Derry, Maine, Isn't A Real Town But You Can Still Visit At Your Own Risk
If the small town of Derry, Maine, had a tourism slogan, it would be this: where small town America meets very real horror. Horror icon Stephen King has been about creepy goings-on in the town of Derry for decades, never more famously than in his 1986 novel, It. The new movie adaptation of It would certainly make the town a popular tourist spot; that is, if it existed. Unfortunately, Derry, Maine, isn't a real town, but that doesn't mean you can't visit in one way or another.
King has used the fictional town of Derry, Maine, as a backdrop in many of his short stories and novels, including Bag of Bones (1998) and 11/22/63 (2011), and the town has been mentioned in countless others. The town is closely tied to King mythology, but, at its core, Derry is forever tied to It, in which a shapeshifting monster terrorizes the town every 27 years. Why fans would want to visit a town famously cursed by Pennywise the Dancing Clown, I don't know, but if, for some reason, you want to see where Pennywise was born IRL, there are a few places you can go.
First, there's the It virtual reality experience. It lets you venture into the Derry sewers that Pennywise uses to travel around the city. (Enter at your own risk).
Fans looking for a more tangible experience are also welcome to visit the town of Bangor, Maine, the main source of inspiration for Derry. King, himself, actually lives in Bangor, and he drew upon the city's history and landmarks to write It. "I wanted Bangor because it was a tougher, harder place, with its history of loggers, the thing about the Brady Gang shoot-out, and all those fightin' bars like the Silver Dollar that used to be down at the waterfront," King told the Bangor Daily News. These details, specifically the Brady Gang shoot-out, all feature in the book. "Also, the geography seemed right. So we moved to Bangor, where we've been ever since. I twas good for the book and good for us," he added.
Bangor is, in many ways, Stephen King's town. The city hosts special, King-themed town tours, and King even held a special screening of It for Bangor residents prior to the film's release. And, as if that weren't enough proof that Bangor really is Derry, Maine, many news outlets reported seeing a red balloon floating in a window of King's Bangor home in the week leading up to It's release. According to Bangor Daily News, King denied putting the balloon there, so there's a new town mystery for the Loser's Club to investigate.
On second thought, if you do visit Bangor, it might be best to prescribe to the buddy system, just this once.