Buck's tomb.

Colonel Buck's Cursed Tomb

Field review by the editors.

Bucksport, Maine

A drive along Maine's craggy coast is annoyingly picturesque. Pretty little towns and roads are clotted with leisure drivers -- when all you really want is a clear path to the Cursed Tomb of Colonel Buck. Perhaps the Curse can be blamed for the traffic problems -- people in this part of Maine can pin practically anything on that damned Tomb.

The "tomb" of the town's founder, Colonel Jonathan Buck, features a mysterious stain -- the image of a woman's stocking-clad foot, or maybe a boot. The leg stain on the memorial, according to legend, came about when Colonel Buck burned a witch and her leg rolled out of the bonfire. His heirs tried to clean the foot off the stone and are said to have replaced the monument twice -- but the foot... kept... coming... back!

The curse was called down upon the Colonel by the deformed son of the witch. "Your Tomb shall thee bear the mark of a witch's foot, for all eternity!" Or something like that. Not the most horrifying of curses, when you think about it.

The legend of the Mysterious Tomb of Bucksport grew and mutated over the centuries, fully forming as a tourist attraction when locals started selling postcards. Out-of-staters poured into town to see the ghostly smudge. The town, recognizing a good thing, has upgraded the Cursed Tomb experience in recent years. There is a little parking area next to the cemetery, and a wheelchair-friendly concrete ramp leading up to the cursed monument. You can photograph it through a wrought iron fence. Probably best not to touch it anyway....

Close-up view of stain on tomb.

Many visitors note another stain high up on the monument -- a sideways heart shape. This may signify that Buck had either a secret love of the witch, or of women's feet.

An accompanying plaque at the site lists some facts about Colonel Buck, noting that he was "an honorable, industrious man" and that he built the first boat in Bucksport.

So what really happened, anyway? No one knows, but here are some points to consider: 1) Colonel Buck was a Justice of the Peace; he didn't have the authority to try and burn anyone; 2) Colonel Buck was born in 1719, long after the last witch was killed in America (no witch was ever burned); 3) No witches were ever put on trial in Maine; 4) The stain appears on a monument erected in Colonel Buck's memory 75 years after he died. His grave is in another part of the cemetery and his real tombstone is unblemished.

Then again... if you were going to the trouble of inflicting an eternal curse, you'd want it on the big Buck monument, right up front, where everyone would know about it. All these years later, they do.

Colonel Buck's Cursed Tomb

Buck Cemetery

Address:
Main St., Bucksport, ME
Directions:
Buck Cemetery. Just east of the junction of Hwy 15 and US Hwy 1, on the north side of US Hwy 1, across from the Hannaford Supermarket, easily visible up on a hill. Parking is in a little lot on adjacent Hinks St.
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In the region:
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November 21, 2014

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