Is the Spirit of Thomas Dance Still Hanging Around?
The Maryland State House in Annapolis has so many superlatives – the oldest this, the biggest that. But the 96-foot tall, all-wooden dome that caps the building in the center of State Circle also has a legendary ghost – the spirit of Thomas Dance, a plasterer who tragically fell to his death while plastering in 1793 before he got paid for his work and evidently … still holds a grudge.
Sometime in the late 1800s Maggie Bloxom was traveling by horse and carriage down the Woodland Church Road about a mile south of the Woodland Ferry landing. When the carriage was crossing a bridge that went over a small branch of the Nanticoke River, the horse got spooked. It reared up and the carriage went over the side of the bridge and into the water.
It was a horrific accident, and young Maggie was decapitated.
The local legend has many different versions of what happens when you call out to Maggie from this bridge, but most say that the call must be made at midnight or during the witching hour (between midnight and 1 am). You call, “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie” and you might just hear the hooves of the horse on the roadway coming toward you. Call again, “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie” and you might see a shadow coming out of the woods near the bridge. Call a third time, “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie” and she’ll emerge from the woods with her head in her hand, wanting you to reconnect it…wanting you to bring her back to life.
One local resident said, “Maggie can be best seen on the night of a blue moon. When her name is called, a strong breeze comes whistling through the trees and little flashes of lights, which appear to be lighting bugs come from the woods, which have been known as the Ghost Pits. They come closer and closer with each flash. You really have to see it to believe it.” There are other accounts of people’s cars acting strangely. They won’t start or will shift out of gear, or they start to move after the engine has been turned off.
Town of Woodland DE Suffers Smallpox Outbreak 1903
There was a smallpox outbreak in the little village of Woodland, Delaware in 1903. The outbreak was carried in newspapers all over the country because a large percentage of while most outbreaks in the early 1900s involved one to three people in a village, Woodland had over twenty-five, and that was a fourth of the town’s total population. the population contracted it and the village was quarantined.
On December 9, 1903, the Evening News in San Jose, California ran the story that it had picked up on a newswire, “Dover, Del., Dec 9. – An epidemic of smallpox prevails at Woodland, a town near Seaford, Del. Out of a population of about 100 persons there are twenty-five cases of the disease. The town is quarantined.”
Hal Roth, in his book You Still Can’t Get to Puckum writes that a lifelong resident told him, “My grandfather was living on the other side of the river at the time and traveled by shad barge between his farm and Seaford, paddling upriver on the flood tide and returning on the ebb. He stayed close to the other side of the river hoping he wouldn’t catch it.” The same resident also told Hal that his grandfather wouldn’t help turn the dirt for the graves for all the money in the world because they believed that smallpox never dies. And this belief was one of the reasons so many died in Woodland. Continue reading Smallpox Cemetery on the Nanticoke River→
The most beautiful house on the Caroline County’s Courthouse Square in Denton sits on the corner of Gay and Second Streets. It’s a Second Empire Victorian style with its hipped roof, center cupola, iron fence and ornate trim sets it apart from every other house on the square. The ample corner lot runs straight down to the Choptank River, which is wide and placid at this northern end, some thirty plus miles from where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay.
When a long time owner of the property moved out in 2000, a real estate agent showed the property to a potential buyer who lived out of state. The owner wasn’t present during the viewing, and the potential buyers took several photographs of the house. About a month after they had looked at the house, they returned to Denton hoping to find the owner. When they knocked on the door, there was no answer, so they visited the Town Hall hoping to get help with locating the owner.
These potential buyers had decided not to buy the house. But when they reviewed the photographs they had taken, they noticed a strange anomaly in one of them. It was disturbing. It was a view of the house from the outside that showed the front with all of its beautiful features and ornate trim. But it also showed the image of a child looking out of the third-floor window. The owner wasn’t present when the couple viewed the house, and they’d been told that no children lived there.
