Bethel, Maine

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More Travel Info:
The Ghosts of Bethel, Maine
by Rita Cook

Ghosts can live just about
anywhere.  In
Bethel, Maine
there are all sorts of old houses
and little nooks and crannies for the friendly spirits to reside.  No one knows
better than the residents of this tiny little town and Stan Howe, Executive
Director for the Bethel Historical Society who concurs that Bethel seems to
have an overabundance of ghosts.  In fact, he says they have dozens of
otherworldly guests living in the old houses that make up the town of Bethel.

The town is quite old, settled in 1774, but none of the residents can really say
why it has attracted the resident ghosts.  There is no sign of it having been
established on top of Native American holy ground, which is often the case
when ghosts are found.

Howe says that at one time the
Gehring Clinic/House, built in 1896 with
Queen Anne and Colonial Revival characteristics, was well known since the
headquarters were right in Bethel.  The clinic was known for the treatment of
nervous disorders and according to Howe: "Quite a few people committed
suicide during that time, there were depressed people here."

Indeed when you visit Bethel it is worth the time to pass by the old Gehring
Clinic just off Broad Street. When I was there during the winter the house was
big, spooky and quite empty.  Personally, as I walked through I could feel the
ghosts of years past ... I knew I wasn't alone.

There are of course many old homes and inns in Bethel and they are full of
history too.  
The Bethel Inn, built in 1912 is another popular ghost haunt.  
This is of Colonial Revival and Craftsman design, but there was a new wing
added in 1998.  The new wing was added after a fire that destroyed a part of
the hotel that had stood on the same ground from 1861 to 1911.

The ghost of the Bethel Inn is an unidentified woman who appears at various
times walking down the corridor.  A number of people have seen her making
her way to somewhere in the unknown.  As Howe points out, "These people
supposedly died under stress or tension.  They will do repetitive things like
walk around in certain areas until they can move on."

Another such ghost story is told about the
Dr. Moses Mason House built
around 1813.  It is the oldest house on Bethel's National Register Historic
District and it is a Federal style design from that time period.  This house
served as a post office in 1815 and in the late 1800s there was a summerhouse
at the rear of the property added.  This summerhouse had formerly been
located on lower Main Street as a part of the Samuel Philbrook House. Guests
at the Dr. Moses Mason House say they have heard noises such as footsteps,
unidentified sounds and talking.  Indeed, when I visited the house it seemed
old and I got the distinct impression it was full of houseguests of the ethereal

There are many other stories surrounding the old homes in Bethel and quite a
few people can attest to hearing late night footsteps, old attic doors opening
and closing without the help of human hands -- and music (ghosts seem to
love to entertain themselves with music from another time).

Visiting Bethel is like a walk back in time and in some cases, you might even
get to experience someone from a past era.  On a full moon night check in at
one of the quaint old bed and breakfasts or inns and see for yourself what kind
of ghosts decide to welcome you to the little town.

For more information visit the Bethel Historical Society or call 1-800-824-2910

About the author:

Rita Cook is the editorial director of Premier Bride Magazine and travel editor
for Valley Scene Magazine in Los Angeles.  While also working in the world of
publishing she also teaches a travel writing course for a college in New York
and has a romance novel coming out in 2005 called “Angel’s Destiny.”

See also:
Cemeteries of New Hampshire & Vermont
Graveyards & Ghosts of New England
The Ghosts of Bethel, Maine
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