Haunted Baltimore: Prowling for Phantasms in
Fell's Point and Beyond
by C.S. Pothitt
A man moves into a house on Lancaster Street,
Baltimore. One day, he decides to take down the previous owner's kitchen
curtains. He takes out a wobbly stool and steps up to remove them. Suddenly,
he looses his balance and begins to fall. Then, a hand presses against his
back, steadying him and he doesn't fall. No one else was in the room besides
Later, he recounts the story to the woman who
sold him the house. She replies, "That must be mom. She once fell from
that stool and broke her arm. She must have wanted to prevent the same thing
from happening to you."
This is just one of many stories you'll hear
while taking the Fell's Point Ghost Tour. Fell's Point is riddled with ghostly
happenings. Not only is it one of the oldest neighborhoods of Baltimore, Md.,
it also has experienced a lot of death. In both 1794 and 1797, many people
died of yellow fever. So many, that the bodies piled up like cordwood in what
is now Fell's Point Square, which may also be the site of their mass burial.
Establishments highlighted on the tour have
had ghostly headless chickens running around the basement, an African American
spirit who likes to move an ash can from the fireplace to the front door, and
an apparition that walks down the street only to disappear in front of his
"One of my favorite stories," says
Amy Lynwander, co-founder of Fell's Point Ghost Tours, "is at Duda's
where we talk about Doc, a retired seaman" who used to live there. He had
a favorite polka that he played on the jukebox often. After he died, the polka
was retired from the jukebox. However, some months after Doc died, "the
polka spontaneously played for a group of regulars sitting at the bar."
When they checked the jukebox, the polka was not among the selections
available. "They thought it was Doc saying goodbye."
Maryland has a lot of ghostly activity, says
Beverly Litsinger, co-founder of the Maryland Ghost and Spirit Association, an
organization that researches and investigates ghostly paranormal phenomena
throughout Maryland, "most likely because it has a lot of history."
The Fell's Point Ghost Tour lasts about an
hour and a half and features about a dozen locations around the neighborhood.
For a real ghost-hunting adventure in the Baltimore area, be sure to visit
these places, as well:
* Fort McHenry, which was, in part, the
inspiration for Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner, is said to be
haunted not only by soldiers who died defending the fledgling US, but also
people who were detained in its dungeons at other points in the fort's
* The USS Constellation is said to be haunted
by a young Naval officer or seaman who died in service to his country. One
story also tells of a priest who was given a tour of the ship by an older man,
only to find out later that no such man worked there as a guide.
* The Westminster Church and Catacombs, which
is home to Edgar Allan Poe's grave, as well as other well-known historic
figures, has a long list of spooky stories. Visitors have reported hearing
hushed voices, feeling invisible hands touch them, and felt icy spots with no
According to Lynwander, October is the most
popular time of the year to take her tour. However, she says, "September
is a good time, too. It's the calm before the storm. It's dark when you do the
tour and the weather is usually very nice." For more information, visit www.fellspointghost.com
About the Author
This story was excerpted from the October
2005 issue of The Genre Traveler, the online travel magazine for
science fiction, fantasy and horror fans produced by C.S. Pothitt. For the
full story, including tips for ghost hunters and photographing ghosts, or to
sign up, visit thegenretraveler.com.