From the site of the Civil War's bloodiest battle to the home of one of America's pre-eminent horror writers, if it's spirits you seek, you'll find plenty of haunted places in Maryland. The state is steeped in both colonial and indigenous American history, so whether you're visiting a museum, a mansion, or a battlefield, there's a good chance you'll encounter a ghost.
Jonathan Hager House Museum
Jonathan Hager House Museum in Hagerstown was built in 1739. Refurbished, the house is decorated with various historic artifacts and furniture. Some believe many of the resident ghosts are attached to these objects. If you visit the museum, you may hear disembodied voices move from room to room or be grabbed by the legs in childish hugs. Don't worry, it's just the spirit of a little young girl. When you walk through the house, you may hear phantom footsteps stalking you or catch a glimpse of one of the many apparitions of men and women wandering about the house. Objects in the house often move on their own and in the upstairs nursery, the baby cradle and rocker both rock on their own. If you venture into the basement, be prepared since the phantom sound of heavy objects dragging over the basement stone floor startles staff and visitors. When you go outside, look back at the house to see if you can spot the spirit of a woman peering out one of the windows.
Antietam National Battlefield
The Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg was the bloodiest during the Civil War. After 12 hours of non-stop fighting, 23,000 soldiers were left wounded, killed, or missing. You immediately feel the oppression of the battlefield's five square miles, the moment you step onto the same soil where the Confederate and Union solders clashed. The smell of gunpowder fills your nostrils. The apparitions of soldiers, some maimed, struggle to cross the battlefield. You may take one of the many trails that wind around the creek and skirt the open fields, but beware, you may hear phantom footsteps behind you. Sunken Road, later called Bloody Lane, is the location where 5,000 men were tragically killed. Their restless spirits travel the lane at all times of the day. Those participating in reenactments see soldiers they believe are fellow history buffs until the soldiers fade or vanish instantly. Blue balls of light and orbs float about the battlefield.
Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House
Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House in Waldorf is a private museum and was the first place John Wilkes Booth hid after assassinating President Lincoln. When you visit, you'll discover the original bed where Booth lay with a broken leg as Dr. Mudd splintered it and allowed Booth and David Herold to rest for several hours. Visitors often see the indentation of a human body on the bedding. The museum staff don't believe the house is haunted, but visitors definitely do. Visitors feel cold spots that are around 20°F cooler. Shadow people move about the house and a couple of visitors saw a shadow figure sitting in a chair. Other visitors witness confederate troops marching through the property.
The Witch's Grave in Annapolis lies in today's Truxton Park. Legend says the witch was hanged and then buried in the woods. To find her grave, you have to go to the baseball field and then veer past the third base to a slanted tree. She was hanged and then buried underneath the tree. Other versions claim she escaped the grave. The apparitions of the witch's victims hang from the slanted tree while the ghost witch moves about the park area.
Clara Barton House
Clara Barton House in Glen Echo is a National Historic Site. Clara Barton (1821-1912), founded the American Red Cross. She was a famous war nurse, as well as a teacher, pioneer, and a humanitarian. She lived the last 15 years of her life in the house. The Clara Barton House is the "first national historic site dedicated to the accomplishments of a woman." The spirit of Clara Barton remains in her home. She often appears wearing a dark green dress from her time period. When she appears, her apparition is translucent.
Kitty Knight House
Kitty Knight House in Georgetown was saved by her courage during the War of 1812. British Rear Admiral George Cockburn raided the towns of the Chesapeake. When he reached Georgetown, his men began setting fire to everything. When they got to the last two houses, one belonged to an elderly woman sick in bed. Kitty convinced the Admiral to put out the fire and spare the other house that she bought after the war. Kitty's spirit still enjoys her home and her apparition wanders about the house. Today, the house is an inn and restaurant, so, if you decide to spend the night, you might be greeted by Kitty's ghost or hear a disembodied voice welcoming you.
The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum
The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum in Baltimore was the American writer's home during the 1830s. It was turned into a museum in 1949. If you love American literature, specifically poetry, you'll enjoy visiting this American poet's home. Not everyone believes it's Poe's spirit wandering about the small house. A woman dressed in gray might be his wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe, although there is some debate over the apparition's identity. She died of tuberculosis when she was only 24. Poe was 27 when they were married, and she was only 13. Visitors are touched by invisible, cold hands. Cold spots and breezes that make you shiver mysteriously sail through the house. Phantom footsteps and disembodied voices echo on the first floor. The doors and windows open and close by themselves.
Fort McHenry in Baltimore was completed in 1803. It was used during the American Revolutionary War, but was never attacked. It was used as a hospital for wounded soldier and a prison for Confederate soldiers. It was also used during World War I as a military hospital. Shadow people move about the fort and visitors sense they are being watched. Apparitions are seen hanging where the gallows once stood. Soldiers from the War of 1812 walk around the prison. These spirits of soldiers follow visitors about the facility. You may catch a whiff of gunpowder or hear the phantom gunshots.
Maryland State House
The Maryland State House in Annapolis once served as the national capitol for the Continental Congress from 1783 to 1784. It was a significant time, since George Washington arrived to resign as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. He also oversaw that the ratifying of the Treaty of Paris went through. The Maryland State House has many ghosts residing there. When you visit, be on the lookout for the spirit of a man falling from the top of the building. When alive, he was a worker who slipped while repairing the roof and fell to his death. You might bump into the disturbing spirit of a disfigured revolutionary soldier who wanders the grounds.
James Brice House
James Brice House was a planter, lawyer, mayor of Annapolis, and in 1792, the acting governor. If you enjoy a mystery, you'll love the James Brice House. When the home was being renovated, all kinds of Voodoo talismans were found hidden inside the walls. But the most gruesome find in the walls was the skeleton of a female believed to have been a servant. It is speculated that the woman was sealed inside the wall while still alive. There are five known entities that frequent the house. The spirit of James Brice manifests as a full-bodied apparition, dressed in black, with his long, white hair flowing about him.
Historical Haunted Places in Maryland
If you like to explore haunted historic places, Maryland is a great place to go. You'll find a state steeped in Early American history, and a ghost population that can't be easily chased away.