Alien Gray Matter? Mind Your Alien Brain!

DATELINE: Light Thinking on Ancient Aliens

 

When Ancient Aliensdecides to tackle the issue of psychic energies, there is an obvious blame game: those ancient space travelers came to earth 200,000 years ago and turned on the switch for the “neocortex” in the human brain.

 

Then, they completely undercut the theory by examining the cryptic, obscure, inconclusive predictions of Nostradamus. Their explanation for his lack of clarity (though they give him lots of credit) is that he was protecting himself from witchcraft charges and being burned at the stake. It’s around the same time that Leonardo da Vinci had the same problem.

However, the show is on firmer ground when it examines the validity behind psychic research with the discovery in 1935 of ESP.

The information about the differing methods of communications is intriguing: they specifically discuss precognition as looking at the future (as do all good soothsayers) but dismiss more quickly a look at past events (which may be post-cognition).

The show is more interested in the sensational stuff: like moving objects by brain power. These talents were given to all, but only a few select people (perhaps abductees?) are having their neocortex switched on.

Another intriguing examination is the notion that light photons emitted by the human body is a form of telepathy on which communication or messages may be received or sent. They use Biblical examples to illustrate how prophets often are glowing with knowledge.

Again, replacing the Akashic Record with something now called the Holographic Universe, the series insists that past, present, and future, are all stored in a place that is accessible.

And, the show comes full circle with Nostrodamus predicting that humans will migrate to other planets for survival.

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Cooke: Lady You Just Shot Me!

DATELINE: Why Was Sam Cooke Killed?

 You Still Send Me!

How long ago it was! Sam Cooke was a budding, all-American giant of music, but even more amazing, he was the boy next door who was African-American. The film is Lady You Shot Me!, a frightful documentary about the life and death of Sam.

He was murdered, executed, or shot under mysterious circumstances. A religious gospel singer, it seemed unfathomable back than that Cooke was in a “seedy” motel room with some street-walker.

Of course, we know nowadays this may be more often the norm. Yet, with Sam Cooke it seemed improbable. He was lumped in with Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King as the three titans of Civil Rights.

You probably never hear much about Sam because his music is owned by Allen Klein and his associates: and some theorize they had something to do with stealing his profits and doing him in. Klein died in 2009, but he and his followers have stopped many a documentary about Sam from being made without their control.

So, this latest is also one without the most compelling part of Cook’s legacy: you will not hear his music. It isn’t allowed. He wrote “Wonderful Life,” ironically enough, “Cupid,” “You Send Me,” and “Another Saturday Night,” another delightful ditty about being alone. Now you seldom hear his music.

And you certainly don’t often hear the horror and tragedy of what happened to this talent. An inquest quickly dispatched his death, ruling justifiable homicide to a motel manager who shot naked man who had no weapon. She testified in dark glasses and had no attorney. She didn’t need one; the fix was in.

A few of his nephews contribute to the storyline—and also have done what they could to keep Klein’s company out of their lives. The documentary consults noted coroner and lawyer Cyril Wecht who examines the evidence but cannot sign on to a conspiracy of murder.

However, there are enough legal mumbo-jumbo moves by Allen Klein to take over Cooke’s music estate and run with all the profits to think he, at least, took advantage of an untimely death. Of course, it’s not the first time that an uppity black man was put down.

Fair or not, it is a strong backbone to the story of a man killed fifty years ago in a senseless action in Los Angeles. It was more than black America’s loss, it was the loss of a generation of music he would have created for everyone.

Studio 54: Celebrity Watchers

DATELINE: Time Capsule to Disco World

 Roy Cohn with Schrager & Rubell

For less than three years, a couple of Brooklyn entrepreneurs managed to create and to put on a 1970s theatrical experience called a disco club. It was Studio 54, on the heels of downbeat Watergate. Dance and music was where and when diversity became a fad lifestyle of Manhattan life.

Now a documentary gives us a horror story wrapped in glitterati and cheap sequins.

Studio 54, as a documentary, is a fairy tale with a sledgehammer of social cautions and moral outrage.

Steve Rubell was the more recognizable name: and his partner in business was Ian Schrager. After researching gay, black, traditional nightclubs, they decided to make a dilapidated old CBS studio where Captain Kangarooonce romped, into the disco generation’s celebrity baptismal.

Studio 54 was the place where you found throngs and mobs of stunning beautiful young men: Cartloads more than you might ever suspect could be found in a swarm.

