After some expressed interest from other members in my thread about non-corporeal entities (found here:
' ), I've decided to post other experiences I've had while ghost hunting in the same town as
mentioned in the last post.
A little history on Ellicott City, MD, for those of you who have not read the other thread. Ellicott City is located roughly 20 minutes West of
Baltimore City (where I currently reside). It's a small milltown, founded in the late 1700s by the Ellicott Brothers, who used the Potapsco river
that ran by the site to power their mill. It has a long and rich history. Many floods, several tragic events, several events regarding the B&O
railroad station (now a museum) there, the biggest one being the Tom Thumb race (a race between the budding technology of steam power and the trusted
horse drawn rail cars). It has often been called the sister town of New Hope, PA, and both towns are heralded as two of the most haunted communities
on the East Coast.
Growing up in the area, I became very interested in local history, and later with the hauntings in the area (my interest with hauntings started after
my grandfather died in 1983, and returned after his death to say goodbye to my brother and I). Following is several of the known ghost stories in the
area. The longer of the following stories are ones that I have had time to personally investigate.
I suppose a little about myself, and my techniques as a ghost hunter are also in order. I am highly empathic, good at honing in on spiritual energies
in an area, and to an extent, a medium. I also have skills with channeling, converting, and utilizing natural energies in an area (the last of these
skills was deveoloped to try and prevent any possible negative mental effects resulting from the sensitivity I have to spiritual activity). By
nature, I am rather distrustful of any entity, mortal or spiritual, and far prefer to dig deeper before taking something at face value. I do not tend
to use any form of technology in my ghost hunts, especially in such and old place. I feel that it makes the spirits I am trying to contact more
comfortable. The most I have ever used was a laser thermometer to try and detect cold spots, and even that, under duress, after a fellow ghost hunter
insisted on bringing it.
Anyway, on to the hauntings!
I'll start with one of the lesser hauntings in Ellicott City, though it is an interesting one, as it is in a pub I used to frequent. My only
personal experience with this one is through what I heard as a patron (and possibly alcohol induced) as well as interviews with the staff. Most of
what I know of this one is from public record and other local ghost hunting groups.
The pub is called The Judge's Bench www.judgesbench.com...
(named because Ellicott City is the center of the Howard County government, and
contains all of the county courthouses, both old and new). There is tale of a woman named Mary that hung herself on the third floor of the building
(exact dates are unavailable). Reported activity at the pub includes the chandellier over the seating area on the first floor inexplicably swinging
back and forth for a minute or so, and then stopping. Footsteps are often heard from the third floor, even when no living being is up there, and
finally, several staff members have reported seeing an apparition of a woman at the top of the stairs to the third floor. At this time, I have yet to
be able to do an investigation of the site, though I have heard the footsteps and witnessed the chandellier swinging.
Another one - probably the most unique in the area - involves one of the old courthouse buildings. The building used to be the main courthouse
(though now it has been converted and is used exclusively for administrative offices). In one of the rooms, there was once a kitchen for a small
cafeteria that originally was in the building. The kitchen is now offices, but it is reported that every morning, in and around this room, the smells
of fresh coffee brewing, bacon and eggs cooking, and other breakfast-associated smells can be found. This ghost has been affectionately dubbed, "The
cooking ghost." www.prairieghosts.com...
Mount Ida. www.prairieghosts.com...
This old house was once a private residence, but now is the main visitor's center for Historic
Ellicott City, and the site to register for tours of the Potapsco Female Institute - one of the most haunted locations in Ellicott City (more on this
later). From the above posted article regarding this location:
In the 1850's, the house became the residence of Judge John Snowden Tyson, a member one of Maryland's most prominent families. He and his
wife Rachel lived there until the 1870's and it was from this family which the ghostly legend of the house has sprung.
After the death of the Tyson's, the house was left to their children. The eldest son, John, was tragically killed in a boating accident, leaving
three maiden sisters behind. All three of them resided in the house until they died. The last to pass away was Miss Ida Tyson and many believe that it
is her ghost who maintains a presence in the house. According to many who have lived and worked there over the years, they have heard the peculiar
sound of Miss Ida's keys rattling as she roams the house. Apparently, the elder lady kept a ring of keys with her at all times and many claim to have
heard these keys on various occasions.
