Every summer, the Saco river in Maine fills up with people who are swimming, paddling, kayaking and canoeing down the slow moving river as the perfect outdoor adventure. But once upon a time, that wasn't the case. Instead, people feared the Saco river and the curse they believed hung over it.

Instagram via Kelsey McGowan
Instagram via Kelsey McGowan

According to the New England Historical Society, the genesis of the believed curse is a story about Native Americans known as the Sokokis tribe encountering some English colonists in the early-1600's. The tribe and colonists lived peacefully alongside one another until the summer of 1675. Legend says another ship with more Englishmen anchored down and while on a rowboat exploring the area, three English sailors came into contact with the Sokokis tribal leader's wife and their infant son. Those sailors believed that Native American babies were born with the knowledge to swim and when they encountered a woman and her infant, decided to test that theory.

The horrifying details of what followed have been up for debate for years. One version of the story has the three sailors grabbing the infant from the mother's arms and tossing him in the water. The mother dove in after the baby but could not revive him after pulling him from the water. Another version claims that not only did the infant die after being thrown in, but so did the mother. Worst of all, the mother was pregnant, and her unborn child died as well.

The Sokokis tribal leader was named Squandro and he was left to mourn the loss of the three lives he held closest to him. He decided to place a curse over the Saco river where the incident took place. The curse would call on spirits to take the lives of three people who came in contact with the river until the English settlers left the shorelines of the Saco river. The settlers never left and thus, people believed for centuries that the curse had stuck. People would avoid the river until word had spread that three people had died that given year.

But things finally changed in 1947. The Maine Sunday Telegram declared that Squandro's curse was broken when not a single person had drowned in the Saco river that year. There are some however, who believe that the curse still hangs over the Saco river and that it was never truly broken. What do you believe?


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