Thursday, May 23, 2019

Collinsport's Library of Lost Souls

President Emeritus,
The Collinsport Historical Society

If you can read at a third-grade level, chances are you've visited The Collinsport Public Library at some point in your life. And, if you've visited The Collinsport Public Library, chances are you've had an unpleasant encounter with "Alice," the cosmic vapor that seems to haunt only the library departments that anybody cares about.

Artist rendition of Alice from
The Collinsport Star, 1951.
Alice has been providing local color to Collinsport since at least 1967, when the town's second-most-unqualified librarian (we're looking at you, Janet) was officially christened. We're confident in saying that "Alice" was probably Vera Frances Carl, a young woman slain in the library in 1938. As far as murders go, Vera's death was particularly brutal. I won't go into the details of the crime here, but to this day patrons are still finding her blood stains on Laura Ingalls Wilder books. That ain't ketchup on the title fore-edge of "On the Banks of Plum Creek," champ.

Where did Alice come from? Even the most brutal murders are eventually forgotten. In 1898, a storm here in Maine succeeded in sinking a hundred vessles within 36 hours, and when's the last time anybody mentioned that? By contrast, a single murder is barely a blip on our cultural radar. It didn't take long for the Collinsport community to forget the local library was closed for a few days in 1938 for "remodeling" because someone decided to paint its walls with the blood of a co-ed.

Vera became Alice in 1967 for reasons that are less mysterious than they are stupid. There was a short-lived television series that year called Captain Nice, which featured actress Alice Ghostley. Laughing yet? I'm not sure anybody was laughing in 1967, either at Captain Nice or local columnist Bill Stubbs. A retiree from Connecticut, Stubbs had spent his life in finance but, during his twilight years, fancied himself a latter-day Will Rogers. If Rogers had been a prissy control freak who spent most of his time obsessing over "proper grammar," Stubbs might be better remembered. (Or remembered, at all.) But Rogers was one of those people who thought the abilty to read a newspaper meant he was qualified to make a newspaper and became a pain in the ass for everybody in The Collinsport Star's modest newsroom. They still tell stories about him to scare journalism school graduates.

To summarize: Alice is named "Alice" because a turgid dullard who fancied himself a "newspaper man" wrote a column about one of our local hauntings and thought "Alice Ghostly" was a funny name. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

"Who cares?" you're asking yourself. Nobody, truth be told. Except for whoever is running the social media accounts for The Collinsport Public Library, who called us out earlier today on Facebook. Behold!

Yes, there's more backstory. Remember poor Vera Frances Carl? She used to work here at The Collinsport Historical Society. She was working here when she died, which pretty well explains up our retirement plan. Because she was employed here at the time of her death, the legal experts at the local library think we have some kind of legal responsibilty for Alice's behavior. I'm just a humble  demonologist and don't claim any particular expertise in the American legal system. But possession is 9/10 of the law ... and ever since Alice possessed that homeless guy in their periodicals department, The Collinsport Public Library now owns that fierce bitch.

And it's not as if The Collinsport Historical Society isn't already up to its eyeballs in ghosts. We've partnered with Redbubble in a ceremony so arcane and foul that many of us had trouble making eye contact in the days following. Our plan? To transfer our backlog of cursed spirits from ancient bowls, dolls and music boxes to products more accessible to you fine people here in the 21st century. We've got t-shirts! Coffee mugs! Clocks! Stickers! Blankets! The demand has been so high that we've been forced to reduce our spectral offerings to a lottery system. One in every 13 products sold by us through Redbubble a gauranteed to be contaminated by the minions of Paenitentia, a minor archduke of hell who also happens to be the demon of buyer's remorse.

If you want a haunted t-shirt (or even a hainted mini-skirt!) please venture forth to our Redbubble store here:

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