How many people believe in ghosts, “Haunted Damariscotta: Ghosts of the Twin Villages and Beyond” and “Ghosts of the Boothbay Region” author Greg Latimer asked at the start of a talk and book-signing at Windjammer Emporium in Boothbay Harbor Aug. 1.
Latimer and wife Sally Lobkowicz are best known in Maine for their Red Cloak Tours in Bar Harbor, Bath, Boothbay Harbor, Camden, Damariscotta, Hallowell, Rockland and Wiscasset. Latimer and Lobkowicz also travel across the United States and Caribbean in search of paranormal activity.
“We study it in a variety of ways. We also go to places where there has been cryptid activity,” said Latimer. “Mysteries. We follow mysteries.”
Their travels have brought them to cities like New Orleans and Virginia City and landmarks like Johnny Cash’s Jamaica mansion, but the area that has stuck out perhaps the most is the Boothbay region. “We're pretty familiar with haunted places as far as they go and one of the most densely haunted locations in the US that we've ever seen and the Caribbean is right here in Boothbay Harbor.”
The area receiving most of Latimer’s attention lies between the Tugboat Inn and Kaler’s as nearly every building has a history of reports of the paranormal.
When he asked how many people believed in ghosts, everyone raised their hands. Then he asked how many people believe in panda bears. Everyone laughed.
“The reason I ask that is because until the 1850s, panda bears were considered absolutely mythical and legendary. There was no proof that they existed at all …”
This is why Latimer often refers to possible entities as paranormal critters: He said no one really knows what a ghost is, or if a paranormal critter is a being from another dimension or the manifestations of a color humans cannot see. As technology advances, people will open their minds to more and more of what may seem like the impossible right now, and eventually there may be proof things like ghosts exist, he said.
One such piece of technology Latimer said has been growing on him is the SLS camera, or a Structured Light System. “It uses an infrared spectrum to see things we can't see and actually show them as an outline. We used one of those here in Boothbay Harbor last year over at the Boothbay Railway Village.”
The SLS camera may be more recognizable by the root of its creation from the XBOX Kinect sensor which, coupled with a camera or tablet device making it an SLS camera, is becoming more and more mainstream in professional paranormal investigations. However, as a former investigative reporter in Los Angeles, private investigator and police evidence photographer, Latimer said he remains “the number one skeptic” when it comes to documenting evidence of the paranormal.
“We like to have corroborating evidence. One method supporting another method.”
Latimer’s investigations attempt to gather corroborating evidence by as many means as necessary such as the use of electromagnetic field detectors, flashlights and even dowsing rods.
The first time Latimer used an SLS camera at the Bradley Inn in Bristol, the camera picked up several stick-like figures which is usually how the SLS camera interprets heat signatures and movement. Though compelling, these paranormal critters could admittedly be whatever someone wants to see. On the other hand, as Latimer and the other ghost hunters continued observing the figures on the camera, another set of hunting tools called REM-Pods – electromagnetic field detectors – began to light up as the figures came nearer.
“We asked the critter we were looking at to touch the REM-Pods. We watched the critter touch them and actually set them off over three times … That excludes coincidence at that point.”
Latimer said he and another ghost-hunting team including Boothbay Register's Lisa Kristoff tried the same method at Boothbay Railway Village. In the antique auto section, the team caught two figures which appeared to be dancing. “And they're just having a heck of a time. I guess you can still party in the afterlife."
He said the miniature train area featured three entities; two seemed interested in what Latimer was doing. “After that experience I was pretty physically drained. That's not unusual when you deal with the paranormal. They tend to borrow energy.”
Moving on from the cutting edge in paranormal investigation, Latimer chronicled some of his latest book’s investigation into Boothbay region ghosts. The Tugboat Inn has its own chapter. He said it features a ghost staff call “The Captain,” a caretaker of sorts, as the employees refer to him. After the book came out, the Captain became a little more active and Latimer started getting reports from employees of stranger things happening. Also featured in “Ghosts of the Boothbay Region” are Admiral's Quarters Inn’s Mr. Duffy, Captain Sawyer's Minnie Sawyer, Sherman's “Emily” and, of course, the famous “Lady of the Dusk” who walks the shore of Hendrick’s Head on Southport.
Many of the stories in “Ghosts of the Boothbay Region” are covered on the Red Cloak Haunted History Tour. Latimer and Lobkowicz also have their Mysterious Destinations Online Magazine, at https://mysteriousdestinationsmagazine.com