Atlas Obscura, that wonderful almanac of strange spots across the globe, recently featured the so-called Hell House Altar, in the woods of Patapsco Valley State Park, not far from Ellicott City. The ruined altar used to be part of a building of St. Mary’s College and Seminary, a 19th century school (not to be confused with this St. Mary’s College). The buildings were abandoned in 1972 and have been a magnet to explorers ever since.
So why does this perfectly lovely (if kind of ruined) altar have such a sinister name? Well, depending on who you believe, it was either used in Satanic rituals… or it was given its name by bored kids trying to scare themselves. In any case, it certainly has a stark kind of beauty. As soon as this snow melts, I might head out there. Readers, have you been?