Haunted Maryland by Kallan from The Secret Life of an American Working Witch
Happy Halloween, everyone!
I’m honored to be a guest blogger for Mrs. B. I live in the great state of Maryland,
and have been a resident for nearly 10 years. I actually reside in Harford
County (north central MD) and that’s where I’ll focus my haunted blog today.
A little history on both Maryland and Harford County:
Nicknames: The Old Line State. Also known as The Free State, The Cockade State,
The Oyster State and The Queen State
Formed: Charter given from Charles I to Lord Baltimore in 1632; it was the 7th
state to enter the Union in 1788.
Named: Maryland in honor of Henrietta Maria (queen of Charles I of England)
Known for: Crabs, Oysters, Old Bay, The Star-Spangled Banner (Francis Scott
Key was born here), Edgar Allen Poe and John Wilkes Booth (Also for those who
are foodies, the Cake Boss is in Baltimore)
Sports teams: The Baltimore Ravens (football) and The Baltimore Orioles
Haunted: In a 1993 article in the Washington Post, reporter David Montgomery
makes the observation that “The State of Maryland is the single largest local
owner of haunted real estate”.
Formed: 1773 from the eastern part of Baltimore County. It contains Tudor Hall,
birthplace of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Harford County also
hosted the signers of the Bush Declaration, a precursor document to the American
Named after Henry Harford (ca. 1759-1834), illegitimate son of Frederick Calvert, 6th
Baron Baltimore. Harford was the last Proprietary Governor of Maryland, but did not
inherit his father’s title because of his illegitimacy.
Havre de Grace, an incorporated city in Harford County, was once under
consideration to be the capital of the United States rather than Washington, D.C.
It was favored for its strategic location at the top of the Chesapeake Bay; this location
would facilitate trade while being secure in time of war. It missed being named the
capital by one vote.
Now, on to the Hauntings!
I am only selecting a few of these, as volumes can and have been written on the
numerous haunting throughout Maryland. I’ve selected a few, and am providing some
pictures that we (my family members and I) have taken over the years. As you can
see from the brief history above, both Harford County and Maryland itself have a very
old (comparatively speaking) history in the United States. The Susquehanna Indians
lived in this area long before Europeans came to settle here. It is no wonder that we
have such wonderful stories and hauntings to share. These stories are either well-
known in Maryland or personal experiences from me and/or my family members.
The Jericho Bridge
Built in the 1800’s, this is the last covered bridge standing in Harford County. It is also
just a few hundred feet from the 242 year old Jerusalem Mill, listed on the National
Register of Historic Places. The bridge itself is nearly 90 feet in length and about 15
feet wide. It’s completely made of wood and I can tell you from personal experience
that the word ‘rickety’ is kind when driving through it. Legend has it that slaves were
once hanged from its rafters during the Civil War. Maryland, while being a Union state,
was very sympathetic to the South, and many nightriders captured and sold back
into slavery those that made their way along the Underground Railroad. Hundreds of
personal encounters have been recorded there.
The most common is that when driving through the bridge, if one looks in the rearview
mirror, one can see a body hanging from the rafters. There have also been sightings
of women in “old-fashioned” clothing walking around the bridge area, only to disappear
upon closer looks. In the interest of ‘fair reporting’, I’d like to point out that at the Jericho
Mill on weekends, there are a lot of re-enactments that go on, and women dressed in
old fashioned clothing would be common.
I have personally never seen either of these, but one of my family members did see a
man in a black hooded cloak run out in front of their car in the middle of the night just
before they crossed the bridge, and then he disappeared.
I have personally had an eerie experience at the bridge one evening. It was a few
years ago at dusk, and a friend had taken me to the bridge to show it to me. As we
pulled up in my car (probably 50 feet from the actual bridge) a fog appeared out of
nowhere and enveloped the road to about 4 feet in height and covered the area all
around the bridge. We slowly pulled up into the bridge and drove across, turned around
and returned across the bridge.. the fog seemed to follow us ( and the temperature
dropped drastically during this time as well) until we came through the bridge and
to the Jerusalem/Jericho road crossing. As we looked back.. the fog had completely
disappeared, as if it had never been there. Needless to say, we were a little creeped out
Thomas Run Road
Thomas Run Road is host to one of the top community colleges in the nation- Harford
Community College. It’s also host to a strange ghost tale a little further down the road.
