“Where there is a monster, there are miracles.” — Ogden Nash, American poet

President Ronald Reagan once noted that the only way the people of the world will ever truly come together is if faced with an alien threat by an invader from beyond this world. 

You can see the big guy’s point. Right now, we are beset by various threats of a more earthly kind and all we do is argue about what should be done about them. 

Even locally, the people of Lewiston-Auburn will argue bitterly, all day and every day, about how best to address the big issues: Addiction, homelessness, inner-city violence. the housing crisis and every other thing that has us living lives of not-so-quiet desperation. 

We’re a people divided every which way and so it occurs to me, as it occurred to The Gipper, that what the Twin Cities needs more than ever is some old-school monster that can only be vanquished by a tightly unified community comprised of men and women toting pitch forks, torches and fists shaken in collective rage. 

Street Talk: The monsters that bring us together Ernie Anderson

You have to admit, it’s a cool image. Close your eyes and picture them, this massive horde of outraged Lewistonians and Auburnites, marching across the Longley Bridge in immense numbers, every single soul in perfect agreement about exactly what needs to be done. 


But first we need some monsters, and they can’t be monsters that can in any way be politicized, because politicizing marks the death of unity and there goes this whole column, right out the window. 

The Creature from the Black(ish) Canal 

Just imagine it! A foul-smelling, webfooted, fang-dripping beast slithering out of the Lewiston canals each night to snatch old ladies right out of their beds. The obscenity! The outrage! Even the most ardent partisan mind could not possibly spin this into something to be debated, because I think we all agree that foul-smelling, webfooted, fang-dripping canal creatures making brides out of our old people is just not OK. 

Even the most committed PETA member could not turn this into a “foul-smelling, webfooted, fang-dripping, beasts-have-rights-too” sort of campaign because, well… when your own beloved Gran Gran whimpers with fear and goes to bed in terror night after night, it will change your perspective on things real fast. 

No, our canal creature will require fast and decisive action and every one of us will be on board with the plan. Republicans will shake hands with Democrats. Progressives will team up with conservatives. Dogs will ally with cats and traditional fishermen will team up with those weirdos who use magnets to do their angling. Whatever it takes, brothers and sisters. Let’s get this done! 

I don’t know exactly how we good folk of Lewiston-Auburn will go about plucking that monster from the canal, but I imagine it will involve wading boots, nets, ropes and pulleys, which just sounds like great fun. And I don’t know what we’ll do with the fiend once we have him, but ol’ Gill Boy is going to learn a hard lesson about messing around with the old folks of L-A. 


And just like that, we’re all friends again, at peace with one another and willing to compromise whenever a compromise is needed. Until, of course, we find ourselves terrorized by the: 

Thorncrag Werewolf 

You know what they say. Even a man who’s pure of heart and says his prayers at night, can become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms and the moon is full and bright. 

I have it on good authority that outlawing dogs at Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary a few years ago allowed the wolf bane to grow tall and hearty and as we all know, from watching the old Hammer films, wolf bane is like catnip for werewolves. Next thing you know, fresh-faced virgins are disappearing from the trails and what are the people of Lewiston going to do? Are they going to call a special meeting of the city council to get the situation addressed? Nossir. They’re going to swarm Drillen Hardware and the Paris Farmers Union for pitchforks and torches. They’re going to collect baying hound dogs from the animal shelter and they’ll round up all the silver they can find to fashion into bullets. 

There can be no arguments on this matter. The rules of werewolf vanquishing are pretty clear, so we’ll all get onboard at once and we’ll descend on that forest with a shared purpose: to pepper that hairy fiend with silver in hopes of returning the beast to human form. 

I have a feeling I know who the beast will turn out to be, too, but I really shouldn’t speculate. 


Vampires in the old Bates Mill 

Vampires are like fruit flies. Once they get in, it’s near impossible to get them out. And while I like to imagine the gentry coming together to defeat this ancient enemy in our midst, I think our city leaders would be so horrified at the thought of losing valuable mill space, they’d hire Van Helsing and Co. LLC directly to get it done. What old-time monsters should understand is that they must never EVER mess with space that a municipality plans to use in order to attract new business. Old Nosferatu himself would be no match for an avaricious city planner. You think a stake to the heart is painful, but wait until the city administrator goes all court injunction on your undead butt. The red tape alone will send those bloodsuckers racing back to Greenesylvania, where they came from in the first place. 


H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu is described: “A monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.” 

If this creature, as old as the cosmos itself, ever comes to Lewiston, it’s going to be bad news. This mutant freak is terrifying to look at, no doubt, but it also has a way of infecting the minds of entire societies, so the damage this ghoul could inflict on the humble people of Lewiston-Auburn is tremendous. I think our best means of defeating Cthu-Lew* will involve luring it to the downtown where it will become so annoyed by constant gunfire and a lack of parking, it will probably flap away in a rage and go bother Portland for a while. *I wish I had come up with the moniker “Cthu-Lew” myself, but nope. It was an unhinged reader named Russ Keith who penned that one. I like to think I would have gotten it eventually, though. 

Kennedy Parkzilla 


A ginormous, nuclear-mutated reptilian stomping across Lewiston’s central park? Oh, yeah. That’ll bring us together. Not for long, though. All we need to do to defeat this big guy is to have police put up a sign announcing a park curfew. I mean, that just works every time, doesn’t it? 

Mount Davis Dragon 

Another mythical reptilian roaring fire all over the Bates campus? Whoo, baby. Get out your pitchforks and fire up your torches! Just bear in mind that this dragon’s father is a prominent New York lawyer and may sue us all into oblivion once the dust settles. 

King Bong 

“He stomps down Court Street and across the bridge where he suddenly stops, completely forgetting why he came into Lewiston,” according to the only slightly deranged reader who dreamed up this scenario. “Soon, he remembers and proceeds to terrorize and sack The Italian Bakery and McDonald’s.” 

The Phantom of the Basilica 


Another reader-inspired scenario. I’d describe what this one might be like, but I’m afraid of incurring the wrath of the nuns again. You don’t make that mistake twice, my friend. 

We also had votes for the Foot Trestle Troll, some kind of Lake Auburn monster, mummies of various kinds in various locations and those spooky twins from “The Shining” for some reason. 

And so there you are, a collection of terrors that could in an instant transform our fragmented community into one big, unified tribe, banding together to inflict whoop-ass on an outside threat. 

Some of these movie-style monsters may be coming to our streets in a couple weeks, but then Halloween will be over, November will slither in and the next thing you know it’s Election Day and the business-as-usual horrors are upon us once more. 

Blech, I say. A demented clown terrorizing the populace from the dank tunnels of the sewers would be a lot more fun, so I’m gonna keep a torch and pitchfork on hand just in case.

Comments are no longer available on this story