About Creative Writing, On Life

Ellicott City: Steeped in Ghost Lore

There is a lot of ghost lore in Ellicott City, Maryland. There are stories that surround the historic city, its houses, its landmarks, and its pubs—it’s one of the most “haunted” cities in America. I wrote a non-fiction piece about it recently, so I thought I would post it.

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Ellicott City Train Tressle. Photo: forum.skyscraperpage.com

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The Only Ghost I Ever Saw

 

The only ghost I ever saw


Was dressed in mechlin, — so;


He wore no sandal on his foot,


And stepped like flakes of snow.


His gait was soundless, like the bird,


But rapid, like the roe;


His fashions quaint, mosaic,


Or, haply, mistletoe.



 

His conversation seldom,


His laughter like the breeze


That dies away in dimples


Among the pensive trees.


Our interview was transient,–
Of me, himself was shy;


And God forbid I look behind


Since that appalling day!

            –Emily Dickinson

There is a ghost who appears to like bacon. In the dwellings of historic Hayden House, this ghost is said to conjure up smells of bacon, eggs, and soup. The tang of these foods can be identified at any time of day—or night. Surprisingly, and ironically, in fact, it also seems that there are absolutely no cooking appliances or tools in the house at all. A sign that perhaps what is now dubbed “the cooking ghost” either wants his own kitchen or his own show on the Food Network? Or maybe he wants to audition for “Ghost Hunters.” Nevertheless, if ghosts and paranormal behavior intrigue you, Ellicott City, Maryland, will entertain you with chilling stories of the dead.

Who can resist the creepy stories of the coffee pot ghost, who turns on the pot and brews coffee, even when it is unplugged? The sounds of footsteps in beautiful Lilburn mansion continue today. The house could not retain owners and was sold constantly from the 1960s to present, the owners leaving their abode with stories of strange occurrences. In one particular case, a dog would not enter a room in the mansion out of fear. Additional bizarre paranormal activity included individuals in the house smelling the stench of cigars even when no one was in the room. Windows in the mansion were often opened after being sealed shut with heavy rope—and an apparition appeared in the house. The multitude of residents and owners of the house have documented these peculiar incidents. These are strange happenings, indeed.

It’s all very intriguing, isn’t it? You often tell yourself you do not believe in ghosts. The supernatural is out of the realm of existence–or is it? Visitors to the Old Fire Station on Main Street know better than to be fooled by such closed-minded thinking. The spirits of deceased firemen are said to slam the doors; in fact, one fireman ghost actually appeared, and others have heard the footsteps rumbling through the station.

Whatever you do, when you visit the town, do not be persuaded to travel up what was known as Seven Hills Road behind the historic area. Stay away! You have been warned. For if you dare to travel this road at midnight, a demon car might appear out of nowhere, chase you for miles, and leave you for dead. You will have no other warning but mine. Heed it, for I cannot have your safety and welfare weigh heavily on my mind.

Historic Ellicott City, an old mill town that was founded by the Ellicott brothers in 1772, is full of quaint antique shops, eclectic collector shops, local restaurants, and pubs that are unique to the town. There is a cemetery that sits high on the hill behind Envy Hair Salon where soldiers from the Civil War were buried; rumor has it, these ghosts haunt the hills. Mt. Ida and the Patapsco Female Institute are two other well-known haunted, buildings. More spooky tales about this amusing old city await you. Book a Ghost Tour, grab your candle (or flashlight), and be prepared. You’ll walk the cobblestone streets and learn a great deal about the history of Ellicott City and its transparent, sometimes lustrous, often noisy, ingeniously crafty ghosts. Tour guides will describe the spellbinding tales of this charming and rich ghost town for you in gruesome detail. The downtown area is contained; it is easy to move from one destination to another. Stopping points on the tour include shop owners, residents, and restaurant owners. They will offer their thoughts on their own interactions with the spirits. What an absolutely ghoulish delight!

Ellicott City is located west of downtown Baltimore; in fact, in 1830 the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad built the first 13 miles of railroad track from Baltimore to the Ellicott City railroad station. This station, the oldest in America, is a museum and boasts exhibits on the early railroads, educational programs, and a Christmas train garden. Not frightening? Beware; it is well documented that the railroad bridge just behind the museum is haunted.

There are several other disturbed dwellings on the tour, but now I must take my leave of you. I don’t want to frighten you away. Instead, I offer you this: If you have the desire to feel the hairs on your arms stand up and goose bumps run up your spine, visit this mystifying city that’s steeped in exceptional ghost lore.

One more thing—

Boo.

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