Glitz and chintz made a spot for beauty and money to become a lifestyle passport. In six-weeks they put on a show where a balcony gave patrons with lorgnettes a chance to ogle Warhol, Jagger, Paul Newman, Sinatra, Liz, Liza, Liberace, Cher, Cary, Bianca, Truman, Halston, Barishnikov, Michael Jackson, and every name of the era in one hopped-up setting.

You put the best-looking man out front as the doorman, and you watched a happening happen.

Director Matt Tyrnauer puts together a Zeitgeist film to capture spirit, energy, and history, as a spot where glamour had its last stand. Movie stars, musician superstars, and ordinary beauty, cavorted together with freaks to pulsating lights, music, and—gulp, drugs.

There were floor shows like Las Vegas fantasies with performers who transcended their roles with the patrons.

It was America’s Fall of the Roman Empire: the god-awful punishment awaited, pestilence and plague on all your houses: AIDS. Rubell was the epitome of the age, a gay man in massive denial about his identity and living out his suicidal excesses until the roof caved in. He went in the first wave of incurable and shunned AIDS victims of the late 1980s.

His partner’s father was one of Meyer Lansky’s mouthpieces, though Ian Schrager knew nothing about it.

As if a fall from grace was ever possible without some satanic majesty, one of the biggest frequenters and closet queens of the age, the evil Roy Cohn became the attorney for the club (and later for Donald Trump). It underscores the tale and takes it into the realm of hallucinogenic socio-political shock. No liquor license? Arrested? Schrager and Rubell called Cohn.

Downfalls are good for the soul and bad for the soulless.

 

 

 

Did Tom Brady Just Fall Off a Cliff?

DATELINE: Old Overnight?

We know Tom Brady infamously jumps off the cliff in the off-season, diving into a pool near his vacay estate in Costa Rica Plenti. Now, after years of ominous predictions, have we just witnessed the aging phenom being pushed by the Grim Reaper into a new phase?

Though the Patriots won their fourth game of the season, undefeated still, it was the worst performance by Brady in a winning cause in his career.

No touchdowns—and an interception in the endzone. His QB rating is on a par with Trump’s popularity poll numbers.

Yikes, he could not do much at all. We blame the team management for disarming him: every season they take away one of his best weapons, the latest is the release of Antonio ‘who me a violent offender?’ Brown who made life easier for Tom.

Head Coach Bill Belichick has made it his mission to divest every weapon that Tom likes from the team. Where is Amendola? Gone with the wind. Where is Edelman? Playing hurt, and Tom scrupulously avoided throwing to him.

His best receiver was wearing a Mae West corset under this jersey, which made him look like a candidate for the RuPaul Drag Show. He played gamely with a busted rib or two. No one wants to confirm how many cracks they found in the ribcage.

His go-to second bananas, like James White and Phil Dorsett, were MIA when it came to push and shove.

Tom was also making decisions that rival those of a rookie QB—going for glory and long passes when shorter and less spectacular will do. It was all reminiscent of past aging QBs who refused to admit there is something rotten in the state of their game.

Tom still looks personally spectacular, dapper and smooth, resembling Adam Vinatieri’s son rather than his contemporary. However, under the creamy Botox layer beats the heart of a man who just fell off a cliff.

 

 

 

Jan Merlin: Statuesque Among the Stars, 1925-2019

  Jan with his Emmy Award!

My co-author and most important literary collaborator has gone from this world.

Jan Merlin might be recognizable to a generation or two of film and TV fans as the villain who populated a hundred TV shows. He made movies with Ann Sheridan, George C. Scott, and Woody Allen. He starred in two 1950s TV series, The Rough Riders—and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, with Frankie Thomas.

A veteran of the Navy in World War II, Jan went from the military during the big war to the Neighborhood Playhouse where he learned the craft of acting, though he had many talents. He always thought his acting fame was a lesser role. He was always the antagonist to some western star, or some dubious military man.

Yet, despite playing dastardly villains almost constantly, with his Aryan looks (Polish American out of New York City), he was a genteel man with a sense of art and brilliantly self-educated. Like a generation of those who were never able to attend college, he more than made up for it with a dozen books to his credit. He loved fiction—drawing  upon his movie background, or his experiences in Japan after the war.

Together we did a half-dozen books of which I am most proud. We did only one work of fiction, The Paid Companion of J. Wilkes Booth. Most of our Hollywood history tales were based on his insider knowledge of how a set work, from knowing nearly every star of the 1950s and 1960s. He laughed they were all “six feet tall,” no matter what the truth might be.

