Local haunts that really do go bump in the night
One of the ongoing perks of living just outside the nation's capital is being constantly surrounded by a range of historical landmarks. But, in the spirit of Halloween and all things ghoulish and ghastly, "historical" has become synonymous with "haunted." Although hard to distinguish amid the modern roads and power lines today, old communities such a Rockville, Sandy Spring and Silver Spring boast some of the most dated and most notoriously haunted places in the area. According to Shannon O'Rourke of the Montgomery County Historical Society (MCHS), "everything around here's supposed to be haunted."
Haunted houses even the Addams' would envy
The Beall-Dawson House – Rockville
Another legend circulating about the Beall-Dawson house centers on a doll house given to a young girl on her second birthday. After her untimely death a few years later, the doll house was taken out every year in her memory. Strangely, the furniture in the house would always be in a different room, scaring the bejeezus out the Society members. After selling the doll house's furniture, volunteers have reported wailing sounds around the empty doll house.
Bloomfield – Avalon
Home of one of the most persistent ghosts in Montgomery County, the Bloomfield estate was owned by the Patterson family in the 1950s. Groves Patterson, then just a young boy, used to sleep in the old nursery, which as also inhabited by a friendly ghost Groves fondly referred to as "Aah"; Aah is distinctly described as a boy with "long blond hair and wearing a night shirt that looked like a feed sack." Reportedly, Aah would appear in the nursery late at night and play with Groves' toys. When the Pattersons were out of town, their friends, the Millers, stayed at Bloomfield. Young Herbert Miller also slept in the nursery, and his parents were surprised that he had no trouble going to bed like he usually did. He later told his parents that it was because there was a delightful boy with "long blond hair and wearing a night shirt that looked like a feed sack" named "Boo" with whom he would play every night.
For more information on both of these historical houses, consult the Montgomery County Historical Society at their web site.
The Exorcist Steps – Georgetown
Not every city can claim the bragging rights of being home to the scariest movie ever made. The site of the 1973 film "The Exorcist," where the true story the film is supposedly based on, is now a popular attraction for tourists and natives alike. Although no specific hauntings have been reported, the eerily steep 97 steps at the end of M Street are enough to give anyone the goose bumps.
The Blair Witch – Burkittsville
A legend alluring enough to catch the fancy of three young filmmakers, the legend of the Blair Witch was brought to national attention through the film "The Blair Witch Project," a compilation of recovered film that had been shot by the three teens. The legend began in 1785, when a group of children accused Elly Kedward of luring them into her home and trying to draw their blood. Kedward was found guilty of witchcraft, banished from the village and presumed dead after a harsh winter. For the next hundred years, the Burkittsville area experienced several unexplainable disappearances of children, further perpetuating the Blair Witch legend. Seeing as the legend and the film are studio fabrications, no real supernatural incidences have been reported, but the studio definitely deserves commendation for its effort that continues to haunt in rentals and syndication.
Vacations gone awry
Because of the proximity to Washington, D.C., many old buildings had their starts as hotels, and then were later purchased for other exploits.
National Park Seminary – Forest Glen
Following the Depression years which took enrollment to a low of only 30 students, the school's new president, Roy Tasco Davis, recognized that the school would not survive as a social training ground for the wealthy and changed the school's focus to more practical skills, and the school's name to the National Park College to reflect this. During WWII, the Army invoked the War Powers Act and used the property as a convalescence center for wounded and shell-shocked soldiers, and was also a treatment area psychological patients. The eclectic property is now suffering from a serious case of neglect, and supernatural reports include flickering lights and the persistent sound of girls' chatter and a bouncing ball.
For more information on the Seminary's history and plans for its future, visit their web site.
Chestnut Lodge – Rockville
Note: Silver Chips Online does not condone trespassing, and recommends taking precautions for those set in investigating the supernatural.
Elsi Wu. Elsi Wu is really a middle-aged, obese Italian man. A perky CAP junior who lives for ESPN, Superbowl Sunday, Poms, and food, she watches Friends and Oprah RELIGIOUSLY along with any Redskins/Maryland games (you know, normal activities for the average obese Italian man). Instead of … More »