During the last years of her life, Miss Ida was recalled as a lively person who used and ear horn and a cane to move about. She is said to have loved
the old house and the spirit that she left behind certainly seems to be a benevolent one.
The ghost of Ida Tyson has been nicknamed "The Cleaning Ghost" since her afinity for the home always had her keeping it pristinely clean. She has
kept up with this charge even after her death. Often, the custodial staff of the house won't even bother going upstairs, because they know that Ida
has already cleaned it for them. The few manifestations that have been reported of her were always friendly, and typically nothing more than creaks
in the floorboards, or a chair rocking on its own. Ida left behind a very benign and often helpful ghost.
Ellicott City Firehouse (historic) and museum. This is the first firehouse built in Ellicott City, and not much is mentioned reagrding the hauntings
- my experiences with them have discovered many benign and minor hauntings. The hauntings here are more an impression of times past, rather than
active paranormal activity. In and just outside on the sidewalk, I have sensed a great many spirits (firefighting in the late 1700s through early to
mid 1900s was certainly not a safe job). I have sensed the ghosts of at least three diferent firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of
duty over time, and returned to the firehouse, waiting to respond to the next call. I don't think any of them realize they're dead, as I've not
had contact from any of them. I tend to see them inside the firehouse, occasionally looking out of the windows, scanning for fires, or just to see
what's going on outside (the firehouse is located such that you can see most of Main Street from it). The most interesting ghost that I have seen
there, though, is the ghost of a young woman, who walks up and down the sidewalk outside of the firehouse. Even though she never appears visually, I
have felt her presence, and even heard her speak. Evidently, she lost a husband who was a firefighter, and to this day, waits for him to come home.
The feeling I get from her is that she is very sad, and when I last heard her speak, she said, "I know you're not dead. You can't die. Please
come home to me." She's a very sad ghost, but I feel that she's nothing more than a residual, and therefore not able to communicate with the
living on order to find out more. It should be also noted, amusingly, that when I was giving a friend a ghost tour of Ellicott City, and we were
walking by the museum as I was recounting the story, she noticed one of the mannequins inside the firehouse, and almost jumped out of her shoes from
fright, until realizing that it was only a mannequin inside the firehouse, depicting a mid 1800's fireman. She thought it was one of the ghosts!
B&O Railroad museum www.ecbo.org...
This railroad station is the starting point of the Tom Thumb race which caused quite a great technological
stir in the early 1800s. As many of you probably know, the Tom Thumb race was a race to prove which form of technology would be more reliable - the
known and trusted horse-drawn rail cars, or the new technology of steam power, as was demonstrated in the Tom Thumb locomotive.
It should be noted, that the Tom Thumb engine lost the race due to technical difficulties, but still
swore in the age of steam power. Most of the hauntings at the B&O Museum are minor, limited mostly to paranormal residuals. The most incredible of
which residuals is the reenactment of the Tom Tumb race itself. On the anniversary of the race, I have witnessed twice the race itself. There's two
sets of tracks at the museum, one being the older, narrower gauge of tracks, the the other being the current, wider gauge of tracks, still used by
freight trains, travelling between Baltimore and Ohio. Both the Tom Thumb and the horse-drawn rail car were designed to run on the older, narrower
tracks. The residual of the race is quite amazing, as the Tom Thumb appears to simply float between the wider, modern rails. Watching this race is
interesting, as it seems that only the beginning of the race is remaining in the impression. The two rail cars leave the station, with the horse in
the lead, and just as the Tom Thumb starts to catch up, both dissipate into the void. I feel that this impression is not one that's widely visible,
since only a few people I've mentioned it to have actually seen it (and even one night, I watched it happen, as the woman I was with was asking me
what I was watching). Also to be noted as somewhat related to the B&O Railroad museum, there are spirits lining the tracks, many of which are from
railroad construction personnel that died during the construction. The highest concentration of these spirits are located in a tunnel about a mile
towards Baltimore from the station. Also related to the tracks is a legend of a ghost train that disappears on the tracks about 1.4 mile from the
station. This one, I have winessed. Quite an interesting story.
