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The Curse of Old Trickey

By Thomas D’Agostino

New England and curses seem to go hand in hand. Legends abound of cursed towns, objects and people. Such tales are what makes the region so fascinating. This next story takes place in York, Maine, where many regarded a man named William Trickey as a minion of the dark one.

Trickey, a retired sea captain arrived in York around 1790. His strange, reclusive demeanor would have been of little consideration had his arrival not been followed by several afflictions that befell the superstitious folk of the town. No sooner did Trickey arrive, cattle fell ill and crops began to mysteriously wither. Corn dried up and flax crops died with no apparent cause. Sheep came down with diseases and sickness that even the best doctor could not account for. Whenever Old Trickey was seen in public some other calamity was sure to follow.

The townsfolk were convinced he was a witch, or worse, in close league with the devil, but could not find any hard proof to take action against him. Trickey would always keep to himself, even when drinking at the public tavern. If confronted he would growl at the confronter or grumble some curse at them under his breath before making himself scarce from their society. Trickey became known as the meanest, most miserable man in the village and not even the most patient of citizens could be swayed to change his character.

When the old man finally passed away, the locals swore that they saw Satan himself escort the evil soul to hell. As a reward for his wickedness, Old Trickey was cursed to forever bind sand with a rope along the beaches of York until it was to be completely removed. When the seaside gales rage, and the wind and rain batter the worn clapboards of the old homes, the villagers can hear, over the howling wind, the voice of Old Trickey screaming, “More Rope! More Sand! More Sand! More Rope!”

When Trickey died, a family bible was found among his meager possessions. One of the men cleaning up his cabin tried to open it, but the book slammed shut, almost breaking the poor soul’s fingers. The book was taken and put on display at the Emerson-Wilcox Museum in Old York Village, but it does not rest peacefully. Whenever someone tries to open the tome, it slams shut in staunch defiance. Perhaps it is the spirit of Old Trickey shamefully trying to close the book he thought so little of in life, or maybe it is part of the curse that keeps one from chanting certain words that may bring Trickey’s eternal laborious task to an end.

Witnesses have seen the book suddenly fly open as if someone was quickly turning to a certain page. When they attempt to pick it up, the cover snaps shut in an attempt to catch the unwary guest’s fingers. The haunted bible is also sometimes put on display at the Old Gaol. The docents of both the Emerson-Wilcox Museum and The Old Gaol seem to feel the book wears out its welcome from time to time in their respective buildings.