We wrote about Boys Town, Billy Budd, Reflections in a Golden Eye, among other films, giving a unique perspective on daily life during the studio shoot. He knew Brando, Taylor, Clift, James Dean, in ways that others could never understand. He threw James Dean out of the Pier Angeli house at her mother’s request.

When we did not write books together, he gave me editorial and research insights for my books on James Kirkwood and Audie Murphy. Oh, he knew them too.

Now he is gone, irreplaceable in my life and in Hollywood history, with all those insights and memories. He had stories he would not tell about the damaged figures of show business. He took those secrets with him, as much as I wanted to hear them. He was loyal to the memory of the business he loved and hated.

Once I called it ‘Tinseltown’, and he reprimanded me: it was a cherished professional location, not a frivolous tabloid fantasy to him. He introduced me as his “son” on occasion, which amused me–and made movie star Frankie Thomas look at me with quite an impression.

Goodbye, dear Jan. I am so lucky to have known you and to have worked with you. I have been left a treasure trove of his life, and maybe one day I will tell what he told me. He was my touchstone to a bygone era and glorious movie history.

Patrick Swayze Remembered!

DATELINE: Gone 10 Years!

 I am Patrick Swayze!

Has the Dirty Dancing Ghost star been gone for ten years?

The documentary put together by those who loved him (wife, brother, costars, friends, agents) is powerful its use of one word: “heart.” It seems to crop up regularly from a variety of people. He had it and he gave it.

The film description said he “challenged Hollywood’s notion of masculinity,” which perplexed us, as he seemed instead to epitomize it. He could play a cowboy, a dancer, a roadhouse thug, in action films where he did his own stunts. He was vibrant, and only handsome incidentally. He was an athlete or a ballet dancer, and from that root came everything else. This is one of a series of biographical films, this called I am Patrick Swayze.

His mother was the ultimate stage mother: she ran a Texas ballet school, and it was obvious Patrick Swayze would be part of that world. Knee reconstruction from football injuries put him in pain whenever he did those roles thereafter.

He did not want to be a teen idol, though his roller blading was stunning, and his dirty dancing made him internationally famous.

Friends talk of his soul of a poet, how well-rounded in arts he was. Rob Lowe and C. Thomas Howell were teammates, rivals, and friends, from the Coppola movie The Outsiders. He costars noted he was mild and dynamic at the same time.

We always found him watchable and curious about what he might do: sometimes he took on roles that did not interest everyone, but he was his own man in that regard. Then, he was sick with pancreatic cancer and gone abruptly. It now appears to be a grave injustice of the universe to take away a person who epitomized life.

He wanted to prove there was life beyond being a sex symbol, which led him to do sky-diving stunts in Point Break and brutal fight scenes. He was not wanted for one of his great roles, in Ghost.The director had to be convinced, but Patrick Swayze always convinced anyone who put his attentions on.

Like the proverbial meteor, he came, shined by in the firmament, and went away. Like many others, after seeing this film of his life, we miss him too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halston: Fashionista with Un-Common Touch

DATELINE: Clothes Make the Woman

 Halston, Taylor, Minelli at Studio 54!

Fashion designer extraordinaire, Halston was part of a generation that self-immolated by 1990. Most of them were gone: trend-setting, pop culture icons:  notably Halston (he only needed one name, like Liberace). A fascinating documentary aptly named Halstontells the tale.

The 1950s gave young talents like Halston and Warhol a youthful connection to fame, but it was by the 1960s they took charge of their lives. Halston was a gypsy of America, living in no true fixed abode. So, he was likely to be self-made.

He was ambitious and flamboyant, ready to take his energy and ideas into all kinds of creative realms. He was the pioneer who made Europe take note of American fashion, though he was later given rivals like Perry Ellis and Calvin Klein.

Halston tried to stay ahead of the curve, branching out into aesthetics like perfume with bottles as arty as popular. He melded movies and fashion together, finding that his association with people like Liza Minelli and Elizabeth Taylor were ways to grow socially and artfully.

It started to go wrong when he splurged into Studio 54 with Warhol, Capote, and the raft of disco dollies. It was, some said, the beginning of a dissolution.

The documentary never says much about his aging, but it’s there: clearly losing youth to something harder. He became as hard as his looks, or perhaps his looks took on his personality: moody, bossy, self-centered.  It wasn’t pretty, when he started to be less pretty.

