The Worumbo Mill in Lisbon, as seen in 2013 before the building was torn down. Working here inspired Stephen King’s “Night Shift.” (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo)

Harmony Grove Cemetery was the inspiration for a scene in Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

West Durham United Methodist Church was the location of a real world fright of a young Stephen King. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

“He turned left onto the Brooks Road, passed the wrought-iron gates and the low fieldstone wall surrounding Harmony Hill Cemetery and then went down the steep grade and started up the far side – the side known as Marsten’s Hill. At the top, the trees fell away on both sides of the road. On the right you could look right down into the town proper – Ben’s first view of it. On the left, the Marsten House.” — “Salem’s Lot”

“It’s just small town life, though – call it Peyton Place or Grover’s Corners or Castle Rock, it’s just folks eatin’ pie and drinkin’ coffee and talkin’ about each other behind their hands.” — “Needful Things”

“… not all our troubles in Castle Rock are ordinary; I got to set you straight on that. No one has forgotten Frank Dodd, the crossing guard who went crazy here twelve years ago and killed those women, and they haven’t forgotten the dog, either, the one that came down with rabies and killed Joe Camber and the old rummy down the road from him.” — “Needful Things”

For any Stephen King fan, casual or fanatic, wandering through just about any small Maine town brings about an eerie sense of familiarity.

If the sun is setting a certain way, that abandoned church up on the hill could be the Marsten House from “Salem’s Lot,” couldn’t it?

Any sprawling, ramshackle farmhouse on any country road could be Joe Camber’s garage from “Cujo,” and you better make sure your car battery is good before pulling into that yard.

Four boys wandering along the edge of just about any sun-baked back road could be out on a grand adventure to find the corpse of a dead classmate, just like those kids in “The Body.”

It doesn’t matter much if you’re in Durham or Greene or Dover Foxcroft. Most small towns in Maine feel like King’s domain – which is to say they all look and feel a bit like Castle Rock, King’s fictional town in which so many terrible things have happened.

On July 25, Hulu began streaming the spanking new series “Castle Rock,” a show created by producer J.J. Abrams and King himself. The show will center on Henry Deaver, a death row attorney returning to Castle Rock after experiencing a traumatizing ordeal there as a kid. (A main character in the movie, incidentally, is played by Bill Skarsgard, best known for his portrayal of the demented, kid-eating clown in the”It” remake.)

According to the show creators, “Castle Rock” will feature enough Kingesque characters to fill your nightmares, but expect geography to play a role, as well – although the series is filmed in Massachusetts (lame, right?) show creators took pains to give the town of Castle Rock a distinct Maine flavor.

And don’t be surprised if the town looks and feels more than a bit like Durham and the surrounding area. That’s where King grew up, after all, and it’s where his journey began. In the documentary “The Search for Castle Rock,” released in advance of the new Hulu series, producers reached out to Durham historian Tia Wilson, chair of the local historical society, who revealed many curious links between King and the town in which he spent his childhood.

It’s no big surprise to Wilson that the dusty roads and dense, dark woods of Durham made such an impact on King’s imagination.

“To me, Durham is haunted with the past families that lived here,” she says. “You can look upon the rolling hills and empty landscapes and almost see the children fetching water from the abandoned wells, or the wives calling out to their husbands who are working the fields from what is now the crumbling stoop to their once beautiful farm house.

“These are the spirits that haunt Durham,” Wilson says. “The hardworking ancestors from our past who made our town what it us today. You can almost feel their presence as you drive down the old dirt roads.”

Did it just get cold in here?

With all that in mind, here are some things you might not know about King and the nearby neighborhoods where some of his best works are set. The first nine are from a list Wilson wrote for the Durham Historical Society.  The rest are tidbits we dug up in our own explorations of the Stephen King landscape.

You might find some of them uncomfortably close to home, but hey – it’s only make-believe, right?

Right?

17 curious connections to Durham, Maine, and the area

* Harmony Grove Cemetery, located on Davis Road, is one of King’s childhood stomping grounds. It is here where King got the inspiration for Harmony Hill Cemetery, where Mike Ryerson digs up the undead Danny Glick in the novel “‘Salem’s Lot.” King and one of his childhood friends once spent the night camping among the stones. He was also caught with the same friend attempting to dig up a grave in the back of the cemetery, out of curiosity of what the body looked like today. He was caught by the friend’s father, who was a local gravedigger.

* King also worked with this gentleman digging graves in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Durham when he was a teen.

* Just beyond the graveyard is Runaround Pond, a swampy watering hole where King and a childhood friend supposedly saw a dead body for the first time. King’s memory of this event may have inspired the novella “The Body,” which was later turned into the film “Stand By Me.” King freely admits that “the leech incident” really happened here. They were on his belly button in real life. Runaround Pond is also where Johnny Smith has his formative accident on the ice at the beginning of “The Dead Zone,” so obviously this real-life setting was important to King.

