By Joel Furches
With a city as old and as steeped in maritime lore as Baltimore, there are bound to be quite a few ghost stories, haunted venues, graveyards and other frightening places to raise the hair on the back of your neck and to get your adrenaline pumping. If you’re interested in a thrill during the witching hours of the haunted October month, why not give some of these locations a try for sheer spine-tingling terror?
The Westminster Presbyterian Church on the corner of Fayette and Green is a longstanding monument to the storied history of old Baltimore. But for passers-by and thrill seekers, it is the attached graveyard which is the pièce de résistance of these hallowed grounds. The graveyard serves as the final resting place for a laundry list of historical notables from the Baltimore area – many of them from the Revolutionary history of late colonial Baltimore. It houses, for instance, the son of Francis Scott Key – writer of the National Anthem; and James McHenry, whose signature is on the U.S. Constitution, and after whom Fort McHenry was named.
The list goes on, but one notable that stands far above the rest on this list is possibly the most well-renowned writer of Gothic Horror: Mr. Edgar Allen Poe, himself. Poe is not alone in this boneyard. Interred around him lay his brother, grandfather, mother-in-law, and his teenage wife – whose death inspired many of his most haunting works.
1909 Logwind Road
Catonsville, MD 21228
Since its closure in the 1970s, St. Mary’s College has gradually become more deteriorated and mythologized. The once proud Catholic seminary for boys has become the creepy haunted structure from every ghost story. Thrill seekers and ghost hunters are frequent visitors on these grounds which have been left scarred and marked by decades of vandalism. As the grounds have remained abandoned for 40 years, the forest has encroached so that now the crumbling college rises over a tangle of creepy woodland. The college is on private property, so one cannot step foot in the old structure again, however it is easy enough to view from the overlook located in Patapsco Valley State Park.
The former seminary is spooky enough on its own, but the crown jewel of these harrowed grounds is the ‘Hell House Altar.’ Once a gazebo for the seminary, this odd structure hidden in the tangled woods some distance from the college, contains an imposing cross that extends downward from the ceiling over an alter. The stories and rituals surrounding this place are incredible, and definitely enough to chill and thrill.
Someone has taken their love of dollhouses just a little too far. Eighty years ago, an elderly lady named Frances Glessner Lee put her skills at playing with dolls to a whole new level by using them to recreate gruesome murder or death scenes. The purpose for which these were originally built was to give forensic investigators a training tool so that they could see – in a nutshell – what kinds of things to expect when entering a crime scene. Crime scene investigators may use the clues scattered across these miniature models in order to hone their detective skills.
While these dioramas have been around for years, they are still available for viewing at the Medical Examiner’s office, but only by appointment.
One of the very few covered bridges remaining in Maryland, the Jericho bridge crosses the little gunpowder falls near the historic Jerusalem Mill village. Like any structure over 150 years old, there is an element of spookiness already inherent. However, the darkness that overcomes a person crossing through the structure and the ghost stories surrounding it – such as the fact that a number of people have claimed to see the shadows of runaway slaves twisting in the wind underneath of it – make this one creepy place to visit.
On Fridays and Saturdays, in the dusky evening hours, visit Baltimore Ghost Tours and enjoy being escorted around the hotspots for hauntings, ghosts and creepy stories within Baltimore City itself. In for a thrill? Why visit one spooky place when there is a tour that takes you to all of them? Pay your fair and prepare for a scare.