Baltimore headstones, horrors for a hair-raising, haunted Halloween
This Halloween, head into Baltimore to find the spookiest sights and freaky frights that will keep you and your friends screaming for days. Check out the Towerlight’s guide to Baltimore’s most haunted locations.
One of the best things about Halloween in Charm City is the U.S.S. Constellation, the last sail-worthy ship the US Navy designed and built. The ship, which has been involved in many battles and wars, including the War of 1812, sits in the heart of the Inner Harbor year-round and is open for tours. Things get a little crazy on Halloween, as the ship gets decked out with decorations, people in costumes and creepy props to scare its guests.
Because the ship was involved in several battles, many of its crew died aboard the ship. And when you have a historic ship involved in battles, you get ghosts.
Since the ship was docked in the Harbor in 1955, there have been many reports of ghosts and strange noises.
One of the most famous ghosts that have been seen is the ghost of Captain Thomas Truxtun, the first commander of the ship. Rumor has it that Truxtun still walks the ship, not to haunt it, but because of his love for it.
Another famous ghost that has been captured on camera is the ghost of Neil Harvy, who was convicted of treason and cowardice. Harvey suffered a brutal death aboard the Constellation. He was stabbed, then tied onto the front of a cannon and was blown to pieces by Truxtun himself.
Other ghosts are the ship’s 20th century watchman, Carl Hansen, who has reportedly been seen playing cards on the ship, and an 11-year-old boy who was a surgeon assistant. The young boy was murdered by two sailors with a knife while onboard the ship. It is believed that the ghosts are most likely to be seen around midnight between Christmas and New Years.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Grave
An unfinished bottle of cognac and three roses.
Without fail, every year since the 1940s, a mysterious man with black clothes, a white scarf and a wide-brimmed hat could be seen leaving this tribute to Edgar Allan Poe on the dead writer’s grave.
The man, affectionately dubbed the “Poe Toaster,” left the “toast” to Poe as a birthday present, religiously appearing every Jan. 19.
But, for the past three years, he has been a no show.
According to a group of fans that kept vigil to watch the tradition each year, the “Poe Toaster” is nevermore.
The only hint to his disappearance was a note left to Curator of the Poe House and Museum, Jeff Jerome, implying that the “torch will be passed.”
But Poe’s legacy lives on through his grave, which can be viewed at 515 W. Fayette Street.
Tributes still mark the writer’s grave, from flowers to toasts made by admirers who follow in the footsteps of the Toaster himself.
The grave, located in front of Baltimore’s historic Westminster Hall, is part of a small burying ground surrounded by a metal picket fence. On Halloween night, tours are offered of the cemetery and the catacombs of Westminster Hall.
Feel free to leave a tribute of your own. Maybe you could even become the “Poe Toaster’s” eagerly awaited successor. You can read more about the Poe Grave at eapoe.org/balt/poegrave.htm.
Fans can also visit the home where Poe lived from 1833 – 1835, where he wrote some of his early works. The Edgar Allan Poe House and Musuem is located at 203 N. Amity Street.
Green Mount Cemetery
For the true ghost hunters this Halloween, avoid the haunted houses or haunted hayrides and instead seek real ghosts at Green Mount Cemetery at the intersection of Greenmount Avenue and East North Avenue.
There are roughly 65,000 graves situated over 68 acres at this Baltimore gravesite, which is rumored to be haunted with the ghosts of those who are buried there.
“Residents” of Green Mount include eight former governors of Maryland, as well as Johns Hopkins and John Wilkes Booth, President Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.
Green Mount was first established in 1838, and was officially dedicated in 1839. The first person to be buried in Green Mount was a two-year-old girl named Olivia Cushing Whitridge, according to Green Mount’s website.
Local historian and Baltimore Sun writer Jacques Kelly was locked in the cemetery one night, according to the Baltimore Inner Harbor Travel Guide, and was rumored to have seen ghosts throughout the cemetery.
