The Terrifying Mystery Of Maine's 'Cape Intruder'

The fear of a peeping Tom has led many to keep their blinds tightly drawn when in various states of undress, blocking these voyeurs from getting so much as a glimpse when privacy is desired. The name we give those who get sexual gratification from peering at subjects while undressing or in the throes of sexual acts dates back to the story of Lady Godiva (per Idiom Origins). According to the legend, the woman rode through the streets of Coventry in the 12th century to get her nobleman husband to reduce taxes. Her fellow villagers committed to looking the other way while she fulfilled the dare, save for one man. Tom, the village tailor, was found gazing out his window at her nude figure and was struck blind for caving into his desire.

A peeping tom outside your bedroom window is a chilling enough thing to imagine. Someone being able to see us in the moments that most would consider the most private has helped make draperies and blinds an accessory in almost every household. While most peeping Toms will do so on a person's private property, they tend to stay outside the home. It makes it more difficult to detect and makes for an easy getaway in case they get caught. Waking up to see a face at the window would be terrifying enough. But can you imagine emerging from slumber to see a person in your room watching you?

The Cape Intruder's M.O.

Cape Elizabeth, Maine, is a quaint seaside community known for its idyllic bed and breakfasts, rocky beaches, and picturesque landscapes. The shoreline is dotted by towering lighthouses, including Portland Head Light, the oldest in the state (via Visit Maine). On paper, it reads of the type of community that would be a haven for the townies whose families have made it home for generations, as well as for the droves of tourists it attracts each year. And while Cape Elizabeth is as safe as it is serene, it was home to a nocturnal voyeur dubbed the "Cape Intruder" by the locals.

Beginning in 2005, residents of Cape Elizabeth started to report waking up at night to see a man in their bedroom. As they came out of dreamland, they would notice him in the room watching them while they slept (per The Daily Star). They would lie there, presumably in fear, until he noticed they were now awake, and he would make his hasty departure. 

His victims were never physically harmed by the home invader, so far as anyone reported. There were no missing items, damage to the home or its contents, or evidence of any other crimes. It was thought that the unknown man would enter through the unlocked front or back doors, as there was never any evidence of breaking and entering, either (via Forensic Yard). There were many reports made by the people who actually woke up to catch him. But how many more were out there that slept through the entire encounter?

His identity is still a mystery

When reports of the Cape Intruder rolled in, it caused quite a stir in the small community. For the better part of a year, residents were reporting waking to see the man, but he always managed to get cleanly away before he could get caught. Nevertheless, he was identified as a young male, and police were even able to get some eyewitnesses to describe a police sketch artist whose depiction of the nocturnal phantom was published in the local newspaper.

Neighborhood watches were established in the throes of the home invasions, alert citizens sharing information with one another and police in hopes of bringing the Cape Intruder to justice. Police informed citizens that they had leads they were following, but none of that ever came to fruition (via Forensic Yard). Some witnesses even supplied potential names to police, and two victims even named the same young man as the alleged prowler. But even with that bit of information, police were unable to conclude who was behind the nighttime visits.

The incidents stopped as abruptly as they began, with nothing reported after February 2006. To this day, the real identity of the Cape Intruder is unknown and remains a mystery in Cape Elizabeth (via The Daily Star).