Welcome back to Maineweek Madness, an occasional column where Jezebel checks in on the Pine Tree State. This installment is dedicated to the haunting and elusive “ghost lobster,” last captured by a local fisherman in 2018.
The Desert of Maine, a charming attraction and campground that since 1925 has reimagined an over-farmed wasteland as a Saharan wonder, has been under new management recently. The camel statues remain; it appears the gemstone hunts, during which children searched for planted stones among the so-called desert’s dunes, are on hold. Mela and Dough Heestand, the couple who bought the property in late 2018, have focused on separating myth from fact in their Desert of Maine tours, notably finding no historical trace of William Tuttle, the man long said to have failed to rotate his potato crops, thus exposing the 30-odd acres of glacial silt from which the desert gets its name.
Now, the Heestands have asked to rezone parts of their fallow empire, asking the town of Freeport to create a Desert of Maine district to allow them to build modernities like a cafe and a 200-seat venue for “mostly acoustic-type musical performances,” as well as A-frame cabins for more comfortable camping. If the plan is successful, the Desert of Maine may resemble something more like a surrealist frontier town, and one in which this blogger, at least, would be delighted to live.
Tucker Carlson, a man whose home and studio in Maine have been the subject of several news stories over the years, targeted a Belfast journalist working for the New York Times in a manufactured controversy that certainly couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that a sexual assault lawsuit filed against Carlson and his colleagues broke around the same time. Last week, a day after said lawsuit was filed in New York Federal Court, Carlson accused the paper of planning to run a story about “where my family and I live ... to inflict pain on my family, to terrorize us,” and suggested his viewers do the same for the reporter, whose photograph he aired and whom he referred to as a “political activist.”
The Times story has yet to appear, but it’s a well-documented fact that Carlson owns a home and large garage in Woodstock, Maine; sold his home in Washington, D.C., recently; and that his official residence is Florida, probably for tax purposes. The lawsuit—which alleges Carlson professionally retaliated against a subordinate for refusing to go to a hotel room with him while his family was out of town—is ongoing.
This week in absolutely conclusive arrows:
As our hot and sinister summer drags on, uncanny happenings are blooming across Vacationland. 13,000 decaying white perch fish were dumped and abandoned on an island in Parker Pond. Ron the goat was stolen from his pen, only to be returned—dead. “I don’t understand why you would take an animal, I don’t understand why you would take it for two weeks,” his owner said. A Yarmouth woman, perhaps hoping to keep the evil vibes at bay by paying homage, has been setting up skeletons in her yard in various states of repose: They’ve celebrated the Fourth of July, gone canoeing, and taken baths.
Some advice from Captain Joe Tufts for the superstitious or those concerned by these powerful energies: Beware of the Banana Curse. “No guns and no bananas on the boat.”
Relatedly, a retired New York fashion executive was killed this week in what is thought to be Maine’s first shark-related death:
The Maine Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that Holowach was attacked by a shark and a scientist determined it was a great white based on a tooth fragment, the Maine Department of Marine Resources said. The department urged people recreating in the water to avoid schools of fish or seals, which can attract sharks. Beaches at Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg and Reid State Park in Georgetown were posted as wading only.
In sunnier items, here’s a good photograph of a Bath Iron Works Local 66 member going into his sixth week on strike:
This week in bad tweets:
May we all live as thoroughly and precisely in our convictions as this man who cut a garage in half after a dispute with neighbors:
The property-line dispute gained momentum in April when the Brawns put down a load of wood chips near the previously established boundary with 148 Grove St. in order for a tractor to travel the downhill grade to the back of their lot to clean up downed tree limbs.
- What to do with an unexpected rooster. [Bangor Daily News]
- A feel-good story that doesn’t feel so good. [Twitter]
- Occupy Portland City Hall! [Portland Press Herald]
- A cobbler, his trailer, and an end. [Portland Press Herald]
- Golfers have all the luck. [News Center Maine]
- Teens vs. Tuna [Bangor Daily News]
- A statue to a confused bird of prey. [Bangor Daily News]