With a history permeated with both Revolutionary and Civil War tales of bravery and valor, the beauty of picturesque Frederick hides a darker story or two. Behind the smiles of passersby creeps encounters hard to define and even harder to forget. Sure to stir doubt in even the strongest skeptics, these five haunts prove Frederick, Maryland, isn’t for the faint of heart.
- National Museum of Civil War MedicineThe National Museum of Civil War Medicine is housed in the Carty building, which once served as the office of an embalmer whose assistant is still said to be roaming the halls (photo by Harej)Frederick was a medical hotspot during the Civil War, as churches, buildings, and even residences were turned into makeshift hospitals to care for the war’s wounded and dying. While the museum itself wasn’t formed until 1990, the building that houses their exhibits (and maybe a little more) has a history dating back to a time before the war-torn days.At one point in the Carty building’s history, it was the site of Richard Burr’s embalming business. Rumor has it Burr would often do his work in front of the windows so the process could be seen by those passing by. Some say his assistant still roams the building along with several other ghosts. Others have reported seeing spirits near museum objects that belonged to the pair more than 150 years ago.
- Schifferstadt Architectural Museum The Schifferstadt is one of the oldest and most well-known haunts in Frederick, with original owners, Joseph Bruner and his son Elias often spottedArguably the most well-known haunted site in Frederick, the 1758 Schifferstadt Architectural Museum is also one of the oldest buildings in the city. Elias Bruner, youngest son of Joseph Bruner, built the stone farmhouse on the land his father had named Schifferstadt, after his German hometown.The father and son took a lot of pride in the 303 acres of land Joseph had bought, along with the stone house his son built. So much pride, it seems, that when the house fell into disrepair and was in danger of being torn down centuries later, they felt the need to return to their beloved home. After renovations began, people began hearing voices both in English and German, along with footsteps throughout the museum. A few have even claimed to hear the sound of hammering, as if the Bruners are making repairs to their home once more.
- Barbara Fritchie House
The Barbara Fritchie House (reconstructed) in Frederick, Maryland (photo by Muhranoff)Local legend Barbara Fritchie’s claim to fame came in the form of a poem written by John Greenleaf Whittier in 1863. The story behind the poem claimed that Fritchie had waved the Union flag at Confederate troops that had occupied Frederick. She supposedly told a Confederate general, “Shoot if you must this old gray head, but spare your country’s flag.”While Fritchie’s original home washed away during a storm, the building standing today is a reconstruction built in 1927. Reconstruction or not, Fritchie’s spirit is said to still linger on site. Lights have been reported turning on when no one is in the home, and her rocking chair seems to rock itself, perhaps as Fritchie still watches the town of Frederick from her window.
- Frederick Historical SocietyNow the site of the Frederick Historical Society, the home was once the Loats Female Orphanage. It’s speculated that a certain headmistress still roams the halls tending to the occupants. (Photo courtesy of the Maryland Historical Trust)The home that now houses the Frederick Historical Society was built in 1834. For almost fifty years the home served as a private residence until it was willed to the Evangelical Lutheran church who turned it into the Loats Female Orphanage. The girls home operated for nearly eighty years before it closed, and the house was bought by the Frederick Historical Society.Since the historical society moved in, they haven’t been the only ones frequenting the halls. It seems they have a permanent resident – a woman in a white dress. No one seems to know exactly who the pale lady is, with hair pulled high on her head in a bun , but a few have speculated that she might be Lizzie Kreh, a former headmistress and music teacher at the orphanage. Whatever her purpose for staying at the home, she appears harmless, perhaps still tending to the home after all her girls have left.
- Tyler Spite House Angered over the city planning a road through his property, Dr. Sam Tyler built a house in 1813 to destroy their plans. Although he used it as a rental property, Dr. Tyler is believed to remain in the home today.As the name suggests, Dr. Sam Tyler built his home in 1813 out of sheer spite. And why not? The city had made plans to lay a new street that went right through his property. He would have none of that, so he hired a crew to quickly dig the foundation for another house beside his own residence. Local lore says when the city workers showed up to start the road, Dr. Tyler was sitting in his rocking chair in the newly dug foundation.Defiant in life and maybe so in death. Now a bed and breakfast, people have reported many a strange encounter at the Tyler Spite House. One woman that spent time in the house reported seeing an apparition of a man with long, stringy hair. Once, she awoke to his poking at her with a long, bony finger. It seems Dr. Tyler still isn’t a fan of people on his property.
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