There is an abundance of ghost stories in Fell’s Point. Many of the people who live and work here are convinced of their existence and continued interaction with the living. Perhaps the most notorious is centered on The Horse You Came In On Saloon. The famous poet Edgar Allen Poe was a regular of the saloon and, according to local legend, was the last place he visited on the night he died. It is said that Poe’s spirit still is still a regular of the saloon. The Horse’s bartenders are known to leave out a glass of cognac for his enjoyment and some believe he can be seen walking towards the saloon when his ethereal thirst requires quenching.
A more recent ghost sighting made the news this month when a couple on a ghost tour through Fell’s Point managed to capture a photo of what looks like the specter of a young girl in a window on the third floor of Bertha’s Mussels. In the picture you see a blue light in the form of two arms extending from the room and through the window. The couple intended only to take pictures of building, but when they reviewed the photo, they saw the apparition and immediately shared it with their tour guide.
The picture coincides with a story told by an employee of the restaurant. Venturing to an upstairs store room, he witnessed a young girl dressed in clothing from early 19th century standing in the moonlight. Her ghost looked startled by his presence and quickly disappeared. We expect the feeling was mutual.
The Admiral Fell’s Inn has a reputation as one of the most haunted hotels in the United States. The hotel was once a boarding house for sailors and a common place for seaman and prostitutes to…celebrate and uh, so on. Ahem. In 2003, the hotel was completely evacuated due to Hurricane Isabel. Only the general manager stayed behind to board the windows. Whilst about his preparations, he claims to have heard what sounded like a large party happening in the upstairs of the hotel.
Stories of hauntings occur most frequently in places with a history of tragedy and violence. In the case of Fell’s Point, this harbor community suffered two outbreaks of yellow fever in 1794 and 1797, presumably brought in by ships which traveled abroad. Some believe the neighborhood sits atop a mass grave of the infected. As for violence, 330 British sailors along with 4 Americans died nearby at the battle of Fort McHenry in 1814 during the War of 1812.
What I find interesting about these reports of hauntings is that they always seem to be doing in the afterlife what they did in their material lives. There are rumors of deceased bell hops at the Admiral Fell’s Inn who still knock on room doors to former seamen of the U.S.S. Constellation (which harbors in Baltimore) carrying out their daily duties. Even the dead must earn a living, apparently.
Walk into any bar in Fell’s Point and the locals might tell you their own experiences with ghosts over a pint.
~ Old Henry