The Poland Spring Resort
By Thomas D’Agostino
Maine can be a magical destination in the summer months. Tourists flock to the many places of interest that the Pine Tree State has to offer. One place in particular is the Poland Springs Resort in Poland. Everyone knows the area is famous for its bottled water, but few are aware that the resort and springs are haunted.
The stories of the springs go back before Europeans occupied the land. An Abenaki medicine man, Mollyockett used the water for healing purposes. In 1793 Jabez Ricker bought 200 acres of the Poland Spring land from the Shaker colony that had settled there. The family built an inn and opened it as the Wentworth Ricker Inn. Business prospered and was soon known as the best inn in northern Massachusetts (at the time Maine was part of Massachusetts). The establishment expanded with the passing of time and the healing waters of the springs brought people from all over.
Jabez died in 1827 and his son Wentworth carried on the business until he was diagnosed with a rare and fatal kidney disorder. He put his faith in the water and not only was he cured, he became stalwart and hardy in health. In fact, he built the road that runs through the resort today, Route 26. In 1845, the water from the springs became known across the country as doctors began prescribing it for their patients. The family became very wealthy and healthy with the magical waters of the Poland Springs.
In 1876, Hiram Ricker expanded the resort by constructing a one hundred room hotel. Reservations came in to the point where people were reserving rooms two years in advance. Hiram had no choice but to expand the hotel to three hundred rooms. The resort has seen the likes of many famous people from presidents to Babe Ruth and more.
In 1893 the Ricker family purchased the Maine State Building that premiered at the Columbia Exposition in Chicago. No less than sixteen freight cars shipped the building to the property to be assembled. In 1896, an 18-hole golf course was added and the Presidential Inn in 1913. The property was purchased by Saul Feldman in 1962. It was Feldman who added the Maine Inn to the resort. Today, there are four different choices of accommodations at the resort for guests to choose from. There is also at least one former owner still roaming the grounds.
Hiram Ricker, the man who made the waters of the land famous, haunts the various inns on the property. Employees and guests have seen his ghost wandering about the Presidential Inn. His voice is often heard in vacant rooms and footsteps are heard early in the morning in the empty lobby. Hiram had a sense of humor in life that he apparently carried with him to the other side of the veil. He likes to play tricks on people and move items to very unusual places.
He is not the only spirit residing at the resort. The ghost of an unidentified woman has been seen as well. Some of the employees will not venture into certain areas alone for fear of encountering the strange spirit. In the immediate area of the resort on Route 26, there are accounts of two hitchhiker ghosts that entice travelers to stop and give them a ride. One is reported to be a bride who was struck and killed en route to her wedding. Another is a girl in a prom dress. Both will vanish just before they get into the automobile or right after.
Take a trip to Poland Maine and visit the grand resort. It has museums, gift shop, golf course, fine array of accommodations and, of course, ghosts.
Thomas D’Agostino and his wife Arlene Nicholson are seasoned paranormal investigators, authors, and co-organizers of Paranormal United Research Society. You can find out more about them by visiting www.tomdagostino.com.