Maryland's Haunted Sites & Guaranteed Frights

There are many "haunted houses" and ghost tours in Maryland; however, if you look past the gimmicks, there are some truly horrifying spots to visit in the Old Line State. Despite being part of the Union during the Civil War, slavery was still legal through most of the war, so the history behind the Underground Railroad has been kept alive by the dead. Additionally, visiting the old battlefields wouldn't be a bad idea, either. Or would it...? As another one of the original 13 colonies, there are plenty of skeletons in this state's closet, and a few of them are famous (or notorious) skeletons. Maryland may be a small state, but it's big on ghostly activity.

Lord Baltimore Hotel

Photo Credit: Travel Pulse

When you walk in the bustling area of downtown Baltimore, you would also be walking by a hotel that has been around since 1928 and at the time was the largest hotel in Maryland. It was built by Harry Busick for two million dollars (over $30 million in 2019); Busick had owned the Caswell Hotel which had been at the same location as the Lord Baltimore Hotel. As a point of interest, the Lord Baltimore ended its guest segregation policies four years before the Baltimore City Council passed legislation ending segregation in public accommodations.
Several people have committed suicide at the Lord Baltimore Hotel and some guests have reported seeing shadowy figures where the suicides allegedly occurred. One of the main ghosts seen by guests at the Lord Baltimore is a little girl in a cream dress. She is constantly seen on the 19th floor or having a ball in the, literally, she plays with her red ball there. The 19th floor seems to be a popular spot for the paranormal because the elevator keeps moving to that floor even though no one chose it. Maybe the elevator is haunted, too, since guests have reported feeling as if someone is touching them though they are alone. There have also been reports of a child screaming or crying, which have been caught on several investigators' voice recorders. Let's just hope you don't hear an eerie voice implore you to "GET OUT" like those investigators did.

The Admiral Fell Inn

Photo Credit: Hotel Scoop

Originally, The Admiral Fell Inn was called The Anchorage, a Christian boarding house and recreational center. This beacon of security and morality was surrounded by saloons, theaters and brothels at the beginning of the 20th century, so not all of the spirits on the property are former guests. The Anchorage would soon expand to the adjoining boarding houses. The YMCA would later acquire The Anchorage and room thousands of sailors a year until 1955. In 1985, the building was renovated into a bed and breakfast called The Admiral Fell Inn.
Guests of the Inn regularly complain about parties happening in adjacent rooms...where no one has checked into. Before it was The Anchorage, the building served as a hospital for sailors who fell ill at sea; some of them died there, along with the nurses who quarantined themselves so as to avoid infecting the outside population. Sailors and nurses who died here have been seen roaming the halls, as well as "ladies of the evening" who sauntered in the seedy burrow during the early days. It may ease your mind to hear there have been no signs of malevolent spirits at The Admiral Fell Inn, as long as you don't mind sleeping near rowdy partiers.

The Wharf Rat

Photo Credit: On The Town

The original owners had their own tavern in the old homeland called Oliver's Wharf, from the family name, on the shore of the River Thames. Oliver's Wharf is still in business in London today and has its own dark backstory as neighbor to the Execution Dock. As one may correctly assume, The Wharf Rat's original clientele were the sailors (and possibly pirates) who regularly came to port in Baltimore. Interestingly, the Wharf Rat was the first bar in Baltimore to be licensed.
The Wharf Rat, itself, doesn't have a detailed history, but the intrigue behind its dark past has grown so much over the years, it is practically a myth. Despite that, there are two common themes behind the ghost stories at The Wharf Rat: someone was murdered and it was over loud music. A man has been seen crying in the kitchen and orb clusters have been sighted where presumably the person had died. There is also quite a bit of paranormal activity on the second floor. The current owners also speculate the murderer lingers here and fools around with the sound systems, if it gets too loud.

The Horse You Came In On Saloon
horse you came in on saloon

Photo Credit: Only In Your State

The Horse You Came In On Saloon, or "The Horse," as it's colloquially known, enjoys being known as the last drinking spot of Edgar Allan Poe before he died on October 7, 1849; however, this is a widely disputed claim since he was actually found near a public drinking house located in Fell's Point that burned down in the early twentieth century. This does not mean it's impossible Poe drank at The Horse since this establishment has operated as a pub since 1775, although it is roughly three miles away from his home. In fact, The Horse is continually cited as the longest running bar in the United States and even operated during the Prohibition Era, but this cannot be factually confirmed.
Despite the lack of evidence this was Poe's last stop before his last breath, it's believed the spirit behind cash registers opening, disembodied voices and chandeliers swinging on their own is one by the name of "Edgar." The resident spirit haunting The Horse has also been seen by staff and patrons flinging bar stools, and once slam shut the metal door of a safe, which startled more than a few people as there was no draft or wind. The staff is so convinced it's Edgar Allan Poe haunting their bar that they leave a glass of whiskey at closing time for him. In the morning, the glass is empty and put away, so "Edgar" can be courteous when he wants to be.

Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum
poe residence

Photo Credit: Towson Students WordPress

In 1832 or 1833, Edgar Allan Poe's aunt, Maria Clemm, rented this house with her son, daughter, mother/grandmother of Poe, Elizabeth Cairnes Poe, and Edgar. In 1835, Poe moved to Richmond to work for the Southern Literary Messenger; however, shortly thereafter, his grandmother died and Clemm was unable to continue renting the house because their main source of income was a government pension due to Major David Poe's service in the Revolutionary War. Full of woe and drama, Edgar Allan Poe proposed to his cousin Virginia, who accepted, in order to keep the family together. Afterward, Maria and Virginia moved to Richmond to live with Edgar. The building was saved from demolition in 1941 by the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore and was finally opened to the public in 1949, serendipitously in time for the 100th anniversary of Poe's death.
Poe claimed Baltimore as his birthplace, so this may be a reason why visitors feel a fair amount of activity occuring in the old Poe residence. An older, heavyset woman with grey hair has been seen roaming the house and is believed to be Poe's wife, though it could easily be his grandmother since she did die in Baltimore and is possibly buried in the Westminster Church Cemetery. Disembodied footsteps and thumps around the house have been heard, as well as visitors and staff being tapped on the shoulder by an unseen person. Windows and doors have been reported to open and close on their own. Other visitors believe they've also seen Edgar Allan Poe himself walking around and outside his former home.

Westminster Church Cemetery
westminster cemetery

Photo Credit: Only In Your State

It isn't a shock to learn a cemetery is haunted, but the Westminster Church Cemetery hosts a few residents that almost guarantees the macabre. Also known as the Westminster Burying Grounds, this cemetery was opened in 1786 by the First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore and was THE place for the city's elite to spend their afterlife. It later served as the final resting place for soldiers who served in the Maryland Militia and defended Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore. A few years after Edgar Allan Poe died and buried in an unmarked grave, a newer church was agreed upon and was built partially on top of the burying grounds, which created a partial catacomb on the property and added a bit more of a creepy vibe to the cemetery.
In 1875, Poe's body was moved from his original burial spot in the back to the front of the cemetery with a new monument to the author and a dedication ceremony to match. It's been theorized into legend that the wrong body was moved, which would explain the odd disturbances and ghost stories, but there is no real proof of this. However, the birthday etched into the monument is not Poe's actual birth date, so that would get anyone, alive or dead, a little annoyed. However, Poe doesen't seem to be behind the hauntings at the Westminster Church Cemetery, but the legends that surround it appear to have his gothic influence. In addition to the poor souls who were buried alive and still linger in the cemetery, there is also a story regarding the screaming skull of a minister who was murdered there and only gagging the skull and encasing it in cement would shut him up.

Fort McHenry
fort mchenry

Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun

Fort McHenry was built from 1799 to 1802 and was named after James McHenry, who served as a surgeon and aide during the Revolutionary War, then later served on the Maryland Legislature, Continental Congress and as a Secretary of State during two administrations. He was also one of the signers of the Constitution who was also not born in the United States. As one of the main harbor towns in the country, it was necessary to construct a fort in Baltimore, especially with the rumblings of yet another war with England; it was designed in the shape of a five-point star with each point able to be guarded by five soldiers. In 1814, the fate of Fort McHenry and Baltimore was on the line as the British Navy attempted to pummel and capture the fort; today, visitors can see the monster of British artillery, the carcass, a hollow 13-inch incendiary shell that had multiple holes for fuses, mounted at Fort McHenry in remembrance of what could have been if the British had succeeded in their siege. The Battle of Baltimore, as it was called, took the lives of soldiers and civilians alike, some of which have been noticed walking around the fort by visitors today.
During the Civil War, Fort McHenry served as a prison for Confederate soldiers and Southern sympathizers and held as many as 6,000 prisoners (this was following the Battle of Gettysburg); at the beginning of the war and in order to keep Maryland in the Union, Lincoln suspended Habeus Corpus and had known sympathizers arrested and held at Fort McHenry. During the entirety of the war, 15 prisoners were executed; visitors to the fort have reported seeing some of these executed prisoners hanging mid-air where the gallows used to be, in addition to seeing former prisoners peering through windows. In its over 200 year history, Fort McHenry was at its most active during World War I when it acted as a hospital and would treat over 20,000 soldiers and was the largest in the country at the time. It would later transition into a more surgical and occupational health facility, helping to reconstruct soldiers' faces and missing limbs and then teaching patients new skills to use in civilian life. Once World War I was over, the fort continued to serve as a hospital during the Flu Epidemic of 1919 where an estimated 100 died. Fort McHenry may be best known for the War of 1812 and Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner, but the dead from all wars won't be ignored, which is why most visitors have reported disembodied voices and footsteps, feeling as if they're being watched, smelling gunpowder and seeing objects move on their own.

