Nestled in the corner of Camden Hills State Park sits a 800 ft. cliff overlooking Megunticook Lake. Many tourist like to hike the mile long serene trail to the top of Maiden Cliff. At the top of the cliff stands a white cross marking a memorial to Elenora French, an 11-year old girl who is said to have fallen off the cliffs edge. After school on May 7, 1864 Eleanora, her friend Randall Young, and her older sister when on an afternoon hike with their school teacher, Miss Hartshorn. When they got to the top of the cliff a sudden gust of wind blew off Eleanora’s pink crepe bonnet. She chased down her bonnet and sat on the rocky on the edge of the cliff to put it back on. As she was putting her hat back her head on another large gust of wind blew Eleanora right off the edge of the cliff. They heard her scream as she fell. Randall climbed down to check and see if she was alright. Miraculously it seemed she had escaped the fall with no injuries. To her families horror when her family awoke the next morning they found Eleanora dead due to internal injuries.
In memory of Eleanora French, Joseph B. Steams erected a simple white wooden cross to mark the site of the tragedy. The cross eventually blew down on January 17, 1980, due to erosion and years of exposure to the harsh weather. The cross was replaced by a 600-pound sturdy cross (12 by 24 feet) with the help of Air National Guard helicopters. Roy Brown and Sam Dyer constructed a monument donated by Coastal Monuments and Laite Funeral Home on September 15, 1986. They inscribed with the words “In memory of Eleanora French” into the rock monument at the base of the cross. A short time after this memorial was replaced, vandals destroyed the cross by knocking it over. Camden Fire Department Rescue team, and many other volunteers along with members of the Camden Parks and Recreation Department, with the use of two helicopters from the Maine National Guard, erected the cross was to its original state. They secured the cross with cables donated by Wayfarer Marine Corporation. In the 1990’s the south arm of the cross broke off. On Memorial Day 1992, a steel cross,donated by Frank O’Hara Jr.replaced the broken wooden one. This cross was reinforced with epoxy paint and secured donated cables built to withstand Maine’s harsh elements.
Maiden’s Cliff is now said to be haunted by Eleanora who fell over the 800 foot cliff in 1864. People claim to see her spirit dancing, playing and walking around the cliff edge. Many tourists have claim to have witnessed a young girl suddenly fall off the cliff. When they go to check and see if the girl is alright, they see no one at the bottom of the rocky edge. Just a pile of rock and rubble. Many people still claim that they can hear the faint scream of her last fall while visiting the haunted site.
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