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Three sides of Van Reid's family has been living on the coast of Maine since the mid-eighteenth century. The fourth side came from Norway 900 years after the Vikings. In relating the annals of The Moosepath League, Van hopes to celebrate the state he loves and the people, past and present, he has come to know. In this excerpt from the Lincoln County Weekly, published in Damariscotta (and in which the adventures of the Moosepath League first appeared as a serialized novel) Reid explains some of his motives.

"It is my self-imposed duty, to set straight the record concerning the once celebrated "Moosepath League" and its founding chairman, Mister Tobias Walton, of Portland. Little has been written concerning this sidebar to Maine history, and what has been written has treated the "League" and its attendant adventures with either condescension or incredulity - usually in the form of footnotes.

"One hundred years is a long time for rumor and innuendo to spread and too often one historian simply borrows from the previous one. I have skipped past the historians to letters and diaries written by the participants, newspapers of the day, and even the occasional photograph.

"For living witnesses, there is only Mr. Belthasar Pruit, now of St. Petersburg, Florida, who knew Tobias Walton and Sundry Moss years after the events of this chronicle, and who has actually seen the famous tear in Jacob Mallard's checkered pants. I have had the pleasure of several long telephone conversations with Mr. Pruit and wish to thank him for his time and interest.

"Admittedly, much of what I have uncovered concerning the Moosepath League derives from single sources. There is, for instance, the incident of the bear in Damariscotta's Lincoln Hall; it is surprising that it did not merit some mention in the local newspapers. Perhaps it was considered an embarrassment to the town fathers. The gunfight on the Sheepscott River, on the other hand, is mentioned obliquely in several contemporary letters; the reader will understand why it was not greatly publicized. As for the plethora of odd coincidence, convergence with ancient legend, and occasional hints (and more than hints) of the supernatural - these the reader must accept or reject in the context of his or her own lights. Some, of course, will site the Victorian fascination with seances and spiritual manifestations; I am reminded of the opening line to one of M. R. James' tales of the supernatural: "The only man I know who claims to have seen a ghost does not believe in them." The same might be said concerning the early exploration of the vikings, giant sea creatures, and other debated elements of Maine folklore. Mine is not to determine the veracity of any particular source, but to present the story as completely as I am able, letting you, the reader, decide for yourself. For the record, the affair of the moose with the red-flannel underwear I believe implicitly."

Mr. Reid welcomes e-mail from readers at