Although guided walking tours are given on Saturdays in October, visitors are allowed to take a self-guided tour at any time during their normal business hours.
But be aware, a number of famous Marylanders’ ghosts are said to haunt the grounds, and the cemetery is often listed in various lists of the top haunted cemeteries in America.
To schedule a guided tour, call Wayne Schaumburg at Green Mount at 410-256-2180.
Admiral Fell Inn
The Admiral Fell Inn, now a hotel, once served as a boarding house for sailors and a theater. The seven weathered buildings that make up this hotel have seen many occupants, physical and paranormal.
The Inn, located on 888 S. Broadway St. in historic Fells Point, dates back to the 1770s. In 2011, TripAdvisor ranked the hotel as No. 6 on their list of the top 10 haunted hotels.
The hotel’s winding and creaky hallways now house 80 guest rooms and offers free ghost tours on Friday and Saturday nights. Many people come out of their stay with a story to tell about mysterious occurrences, some recalling sights of an old butler or floating weathered sailor.
There is also a Ghost Tour and Reception for $9.95, where a tour guide will show you the seven different buildings and tell you the legends and ghost stories. After the tour, beer wine and other treats are served at a reception. These are offered every Wednesday-Friday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 4 to 5 p.m.
During the day, Fort McHenry is a picturesque place, celebrating the location that the “Star-Spangled Banner” was written during the War of 1812.
But at night, something supernatural takes over, according to a Baltimore Sun article from Oct. 31, 1996.
The article cites different visitor sighting of ghosts from Fort McHenry’s rich history, including men in military uniform traipsing the grounds at night, when no actors were present. One story revolves around a private named John Drew, who was arrested for falling asleep on guard duty and committed suicide in his cell at the fort in 1880. Visitors reported seeing a man in a soldier’s cape pacing the outer battery, where Drew was on guard duty, as if tormented by another long night.
Fort McHenry offered ghost tours at night until the 1970s. Park Ranger Paul Plamann told the Baltimore Sun that the discontinuation was because the National Monument and Historic Shrine didn’t want to be known as “the ghost fort.” But just because the tours stopped doesn’t mean the hauntings did.
You can visit Fort McHenry from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and see if you can find any evidence of the supernatural. Entrance to the grounds is free, but the historic area, which includes entrance to the fort itself, is $7. Find out more about Fort McHenry at http://www.nps.gov/fomc/index.htm and read the full Baltimore Sun article at http://bit.ly/19Kd3Kl
Baltimore County Almshouse
Rumor has it that if you listen closely you can hear the sounds of children playing and women’s voices chatting. Turn a corner quickly and you might even catch a glimpse of a face.
The Baltimore Almshouse closed its doors in 1958. However, legend says that the spirits of those who once lived there can still be found inside.
Almshouses were places that provided support for people incapable of caring for themselves. Those that lived there ranged from sick to poor to elderly to the insane, according to a report by the Historical Society of Baltimore County. While Baltimore City had several almshouses, the most-well known today is the Baltimore County almshouse, located in Cockeysville, Md.
After opening its doors in 1872, the almshouse was looked upon quite favorably, according to an article in the City Paper. It wasn’t until about 1908 that conditions took a turn for the worse.
An article from the Baltimore Sun on Jan. 13, 1909 reports that a 75-year-old man named Anthony Rose fell down an elevator shaft to his death. He had only been admitted to the almshouse because of his old age and a lack of family to care for him.
Stories like Rose’s will continue to haunt the Baltimore County Almshouse, which is now home to the Historical Society of Baltimore. And while they have no comment in regard to the ghosts you may see or voices you may hear—you can take a visit this Halloween season.
The Baltimore County Almshouse is open each Friday from noon to 4 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and the second Wednesday of each month from 7- 8:30 p.m. It costs $5 per adult.
The Almhouse is located at 9811 Van Buren Lane Cockeysville, Md. 21030
–Compiled by Brandi Bottalico, Megan Flannery, Daryllee Hale, Jesse Jones and Jonathan Munshaw