And few places in American history have been more defined by their past than this city. Whether serving as a stage for violent conflict, or a deep well of creative expression, Baltimore's dark past has stayed remarkably close to the present.Less
Fort McHenry is birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, and a few haunting stories, too. It survived the Civil War to then become a hospital, then come under the guardianship of the National Park Service. Staff members have reported the smell of gunpowder, the beating of drums, and shadowy figures. It's said that Pvt. John Drew still mans his prison post, while George William Brown (the city's former mayor) demands that guests bid him goodnight.
The city wasn't his birthplace, but it was the location of his untimely death. Poe was found in the gutter of a Baltimore street on October 3rd, delirious and dressed in clothing that didn't belong to him. He died four days later, on October 7, 1849. In 1949—a full century after his death—a dark figure was seen stepping into the cemetery, where they left roses and a bottle of cognac on his grave. The following year, the visitor returned, and did so for fifty consecutive years.
Built across the span of two decades, the Hampton House is a magnificent example of post-Revolutionary Georgian mansions in the country. Charles Ridgely, a wealthy businessman, built the manse for his family—and it appears that their hospitality extends beyond the grave. If you visit, keep an eye out for a woman getting ready in her ballgown, of Tom the Butler. Though he's been dead for over 30 years, it is said that he is still giving tours.
Baltimore's oldest bar is also purported to be one of the most haunted. The site started off as a tavern in 1795, when the Fells Point neighborhood was a bustling port. Though you can no longer hitch your horse out back, the barkeeps are no less hospitable...so hospitable, in fact, that they leave a snifter of cognac out every evening for their most famous resident ghost: Edgar Allan Poe. This was supposedly his last stop before his death.
Though the current iteration of the USS Constellation in Baltimore Harbor was built in 1854, it's thought that some parts of the original ship were used. Visitors report hearing voices and catching glimpses of spectral sailors walking the deck. In 1955, a Naval photographer with a camera captured something remarkable. Just before midnight, a man appeared on deck in military uniform. A picture was taken. The photo was published in The Baltimore Sun, and dated the man's uniform to the late 1800s.
According to legend, there are a few guests at the Lord Baltimore who checked in -- but never checked out. A little girl named Molly is still said to be seen playing with her red ball on the 19th floor, with her parents nearby. It's said that she and her family met their end at the place, and decided to stick around.
Edgar Allan Poe is famous for his works depicting the dark, the macabre, and the haunted. Although his former home pales in comparison to the gothic mansions he wrote about, his own house has become home to a famous haunting of its own. It's thought that the spirit of an unknown woman has moved in, causing museum visitors to feel cold spots and hear mysterious footsteps.
The almshouse opened its doors in 1872 and took in the disenfranchised: the destitute, the orphans, the elderly, the unstable. It is said that you can hear children playing around the house, and women chatting on the third floor. If you can look quickly enough, you might even catch a face. Today, the building is home to the Historical Society of Baltimore County.