Old Salty on Hoopers Island ‘s is a popular destination restaurant housed in a renovated old school building. It is also haunted and home to “Mary’s Ghost.”
I didn’t know about the ghost until I ran into an employee at an event in Cambridge. The employee said it was haunted and that he’d had a few experiences. So I asked the owner, Jay Newcomb, who said several of the employees there had experienced strange things … voices, crashing sounds, vanishing customers, objects being moved. Continue reading Mary’s Ghost at Old Salty’s – Hoopers Island→
If you ever ask anyone to tell you a ghost story about the Eastern Shore, the tale of Big Lizz and the Greenbriar swamp will likely be the first story shared. The story has been around since the Civil War and has developed immense popularity with both locals and visitors. Every book written about ghosts in Maryland will feature a piece on Big Lizz. Today, teenagers still travel to DeCoursey bridge at midnight to tempt Big Lizz to emerge from the woods with her eyes glowing from the bloody head she holds in her one hand. The other hand she uses to motion you into the swamp… to find the buried treasure she help her master hide before he decapitated her.
RACKLIFFE HOUSE in Northern Worcester County was built in 1740 by Charles Rackliffe as the main house on a large plantation on Sinepuxent Bay. Author Tom Patton referred to it as the “most haunted house in the country” – and Mr. Patton was a Rackliffe descendant and knew the house well.
Like the Shoreham Hotel in Ocean City, the Rackliffe house has had (according to folklore), a murder, a suicide and an accidental death all take place in the house. It is also built on the site of an Assateague Indian camp where artifacts as old as 10,000 years have been found through excavation.
There is so much commentary on Rackliffe house being haunted that there’s almost no disagreement about the hauntings – even the docents who receive visitors at the now restored house will matter-of-factly say when asked, “Yes, people say it’s haunted.” Continue reading Rackliffe House→
The Francis Barnes House was built in 1853 on a parcel of land directly across the street from Teackle Mansion. Judge Henry Stanford bought the house in 1896. According to newspaper reports, he committed suicide in the upstairs bedroom by cutting his jugular vein.
Over the years there have been reports of Judge Stanford being seen in the house, happily reading his books and walking the halls. There are wonderful photos of Judge Stanford and his young family sitting on the porches and posing in the yard.Apparently, he loved this home. But is he still there? Ther are stories of weird events happening at the house. Even the present owners have reported paranormal activity.
Urban Legends and Folklore About the Pocomoke – Most Haunted Forest in Maryland
There’s nothing like some good old urban legends about severed heads, hitchhikers and ladies in white to get the conversation going around a campfire. There are scores of these stories set in Pocomoke Forest – all alleged to be true. In fact, there was even a research paper about the forest and its lore in the Folklore collection at the Edward H. Nabb Center at Salisbury University. Here are some of the most intriguing tales of the forest.
SHOREHAM HOTEL in Ocean City could be the most haunted building in the town. 3 ghosts! One is the ghost of a writer who committed suicide in the 1930s. 2nd is a man who was killed by a Navy Seal in the basement in the late 70s (there was a bar there at the time). And 3rd is Betsey who jumped to her death from a third floor window in the Summer of 1983.
The basement is so haunted that some employees are terrified to go down there. Boxes jump off shelves (it’s now used for storage), lights come on and off independent of electricity and many people feel rushes of cold even when the doors are all closed.
Seasonal Room 6 (Betsey’s room) always appears clean … even after guests leave. Staff never really has to deep clean it because the room is always kept in pristine condition. Guests who stay in seasonal room 6 complain about the power – whether it’s the air conditioner, lights, television … things tend to go on and off at will even though the management has continuously checked the rooms for electrical problems and found no issues.
A Paranormal group from Pennsylvania investigated the Shoreham and found a wealth of data that showed paranormal activity – including in the basement and in Seasonal Room 6. The Shoreham is a hub for paranormal activity.