The most famous celebrity in Maine is horror novelist Stephen King. He lives in Bangor on West Broadway Street.

The house is hard to miss. Some might call it burgundy red - or possibly blood red. The 19th century Victorian mansion is surrounded by a black, wrought-iron fence emblazoned with bats and spiderwebs. You can drive by. You can even stop and take a picture.

But don't knock, don't hang around, don't come back a million times or try to look in the windows to see the author. That's creepy.

I drove past only twice and sneaked a picture out the car window.


If you read only King, you would think Maine was full of evil St. Bernards, maniacal vampires and telekinetic teens. Most of King's books are set in Maine, which doesn't seem like good public relations for tourism. But the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau sees it differently.

It sponsors monthly "Tommyknockers & More" bus tours of Bangor revealing favorite spooky locales "as seen through the books of Stephen King" (upcoming dates are next Sunday and Oct. 24 at 2 p.m., 800-916- 6673). The tour costs $20, but it doesn't drive past his house.

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King's first novel, "Carrie," was about an isolated girl at a Maine high school who gets back at her tormentors for real, not just in her mind. "Salem's Lot," his second novel, is about the Maine town of Jerusalem's Lot and its gruesome new resident vampire.


The Maine of King's novels is not one of pretty lighthouses, lobsters and scenic inns. It is about poverty, eerie moods and houses of horror.

King grew up in Maine very poor but very smart. He left briefly as an adult but soon came home to Bangor, where he and his wife raised three children.

It's where he wrote most of his hit novels.


It's where he was hit by a van while on a walk in 1999 and almost died.

It's where in 1991, an angry man broke into his house, threatened King's wife with a pretend bomb and claimed that Stephen King had stolen his sister's idea for the plot of "Misery" - the story of an insane "No. 1 fan." The house and fence got more secure after that.

Bangor isn't fancy. It's a working-class town on the Penobscot River that is trying to rebound. Its old red-brick stores and frame houses tell stories of their own, of hard work and disappointment and hope.

Recommended: The Antique Marketplace mall (65 Main St., 877-941-2111). No vampires there.

Stay in Bangor long enough and you might even see the town's most famous author, living his regular life as a Mainer, far from the tourist glare.