Crypt beneath the Grasshopper Shop

By David Grima | Oct 04, 2018

And here is my nomination for the most unfortunate headline in the online Courier this week:

“Knox County Sheriff’s Office shows support for breast…”

It certainly conjures certain unusual images unfit for a family newspaper, but as you might guess, this is merely one of those teaser headlines the Village Gnomes put with their stories on the home page, which get shortened arbitrarily by the amount of electronic space available.

In my day, blunders like this were attributable completely to human error. What went into the paper and was printed in millions of copies was entirely the responsibility, and often the fault, of the writers, editors and ad people.

It is more encouraging than I can say to realize that this basic human frailty is still alive and well in the zany new world of electronic publishing.

* * * * *

Speaking of tales read online, the following I have poached unashamedly from one of those news aggregator sites that collect odd stuff and reprint it in an effort to get you to click on their website and make them money.

This article describes a haunting in England. Or does it? (Insane echoing laughter, followed by cheesy organ music.) And please note the even cheesier content in the two paragraphs at the end.

“Can you think of anything creepier in the middle of the night than the distant, melancholy sounds of children singing? It’s pure nightmare fuel, but it was also the reality for a small family in eastern England who for months reportedly had to endure a haunting rendition of “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” from children who couldn’t be found.

“As reported by the Ipswich Star, a mother and her two children were left terrified by the sounds they could hear from their home randomly in the night on countless occasions. After it was apparent the singing wasn’t going to stop on its own, the mother reached out to her local town council. Eventually, early in the morning of September 12, she heard the familiar lyrics yet again and called the council’s rapid response team who joined her on a hunt for the source of the haunting.

“To the relief of anyone who didn’t want this story to end inconclusively with a mysterious tale about kids being involved in a tragic accident 100 years ago, the music was traced to a nearby industrial building where it was actually playing from a loudspeaker.

“The next day, a spokesperson for the industrial site reportedly confirmed the nursery rhyme was part of a security system and designed to act as a deterrent to trespassers in the middle of the night. The music was apparently triggered by over-sensitive, motion-detecting cameras reacting to the movement of spiders across the lenses. (This is the part where the Scooby-Doo gang laughs uncontrollably just before the cartoon’s end credits roll.)

“The sensitivity of the security system has reportedly since been tweaked, and the volume of the loudspeakers was turned down so as not to terrify local residents anymore. But it’s unknown if any charges were pressed against the spiders for trespassing.”

* * * * *

It is reliably reported to me by my network of part-time unpaid snitches that the children’s magazine, Highlights, has been asking for pictures and information about our dear Lobster Trap tree, which gets all lit up after Thanksgiving.

* * * * *

Also a rumor that inmates at the Maine State Prison are thinking of organizing an American Legion Post there.

* * * * *

There is a ghastly plot afoot to decorate downtown Rockland with scarecrows this October season, and leading the ghostly charge are Tom and Dru Woodman, the King and Queen of Halloween, who reside in their haunted palace in the South End.

This reminds me that the town did scarecrows on Main Street maybe 20 years ago, under the prompting of the Farnsworth Museum.

The bare bones of these new scarecrows have been manufactured by their South End Majesties, and are currently locked in the crypt beneath the Grasshopper Shop. They are available to those who want to decorate one and place it on Main Street. Just knock three times backwards, and give the secret password. Or just telephone 593-6093 and say I told you to call.

* * * * *

Reader Dennis Frye argues with my claim last week that there are few turkeys in Rockland. He says they are all around the golf course.

Who am I to argue with an eyewitness?

* * * * *

The Lobfest Sea Goddess scandal continues to unravel, with the suggestion now being raised that young men ought also to be able to enter the contest, although not exactly the form of contest that exists at the moment.

* * * * *

On the 26th of last month, as blustery tropical winds blew through Rockland after dark, I distinctly heard a lonely cricket still bravely calling for company. I think he has since left us, the poor thing.

* * * * *

Saw my first ad for a Christmas Fair the other day, and ‘twill be at St. Bernard’s Nov. 3.

Speaking of fairs, we went up to the Camden library craft and book fair last weekend, but for the first time in recorded history, brought nothing home to the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live.

Now, I adore a craft fair as much as the next guy who sleeps in a cardboard refrigerator box overlooking the harbor, but I must admit something deep within me also yearns for a craft fair that is not mostly devoted to the feminine and the decorative arts.

Some things at craft fairs are arguably gender-neutral: kitchen gadgets carved from rare wood, fancy fishing floats, models of the starship Enterprise welded from old cog wheels and lumps of metal, or paintings of boats floating off into the sunset, for example. Possibly (I don’t know) even aroma therapy stuff, such as might even tempt my dear friend Terrible O’Meara, late of the Bangor Dreadful News. But that’s about it, usually. The rest is almost certainly intended for the other gender.

There is a chap who carves and fits fanciful handles to walking sticks at the Lobfest each summer, who has tempted me for several years now, but to be honest he is one of the few crafters I can think of who has the male of the species fully in mind as he plies his trade.

There are beaucoup scarves and felt hats for the ladies, but where are the ties and dinner jackets sewn from 100-year-old reclaimed birch bark that the men so badly crave? The hand-stitched embossed leather beard covers? The “pipe ‘n slippers” sets made from recycled beer cans?

I rest my case.

Comments (3)
Posted by: ROBERT W. KNAPP | Oct 08, 2018 11:54

I have 7 turkeys in my back yard right now. Just off Sherman Cove, around from Camden Harbor.

Posted by: Cathy Baker | Oct 04, 2018 20:59

And a good two dozen next door to the Town Office in South Thomaston  c.11:30am.  With any luck, they didn't swarm the bridge and invade the 'Keag proper.

Posted by: Robin Gabe | Oct 04, 2018 17:52

There were at least six turkeys on Pen Bay Avenue around 1 p.m.  today.

If you wish to comment, please login.