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Haunted Ellicott City

We would like to thank everyone for letting us use their stories to share with visitors to ellicottcity.net. If you have a haunting story that you would like to share, e-mail me and I'll add it for you. We would also like to thank Troy Taylor for letting us use his stories to share with everyone here on ellicottcity.net



The Hayden House

Hayden House
The old Hayden House, or Oak Lawn as the house was called, is a small stone house that was built back in the early 1800's. Once located on its own lot, the house is now surrounded by additions that have been made to the Howard County Courthouse over the years. It is not an easy place to find, but well worth a look should you ever get the chance. The house was built by Edwin Parson Hayden, the first county clerk in Ellicott City, and he lived there with his wife and six children up until the time of his death in 1850.
After that, the house saw several different owners, including the Howard County Board of Education and the District Court. In 1981, the house sat vacant for several years before being taken over by the county law library.

Stories about Oak Lawn and the mysterious events going on there began many years ago and continue today, although they probably peaked during the 1970's when the house was occupied by the district court and the county office of parole and probation. Clerks and secretaries often reported lights turning on and off by themselves, a coffee pot that would heat up... even when it was unplugged and the sounds of phantom footsteps echoing through unoccupied parts of the building. There were also stories of a rocking chair that moved by itself and of a staff member who came to work early one morning and saw a man through the glass panes of the front door. A check of the building revealed that no one (living, that is) was inside.

Frankly, I find the stories of the coffee pot which heated up on its own to be the most entertaining, especially in light of some of the phenomena that accompanied it. The most commonly reported strange events were the phantom smells of Oak Lawn..... the smells of soup and bacon and eggs that would waft through the building during the day and into the night. It was not the odors themselves that seemed to disturb the staff but the source of them.. or rather the lack of a source. At the time, there were no cooking appliances in the building and no cooking done there at all. Soon, the ghost was dubbed the "cooking ghost" and the smells of various foods became commonplace.

The smells of food were not the only way the ghost chose to make its presence known however. One staff member, who probably had more strange encounters than any other because of the late and solitary hours he worked, reported a number of events like seeing cloth napkins fold and re-fold themselves before his eyes and hearing a number of noises that he could not explain. On one occasion, he believed that he actually saw the ghost itself. He was working late one night and was on his way to the second floor when he noticed what appeared to be a "white haze" out of the corner of his eye. He looked quickly and saw the misty ball of vapor hanging in the air. It was very dense but he could
see the way behind it... and then it vanished. Oak Lawn remains a haunted place today and visitors are able to see it on the Haunted Ellicott City Ghost Tour.


Personal Stories
In response to the hayden house story; I currently work in the court house and I hear weird things all the time. Also, I have a hot plate that turns on by it's self. I have to literally unplug it from the wall and the tempature dial on it still turns. One of my co workers has seen a women go through the wall that goes straight into the law library aka hayden house

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The Ghost of Lilburn

find out what is going on
Lilburn
Lilburn is one of the most beautiful homes in the town of Ellicott City, Maryland and it is also the most notorious of the town's haunted residences. The unexplained happenings here have
given rise to ghost stories that date back more than a century.. and they still continue today. Lilburn was built in 1857 by Henry Richard Hazelhurst, a prosperous business owner who would go on to make a fortune in the iron trade during the Civil War. As the years passed, a series of tragedies struck the family as Hazelhurst lost his wife and several children. One of them, a daughter, was said to have died in childbirth at Lilburn. Hazelhurst outlived most of his family and died in 1900 at the age of 85.


In 1923, the Maginnis family purchased Lilburn and it was during the time in which they lived in the house that the stories of ghostly activity in the mansion began making the rounds in town. It was said that footsteps were heard by the family in the tower, along with many other strange noises which could not be explained. It was suggested that the ghost might be the daughter of Henry Hazelhurst who had spent her final days in the house before dying when giving birth. Tragedy almost struck another family at Christmas time that year, when a fire broke out and much of the mansion was ruined. The place was completely rebuilt, except for one minor change.... when the tower was reconstructed, Maginnis chose to replace the gothic peaks that had been on it with stone battlements.

Apparently, this slight change did not sit well with the ghosts of Lilburn, because paranormal activity began to increase, leading many to wonder if Henry Hazelhurst himself might still be lingering behind. The stories of ghosts continued for years and the house was owned by several different families. In the 1960's, it was purchased by the Balderson family who had their own share of supernatural tales about the house. The phantom footsteps continued to be heard and the family dog refused to go into a small room on the second floor hallway. On another occasion, a heavy chandelier in the dining room began swinging back and forth during a party, startling many family friends. The windows in the tower refused to stay closed and at one point, Balderson resorted to tie the windows shut with a heavy rope. By the time he had finished tying the rope and walked outside to see the windows from the exterior of the house, the ropes had already been undone and the windows opened by unseen hands. A housekeeper for the Balderson's claimed to hear a child crying in the house and also to have smelled a man's cigar in the library... even though there was no one else in the room. She also claimed to see several apparitions in the house, including the shadowy figure of a man and a girl in a chiffon dress, walking down one of the hallways.

