost story. It has to stand the test of time and scrutiny of numerous non-believers.

Of course, the closer we get to Halloween, the more commonplace these tales of the supernatural become. You may be surprised at how many ghosts have been glimpsed in these Twin Cities.

It’s been told that a house in East Auburn, built in the early days of the settlement, is the site of haunting that dates back many generations. A former occupant of the house is said to have twice seen an elderly couple appear and then vanish.

Once, that occupant came into the house and saw them seated at the dining room table. They looked up with a friendly expression. The vision was so clear that the color of their clothing was seen vividly. On another occasion, the pair was seen rushing through a hallway, as if on some important errand.

The residents of the house said there was nothing frightening about the sightings. In fact, they hoped they would see these unearthly people again.

One of the best-known of the local ghost stories relates the tale of a hitchhiking girl on Route 26 in Poland. Several versions are known, but usually the story has a trucker stopping on a dark night to offer her a ride. Some accounts say she wore a wedding dress. Others called it a prom gown.

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But always, after a short ride, the mysterious passenger disappeared, although all the vehicle’s windows and doors remained closed.

Much has been written about Basil, the ghost of Winter Street in Lisbon Falls. As for consistency of sightings, he holds the record. His first appearance was about 1878, according to a story by Sam E. Connor in the April 24, 1943, edition of the Lewiston Journal Magazine Section.

Basil was seen by several families in that house, and they all reported that he wore a pink or rose-colored shirt, and you could look right through him.

Basil had a bad temper, too. One night, the first owner of the home, F.L. Roy, was holding a dance party. Midnight approached when the building began to shake, frightening the guests to the point of panic. They grabbed their coats and ran.

The party was over.

In later years, other owners and visitors saw curtains billow out when the air was still. They heard noises at windows, but found no footprints, even on snow-covered ground.

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And there was that box beside the rock pile in the cellar. The rocks had been uncovered when the cellar was dug in 1907. It was not a haphazard pile of rocks. It was oblong, about 12 by 10 feet, and the owner would never allow its removal.

One day, some years after moving in, Mrs. Fillius Fillion placed a box full of vegetables and other produce beside the rocks. That afternoon, she was terrified by a great racket below. When her husband arrived home from work, he discovered that the box had been smashed and its contents strewn about the cellar.

There were many other spectral apparitions around Lewiston and Auburn throughout the years. There was an old house in Turner, near Hebron, where a young boy was killed in a fire in the early 1900s. The house was rebuilt, and for years, members of the family saw the little boy. As recently as 1993 or 1994, it was said the child had been seen.

I got some of these stories from “the ghost lady.” That’s a nickname my aunt, Edith Labbie, picked up, as she wrote many Halloween columns in the Lewiston Evening Journal Magazine Section in the 1960s and 1970s.

She wrote about the year she was born, 1918, when there was a “witch cat controversy” in Auburn.

“Oscar Jones said his black cat was the only genuine pure witch cat in Maine,” she wrote. “Mr. H. W. Getchell claimed that his cat was once a fair maiden and was turned into a black cat by a Salem witch.”

Her own ghost story concerned a research trip to the Maine State Archives. She wrote, “As I was running the copy machine, a whiskery pale-faced young man in drooping clothes approached me. When I glanced up, I shivered as I saw the strange other-worldish look in his eyes. With a smirk he said, ‘You must know where the books on witchcraft are.’”

Dave Sargent is freelance writer and a native of Auburn. He can be reached by email at [email protected]


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