The accident happened around the turn of the century. I have not been able to find much information on this, and the little that I have found has
conflicting dates, ranging from 1897 to 1903. An express passenger train that wasn't planned to stop at the Ellicott City B&O station derailed about
a 1/4 mile down the tracks from the station (towards Baltimore), killing many of the passengers aboard. I first had an experience with this train
before reading anything about the accident. I was walking down the tracks one night around 10 pm (I did this quite often when I lived in the area,
because I always found the wilderness around the tracks quite relaxing). Not knowing the frieght train schedules, I kept checking the rail for
vibrations, just to make sure that I wasn't caught offguard by a train (where I was, the rails curve sharply (at least fora train), and I wasn't
able to see the tracks much more than a hundred feet or so behind me). At one point, during the walk, right after checking the rails for vibration
and feeling nothing, I heard a train whistle from behind me. The whistle was an older whistle, not in use for many years. I turned around, and
spotted a headlight, and could barely make out steam plumes behind it. This all seemed very odd, considering it was 1993, and a steam train hadn't
been run on those rails for many, many years. Anyway, I stepped off the tracks to avoid getting hit. I watched the light getting closer and closer,
and as it got quite close (roughly 50 feet or so), I could hear a wailing sound over the engine). Intrigued, I continued to watch, and as the train
passed me, I saw a passenger train, circa 1920-1930 chug past, with spirits hanging out of the windows, wailing, as if they knew that they were going
to die.... again. As the train passed, I was able to feel the vibrations from the ground... it was all very vivid. Roughly 100 feet past me on the
tracks, I saw a blue light shimmer over the tracks as the train approached, and as it hit the light, the train simply disappeared. The reports I saw
later regarding this accident listed the approximate location of the light as the location of the accident. I can only surmise that the train
disappears at this point, as though it's taking it's passengers into the otherworld as they die in the accident. Very interesting, and not entirely
The final story I want to recount is one that I have a lot of personal experience with. The Potapsco Female Institute.
The school was originally opened in 1839, as one of the first all-female schools in the US. Since the school's closing in 1891 (shortly after a
suicide by one of it's students duing Christmas break - more on that in a minute), it has served as a hotel, private residence, and in 1917, was
turned into a 50 bed hospital for casualties of WW1. After that, it was briefly a theater, then a private residence again, and finally willed by the
last owner to the University of Cincinatti as an arcaeological site. It was burned down in the 1960s in an attempt to keep teenagers from injuring
themselves in the run-down old building. It has since been relinquished to Howard County (in which it resides), and has been turned into a
semi-restored walking garden. Tours of the site are available from the visitor's center located at Mount Ida.
Annie was the first known haunting at the school, having died of pneumonia one winter at the school. She was not very happy being there, and often
times wrote her parents in a plea to come home. Her ghost is still there.
Shortly before the school closed, there was another death there. The young lady's name has been lost to time. However, the story is quite vivd.
She was another student at the school, probably about 17 at the time of her death. Like Annie, she was very unhappy at the school, and longed for
nothing more than to come home. Shortly before Christmas break of her second year there, she had recieved correspondence from her family saying that
they were going to come pick her up for the Christmas vacation. Unfortunately, her family never showed. The young woman quickly sank into a deep
depression after realizing her family had abandoned her. During Christmas break, there was only a few faculty there, and even fewer students. The
young woman had a very had time dealing with being alone, and as a result committed suicide at the school. She extinguished the coal heater as well
as any other heat sources on an evening when it started snowing. She moved her bed over near the window, and opened it, and then went to sleep. She
never woke up. She was always the sort to be very shy around males, having spent most of her years in private schools, or home schooled. Her spirit,
as a result, is also very wary of men. She still remains in the grounds to this day.
The final death at the school, before it closed its doors for good, was that of one of the nuns on staff. Being a Catholic institute, many of the
staff were nuns. This one nun in particular happened to get herself pregnant. In 1890, when this happened, a nun getting pregnant was grounds for
excommunication from the church. It was a major offense to God. She knew this, and rather than having to live her life banned from the church which
she had devoted so much of her life to, she thought it better to end her life, and let God decide her fate. In the attic of the school she hung
herself from one of the beams. She also remains in the school, always trying to keep men away from the students. She appears to blame men in general
for her fall from grace, and as a result tends to be very hostile towards men.
