Down East 2013 ©
Down East Books author Professor Marcus LiBrizzi has been the subject a tremendous buzz. His Dark Woods, Chill Waters: Ghost Tales from Down East Maine , describes the ghostly events at a haunted house chosen as the focus of an upcoming ABC-TV Extreme Makeover Home Edition program (broadcast date to be announced).
LiBrizzi will sign copies of the book Sunday, September 16, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the Chicamoose Cafe, 1 Main Street, Milbridge.
Last July, Professor LiBrizzi served as a consultant to the program's producers as they researched the home of Brittany Ray and Ron Smith in Milbridge. A professor at the University of Maine at Machias, LiBrizzi knew all about that house, since his book contains a whole chapter about the frightening happenings there. Titled "On Pins and Needles," the chapter details the activities of a specter or specters, who share the home with the couple and their three young children.
After Extreme Makeover Home Edition selected the house September 9, LiBrizzi has been on hand to offer his expertise, and to witness the destruction of the haunted house and the rebuilding of a new home there. All of the demolition and rebuilding activity happens in the span of just one week. LiBrizzi said the show's producers asked him for advice on how to create a new home for the Ray-Smith family, adding, "I'm very excited to see if they incorporate my suggestions. I'm thrilled to have had the opportunity to offer assistance in this landmark show (the first ever Extreme Makeover Home Edition program to feature a haunted house), but I'm sworn to secrecy regarding my suggestions."
RH: Are you relieved to see the haunted house in Milbridge being torn down?
LiBrizzi: Yes, absolutely. While I'm sad to see a part of Maine's paranormal history disappear, I'm relieved that Brittany Ray, Ron Smith, and their children will be living in a new house, since the original structure may have been home to a malevolent spirit. In Dark Woods, Chill Waters, I documented the potentially threatening and even deadly dimension to the sharp object incidents there, which escalated from pins and needles standing on their points to scissors balancing themselves impossibly on a single point. Finally, and most alarmingly, I speculate there was manipulation of the needle in the temperature gauge of the house's furnace. This may have caused it to race out of control and nearly burn the house down while Brittany Ray and Ron Smith were home asleep.
RH: Of all the ghostly incidents, which strikes you as the most bizarre?
LiBrizzi: Definitely, the behavior of the household scissors. If they were left out, they would be found later balanced on just a single point on the hard, impenetrable surface of the kitchen counter. This happened on at least four occasions and was witnessed by more than one individual. It was a feat impossible to recreate - and it still stands out as one of the most mind-boggling aspects in the bizarre haunting of the Milbridge home.
RH: You got to know Brittany Ray and Ron Smith, their children and some of their relatives. What makes you feel confident that they are telling the truth about their paranormal experiences?
LiBrizzi: Brittany and Ron are local educators with a history of community involvement. Brittany also received the coveted Maine Teacher of the Year award last year. In speaking with them on the history of ghostly experiences in their home, I was struck on more than one occasion by their level-headedness and candor. In addition, family and community members have confirmed the paranormal happenings in the house.
RH: Does the family seem to believe that their ghost or ghosts were protective or threatening?
LiBrizzi: Until Brittany was woken up by the specter of a woman one eerie November night - just in time to save herself, her husband, and their cat from the intense heat emanating from their malfunctioning furnace - she had felt increasingly unnerved by the sharp object incidents. She and Ron even considered abandoning their home. After the furnace incident, though, she considered the sharp object incidents to be friendly, protective warnings to put potentially dangerous objects away. Many of her family members concur in this interpretation of the ghostly happenings in the Milbridge house. However, there was not always complete consensus within Brittany's family. For instance, Brittany told me her late grandfather refused to enter one particular room in which a ghost had been seen on several occasions, and at least one other family member found the house frightening. As I state in my book, I believe the furnace incident, too, was threatening. Even if a protective ghost awakened Brittany, I speculate that a malevolent ghost dangerously manipulated the furnace.
RH: The Milbridge house is just one of the many haunted sites that you document in your book. What is the range of eerie places that you cover?
LiBrizzi: Many paranormal sites from this remote and mysterious region appear in Dark Woods, Chill Waters . The book contains 21 chapters, some of which cover multiple locations. These eerie places range from beaches, to dark woods, to old homes, to decaying waterfronts. They also include health care facilities, cemeteries, dance halls, and islands. Truly, Down East Maine is home to the world's most unique and horrifying ghost stories!
In addition to the booksigning September 16, Dark Woods, Chill Waters can be purchased online.