Others thought his greed was the deciding factor that led to his destruction: he sold out to J.C. Penney, going from class to mass appeal. It alienated his well-to-do friends and undermined his name. He actually sold his own name, and lost control of it.

The end featured more intrigue that Ancient Rome, as he was pushed out (literally locked out) of his own empire by locksmiths and Playtex bra people who bought his name. A few thought it was drugs that did him in, if not promiscuity.

It was the 1980s and the deadly virus that swept through art circles in theatre, fashion, music, especially in New York, took him too. Andy Warhol once said that he’d want Halston and Elizabeth Taylor as his chums because they were so nice.

This celebrity name-dropping documentary may stir memories in a generation grown old. Halston was loved by many people who felt he epitomized tragedy by the end.

 

 

 

 

The Last Monarch

DATELINE: Birth & Rebirth

Seasons come and go, and so does life. We were surprised to see a late season chrysalis on the nearby tree. We waited for the inevitable cycle of birth and transformation. The beautiful green cocoon with its threaded gold leaf like a zipper held firm in the wind.

And so we waited for the inevitable blackness to befall it.

 

Usually within 24 to 48 hours after turning black, the chrysalis will start to crack open like an egg, and the inside beauty shall emerge—depending on weather and dryness. But it was chilly lately, the end of a coolish summer.

   Our last vision was of the Monarch flying south for the winter, heading for Mexico, perhaps, as long as ICE did not stop him at border!

Every Act of Life: Terrence McNally

DATELINE: Surviving Show Business

 Terry McNally & Eddie Albee back when….

In all my connections to Broadway writers, Terrence McNally never came up much.

Now James Kirkwood would talk about everyone in show biz! We gossiped about them all. Yet, there is no memory of him mentioning McNally.

Oh, they knew of each other: gay writers winning friends in great theater. Kirkwood certainly knew Edward Albee who was McNally’s first important boyfriend, but McNally may have been too openly gay for Jim Kirkwood. It’s the only conclusion to make.

Every Act of Lifeis a documentary on the life of McNally who worked with every actor imaginable since the death of Jim Kirkwood in 1989, and that may be the survival of your reputation in show business. Richard Thomas, Nathan Lane, Rita Moreno, F. Murray Abraham, Angela Lansbury, all share memories of their careers and personal ties to McNally and his funny and varied plays.

All Jim’s closest actor friends, like Sal Mineo, are long gone. One young writer once said to me: “Wow, I didn’t think any of Kirkwood’s friends were still alive.”

McNally survived, though people like Robert Drivas, his tempestuous and exotic actor boyfriend after Albee, died of AIDS in 1985 in the first wave of notable show business deaths. Drivas was a closet case, and yet it was open and flamboyant McNally who still lives nearly forty years later.

There is no accounting for survival, but you have to admire it when it shows up at your door. The film on the life of McNally is likely a tonic and a fizz for gay people who need superior role models. If you die too soon, you can’t be much of a mentor. If Jim Kirkwood were here, I might say you should never have told me to write your autobiography and play coy about your gay life. Yet, he did.

McNally, had I known him, would never have said such a thing, but those plays and characters never quite grabbed like Jim Kirkwood’s creations.

Oh, it’s too late now to do much about it, but we can celebrate the life of Terrence McNally, albeit a tad on the late side.

 

Dr. William Russo wrote Riding James Kirkwood’s Pony, available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.

Bill & Ted Face the Music!

DATELINE:  Bill & Ted at 50 Years Not Counting!

san dimmers

Thirty years after the original Valley Boy dudes hit the big screen with immortality, a third movie is in the works, with principal photography starting this summer. Bill and Ted had one excellent time in their youth.

Not a big fan back then, it is always interesting to re-visit a story with the originals having aged well, or not well. We recently returned to Deadwood after fifteen years. Now we are going back to bogus San Dimas, California, to see how teen idols are living at age 50.

It may not be pretty. Alex Winter has not flourished quite the way John Wick/ Keanu Reeves has.

We were curious as to how they can update the tale: it seems that George Carlin has fallen victim to the Grim Reaper, but the Reaper of movie 2 will return to visit the boys.

It seems that they have wasted their lives! What a surprise!

And now they are facing the music of old age: can they finally write a hit song? The film shall be Bill and Ted Face the Music, more or less. It’s written by the same man who gave us the original insipid twosome.

Music may save the world. Good grief! talk about big expectations.

They have given our intrepid dudes marriages with daughters who look just like their fathers. Hmmm. We don’t know what other genes have been passed.

