Story of the Legend of Catherine’s Hill Along the Black’s Woods Road
Some folks swear the most horrifying ghost stories originate in Downeast Maine.It’s a region rich in both scenic beauty and supernatural lore.Among the haunted tales, there’s a legend known as the spector of Catherine’s Hill.Prepare yourself, for an experience that will not be easily forgotten.Perhaps one of the best known legends in Maine lies along the Black’s Woods road.This short stretch of Route 182, between Franklin and Cherryfield, has some of the most beautiful scenery in Downeast Maine.The road winds around part of Fox Pond, then climbs to the top of a small mountain, named Catherine’s Hill.When the sun goes down and the fog settles in, it’s said motorists can see the specter of a young woman.”The subject of Black’s Woods legend is the spirit of a young woman named Catherine who was decapitated and she stalks the road around Fox Pond and Catherine’s Hill. Sometimes the apparition appears headless, sometimes not. But as the story goes, if you see the apparition, you must stop and offer it a ride or suffer the consequences.”IT’s said those who don’t stop, will be cursed by the phantom, and soon die.One story involves a salesman traveling at night who saw the headless ghost.He sped past the figure, but when he looked in his rearview mirror, he saw the phantom sitting in his backseat.He panicked, crashed his car, and died.The actual story of what happened to Catherine has taken on many versions.”In all the different accounts, they keep going back further and further in time. The tales of how Catherine died and was decapitated takes place in the 1970s, 1950s, 1920s and 1860s. In all these stories, there’s an accident, whether it’s a carriage accident or car accident and she’s decapitated. And the male figure she’s with always disappears.”Marcus LiBrizzi, a professor at the University of Maine in Machias, wrote a book called, “Dark Woods, Chill Waters. Ghost Tales from Down East Maine.”LiBrizzi says the legend of Catherine’s Hill surprised him.”It was far more original and horrifying than I thought and there were far more people that had seen it than I thought.”Lisa Athearn is also a professor at UMaine Machias.One of her classes chose to do their project on the Catherine’s Hill legend.When I called to ask Athearn if I could talk to her, she was skeptical about returning to Black’s Woods.She eventually said yes, but insisted it be during the day.”I had no idea what this adventure would take us to. I was a complete non-believer at the start of the semester. Looking back now I think I was crazy for letting these kids do this. It was very dangerous.”When Athearn learned I would be trekking through the woods on Catherine’s Hill, she had these words of wisdom.”My advice would be to be respectful of the space. To not leave anything and not take anything from the space.”Advice Athearn says she and the students wish they’d known beforehand.”We came out several times. We did two initial sight checks and what we did is we were looking for electromagnetic patterns in the area. Spots where there is just a real change of energy and the easiest way to monitor that is with your cell phone.”"After talking with them I decided to come out for myself and see if I could pick up any electromagnetic disturbances with my cell phone.”While I couldn’t find an electromagnetic disturbance on my phone, there was definitely something eery that made me think i was not alone.”I feel like something is against my back, pressing on my back.”"Why did I pick this?”While I can’t be sure what it was I experienced in the woods, I’m less skeptical about the presence of Catherine.”There is something out there in Black’s Woods. And I believe it’s far older than any of the traditional accounts could indicate.”"I can’t say that I believe in ghosts, but I believe now that there is something else out there. I don’t know what that is, but I know enough not to want to mess with it.”If you enjoy indulging in ghost stories and think the legend of Catherine’s Hill is terrifying, check out the ghost tales included in Marcus LiBrizzi’s book.”Dark Woods, Chill Waters. Ghost Tales from Down East Maine.”Which is available on the web and at bookstores everywhere.