(c) Fallout 4/ Bethesda Softworks. The image above is a possible depiction of the "mother of the fog" from Fallout 4's 2016 DLC, "Far Harbor".
The town of Far Harbor is located in Maine, during 2287. In the real world, the "Maine Mist" remains unexplained.
Urban Legends of Maine:
Known for its famous clam chowder soup, sea-faring history, and classic architecture, the American state of Maine has been officially recognized as a state since the early 1820s. Not surprisingly, Maine has produced some creepy legends for audiences around the world due to its sea-faring and witch-hunting past (we'll talk about that shortly).
Most notably, Stephen King's 1980 novella The Mist has inspired some of the legends featured in this blog post. Maine is known for its mariner past, which makes it similar to my home province- Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada).
According to historians, the town of Bucksport, Maine, was named for its founder- Colonel Jonathan Buck. As a folklorist, this story is quite fascinating.
Allegedly, Colonel Buck possessed an admiration for "witch hunting", a popular activity in the United States several hundred years ago. However, this activity did not take place in Maine. First of all, Maine was officially established at a state in 1820 (the territory previously existed). By that point, the whole witch-hunting thing was pretty much done.
Although this gravesite is not an actual "tomb", this type of description makes the story more interesting for audience members.
So, why is this tomb allegedly cursed? According to legends, the town's founder (Buck) accused a woman of being a witch and had her burned at the stake. Following her death, the "deformed son" of said woman placed a curse upon the town.
While the accused witch was burning to death, her leg rolled out and touched Buck's own leg. So, what makes this legend so interesting?
Looking at the photo above, there is a stain which often reappears on Colonel Buck's gravesite. Nevertheless, this stain which resembles a stocking returns despite efforts to remove it.
An important aspect of urban legends is the ability to promote the stories. For instance, the town of Bucksport, Maine, promotes itself for its witch-hunting past, as well as being the location of a curse that has existed for several hundred years.
Despite the significance of this story, we can probably dismiss its legitimacy. Although it was mentioned at the beginning of this article (people of Maine have promoted this), there are seldom records of witch-hunting ever taking place in Maine. Instead, it's also highly unlikely any "witches" were actually burned in America. For those accused of witchcraft, they were often hanged.
(c) Family Guy (1999-). Looking at this clip from above, this joke is an unfortunate yet accurate portrayal of American society during the 1700s.
University of Southern Maine:
Something to consider is that ghost stories are not considered urban legends, from a folklorist perspective.
However, the reasons these legends are told is what classifies them as urban legends. With respect to the reported hauntings from the University of Southern Maine, this legend is pretty fun to discuss. So, what takes places in Robie-Andrews Hall?
Robie-Andrews Hall is the oldest building at the campus of the University of Southern Maine, and welcomes new music and arts students to its residence every year. Of course, this might not be the case at the moment due to COVID-19. However, this part of the university's campus has long been the home of students seeking education in the arts. According to wcyy.com, students at the university have claimed this component of the campus houses ghosts of former students.
In terms of the campus' history, there were several suicides at the university. Consequently, ghosts are said to roam the halls of the campus. Is this true? Maybe. However, this story classifies as an urban legend because it's told to scare college freshman every year.
Since university residence have been established in North America, the issue of telling stories to scare college freshman has been consistent. That's an important aspect of urban legends and why they survive: people believe the stories because there is no way of disproving them.
What lurks in the Maine Mist?
Although the legend was possibly inspired by the 1980 novella from Stephen King, I will not dismiss how this has remained significant within Maine's folklore. According to Q106.5, Maine's somewhat inexplicable "mist" has caused the deaths of several sailors, within the last few decades. The mist becomes so thick, it's impossible to navigate the waters and boats crash.
(c) Fallout 4
The mist has blurred vision for many sailors who then wreaked their ships on the Maine coast, the same thing has happened to many adventurers in the deep woods causing them to lose their way. (https://q1065.fm/weird-maine-folklore-and-legends/)
The existence of the Maine mist also covers forest areas, which leads to explorers often losing their way. In terms of the existence of this urban legend in popular culture, 2015's Fallout 4 addresses this phenomenon through its "Far Harbor" DLC. However, the mist is referred to as "the fog".
The Fog is radioactive in nature, and therefore dangerous to the residents of the Island, except for certain members of the Children of Atom and the synths of Acadia, who are immune to radiation and situated above it with wind farms respectively. While the Fog has engulfed almost the entire island by 2287, fog condensers created by Acadia are capable of protecting small areas from the effects of the Fog by condensing the Fog into a liquid form. Condensed fog can then be used to craft several useful items. (https://fallout.fandom.com/wiki/The_Fog)
(c) Fallout 4/ YouTube/ PowerPyx
So, what are your thoughts on these urban legends?
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The Modernist Son, 2020-