There is a housing development back there called The Village of Thomas Run (upper
middle class neighborhood). Hundreds of witnesses of all ages over the years (dating
back to the 1800’s, although the housing area hasn’t been there that long) have
reported a man dressed completely in black with a stark-white face running through
the neighborhood at various times, but mostly at night and in the rain. More than a few
residents living near the woods have stated that someone is up to mischief around
there- they will hear their doorbells ringing and when they answer, no one is around. Is it
the “Tractor Man” (as he’s been affectionately named)?
There are two ghostly tales on Bottom Road, which runs through several areas
of Harford County and into Baltimore County, and there is a bridge over the Little
Gunpowder River on Bottom Road.
The first tale involves the sighting of a little girl (ages have been reported from 4-7) at
the narrow end of Bottom Road in a torn, bloody dress, holding a bloody teddy bear
and crying. The sight is so startling that most travelers who have seen it, have actually
stopped to help the little girl and when they do, she disappears.
The second is located at a certain area of Bottom Road where one must stop the car. At
this point, once the car stops, everyone in the car gets the sensation that they are going
backwards, even though the car is stopped on a flat road with no earthly reason for this
sensation to occur.
The Joppatowne K-Mart
This store is located just off historic Route 40 in Joppatowne, Maryland. For several
years running, witnesses have reported that on February 14, a young girl’s body can
be seen hanging from a tree in the woods just behind the K-Mart. There is a small
homeless population in the woods back there, and many of them have reported seeing
this themselves as well.
Havre De Grace
As noted earlier, Havre De Grace was almost the site of the nation’s capital. It has a
long, rich history as a town. There are so many ghost stories in relation to the town that
every year, the historical society does a Haunted Havre De Grace walking tour. Having
personally taken this tour, I must say I’ve never seen anything ghostly (yet!), but the
experience and the history lessons are well worth the 12.00 admission fee.
John Wilkes Booth
Yes, that’s right. The infamous killer of President Abraham Lincoln was born and raised
up just a few miles from me. His home, called Tudor Hall is located in Churchville
Maryland. Legend has it that JWB was actually never caught and that his alleged killing
was reported to appease the American people. Some say he escaped to the Mid-west,
where he lived a long life into old age. Others say he was killed and that he now haunts
the grounds of his childhood home. Regardless, there is a tombstone in his family’s plot
in Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, which is the most-photographed in the site’s
Edgar Allen Poe
Ok this isn’t in Harford County, but what kind of Marylander would I be if I didn’t at
least give nod to one of the most Halloween-y Poets to ever live? Well, I’d at least be
disowned by my youngest daughter, who is an absolutely Poe devotee. For those who
aren’t aware, many cities like to lay claim to this literary icon. New York, Philadelphia,
Richmond were all places where he lived and worked. But, Baltimore is the city of this
amazing author’s death and burial. There is an annual Poe festival which offers tours
of his home (The Poe House) and of course, we have the Poe Society which cares for
his letters and memorabilia. But of course, the most famous legend surrounding him is
the one of the Poe Toaster. Every January 19 since 1949, someone (and no one has
never known who) leaves a special present at the author’s gravesite sometime between
midnight and 6am. Three red roses and a bottle of cognac are left at the foot of Poe’s
grave. The man has always dressed in black with a white scarf that covers his face. It’s
become such a tradition that people have come out to watch the scene unfold. Sadly,
this January 19, 2010, our visitor did not show. No one is sure why the tradition started
nor why he did not show this year. We hope NOT to quoth the raven, “Nevermore” and
that he will return again next year.
That’s it for this Haunted Blog. I hope you enjoyed our little creepy tour of
Maryland haunts. Want more? See some of the links below. Happy Halloween!
Havre De Grace Haunted Tour: http://www.mainstreethdg.com/ArtsandEntertainment/
The Baltimore Poe House and Museum: http://www.eapoe.org/balt/poehse.htm
Tudor Hall: http://harfordhistory.net/th.htm
Baltimore Paranormal Society: http://bsprnet.com/
Greater Maryland Paranormal Society: http://greater-maryland-paranormal-society.com/
Photos courtesy of the author