WAYNE — This town’s official population is 1,189, but it could step over the 2,000 mark if you count the ghosts, and increase astronomically if you include the spirits.
Yes, ghosts are said to haunt some of the buildings in the rural town of Wayne and surrounding communities just west of the capital, Augusta.
Some of the stories of ghosts and spirits gleaned from local residents are collected in the book “Hauntings from Wayne and Beyond,” by Cathy Cook, who happens to be the Wayne town clerk and registrar of voters when she’s not writing about specters or running her store, Androscoggin House Antiques.
The antique shop held some ghosts of its own, dating from the days when the Lincoln family ran the building as an inn on Androscoggin Lake.
“I just love ghost stories, and I have heard a few and thought it would be fun to write about ghost stories about this area,” Cook said recently as she sat at the table in her large kitchen cutting out new ghost-shaped business cards.
Many times when she hosts a book-signing at her business, medium/clairvoyant Annette Parlin, of Temple, who assisted with Cook’s paranormal investigations for the book, does readings. Another medium/clairvoyant, Paula Geba, of Wilton, also helped investigate the hauntings.
“You would think two psychics would see the same thing, and most times we don’t,” said Parlin who joined Cook for the interview.
The Androscoggin House, where Cook lives, has an occasional ghostly maid who is vacuuming, and an unhappy, muscle-shirted ghost of a boarder who probably died as a result of a fire in the house.
Parlin speculated the unhappy ghost departed recently when he discovered his watchful haunting – generally on the stairs or in the upstairs hallway – was no longer necessary. She said he told her: “I guess I’m leaving now.”
There are young ghosts, old ghosts, child ghosts and even spirit dogs, Parlin said.
The book includes a tale of reincarnation told by Leon Roberts, of Roberts Funeral Home, in Winthrop; several UFO stories; and even a chapter about the ghosts of Dave’s Appliance Store, also in Winthrop.
“What makes the book so appealing is because these are credible people,” Cook said. Many of the chapters in the book are told by the homeowners themselves. The ghosts include a giggling girl and a young bride, among others.
“Everyday ghosts are not evil,” Cook said.
Parlin said their mood from life carries over. A grouch in life would be a grouch in the ghostly part of the afterlife.
In the chapter about Dave’s Appliance Store, Parlin tells the store owners the ghosts were fascinated with the new appliances and liked to play with the stoves.
“Many are from the 19th century, so they are like, ‘Whoa, what is this?’ ” Parlin said.
In a chapter that covers a visit to the Readfield Historical Society, Parlin writes that she saw a buggy and asked whether it had belonged to a doctor. No, she was told, it belonged to the mailman in the 1800s.
“A couple weeks later, Florence (Drake, president of the historical society) produced a photo of a doctor using this buggy with his wife in front of their farmhouse in the 1800s. Florence told me that now the society would have to change the history about the buggy.”
Cook’s book has enjoyed brisk sales – more than 600 in all since the initial printing by Maine Authors Publishing in January, and she’s hoping it picks up during the Halloween season.
The paperback sells for $17.95 and is available in local stores in Wayne, Apple Valley Books in Winthrop and through Amazon, as well as from Cook’s store.
Cook is hosting a book signing in her antique store, 655 Main St., from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Parlin offered a concise distinction between ghosts and spirits: Ghosts lived a human life and didn’t cross to the spirit world because something is keeping them here. Spirits are those who lived a human life and crossed over and are happy there.
Cook and Parlin met on a ghost hunt at a carriage house in Mount Vernon. Cook, who already had the first couple of chapters ready for her book, welcomed Parlin aboard.
“It really attracts people to want to tell her their story when there’s a medium there and we tell them about the ghost,” Parlin said.
Cook, Parlin and Geba are gathering material for a sequel to “Hauntings.”
Cook and Parlin also are heading Down East today and Saturday to gather stories about ghostly hauntings in Eastport, where Cook was born, and to speak at a dinner Friday night.
“It gives me peace to know there are ghosts and spirits, because this life is not it,” Cook said. “We’re just here a little while to learn things.”
Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at: