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My Maine ghost story

04/23/2015

 

        Image by Dem Bones

Image by Dem Bones

 

 

 

I swear I just saw a ghost.

He was riding a bike.

Under the bright light of day.

In the small river town of Hampden, Maine.

Here’s the tale:

Last spring I was on a morning bike ride from Bangor to Hampden. It’s one of my regular routes, a hilly, 12-mile jaunt paralleling the Penobscot River on Highway 1a. As the road approaches Hampden from the south, it plunges into a deep valley created by the Souadabscook Stream. Riders then climb a steep hill up to the center of town.

Near the top of this climb I encountered a teenager on the opposite side of the road. A young man in a ball cap with fizzy black hair well past his shoulders. He coasted down the hill on a cheap mountain bike.

“Excuse me sir,” he yelled across the two-lane road. “Search YouTube for Dan Nelson trick rider!”

At least that’s what I think he said. I was focused on the climb. I glanced over, yes, but I couldn’t stop and chat, after all I was busting my butt up a hill the size of Olympic ski jump.

Later, when I returned home I searched YouTube. Was it Dan Nelson? Trick rider? It was all kind of fuzzy.

Not surprisingly, I found nothing.

Fast forward to last Friday.

There I was on an afternoon bike ride into Hampden. As I pushed myself out of that deep Souadabscook Stream valley and reached the top of the hill, I saw another rider across the road heading in the opposite direction…

IT WAS THE SAME KID.

IN THE SAME PLACE.

ON THE SAME CHEAP MOUNTAIN BIKE.

And he SAID THE SAME THING: “Excuse me sir. Search YouTube for …”

An SUV roared past and the message was lost in the din.

I slowed and yelled back: “I know, you already told me that!”

But my shout was blocked by more traffic, the hill was steep and the kid was gone.

Later on my ride I started thinking about the incident. How could I see this kid twice in the same place? It couldn’t have been a coincidence. I don’t ride into Hampden that frequently and when I do it’s on different days at different times. The kid didn’t look like he was biking home from school and only a smattering of homes sit along the busy highway. No parks or playgrounds in the immediate area either…just a church.

Yes, a highway outside of town seems like a good place to haunt.

Perhaps the kid was hit by a car at the top of the hill many years ago. Or maybe he crashed while speeding down into the valley. And what’s so important about this YouTube video?

As I returned to Bangor, I noted how I never see any bikers on my ride to Hampden. Highway 1a is a busy road, with narrow shoulders and choppy asphalt. It’s just not a popular place for bikers.

Unless you’re a ghost.

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From → Biking, People

3 Comments
  1. John Freed permalink

    Great graphic! Perhaps the ghost of Hannibal Hamlin?

    • Yes, John! This actually happened about a block away from the site of Hannibal Hamlin’s home. The property is now a Dunkin’ Donuts.

  2. “Excuse me sir,” he yelled across the two-lane road. “Search YouTube for Dan Nelson trick rider!”

    It’s tough to understand people across 2 lanes of traffic. Are you sure he didn’t say: Refuse Weezer. Research U2 before I can land a thick tire?

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