Monday, September 7, 2015

THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE

  We have all heard about the strange, unexplained happenings and disappearances that are attributed to a place known as the Bermuda Triangle, but did you know such a triangle exists in the heart of Acadia National Park?  The Park Service won't talk about it,  but the facts are what they are.  When someone dies within the park it is not unusual for them to give  an account of the last death in the park that goes back much further in time, making it appear as though  the area within the triangle is much safer than it really is. 
The truth is that the area within this Devil's Triangle has always been surrounded by an air of mystery with an article back in the early 1900's stating the area had a sense of darkness to it.  Little did the people back than realize just how right they were.
YOUNGEST PERSON TO FALL TO THEIR DEATH FROM THE PRECIPICE
If your looking for evidence to support the idea of a Devil's Triangle right here in our own back yard, you can begin by visiting the tiny cemetery on Mount Desert street in Bar Harbor, Maine.  The cemetery is located between two churches almost across the street from the Jesup Library.  There you will find the grave stone of one Lucreatia K. Douglas, a local 12 year old school girl who fell to her death off the narrow cliffs of the Peecipice back in the mid 1800's.  She and another 12 year old girl had made it three forths of the way up the Precipice, making the climb in hopes that they could view one of the girls Uncles farmhouse from up high.  On an old map an X marked the spot they had reached, with the words "Where the girl fell to her death." 
The X was between The Great Cave and the upper summit of Champlain Mountain.  Keep in mind that back in the mid 1800's the Precipice Trail wasn't even built, but clearly even back than there must of been some rough trail up the Precipice.  At some point in their journey, Lucreatia K. Douglas decided it was a good spot to see if the Uncle's farmhouse could be seen from there, and she climbed up on a large boulder.  The second girl decided to join her friend and made her way onto the boulder, when without warning it gave way, tossing one girl off to the side while carrying  Lucreatia down the mountain side to her death. She may not of been the first victim of the Triangle, but she may of been the youngest person to fall to their death from the narrow cliffs of the Precipice.
The family was said to be poor and the young girl was buried without a headstone, where she lay like that for many years.  At the time of her death it is believed the family placed a wooden cross on the spot along the mountain side where her body came to rest.  One day her brother returned to town and purchased a headstone for his sister.
The curse of the Devil's Triangle could of very well began with that little girl's death.


THE HIGH SEAS - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK'S MOST HAUNTED SITE

Perhaps the most haunted and famous area within the Devil's Triangle is a place known as The High Seas, though that was not it's first name.  It was first named Meadow Brook and was a massive estate built by Bar Harbor VIA  path chairman Prof. Rudolph Brunnow. Following a long love affair with Edith Evans, the two finally decided to get married.  She was living in England at the time and  Rudolph Brunnow had Meadow Brook built for his future bride.  Once complete, he sent for her and as she made her way back to Maine, she boarded the Titanic which sealed her fate, she never lived to see her new home.


I suppose to help get his mind off the loss of his future wife,  Rudolph Brunnow threw himself into his work, making plans for some of his most famous hiking trails, including plans for the Precipice, the Orange and Black trail, The hanging Steps, and his famous Great Cave Loop off of the Precipice Trail.  He also designed the Murphy's Lane Trail as well.
THE GREAT CAVE - PHOTO BY MATTHEW MARCHON


Old accounts of the Great Cave said it had an opening of one hundred feet wide and one hundred feet high, and that you could place a small plane inside it.  I suppose such accounts helped draw even more people to the Precipice, but the cave is not as large as those articles made it out to be.  That is not to say it isn't impressive, because it is.  It's mouth may not be 100 feet wide, but it is about a hundred feet high, and the Cave does go back into the mountain side.  As for that small plane fitting inside it, perhaps, but only if the plane is carried up to the cave in pieces.
From the cave,  Rudolph Brunnow continued his Great Cave loop by having the trail continue up the mountain side, at one point passing over a metal bridge, before rejoining the Precipice trail higher up the mountain side.  This trail was endorsed by the VIA as a way to attract more hikers to the main trail, the Precipice.
DEVIL'S ROCK - THE PRECIPICE, ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
 
THE HANGING STEPS - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK


There are old reports and   articles that say because his estate was surrounded by   tragedy the area around it was haunted, and this may very well be true.  Just consider for a moment the number of people who have been lured to those popular trails and who have fallen to their deaths, not to mention the countless injures from bad falls just like Prof. Rudolph Brunnow's brother-in-law had done.
Back in the year 1916, Edward P. Beckwith, along with Prof. Rudolph Brunnow  and others, made their way to an area above the Orange and Black Trail, cheecking out an area they wanted to built another trail in the near future.  At one point Mr. Beckwith placed a hand on a rock formation, which gave way with little warning, carrying Mr Beckwith some 50 feet below.
  When the others reached his side they found him to be in great pain and nearly knocked senseless.  One of the children in the group was sent rushing back to the Brunnow Cottage to summons a doctor and a stretcher was brought in from town.  Ropes were used to lower the stretcher down the mountain side to the Orange and Black path below.  From there the stretcher was carried down to the roadway and Mr Beckwith was taken to the Brunnow Cottage.  He did have injuries, but nothing life threatening, and after a slow and painful time was able to make a full recovery. 


THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE MAP - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

They didn't have lifeflight back than, but today it is not unusual on many summer and Fall days for one to hear a lifeflight helicopter approaching overhead as it makes its way to the town Ballfields for the latest victim of the Triangle. 
The High Seas stood empty for years until Eva Van Cortland Hawkes purchased the estate in 1928.  Shortly after purchasing High Seas her only daughter died.  She tried to remain at High Seas but insisted the place was haunted, especially at night when the fog came in off the sea.  She became so afraid at one point she hired a night watchman to guard the house while she slept.  It was Hawkes who had the name changed to High Seas, the estate was first named Meadow Brook by Rudolph Brunnow.  She herself would die at High Seas years later. After her death the property was taken over by Jackson Labs.

There are old accounts that go way back of the area surrounding the Precipice and the High Seas that state the area is haunted. Some old reports claim mysterious lights have been seen at night over the High Seas.  The spirits of lost souls will not allow that area to lie at peace.
Back than it was not unusual for stories to take on a life of there own in the local paper.  It published stories about the sea creature that made its home in the waters of the Featherbed, a creature it said resumbled a giant snake.  Old maps even began to mark the are by the Featherbed as Snake Bed flats. 
It brings back the night I was walking the Park Loop road, having just come off the Champlain North Ridge Trail.  It had just become dark when we heard footsteps behind us.  My son turned with flashlight in hand to see this young man jogging up behind us.  He said he worked at Jackson Lab and asked if we had hiked Champlain Mountain.  I told him we had just come down from it and he stated that tomorrow evening he was going to hike up the Precipice trail. I remember warning him of how dangerous that trail was and to be careful and he went off into the darkness continuing his jog.
The next evening i was setting at home when I heard that a worker at Jackson Lab had not come home that evening and that his wife was worried about him.  I thought of that young man from the night before and wondered if it was him.  Search and Rescue teams searched for him all that night, the next day they found his body - he had fallen from one of the narrow cliffs on the Precipice trail.
So is the Devil's Triangle really a haunted place, cursed to this very day?  Consider the following.  Accidents occur throughout the park, but the most serious accidents and the majority of deaths take place within  the area known as the Devil's Triangle.  And the Precipice and High Sea's is not the only areas within the Devil's Triangle that have a curse hanging over them.
From the Beehive to the cliffs overlooking Sand Beach to Otter Cliffs, tragedy has scarred this area of Acadia National Park.  Others have fallen to their death off the cliffs above Sand Beach, but the most famous account is of a local lady who was a very experienced hiker and hiked the cliffs above Sand Beach often.  To this day no one can explain how it happened, but one day she somehow fell off those cliffs to her death.

ANEMONE CAVE - THE DEVIL'S OVEN -ACADIA NATIONAL PARK





Rock climbers have also become victims of the Devil's Triangle.  Brand new ropes have been known to sudden snap, pins have come undone, and experienced climbers have fallen and received serious injures and even died.  Even some of the experienced Rock climbing instructors have fallen victim to the Devil's Triangle.
In an area of the Triangle known as Schooner Head, there lies an ancient sea cave down by the waters edge with a narrow trail leading to it.  The cave is named Anemone Cave and at one time it was one of the Parks gems.  But one day the Park Service announced they were abandoning the sea cave, removing railings that helped people down to the cave and removing all signs telling about the cave that can be entered at low tide.  They even asked and had the name Anemone Cave removed from hiking maps.
One of the reasons is said to be because the area was plagued by so many accidents and drownings  because so many people were getting caught in the cave as the tide was coming up, prompting the Parks rescue team into action to save people from drowning.  On one old map this cave is listed as The Devil's Oven and it's location can only be found on old maps or on web sites dealing with the abandoned trails of Acadia National Park.
So at one corner of the Devil's Triangle you have the estate of meadow Brook, or the High Seas as it is now called, and at another point you have the Precipice and Beehive, but the final corner of the triangle is no less cursed.  It is known as Otter cliffs, a place where many rock climbers as well as hikers have tasted the dark powers of the Devil's Triangle.  And the curse does not end with serious injures and deaths, the Cliffs are a scene of a murder.  A man took his new bride to these very cliffs and shoved her off to her death in hopes of collecting insurance money.

MURDER IN THE PARK - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK


Even Thunder Hole is not safe from the Triangles curse.  A rock climber lost a shoe one day, it fell into the water below.  despite others in the area warning him not to, he jumped into the water to retrieve his shoe, sealing his fate.  The waves threw him against the hard granite over and over again as he fought to get back onto the rocks.  He finally ran out of energy and slipped beneath the water.
And one day a newly married couple sat on the rocks by thunder Hole and out of nowhere a huge wave rose up and swept them off the rocks.  Both were drowned.
Than there was the tragedy  where an entire group of people were sweep off the rocks by Thunder Hole, sweeping a young girl out to sea to her death.  Boats and a helicopter helped rescue some, and the Park Service came under fire by many for allowing people close to the waters edge during bad weather.
Call it cursed or simply bad luck, but the fact is that the majority of serious accidents and deaths occur within this area known as the Devil's Triangle.