For Over 200 Years the Saco River Was Cursed
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
The Saco River runs in both Maine and New Hampshire. It is one of Maine's largest rivers that starts in the White Mountains and empties into the ocean at Biddeford Pool.
Every year, many people go to the Saco River to go tubing, kayaking, or just enjoy being outside on a nice day. However, there is a dark history that once took over the waters that is Saco River.
That's right, the Saco River was once cursed. According to the New England Historical Society, for years, Mainers would not dare go near the Saco River due to an old Native American curse.
Back in the day, near the mouth of the Saco River lived the Sokokis people. In 1631, English colonists began settling in the town that is now Saco (back then called Winter Harbor), according to the New England Historical Society. It is said that both the colonists and Natives lived in peace under the leadership of a great sachem named Squandro. However, that peace ended in the summer of 1675.
The New England Historical Society writes that the Sokokis were on what is now known as Factory Island in the river when an English ship anchored at the mouth of the river. After launching a rowboat to go explore, three sailors came across Squandro's wife and infant son on the island.
This is when things got upsetting. It seems that back in the day people believed that Native American children were born knowing how to swim, which honestly is a bit insane. Well, according to the New England Historical Society, the three sailors set out to test this belief and threw Squandro's infant into the river.
There are multiple versions of the story of what happened next. One story is that Squandro's wife went into the water and saved the baby, only for the infant to pass away not long after. Another story claims that both the wife and infant drowned and a third story claims that Squandro also lost his unborn child due to this tragedy.
All the stories end the same, Squandro mourned his loss for three days and then he issued a curse. According to the New England Historical Society, Squandro commanded that the spirits of the river to take the lives of three non-Natives every year until they left the shores of the Saco River. Squandro vowed to take revenge on the English.
It would be centuries before Mainers would go near the river unless three people had already passed away that year. The New England Historical Society states that in 1947, the Maine Sunday Telegram declared that the curse was broken since no one had drowned in the Saco that year.
Luckily for us, this curse is broken. There is so much beauty to see along the Saco River and it's perfect to explore and enjoy during the summer months.