* The body they saw at Runaround Pond was of a gentleman who was involved in a boating accident.

* Located on Runaround Pond Road in West Methodist Corner is the modest childhood home of King, his brother, David, and his mother, Ruth. Ruth brought King here when he was only 11 years old. From their home, King could see his Aunt Ethelyn’s large brick home and the West Methodist Church. And only a few doors down was the small one-room schoolhouse that he attended during grade school. King would later go on to graduate from Lisbon High School in 1966, where he would ride to school each day (in a converted hearse, no less!) with a girl that he claims was a lot like Carrie White. This girl would be the inspiration for the book “Carrie.”

* As a child, King attended Vacation Bible School at the West Methodist Church. In 1984, King gave a “not a sermon” titled “Huffy,” during Durham Old Home Days. The Historical Society now keeps a copy of this sermon on file.

* The West Methodist School House, located on Runaround Pond Road and just a few doors down from King’s childhood home, is where he met his first friends in Durham. Back then King wore old-fashioned, black-rimmed glasses. His hair always appeared messy and he was a little on the chunky side. At a young age, he really had the ability to talk and tell stories. His teacher at the one-room schoolhouse was Miss Hazel Hisler. She wasn’t married and devoted her life to teaching. King was a very good student and received praise frequently for a job well done. At the time, 25 to 30 students attended grades one through eight. Many of the residents still live in town and remember King. The school had a wood stove in the back of the building and beyond that was a two-hole outhouse.

* His Aunt Ethelyn and Uncle Oren Flaws lived very close to King in Methodist Corner. It was in their attic where he first discovered his great interest in horror fiction, after discovering old and worn classic horror novels. His Aunt Ethelyn was also a classroom teacher in Durham and was loved by many students in town.

* The Marsten House, which is no longer standing, was an old abandoned and supposedly haunted house that King and his friends used to explore. It is where he got some of his inspiration for the book, “‘Salem’s Lot.” In the book, it was located on a road called Deep Cut Road, which is believed to be Rabbit Road. King and his friends once made a homemade horror movie there.

* West Durham United Methodist Church was the scene of one of King’s first really big frights. When he was walking home in the dark as a boy of about 11, a friend jumped out of the church shrieking in order to frighten the young King. According to King’s own accounts, his friend, Brian Hall, was quite successful, scaring the future author into near paralysis. “If you ask me on my deathbed, I’ll remember that,” he told the Sun Journal in 1992. “That almost WAS my deathbed.”

* When King was 19, he got a job at the Worumbo Mill in Lisbon Falls working the 3-11 p.m. shift. The dark and gloomy mill would provide the inspiration from an early King story, “Night Shift,” and would also appear in the later novel “11/22/63.”

* Also in “11/22/63,” about a time traveler’s attempt to thwart the assassination of John F. Kennedy, King featured the real-world Frank Anicetti, owner of the Kennebec Fruit Company, also known as The Moxie Store, in Lisbon Falls. The now-deceased Anicetti once told the Sun Journal that King used to hang around the store while waiting for rides after school.

* There are some who, in spite of rival theories, insist that The Shiloh Chapel at 38 Beulah Lane in Durham was a more likely inspiration for the Marsten House of “Salem’s Lot” fame. The debate over the matter can be found in online forums dedicated to horror fiction, often involving people who have never even been to Durham.

* King was inspired to write the short story “Uncle Otto’s Truck” after spotting an old truck up on blocks next to Knight’s Hill Road in Sweden, according to that same 1992 Sun Journal interview.

* King used to hitchhike from Durham to Lewiston on Saturday nights to catch movies at the Ritz Theater or the Empire. King has said that a character in the novel “It” is based on a fellow who manned the window at the Ritz.

* The name Castle Rock was taken from the fictional mountain fort of the same name in William Golding’s 1954 novel “Lord of the Flies.”

* King’s e-book “Mile 81,” is set in a weed-choked lot at the side of I-95 that used to be a Burger King and rest stop between Lewiston and Sabattus.

The Shiloh Chapel at 38 Beulah Lane in Durham is believed by some to be the inspiration for the Marsten House in “Salem’s Lot,” although a house on Rabbit Road, no longer standing, is also frequently named as a suspect. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

The Shiloh Chapel at 38 Beulah Lane in Durham is believed by some to be the inspiration for the Marsten House in “Salem’s Lot,” although a house on Rabbit Road, no longer standing, is also frequently named as a suspect. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

A 2002 photo of author Stephen King making fun of his own technical backwardness during a meeting with seventh-graders at the Freeport Middle School. The author was invited to visit the school with then-Gov. Angus King to discuss the horror writer’s upcoming part in the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. (Sun Journal file photo)

WHICH WAY TO CASTLE ROCK? YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE.

