PUBLIC DOMAIN Edgar Allen Poe’s grave is located at the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and so we shed our first semester angst in exchange for winter holiday angst. You’re cold, you’re really stressed, and you’re trying to choose a major. But nobody has invented an app that lets you input all your courses and then tells you what major you’re closest to fulfilling so you can graduate early and become a “consultant,” whatever that means. Someone please make that app, by the way. Oh yeah, and the best holiday of the year (Halloween) is now an entire month behind us. The worst of the seasons has arrived, so what better time than now to review the top four spookiest places in Baltimore.
Number four: The Horse You Came In On Saloon
I love a place whose name is an inside joke between most people, excluding me. It’s either that or it just plain goes over my head. It sounds cool anyway. (Pro tip: The locals just refer to it as “The Horse.”)
Built in 1775, there’s no way this place isn’t haunted. As every old place in Baltimore advertises, Edgar Allan Poe used to go here. As not that many old places in Baltimore can say, this was the last place he went before his mysterious, naked death. After a few rounds of drinks, who am I to tell you that you won’t see his ghost? He’s a spooky dude, so this adds to the overall spook factor. The Horse is accessible by the Charm City Circulator in Fell’s Point.
Number three: Fort McHenry
Erected on the site of the former Fort Whetstone, a place that was already old and therefore probably haunted, Fort McHenry was built between 1798 and 1800. In 1814, the soldiers defending McHenry from the British inspired Francis Scott Key to write what eventually became “The Star-Spangled Banner,” also known as the national anthem of the United States of America.
Riddled with history, something this aged and controversial can’t not be full of spirits with unfinished business. A deadly flu epidemic in 1919 is responsible for even more death here, which probably explains the common sighting of ghostly nurses walking the halls. There are also fun ghostly screams that allegedly come from the dungeons, if dungeons aren’t already scary enough. My preferred way to get there is via the Water Taxi from the Inner Harbor. Boats are fun.
Number two: Westminster Hall and Burying Ground
It would be extremely predictable to end a spooky list with a cemetery, which is why this is number two. The Burying Ground has all the usual features of a cemetery: dead human bodies in the ground, spooky, it’s also haunted by folks who died during the War of 1812. Furthermore, it’s the eternal resting place of our old pal Poe, in case you thought for a second that a list about haunted things in Baltimore could go more than 10 paragraphs without mentioning him. You can get to Westminster by taking the Purple Route to Fayette Street and walking west until you get to a giant former Presbyterian church. Now, on to the less expected…
Number one: USS Constellation
In every scary movie, the protagonist starts to realize something is up, goes to call the cops and realizes she’s got no cell service. For some probably supernatural reason, this boat is also a dead zone, so you can’t call the Coast Guard and tell them about the ghosts eating you. If being on a haunted ship that has seen and abetted death from the Civil War to World War Two isn’t spooky enough, they offer an overnight adventure program where you get to be scared for an entire night. Added spook: Tickets are $13.
Honorable mention that nobody will ever go to because it’s super far: Glenn Dale Hospital
We’re talking American Horror Story-style abandoned (closed) tuberculosis sanatorium. There is a plethora of stories about tortured patients and secret tunnels probably used for more torturing of patients. If I had a car, I might take the 895 out of town to go steal a no trespassing sign from there. I probably wouldn’t actually trespass, though, because I’m too scared (and also asbestos). Either way, if half of the urban legends I’ve heard are true, Glenn Dale puts the other places on this list to shame. Reach out if you go.
So take a break from not studying this December and maybe go get yourself haunted. Next time, I’ll follow up with Baltimore’s top four exorcists.