Our friend Jody Arneson, the Mid-Atlantic Day Trips blogger, shares her picks for top haunted places she has visited in the region. Boo!
7. Fort Frederick
Historical reenactors in the fort have frequently reported a presence or hostile feelings coming from the front right bastion of Fort Frederick, or of being followed out of it. Interestingly people re-enacting Scottish regiments sense a presence in this same place but it is friendly and curious. Four Scottish regiments were among those surrendered at Yorktown in 1781. I’ve been there twice now, but have thankfully seen nothing. Still, not a place I’d like to be alone.
6. Gettysburg National Military Park
Of course the battlefield is haunted. It would have to be, right? More than 7 thousand men died during the 3-day battle. How likely is it that not a single one of them would be restless? Although the Union dead were eventually re-interred with respect at the nearby National Cemetery, the Confederate dead stayed in their shallow graves for close to a decade before they were moved or brought home. Not all of the bodies were recovered. And supposedly, there are several mass graves, including giant piles of human limbs that were hacked off because of terrible wounds sustained during the battle. So yeah, it’s believable that there’d be ghosts there, and lots of them. Multiple sightings, in multiple places, of ghosts around the battlefield. Some during the light of day on the anniversary of the battle. The Devils Den appears to be particularly restless. Would I go there — or anywhere on the battlefield — alone or at night? Oh heck no!
5. Fort McHenry
No one should be surprised that a military fort that’s seen active battle might be haunted. Park rangers have reported hearing footsteps and having lights turned on after they’ve been turned off. The ghost most frequently sighted at Fort McHenry is a marching guard on duty often seen patrolling along the outer battery of the fort. There have also been multiple sightings of a ghost of an African-American soldier dressed in military uniform holding a rifle. I didn’t sense anything while I was there, but I nevertheless made sure to stay close to my husband and friend while we explored the fort.
4. Hampton Mansion
This 1700s mansion houses several ghosts, including Priscilla Ridgely of the original owners’ family, whose apparition has been seen throughout the house, and Cygnet Swann, an 1800s resident, the daughter of Governor Swann, who died under mysterious circumstances. Her apparition has been seen and harpsichord playing has been heard coming from her room. The ghost of a former butler named Tom also has been seen here as well. There are two more ghosts, both unknown, who also appear here. One likes to roam the house unlocking and unlatching locked doors, and the other makes a noise like beating chains against the walls in the tack room. Some believe this ghost to be original house carpenter Jehu Howell. During our tour, someone else had asked about ghosts, saying she sensed something in the bedroom. I snapped a ton of photos in the hopes of seeing something but got nothing. Hampton Mansion seemed like it could be haunted, and that’s why it made it to #4 on this list.
3. Eastern State Penitentiary
Visitors, employees and those researching paranormal activity have reportedly heard unexplained eerie sounds throughout the Eastern State Penitentiary, in Philadelphia. Even without the annual Haunted House ESP puts on every year, this place has it all: creepy old deteriorating buildings, a violent history, multiple deaths within the prison. It’s like a recipe for a haunted house. In a typical year, maybe two dozen paranormal investigations take place in the cell blocks, and by all accounts, they almost always find evidence of activity. Tourists and employees have reported hearing weeping, giggling and whispering coming from inside the prison walls, although I’m not sure what there is to giggle about. We didn’t see or hear anything ourselves, and thank god for that, because if/when I actually see a ghost, I’ll probably pee in my pants. Regardless, it’s an eerie place, even during the day.
Yeah, I mean, I did go on a ghost tour of the cemetery, and Mount Olivet, in Frederick, MD, is, actually, a cemetery. So of course it’s very eerie. Folks who live near the cemetery have reported seeing Confederate soldiers and a mysterious woman in white. While we were there, in the middle of the cemetery we smelled cigar smoke, although obviously no one in our group was smoking, and it was only around one particular grouping of tombstones. Other tour participants reported smelling perfume.
1. Shriver House Museum
Listed in the top 5 haunted places in Gettysburg, Shriver House is my number 1 pick because I photographed what I think is a ghost there, in the attic. Apparently, Confederate snipers had used the attic as a hide-out and vantage point during the 3-day battle. Several of them also died there, and modern technology recently confirmed the presence of blood spatter on the floor boards. The house also served as a triage point or temporary hospital in the aftermath of the battle. Funny thing, I didn’t see it until after I took the photo. Then I took two more photos, and the shape changed in the other photos. Oh, and just 15 minutes earlier, a door had slammed for no discernible reason, but no one was there. Scary.
Read more at Mid-Atlantic Day Trips
- Mid-Atlantic Day Trips: The Baltimore Waterfront Promenade - August 4, 2016
- Mid-Atlantic Day Trips: Christmas in NYC - December 17, 2015
- Mid-Atlantic Day Trips: InSite Gettysburg Brings Battlefield Into Clearer Focus - November 6, 2015