The film won’t come out for a year, but the dudes will have Ted’s father (with Alaskan military school threats long gone) and Bill’s stepmother (likely still hot for her stepson).

It comes out next year. Until then, we have only to return to Keanu and Alex in their heydays—in two ridiculously funny movies where they show no brains in a historical laugh-riot.

We can hardly wait for the summer of 2020 with its hindsight.

At the Drive-In: Past is Prologue

DATELINE: Take a Bite Night!

drive in

A strange little documentary that is utterly charming details one of the last and biggest drive-in screens in the United States. At the Drive-In notes the dream of those who loved the past and the summer nights that took the family out to the movies, sitting in their car.

Three men: Jeff, Matt, and Virgil, are the organizers. It started with Jeff, a former military man who was a projectionist, a job that no longer exists in the digital age. Older and out of touch with the modern world, Jeff leased a Pennsylvania drive-in that was slowly dying. Only a few hundred are left from the hey-day of the 1950s.

He literally ran in to Matt, a young Temple film studies graduate who thought it was abandoned and dropped by to find Jeff. Calling his friend Virgil, another Temple film student, they provided a social media approach to try to save the movie palace.

Jeff insisted that it show only 35mm movies, which made it a retro-movie theatre. Besides the lack of profit, the actual film stock of 35mm is not used by modern film-makers.

Retrospective films was the only alternative to the alternative drive-in. The entrepreneurs came up with gimmick nights: zombie movies, sci-f, bite night (Jaws and Jurassic Park). All the films had to be 35mm.

There were hangers-on who also loved old films and the ambiance, Jess—the popcorn girl, and snack bar aficionado from Keene, NH, who drives over six hours every weekend to work at what he loves: a place, not a job.

These are simple and real people who a definite love for old movies—and they build up the drive-in from two or three cars to over a hundred per night by the end of the 2016 season.

If you are old enough to recall the nostalgia of the giant screen outdoors, with field before a monster white screen, you likely recall seeing Shane, Spartacus, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and dozens of other old movies in that magical moment of childhood.

At the Drive-In is a gentle marvel of movie-making about movie history. If you love movies, you read reviews and watch with religious fervor. Here is your novena of movie life.

 

 

Seconds & Second Chances with Rock!

DATELINE:  No Deal?

unbecoming Rock Unbecoming Rock!

We love Seconds, or even thirds and fourths of Rock Hudson in his best performance—ever.

We cannot say this lightly. The John Frankenheimer film of 1966 was a game changer in style and director controls. Here, you find something completely different in its stylistic attitude. Cameras may be strapped to the backs of the actors, and the entire feel is somewhat institutional hallucination.

Seconds is a tale of new beginnings, or at least the kind offered by impersonal corporations, if run by some Satan. In this case, the satanic figure is fatherly (and even grandfatherly) Will Geer, better known as Grandpa Walton. Here, he is in his early career roots as the bad guy with a smile that is malevolent. His lackey Jeff Corey is suitably irritating.

Many other familiar faces of the 1960s give this film a sense of been there—but not quite. Frances Reid later became a soap opera queen of Days of Our Lives, but here is the wife of John Randolph, a man in his 50s and unhappy.

He is about to have the chance to become a run-down Rock Hudson.

The deal, like all those offered by Faustian bargain, is never quite what you want. Here, Rock Hudson discovers a tad too late that the hedonistic life of an artist in Malibu is not all it’s cracked up to be with corporate spies (Salome Jens) and a butler/manservant that is all too obsequious.

The final moments of the film are chilling and provide Hudson with something he never had in movies: a real juicy acting gig. This is something to behold and admire, and it holds up for the baby-boomers who might have scoffed in youth, and now look askance at the aging process.

Druids Take on Ancient Aliens

DATELINE: Stone Chambers!

stone chamber

The seventh episode of Season 14 of Ancient Aliens  puts attention on the strange stone chambers that permeate New England and upstate New York. These rock formations were first noted by settlers in the 1600s but may go back thousands more years.

Nearly all these structures are noted for their roofs of flat stone, weighty and impossibly piled atop smaller braces of stone.

Our ancient alien theorists are not content to leave these structures to chance. In their opinion, Druids and Celtic priests came to these places because of magnetic anomalies.

Alignments with the sun mean these locales were not exactly root cellars.

No doubt about it, the stone formations and Balance Rock and their ilk have resemblances to Stonehenge.

There are also human sacrifice tables with drainage, which seems a bit much for aliens, but likely in logic when it comes to humans trying to appease or attract these Shiny People.

