April 14, 2013 marks the first anniversary of the passing of Mr. Barnabas Isaac Collins. Born in Hart, Hampshire, England in 1924, Mr. Collins began visiting the United States in April of 1967 during his renovation of Collins Hall. Traveling back and forth between England and the United States for several years, Mr. Collins finally took permanent residence at Collins Hall (often nicknamed “The Old House”) in 1973. With his wife, Angelique Bouchard Collins, Mr. Collins became a beloved fixture in Collinsport. As a community leader and eventual mayor, Mr. Collins revitalized Collinsport throughout the 1970s and 1980s, taking it from a small fishing village to the nation’s home for advanced naval architecture, revolutionary marine exploration, and bastion of the fine arts.
In August of last year, a Collins Foundation associate, Patrick McCray, was cataloging the archives at Collins Hall when he happened upon an item of particular interest: an 18th century casket. How and why Mr. Collins came to own this strange curio was a mystery, one compounded by the disappearances of Mrs. Angelique Collins and Mr. Quentin Collins shortly after the funeral.
Within the casket’s lining, Mr. McCray happened upon a series of journals, letters and other papers, dating from the 18th century through to the mid-20th century.
Mr. McCray became mildly concerned when he saw that the papers were apparently written in the hand of the late Mr. Collins, as well as other prominent (and unknown) visitors to Collinsport. “What I couldn’t understand,” McCray noted, “is that the diaries of Barnabas Collins, while being in his handwriting, dated back to the 1700’s. Not only that, but I found the same match for Mr. Quentin Collins… his penmanship was found on letters from the 1800’s. And they weren’t the only authors this this macabre collection.”
Coincidence? Foundation forensic scientists confirmed both the age of the paper and the identical match of the handwriting.
“These documents,” Mr. McCray noted, “are nothing short of revolutionary. It was only upon reading them that an explanation came up. If they are real, everything we know about science, medicine, and… everything… is about to change.”
Mr. McCray admitted that putting the documents into order wasn’t easy. “What’s just as confounding has been their cataloging system. Rather than be listed by calendar date, the entries are indexed as ‘episodes’ and don’t seem to always follow a consecutive, chronological order.”
On September 19 of last year, family attorney and acting board chair, Mr. Anthony Peterson, instructed Mr. McCray to make his findings public. In a press conference, Mr. Peterson stated, “Yes, I authorized the research. Yes, I’ve authorized the resulting publication. The people of Collinsport and beyond deserve the truth. The Collins family has trusted me to do the right thing. Time will show that I did.”
That evening, Mr. Peterson vanished from his Collins Bay cottage and has not been seen since.
“Of course, I suspect foul play. That’s why the Foundation has put me and the documents on lock-down until I can scan them and make them public.”
This summer, in a measured stream beginning June 3 and concluding July 23, Mr. McCray will release transcriptions of the entries. They will be part of the regular updates at http://collinsfoundation.net or read without the other Foundation news at their digital archive of http://collinschronicles.com.
“What these documents contain is shocking, disturbing, and I’m coming to believe… quite real.”
CLICK THE PHOTO TO BEGIN READING THE CHRONICLES.