On the first date with her future husband, Sally Lobkowicz visited a Jefferson-area cemetery and the scene of an old sea serpent sighting in Boothbay Harbor.

“When he called, he said, ‘I’m working on a book and have some research to do, I thought you might want to go with me,'” she said. “I don’t think in the phone call he mentioned just what that research was …”

While taking in a ghost walk the next year while vacationing in Pennsylvania, inspiration struck. Lobkowicz came home, borrowed notes from that book in progress, unfurled the cape from her red riding hood Halloween costume and, weeks later, Red Cloak Haunted History Tours was born.

She gives tours in seven coastal towns, with two walking tours every night all summer long into fall.

Each walk is half history, half haunt.

“We have a lady who’s still minding her home and her former business; we have the ghost of an unsolved murder victim,” said Lobkowicz, 57, who still leads tours in olden garb and her Halloween cape, holding a lantern. “It’s fun to be called the ‘Lady in the red cloak’ — that’s how I answer the phone.”

Lobkowicz, a substitute teacher in Waldoboro, grew up fascinated with history. She pores over library books, the Internet and her own collection of about 100 ghost books to uncover the stories and facts to script each walk. Cloaked staffers lead the tours she can’t.

Since starting in Damariscotta, she’s added Wiscassett, Camden, Boothbay Harbor and Bath walking tours, each lasting about 90 minutes. Tours in Hallowell and Rockland are new this year.

Two years ago, she added cemetery tours in Wiscasset, Boothbay, Camden and Newcastle to the mix, highlighting the folks down below.

In research, she discovered one coastal grave with “George Washington’s body guard” on the marker and set about trying to learn what that might have entailed.

“Sometimes it’s not that they did anything fantastic,” Lobkowicz said. “They had 16 children or this guy was married four times (or) so-and-so had two sons named John who died at sea 20 years apart.”

Lobkowicz believes telling the tales is her way of helping to preserve the past and connecting people to forgotten history.

“I don’t do just ghosts — anything that is a little weird,” she said. “I love to tell about lobster. Lobster used to be so plentiful, people would pick it up off the beach. There’s law on the Maine books that says you may not feed a prisoner lobster more than three times a week. They were being fed lobster every day.”

Recently, she’s had haunted spinoff: In 2011, Lobkowicz started the off-shoot Mysterious Destinations for overnight adventures and trips. This year, she began offering a monthly ghost hunt at the Winter Street Center in Bath.

After plenty of misty photos and strange experiences (lights cutting out abruptly, a flashlight seeming to flicker in response to questions), Lobkowicz said she believes in ghosts now more than she did seven years ago.

“There’s definitely something there; whether ‘ghost’ is the right term, I’m not sure,” she said.

Some customers pull her aside, wanting to share their own tales. “It’s kind of nice to be able to assure them, ‘Yes, I’ve heard similar-type stories before.’ You can kind of see a little relief, ‘I’m not losing my mind.'”

The walking tours, which require a reservation, draw locals and tourists alike, young and old, and one adorable regular who’s gone on a different tour each year since she was 5 years old.

“She wants to be the ‘Lady in the red cloak’ when she grows up,” Lobkowicz said.

Weird, Wicked Weird is a monthly feature on the strange, unexplained and intriguing in Maine. Send ideas, photos and haunted lobster to [email protected]

Go and do

Red Cloak Haunted History Tours

What: 90-minute walking tours, part haunt, part history, in Damariscotta, Wiscassett, Camden, Boothbay Harbor, Bath, Hallowell and Rockland.

When: Nightly from July to October and by request.

Cost: $15 adults, $7 children. Reservations required.

FMI: 380-3806, RedCloakHauntedHistoryTours.com.

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