Yup, according to Ancient Aliens, those red-haired and blue-eyed Irish or Celtics may be descendants of a space tribe that colonized England and Ireland but sent emissaries to New England’s Mystery Hill.

The episode is more in the line of David Childress who tours some of the sites—and much evidence of Whitney Strieber is linked to the forces from other dimensions that emerge from ancient stone chambers. Communion may not be a story of mere space aliens.

This leads to time travel, portal and vortex issues. Frozen time and space in New England is a common theme, as the series cites Rip Van Winkle—yet the same could be said of Portrait of Jennie too.

They seem to tie ghosts to extra-terrestrials, but we suspect that spirits are indeed beyond the terrestrial world we live in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stonewall Uprising, 50 Years Later!

DATELINE: American Experience’s Documentary

stonewall Pioneer Gay Fighters!

Was it ten years ago that American Experience produced its historical film, Stonewall Uprising, on the fortieth anniversary of the so-called gay riots in that gay mecca of the 60s, Greenwich Village?

This year some said five or six million marched in those streets for twelve hours of parading. Forty years ago, three drag queens walking down the street would constitute a riot.

Ten years ago some witnesses were aging, both as cops and gay patrons of one of those blue-collar, sleazy, unpleasant gay bars of the times. Yes, folks, those places were dubious if you had more professionalism and dignity.

Yet, it was those people who first stood up to undue harassment. The first 45 minutes of the PBS documentary recounts the hideous conditions of the 1960s when homosexuals were considered one step short of psychopathia.

Perhaps the interviews with “experts” trying to terrorize children that gay predators lurked on every street corner were the worst dregs of the era, yet these were the cornerstones of civilization. It is infuriating to see these people treat gay men and women with such cruelty. On the plus side, most of those creeps are now dead.

They were about to be shocked by the three days of rioting against a half-dozen belligerent cops who started a movement. They were barricaded in the bar in abject terror when thousands attacked in return.

The gay bars were the purview of the Mafia who ran them to rake profits off the benighted gay men and women on the outskirts of society. They gave gays a place to congregate but would soon lose their upper-hand to political awareness.

This documentary shows how the anti-war and civil rights movement simply transferred to gay rights overnight. Fifty years later, it is intriguing to see the roots of this powerhouse of politics. Millions of young marchers were not even born when the uprising started.

Those who still decry it may be better advised to watch out and watch this little film.

 

Haunted Bowdoin College: Ready for a Closeup

DATELINE: No Ghouls Here!

Bowdoin class of 1912 Class of 1912.

With deep interest and fascination, we awaited a chance to read the insider study called Haunted Bowdoin College by David R. Francis, senior techie over in the Brunswick, Maine, area.

We found a general overview of the tours often conducted (over three hours) along the various sites of the campus. Since the College goes back to the start of the 19th century and has maintained its historical integrity, we found the breakdown done by various locations.

Our main intention was to see if graduate Richard Frazar White (who died on his graduation gift—a first-class trip on the maiden voyage of RMS Titanic) might have encountered some of the spirits during his time at the College.

Alas, the book is short on example: often taking the reader off-campus to ancillary paranormal history. There are a few nuggets, such as the Hubbard Stacks, a darkly unchanged library haunt.

Richard White loved libraries: he likely spent much time at the library dedicated to illustrious grads, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The book recounts their thematic work but does not indicate they learned first-hand about supernatural at Bowdoin.

Richard White came from a haunted background. He was born and grew up in Winchendon Springs in the family manse that was a house of many gables (and at least one murdered peddler). His family renovated an old tavern along the carriage route where murder was most foul in 1826.

Richard’s great-grandfather, Zadoc Long, wrote a poem in the Longfellow mold about the family’s haunted house. So, Richard had a long background in ghostly encounters—and perhaps was not much impressed with Bowdoin’s resident spirits.

Oddly enough, many of the reported ghosts are women—at an all-male college until the late 20th century. It seems girls of the town couldn’t resist the Bowdoin men—and paid an eternal price for it.

The work is slight, but the author has peppered the tales with his research photos—and those who matriculated a century ago may be still there. Each year the classes had their photos taken on the steps of the art museum, but we didn’t find any ghostly takers—except for Richard who has returned to Winchendon Springs.

At least one former exchange student from Bowdoin, now living in Brazil, told me that he traces his own haunted life from his days in Maine and the fatal attraction spirits seem to have for the ivy-halls.