FORT KNOX

(Fort Knox State Park)

740 Fort Knox Road, Prospect, ME

(207) 469-6553

Status: 19th Century Fort; State Park; Open Seasonally

Website

Ghost Tours Available

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History

This fort was constructed based on the memories of the humiliation of New Ireland – better known as Maine – by the British.

In 1779 the 44 ships of the new American Navy sailed from Boston in an attempt to force the British out of what is now the State of Maine; the Americans lost the entire armada and suffered over 500 casualties in worst US Naval defeat in history until Pearl Harbor in 1941. In 1814 the British sailed up the Penobscot River in the War of 1812 to defeat an American force that outnumbered them; this was followed by the sack of Hampden and Bangor.

These 2 events – especially the last one – led directly to Maine becoming an official State in 1820.

The fort was begun in 1844 and built specifically to avoid any more embarrassments by British forces. Construction on the all granite fort stopped in 1869 when the funds from Congress were stopped; despite the $1 million ($21.8 million in 2022) the fort, while nearly complete, wasn’t finished.

During the Civil War the fort did not see action due to it’s location being so far north. Although recruits – mostly from Maine – did man the fort while they trained.

In Spanish-American War the fort was manned by a regiment from Connecticut who mined the river. But, again, the fort saw no direct action.

When that war ended the US government reduced the fort to a caretaker status; meaning only one man – with a rank of at least Ordnance Sergeant – was left on site to take care of the fort. The fort was mostly used for the storage of naval mines (called torpedoes at the time).

In 1923 the fort was declared surplus property and put up for sale. The State of Maine bought the fort for $2,121 ($36,926 in 2022 dollars) and changed it into a tourist destination.

The fort has been a Maine Historic Site since 1943.

In the 1990’s the Friends of Fort Knox was formed as a non-profit to take care of the fort and do restorations. In 2012 they were authorized to charge admission in order to gain monies to forward that goal.

The fort is considered one of the best preserved 19th century forts in America with many period weapons on display. Almost the entire fort and it’s surrounding grounds are open to the public.

 

Paranormal Activity

The apparition of Ordinance Sergeant Leopold Hegyi is the fort’s most famous ghost. From 1897 to 1900 Hegyi was solely responsible for the fort. He patrolled the entire building and grounds at least twice a day and spent a lot of time alone.

His ghost seems to be continuing his duties in life.

Unexplained glowing forms have been seen throughout the fort – sometimes in partial human form; sometimes just in an oval-ish shape – but are most often seen in archways or at the end of hallways. People approaching them report they move away and are always gone when their position is reached.

Reports of being touched by something unseen or sensing something unseen approaching quickly are frequently reported here.

Other Reported Activity: shadow figures; disembodied voices (numerous Class A EVP’s have been captured here); phantom footsteps; time slips; cold and warm spots; electrical disturbances; light anomalies and feelings of being watched.