USS Constellation

Photo Credit: South Baltimore

The USS Constellation was commissioned in 1855 and was active for a full century. It served mainly during the Civil War after acting as a deterrent to the African slave trade. At the end of its career, it was recorded as capturing a total of three slave ships and freeing 705 Africans. During the Civil War, the Constellation would act has a guard ship for Union merchant ships in the Mediterranean and along the East Coast; it was also instrumental in capturing the CSS Sumter.
Today, the USS Constellation is anchored in the Baltimore Inner Harbor, so there are many witnesses to ghostly sightings. People will walk past and notice figures patrolling on deck or looking out toward the horizon. During tours, visitors will hear voices in the lower decks, but the only people on the ship are the tourists themselves. During the overnight adventures, one gentleman complained about someone banging pots all night; however, the only pots that were on the ship were actually locked away in a separate building. Don't bother trying to call on your cell phone for help; they tend to not work whilst on the ship.


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Built in 1936, the USCGC Taney was made for more peaceful times as more of a policing vessel that specialized in search and rescue missions. However, that changed on December 7, 1941, when it was docked at Pearl Harbor navy base and joined the fight against the Japanese attack. It is actually the sole surviving ship that was present at the attack on Pearl Harbor and is referred to as "The Last Survivor of Pearl Harbor" (Historic Ships in Baltimore, 2012). During the war itself, the USCGC Taney remained in Honolulu to spy on nearby Japanese forces. Near the end of the war in 1944, it served in the European Theater as part of a convoy escort to Germany and as a rescue ship for fallen soldiers in the Mediterranean. It served in the Korean War as a sort of guard ship off the coast of Midway Island and Alaska, and again in the Vietnam War in "Operation Market Time," intercepting illegal arms along the coast of South Vietnam. In 1986, it was decommissioned and now sits anchored in Baltimore Inner Harbor.
Visitors and employees alike have reported unexplained activity on the ship, such as seeing spectral figures and even full bodied apparitions gliding over the USCGC Taney's deck and through open doorways. Unexplained footsteps and voices have also been heard, and even voices over the PA system have been heard, though it no longer is functional. Though most reports center around the Chief's Mess and damage control office, a voice speaking Japanese has allegedly been heard on the USCGC Taney near the galley, which would support the legend that a Japanese pilot was taken aboard the ship for medical attention as the galley doubled as a medical ward; this rumor is not in the ship's records and cannot be confirmed. The USCGC Taney has also been investigated by Ghost Hunters, who were able to confirm some of the paranormal stories surrounding the ship.

Point Lookout Lighthouse
point lookout

Photo Credit: St. Mary's County Tourism

Point Lookout Lighthouse was officially operational in 1830 and was built to warn passing ships of the shoals and to light the way for the opening of the Potomac River. James Davis was the first keeper of the lighthouse and he was succeeded by his daughter, Ann. She was apparently well-liked as a lighthouse keeper and earned the same salary as her father, which was $350 a year (a little over $10,000 a year in 2018). It is assumed she still lives there, even after death. A female voice has been heard on EVP's, simply stating, "This is my house." After Ann died, there were numerous other lighthouse keepers, but it was during the Civil War when the lighthouse's history gets bloody. It acted as a hospital, as most large buildings did during the war, and there were rumors prisoners of war were held at the lighthouse against their will.
There have been reports of strange, paranormal activity since the late 1800's. The first reports were of a man in old fashioned clothing (for the time) who was seen floating across the lawn. However, the last lighthouse keeper was a self-proclaimed skeptic and said in his 40 years maintaining the lighthouse, he never saw anything supernatural. That being said, after the lighthouse was decommissioned, dwellers of the house before renovations began reported unexplained footsteps and furniture moving when there was no one else in the building. Rotting, death-like odors have been regularly noticed in the middle guest room. Apparitions of former lighthouse keepers or possible soldiers have also been seen floating through doors and disappearing on the other side when no one was living in the lighthouse. There is another spirit of a little boy who appears to be alone and is very enthusiastic about the history of the lighthouse, calling it "the most haunted-est lighthouse in the whole country." On the day this happened, however, there were no children present who knew as much about the lighthouse as this young boy did and none of the volunteers there had a son with them.

