PORTLAND — The woman was working late, alone in her third-floor office in the Old Port, when she looked out a window and saw a waterlogged woman just floating there.

The woman bulldozed her way out of the office and bolted out of the building, according to Gordon Tweedie.

That story came after Tweedie had already told a dozen people from Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Virginia, Washington and Maine about firsthand accounts of haunted elevators at a famous local landmark and right before the pass-at-your-own-risk-maybe-haunted-alley that he comically bolted down.

With good reason, as he explained it.

A tour-goer once took a picture in said narrow alley and captured the image of a disembodied head amid the very-alive group.

“The whole tour freaked for 10 minutes while she passed her phone around,” he said.

Tweedie, an actor and opera singer, created Wicked Walking Tours 11 years ago as his own roving performance venue, a walking ghost tour with a historically accurate twist. The 75-minute tours start at 8 p.m., just as night sets in, and weave tour-goers around sidewalks, side streets and legitimately spooky wharves.

“I’ve always been interested in history, ghost stories, comedy — there’s elements of stand-up in this,” Tweedie said. “It just seemed like kind of a perfect thing to start.”

On a recent Friday, he led the tour dressed all in black, carrying a microphone attached to a portable PA and holding a lantern.

“I can tell you, Portland, Maine is haunted,” Tweedie said into the mic, launching into the city’s deep, dark past.

Tweedie said many of his stories come from research at the Maine Historical Society and from directly approaching businesses along the Old Port’s cobblestone streets to ask employees if they’ve had any encounters.

“I tend to tell stories on the tour that have a tie to history,” he said.

Even the woman allegedly floating outside the third-floor window might have a historical reason for being there, revealed by Tweedie on the tour.

As he stopped and talked, Tweedie seamlessly name-dropped tour-goers into his banter. (Think, “Why is Portland haunted? I’ll tell you why, Andy. Pearl, did you know … “)

His personal record is remembering the 43 names during one tour. His grandfather, Tweedie said, had an amazing memory.

“(He) could see people 30 years later and knew who they were — mine is very short-term,” he said.

Tours these days are capped at 25, for logistical, not name-remembering, purposes.

At the end of the tour, Tweedie asked if anyone had any experiences they cared to share. There was a secondhand story of a friend’s encounter and a woman who felt like she’s being watched sometimes in her home.

His own most memorable experience wasn’t ghostly but was definitely paranormal.

Tweedie grew up in Aroostook County and one night after sunset he looked out over his back hills.

“All of a sudden, these four orange balls of light came up, two on top of two, in the west, down in the distance over the hills and I just remember being really, really scared,” Tweedie said. “They hovered, they shot north. I think eventually I fell asleep and to be honest I didn’t think about it until years later. I came home one night after work and one of my housemates was watching reruns of ‘Unsolved Mysteries.’ The guy was talking about, ‘At Loring Air Force Base, four orange balls of light appeared over the base,’ and it showed an artist’s depiction.”

It was those same four balls of light.

“I’ve had a lot of ghost encounters, but I think those are sort of more normal,” he said.

People have seen things on the tour or felt touched, he said. Tweedie hopes people are drawn out to laugh and learn and keep an open mind about what might be out there.

The tours run from May to November, two to four nights a week.

“Everyone should leave the tour hopeful, happier, better,” Tweedie said. “If you want to be afraid, turn on your television; there’s plenty to be scared (about).”

Weird, Wicked Weird is a monthly series on the strange, unexplained and intriguing in Maine. Send ideas, photos and third-floor ghosts to [email protected]

Gordon Tweedie of Wicked Walking Tours in Portland leads a tour on a recent Friday night. He’s been doing so around the Old Port for 11 years, telling stories that often have a spooky, historic twist.

Gordon Tweedie, right, begins a Wicked Walking tour. He says his most memorable extraordinary experience wasn’t ghostly. It was a UFO sighting in The County, where he grew up.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.