IT: Chapter Two Was Inspired By a Real 1984 Murder in Bangor
***Minor spoiler alert if you never read the book.***
Everyone's favorite spooky clown is back in theaters this week with IT Chapter Two. Creepy clown, Pennywise resides in the fictional Derry, Maine. A town author of the original IT, Stephen King, created with inspiration from Bangor, Maine, the city he calls home.
IT Chapter Two features a storyline with real Bangor, Maine roots. A tragic story of a hate crime that resulted in the murder of 23-year-old Charlie Howard.
Charlie met his untimely end on the evening of July 7, 1984. According to the Bangor Daily News, he was walking along State Street with his arms linked with his friend, Roy Ogden when they were confronted by three drunk teens asking if the two were gay.
The teens ended up following the two when Charlie fell and was kicked by the teens and then thrown into Kenduskeag Stream. Unfortunately, he did not know how to swim and drowned.
To this day there is an annual event where folks take the same walk Charlie did and end at the bridge throwing flowers into the water in Charlie's memory.
The teenagers were sentenced to serving time at the Maine Youth Center, a juvenile detention center, now Long Creek Youth Development Center. They were all free citizens again by the time they reached 21 years of age.
According to a 2009 Bangor Daily News article, James Baines who was just 15 at the time of the murder has since spoken out against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Shawn Mabry, who was 16 at the time of the murder, had a few misdemeanors in the late 80s/early 90s.
There has been no public information about Daniel Ness, who was 17 at the time of the murder, since the incident.
The Bangor Daily News reported that this incident occurred while Stephen King was raising his kids in Bangor and was deeply disturbed by the incident in his beloved community. At the same time as the murder, King was writing IT.
The original book featured the murder of Adrian Mellon which was based on the murder of Charlie Howard. Except Adrian ultimately died at the hands (and scary teeth) of Pennywise. This murder didn't make it into the 2017 IT movie or the mini-series from 1990, but it will be in the sequel in theaters September 6th.