Sotterley Plantation

Photo Credit: Mark Summerfield

The Sotterley Plantation is one of the oldest buildings in the United States, standing for over 300 years old. It was built by James Bowles, the son of a wealthy tobacco and sugar merchant in London. When Bowles died, his widow, Rebecca, married George Plater II and the plantation remained in that family for generations. Sotterley was actually named after the English ancestral home of the Platers. At the height of its prosperity, there were nearly 100 slaves working on the plantation. In an ironic twist of fate, during the Civil War, three of the then owner's, Dr. Walter Briscoe, joined the Confederate Army while one of the slaves escaped and joined the Union Army. During the Emancipation and Reconstruction eras, the property traded hands numerous times until 1961 when the plantation was made available to the public for limited touring.
Today, there are many more tours, but one part of the main house appears to be claimed by the former owner, George Plater III. Anyone who ventures into the second floor risks getting shoved or pushed by Mr. Plater. Apparently, he doesn't like visitors. There is also a lot of activity in the slaves quarters, some of which have been there since 1830! Investigators have gotten EVP's (Electronic Voice Phenomena) in the cabins, including a muffled voice that told them to "Get out!" Other hostile spirits have been known to throw things at employees just doing their jobs, as well as being pushed or punched, and they were presumably not even on the second floor. Sometimes the manager would hear her name being called out and no one else was there. It's not all poltergeist activity, though. Some staff members and docents have smelled out of place smells, like coffee and bacon wafting through the halls.

Union Hotel Restaurant
union hotel restaurant

Photo Credit: Only In Your State

Though not an actual hotel, the Union Hotel Restaurant used to be a hotel and tavern in the late 1790's. When you walk in, you'll see the current owners enjoy paying homage to the restaurant's roots as their servers are all dressed in typical colonial garb. This would also make it easy for its longtime visitors to blend in quite nicely. Not only has it been a tavern, the Union Hotel Restaurant has also been a brothel. Even today, there are rumors of murder and suicide having been committed on the property.
Perhaps some of the apparitions seen by staff and diners alike are victims of the Union Hotel Restaurant's dark past. The most popular ghost is only known as the Lady in Blue and a "dusty" old man seen by the current owners and inhabitants. Other odd occurrences are unexplained footsteps heard all over the building and clocks chiming, though they have been broken for some time.

Beall-Dawson Museum
beall dawson

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This house was built in the early 1800's for the then-Clerk of the Court for Montgomery County Upton Beall and his family. Allegedly, Mr. Beall felt he needed a house that reflected his station in life, so the Beall-Dawson House was built to have an exterior, as well as interior, to impress all of his visitors. At this time, dwellings in Rockville were typically log cabins and clapboard houses. Eventually, Amelia Somervell Dawson, a cousin of the Beall's, and her family joined them in their house. The house stayed in the family for over a century and was later bought by the City of Rockville during the 1960's.
Upton may not be able to give up his dream home, even after death, since visitors report seeing an apparition, but it could easily be his wife, Jane, or one of their daughters. It could easily be the ghosts of former slaves on the property; the indoor slave quarters are still intact in the Beall-Dawson House. There have been reports of another spirit who won't acknowledge anyone who approaches him, but he has been seen laying bricks down in the entry to the kitchen. It seems unlikely Upton would be doing work in the afterlife. Another theory of the man laying bricks is it may be a man by the name of Nathan Briggs who worked on the renovations done in the 1940's. Nathan committed suicide during the time he was renovating the house, but he did not actually die on the property (Okonowicz, 2010). Other inexplicable occurrences include slammed doors and a disembodied voice calling volunteers' names, as well as the name, "Priscilla," which is the name of one of Upton Beall's daughters.

Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum

Photo Credit: Visit Maryland

Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at the Samuel A. Mudd House Museum.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.

Baltimore County Almshouse
baltimore almshouse

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at the Baltimore County Almshouse.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.

The Wayside Inn
wayside inn md

Photo Credit: Ellicott City, MD

Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at The Wayside Inn.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.

Atlantic Hotel
wayside inn md

Photo Credit: Atlantic Hotel

Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at the Atlantic Hotel.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.

Middleton Tavern

Photo Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation

Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at the Middleton Tavern.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.

Governor Calvert House
governor calvert house

Photo Credit: Historic Inns of Annapolis

Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at the Governor Calvert House.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.

Aida's Victoriana Inn

Photo Credit: Downtown Different

Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at Aida's Victoriana Inn.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.

Elk Forge Bed & Breakfast Inn
elk forge

Photo Credit: Elk Forge B&B Inn, Spa and Events

Here there will be history and reports of paranormal activity at the Elk Forge Bed & Breakfast Inn.
We're eternally grateful for your patience.

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