Friday, October 22, 2010

Haunted History: Spooky Baltimore Spots to Visit with Kids (No Need to Tell Them It's Educational Too!)

A spooky depiction of Edgar Allan Poe's grave at
Westminster Church Cemetary, right here in Baltimore.
As we count down the days 'til Halloween, here are some adventures your family can embark on to celebrate the spooky holiday AND Baltimore's treasure trove of history:

The Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum: Perhaps one of Baltimore's most famous residents, Poe is the "father of the horror genre," which makes the house he lived in from 1832 to 1835 a perfect first spot for your haunted history tour. Legend goes that a spirit by the name of Mr. Eddie watches over the home and the surrounding neighborhood. Could Mr. Eddie be Poe's ghost?!

The Poe Grave: Your next haunted history stop is just a short walk from Poe's home. Visit the Westminster Church Cemetary to see where the famous author is buried, along with other prominent Baltimoreans, like Colonel James McHenry after which Fort McHenry was named. Poe's original headstone was destroyed in a freak train accident, so the one you'll see today was erected in 1875. Each year a mysterious individual places a single red rose and a bottle of cognac at the foot of Poe's memorial. Traditionally, visitors leave a few coins on the grave, as well as food for the many cats who watch over the cemetary--and yes, there's a back one!

The USS Constellation: Head over to Harborplace for lunch then climb aboard the circa 1854 USS Constellation, which is steeped in ghostly history. One story tells of a priest who was guided on a tour around the ship by himself by an older man who was extremely knowledgeable about its history. The priest later found out that no such tour guides existed at the time. Other visitors claim hearing strange noises while aboard. Perhaps most noteworthy is a 1955 photo published in the Baltimore Sun, which seems to show a ghostly figure standing on the deck. Many hypothesize that it is the spirit of a young Naval officer who lost his life in service.

Fort McHenry: Fort McHenry is famous for the inspiration of Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner," but many don't know that it's just as infamous for its spookiness. Officers who work at the fort report hearing footsteps, windows being opened and closed, doors slamming, and lights being turned back on after they've already turned them off. Much of these hauntings are attributed to the many people who were detained in the fort's dungeons during the Civil War. Today these dungeons are open for viewing. See what's lurking behind the iron bars!

If you take the haunted history tour challenge, be sure to snap some photos and send them to We'd love to spook out our fans! You never know, you just might capture a spirit in your lens. Happy haunting!


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