The "cursed" Jonathan Buck Monument

A new mystery is sparked by an old one!  Let me explain.  In December, I published my first book “Be Still, My Love“.  It’s about a medium, grieving over personal loss, who goes on vacation at a haunted resort on the coast of Maine.  Now, before I go into how the mysterious sequel was sparked, I have to lament a bit about my difficulty in properly identifying the book’s niche.  In which genre does it belong?  The story has supernatural elements (ghosts) which are also considered to be paranormal and there’s a romance involved though it’s not a romance book.  There’s also a mystery element to the story because medium Tess Schafer (the book’s heroine) must discover the truth behind the resort’s haunting.  Because of Tess’s special ability, there are occult elements involved because of Tess’s communications with “the dead”: she conducts a seance, she channel’s spirits, “sees” into the past.  Also, a lot of paranormal activity takes place throughout the book.  So, where does this put the book when it comes to genre placement?  These days, Paranormal books are considered something that involves werewolves and vampires (for the most part).  Supernatural books are similar but also include demons and such and are considered “horror”.  The Horror genre used to include eerie or spooky stories that weren’t necessarily horrifying.  Nowadays, thanks to the over-the-top dramas of Hollywood, horror is, well – horrifying.  I don’t consider my story to be horrifying, although it does have some spooky moments.   Given that, I’d call it a spooky mystery but there’s not really a genre for spooky mysteries.  So, there it is.  A dilemma. What do you think?  I really would like to get an answer on that one!

I am now working on a sequel to Be Still.  The story takes place in Bucksport, Maine.  It’s a real town.  It also happens to be my hometown.  There’s a supernatural mystery attached to Bucksport’s founding father Jonathan Buck.  You see…he has the stigma of a tombstone cursed by a vindictive witch! (it’s not really his tombstone but his monument but everyone refers to it as a tombstone so I’m just going to stay with the status quo).  It was Colonel Buck’s sloop that was chartered to carry settlers to newly awarded parcels of land.  One of those parcels (what is now called Bucksport) was awarded to Colonel Buck.  Now, in my research, Colonel Jonathan Buck was often referred to as “a Revolutionary War hero”.  I’ve yet to discover exactly what sort of heroic acts he committed but no matter.  The fact of it is, Jonathan Buck was responsible for the town of Bucksport getting settled and becoming a town.  A few years after he died, his grandchildren commissioned a stone monument in his honor and had it placed a few feet from where he is buried.  Soon after that, the outline of what looked like a booted leg appeared on the stone’s surface just below his name.  Legend has it that the stone was replaced three times and each time the outline appeared.  Family members were also rumored to have tried scrubbing it off but to no avail.  The image remained stubbornly in place.  Stories sprung up…as stories will…and Bucksport’s Witch’s legend was born.  The basic story is that Buck had a local woman condemned to death for practicing witchcraft and on the day of her death she cursed him and his family (even the town was condemned in some of the accounts).  Many stories sprung up, some suggesting that Buck was having an affair with this woman and when she threatened to expose their relationship (he was a married man with many children!), he had her proclaimed a witch and condemned to death.  Macabre storytellers made up even more bizarre stories to explain the “witch’s foot”.   I won’t mention them here for they don’t have much merit to their claims.   Besides, they are easy enough to Google!

Who knows why the image is on the monument.  It could be purely coincidental.  Scientific explanation is that it’s simply a flaw in the stone.  Whatever.  I don’t believe in coincidence.  There’s a reason for everything.  I’ve pondered over the mystery of that famous “tombstone” for most of my life.  I wonder.  I wonder.  Because my book “Be Still” took place on coastal Maine in an area not far from Bucksport’s location and because such a mystery would interest a person like Tess, I decided to include the bizarre tale in my own story.  An idea germinated from that.  What if I have Tess go to Bucksport and check out that tombstone?  I wonder what she’ll dig up? (no pun intended)  The world works in mysterious ways.  Maybe I’ll figure out what those markings (there’s also the distinct shape of a heart on the monument’s stone surface) really mean.  Maybe I’ll channel something through during the writing of the book!

I don’t plan out my stories.  I get an idea and then I start typing.  The story develops from there.  I honestly don’t have a clue what’s going to happen until I type it.  Already an interesting development has occurred!  I’m quite eager to get this story out.  And then I’ll be eager to share it!!  So, it seems I shall begin 2012 with some sort of supernatural mystery.  I love this process…the things that spring up during writing.  I even had Tess make discoveries in a similar fashion in “Be Still”.  She was inspired to write a story and by doing so, she learned a lot about Sea Willow’s secrets.  Maybe I’ll do the same thing and discover something about Bucksport’s cursed tombstone as I write about Tess’s adventure there.

Will keep you all updated on things as they develop!  Until then, many blessings to all and Peace Out!