Lucinda and I have been to forts before, but never one so well preserved as Fort Knox in Prospect, Maine. While its like-named cousin stores gold reserves, Maine’s Fort Knox is a repository of history – and ghost stories.
Descend down the stairs of the outer keep and the darkness closes around you. Outside it may be 2017, but in here the stones are as old as the earth they were cut from.
In some spaces, the darkness is absolute, but silence is elusive. Voices echo down stone corridors. Perhaps they are the voices of tourists. Perhaps they are the echoes of those who once lived and worked here. Or maybe they come from the walls themselves.
Fort Knox never saw action, but soldiers lived and worked here during the Civil and Spanish-American Wars. They slept in these rooms, or in tents set up nearby. The living quarters, pleasantly cool during the summer months, must have been bitterly cold in winter with coastal winds whipping through every crevasse in the brick.
The officer’s quarters look slightly more comfortable. But the high-ceilinged room must have been almost impossible to heat.
If the challenges of nature were not enough, there are also the ghosts to contend with. Because the fort never saw combat, there were few deaths within its walls. The exception is Ordinance Sergeant Luke Walker, who manned the fort as its lone gatekeeper from 1871 until his death in 1880.
Guests and professional ghost hunters alike have reported hearing disembodied footsteps, seeing apparitions, and getting unexplained readings on thermal imaging equipment. One worker at the Fort even reported seeing the figure of a person walking down a corridor while closing up after the annual Fright at the Fort event.
Lucinda and I didn’t see any ghosts, but who knows what might have been hiding in the dark?
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