A Guest Blog
by Craig Heinselman of Peterborough, New Hampshire
Maine is a one of those states where population densities are more isolated to the coastal areas, and the central and northern portions have a much smaller per capita population. This makes for beautiful scenery as well as isolation for hikers, hunters and outdoors people. Eagles, moose, deer and more haunt the woods and waterways.
In 2000 the population of Maine was just under 1.3 million spread over some 31,000 square miles. 3500 miles of coastline, 17 million acres of forest. The US census bureau projection is around 1.4 million people by 2025, or 42nd in the nation for population.
My grandparents lived outside of Houlton, Maine (where I-95 ends at the Canadian border, past Bangor) for over 50 years. My mother, and her brothers / sisters grew up in the area, as well as bordering New Brunswick. We have had family cabins in areas around August (Three Mile Pond) and currently in Weston, Maine on East Grand Lake (and international lake, half-and-half in the USA and Canada).
The waterways host a variety of fish, and fishing from docks and boats usually garners a good day (though not as good now as in the 1980’s). Attraction wise the area is more “wilderness” drawn, but there are some nice family attractions that are fun. The Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunk, York Animal Park in York, Desert of Maine in Freeport, or the outlet stores in Freeport and Kennebunk (to name but a few).
Having lived in New England off / on since 1980, both in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, I’ve spent many a summer in Maine (and winter). Both with family, in the woods and exploring its scenic areas. I also travel occasionally to different areas on business, though this is primarily in the Portland, Kennebunk or Bangor areas (sometimes Presque Isle).
Maine has a history of cryptid sightings, or enigmatic mystery animals worth reviewing. It is a sampling of similarities that cross into other areas of New England, especially New Hampshire and Vermont who share similar population densities and wilderness isolations over Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Bigfoot style reports have floated through Maine . See Chad Arment’s The Historical Bigfoot, Janet and Colin Bord’s Bigfoot Casebook for examples of published accounts (to name but a couple sources).
The Maine coastal region has had its fare share of aquatic reports of “Sea Serpents.” See Loren Coleman / Patrick Huyghe’s Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents….. , Bernard Heuvelmans In the Wake of the Sea Serpent for examples of published accounts (to name but a couple sources). Loren Coleman has also touched on Casco Bay’s Cassie in his articles in TAPS and Portland Monthly.
While lesser know, Maine does have its cryptic lake creature or “lake monsters”. Not often researched or well documented, and some are the onesy-twosy style accounts:
Boyden Lake, Chain of Lakes, Machias Lake, Moosehead Lake, Rangely Lake, Sysladobsis Lake, Gardner Lake. See Loren Coleman / Patrick Huyghe’s Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents….. , John Kirk’s In the Domain of the Lake Monster for examples of published accounts (to name but a couple sources).
There are, of course, the enigmatic creatures of the land. From Fortean stylized accounts of the Spectre Moose (see Loren Colemans’s entry at Cryptomundo, and also in TAPS as well as Craig Heinselman’s King Moose, to oversized otters in Maine, see Chad Arment’s Historical Record of a Giant Otter in Maine.)
Additionally, there are the Eastern Cougar reports from Maine, including “Black Panthers” (see Loren Coleman’s Mysterious America ).
Wolf reports from Maine appear from time to time, and the state has treatments in place to protect these animals (see the state of Maine’s government website). Same for cougars and lynx. Or the “Maine” mutant areas.
While these may seem mundane in totality, the land mysteries are highly interesting. They mix folkloric icons with hunter’s tales. Popularized media portrayals with wildlife analysis. A hunt for the unknown can take place in ones backyard.
Maine is still full of open land and mountainous terrain. Worth a look and review of its mysteries (perhaps then we can move onto to New Hampshire and Vermont, all under scrutinized but having their own less famous creatures, like Lake, Land and Air cryptids).
As for references, see those noted above. A wide variety are lesser published and appear in the regional newspapers, odd magazine articles and so forth.