“It had been almost two years since he had last killed, and the people of Castle Rock (Strimmer’s Brook formed the southern borderline between the towns of Castle Rock and Otisfield) had begun to relax, thinking the nightmare was finally over.” — “The Dead Zone”

“Seven days later and thirty miles from Seven Oaks Farm in Castle Rock, two men met in a downtown Portland restaurant called the Yellow Submarine.” — “Cujo”

“I’m never gonna get out of this town am I, Gordie?” — Chris Chambers in “The Body.”

In Stephen King’s novel “Needful Things,” Castle Rock is clearly placed eighteen miles southwest of South Paris. Get a map, take some measurements and stick a pin in the exact spot. End of story, right?

Not so fast, Frank Dodd. King takes liberties on where he locates his fictional town, depending on the story at hand. In “Creepshow,” a sign appears that places Castle Rock 37 miles away from Portland.  In “Cujo,” on the other hand, it’s 30 miles.

Another measurement? Another pin?

According to online sources, the Castle Rock of “Creepshow” puts the fictional town somewhere in the vicinity of Durham, Lisbon, Danville, Auburn, Lewiston or possibly Sabattus. In “The Dead Zone,” meanwhile, Castle Rock is located next to Otisfield, in Oxford Country.

It’s all very confusing and there may never be an answer. That might be frustrating to some, but on the other hand, why would you want to go to Castle Rock to begin with? Hang out there for long and there’s a solid chance you’ll be eaten by a St. Bernard, thrust into an alternate dimension or killed by a train and poked by kids with sticks.

It happened to some guys we know.

— Mark LaFlamme, Sun Journal staff writer

Stephen King during a visit to Freeport Middle School in 2002. (Sun Journal file photo)

Broken windows on the Worumbo Mill in Lisbon in 2016. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo)

STEPHEN KING WORKS THAT FEATURE CASTLE ROCK

“It’s like God gave you something, man – all those stories you can come up with.” — Chris Chambers in “The Body.”

* “Graveyard Shift” (1978 short story)

* “Nona” (1978 short story)

* “The Dead Zone” (1979 novel)

* “Cujo” (1981 novel)

* “The Body” (1982 novella; adapted into the 1986 film “Stand By Me,” which takes place in Oregon)

* “Creepshow” (1982 film)

* “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” (1982 novella)

* “Pet Sematary” (1983 novel)

* “Uncle Otto’s Truck” (1983 short story)

* “Gramma” (1984 short story)

* “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut” (1984 short story)

* “It” (1986 novel)

* “The Dark Half” (1989 novel)

* “The Sun Dog” (1990 novella)

* “Needful Things” (1991 novel)

* “Gerald’s Game” (1992 novel)

* “Sleepwalkers” (1992 film)

* “It Grows on You” (1993 short story)

* “The Stand” (1994 TV miniseries based on 1978 novel)

* “The Man in the Black Suit” (1995 short story)

* “Bag of Bones” (1998 novel)

* “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon” (1999 novel)

* “Riding the Bullet” (2000 novella)

* “Dreamcatcher” (2001 novel)

* “Kingdom Hospital” (2004 TV series)

* “Lisey’s Story” (2006 novel)

* “The Mist” (2006 film)

* “N.” (2008 short story)

* “Premium Harmony” (2009 short story)

* “Under the Dome” (2009 novel)

* “11/22/63” (2011 novel)

source: fandom.wiki.com

West Durham United Methodist Church was the location of a real world fright of a young Stephen King. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

West Durham United Methodist Church was the location of a real world fright of a young Stephen King. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

A copy of a postcard of the Empire Theatre on Main Street in Lewiston that was torn down in 2005. Stephen King used to hitchhike here to watch movies as a kid.

The Worumbo Mill in Lisbon, as seen in 2013. Working here inspired Stephen King’s “Night Shift.” (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo)

The front of the Empire Theatre on Main Street in Lewiston as seen in 2001, before it was torn down. Stephen King used to hitchhike there to watch movies in his youth. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo)

Harmony Grove Cemetery in Durham was the inspiration for a scene in Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot.” (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Harmony Grove Cemetery was the inspiration for a scene in Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot.” (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

West Durham United Methodist Church was the location of a real world fright of a young Stephen King. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Harmony Grove Cemetery was the inspiration for a scene in Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot.” (Andree Kehn)

The Shiloh Chapel at 38 Beulah Lane in Durham is believed by some to be the inspiration for the Marsten House in “Salem’s Lot,” although a house on Rabbit Road, no longer standing, is also frequently named as a suspect. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)