I have experienced one other haunting from one of the school's many incarnations after the school proper closed its doors. This is of a soldier that
died in the hospital during WW1. He is a very kind spirit, only wishing to help. He refuses to admit that death will keep him from helping others in
need. In fact, he didn't even realize he was dead until I showed him he was one night in 1996. He took the news extremely well, and more or less
blew it off saying "I knew I couldn't have survived that." He has gotten to know both Annie and the other student that committed suicide, and is
familliar with the nun. His opinions on these other ghosts: "Annie just wanted to be loved. She needed a sense of family. I've tried my best to
give it to her." He referred to the student who killed herself as Isabel, but I still have not been able to find public record to correlate that.
"Isabel is just lonely. She needs friends... family. She needs to know that everything will be alright. She's very lonely, and very shy. She
doesn't react well to men, but given her upbringing, and lack of experience with the gender, it's understandable." He doesn't much care for the
nun, however. "She doesn't know what it means to be a child of God. God will love her, no matter her faults. God created us with faults, so that
we could make mistakes. It's what makes us human. Her hatred of men, myself included, is completely irrational. I've tried to make contact with
her, but she shuns me at every attempt." This soldier is also a very noble soul, having felt a personal connection with each and every American he
was fighting to protect in WW1. "I only wish to help and protect everyone here. Annie may speak with you, but only after she feels she can trust
you. Isabel most likely won't speak with you, based on the sole fact that you're male... though she might be a little more forthcoming if you had a
woman with you. The nun will probably hate you. She doesn't quite know what is acceptable in a world outside of the church."
I have had some rather lengthy conversations with this soldier, and I rather like him.
As far as experiences I've had with the other souls there... Before the school was turned into a walking garden, it was surrounded by a chain link
fence, and basically falling down. Technically, it's private property, and being inside the fenceline was trespassing, but being young, that never
stopped me. I was inside the ruins only once, and certainly once was enough. After stepping into the ruins, and being inside long enough to notice
where one of the stairways had been, outlined by scorchmarks from the fire, I started to experience a very strong residual from the place. As I
looked around, the building seemed to reform around me, and suddenly, I was standing within the grand foyer of the school. I noticed smoke pouring
forth from one of the corridors off of the foyer, and it didn't take long before the entire place was engulfed in flame. I could feel the heat of
the flames, yet they didn't burn me. I stood there watching in awe for several minutes as the building burned down around me. After a bit, just as
suddenly as it started, it was back to the cold nighttime ruins I had originally entered.
I have also seen the nun several times. I've never spoken with her, and she's usually the one trying to get me to leave. Typically, when I see
her, she's in the leftmost second floor window, behind the central columns, just a shadow peering out, radiating an aura of unwelcomness. When she
seems to get too upset by my prescence, out of respect for the place, I'll leave, thanking everyone there for their patience with me.
I've seen Annie once or twice, usually skitting around the grounds, hiding behind trees and such. She's often interested to see who's coming to
visit, but too shy to talk.
I've also seen "Isabel" several times. She's very shy when it's just me there, but the minute I bring a woman along with me, she's much more
apt to show herself. I still have never conversed with her, but I have seen her quite near me (only a few feet away). She's almost always in a white
linen nightgown, presumably what she was wearing when she killed herself.
The school is a very active area, and I can sense many more spirits there, but haven't really been able to single out any in particular besides these
few that I've mentioned. I feel that most of them simply prefer to stay to themselves, and not get involved with the living. I will respect that.
As active as it is, though, it's still always a very serene place, and often quite welcoming.
There are other hauntings in the area, outside of Ellicott City that I've investigated, however, since I'm trying to limit this to just one local
area, I won't go into those.
Ellicott City is quite an interesting place for the paranormal researchers, or just for the curious. There's always places that even the least
sensitive people can feel the activity. Definitely worth checking out, if you're nearby.
[edit on 2/1/2005 by obsidian468]