Following the Balderson's tenure in the house, it was purchased by Dr. Eugenia King, who lived there with her son. They also reported problems with the tower windows and a repeat performance of the chandelier in the dining room. An additional occurrence took place when a vase of flowers suddenly turned upside down and emptied itself onto the floor. In 1983, the house was purchased by another family, who restored the house and made some major renovations. They claimed to have no encounters with the supernatural occupants of the house..... and yet by 1988, it was on the market again.

The house is private property today, but watch for it to soon be included in the upcoming book, haunted Ellicott City by David Ketchersid and Troy Taylor.


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The Patapsco Female Institute

For pictures and more information
The Patapsco Female Institute
The Patapsco Female Institute is found high above Ellicott City on Church Road. The view from the front lawn of the ruins, once a girl's school, is a commanding one and looks out small town, the hills and the river beyond. It is hard to imagine the place as it once looked, although valiant efforts in recent years have erased the signs of time and vandals and have restored at least a portion of the old building. It is not hard to imagine that this scenic and beautiful spot may become a little bit spookier once darkness comes to Ellicott City... or that it is home to at least one ghost! The school had the distinction of being one of the first female institutes in the south when it was officially opened in 1839. The walls were constructed of yellow granite and huge columns supported the magnificent porch.

The west wing was given over to an immense ballroom and the floors were made from a fine hardwood. The house was decorated with fine tapestries and imported furnishing and fabrics and needless to say, attracted daughters from the cream of southern society. Despite the opulent surroundings, life at the institute could be rigid, especially for wealthy girls who were used to be waited on at home. The building was made of stone and could be bitterly cold in the winter. There were no sanitary facilities at the school and so chamber pots were used. Colds and sickness spread among the girls during the wet and cool months and a number of girls even died from influenza and croup. One such girl was said to be Annie Van Derlot, the daughter of a rich southern planter. She died from pneumonia during her first winter at the school and her ghost is said to still linger there, roaming the ruins where her classrooms and dormitory used to be. Annie was said to have resented being sent to the small mill town of Ellicott City to attend school. She sent a number of letters home which protested her"incarceration" and spoke badly of the school. One has to wonder how happy her spirit must be when wandering the despised building under the light of the moon. Needless to say, much has changed at the Institute over the years... but the stories of Annie's ghost remains, through the years of the school, through the occupants after and even up until today. A few years ago, a girl who found herself separated from a group of visitors to the site saw something that she will never forget. She was alone near the front steps of the school when she saw a young woman in a long gown walk out of the front doors, down the stone steps and across the lawn... where she abruptly vanished. Was it Annie... or some other spirit lingering behind at the former institute?

After the Civil War, the lives of the young girls who attended the Patapsco Institute changed drastically. Things were now very different in the south and classes on etiquette and manners did not seem so important anymore. The curriculum at the school made many changes and shortly, its reputation began to suffer. By 1891, the Patapsco Female Institute had closed its doors for good. Later that same year, the building was purchased by James E. Tyson and it was turned into a summer hotel. It was during this time that a large porch was added (since destroyed) and a spacious in-ground swimming pool. The pool has survived, although it is now a weed-choked ruin which lies just off of the current property line of the old building. The building was purchased again 14 years later and named Bern Alwick, after the English ancestral home of the new owner Miss Lilly Tyson. She used the place as a residence for three years before it changed hands again. This time, in 1917, the school was turned into a 50-bed hospital for wounded service men from World War I. It is unknown just how many soldiers may have passed away in the old building but one has to wonder if any of them chose to stay behind in the massive building as time passed on. In the 1930's, the building became known as the Hilltop Theater for a short time, but it saw its last occupants in the 1940's. The last occupant was Mrs. Magnolia Brennan, who later willed the school to her daughter. She, in turn, sold the
house to Dr. James J. Whisman, who willed it to his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati. It was during the time that Dr. Whisman owned the building that he ordered it gutted so that no one would be hurt there. It had become a popular spot for teenagers to visit but even after the work was done, the local police still received disturbance calls from neighbors. Today, the site is accessible as a historic park and has been partially restored for events. It is also an active archaeological site as well. There are tours conducted through the structure and more information is available by calling 410.465.8500. The Institute is also included on the Haunted Ellicott City Ghost Tour.

PFI Personal Stories

Message: Okay so I have two stories that deal with these haunted places. my other one happened right after seven hills road. Me and my friends after driving down seven hills road at night decided to drive up to the patapso female institute. We were pretty freaked out cause of the headlights that almost hit us on seven hills road as we drove up to the asylum. it was very dark and foggy/humid from the storm that had happened during the day.we slowly pulled into the asylum, looking out the window not really paying attention to what was in front of us. all or a sudden Jess, the girl driving let out a scream. she kept saying oh my god. my friend alex and I looked up and saw a creepy old man walking up the drive way very slowly. then, he slowly turned over his shoulder to stare at us as he kept walking. We reversed out of that drive way as fast as we could! We had never heard of other people seeing a ghostly old man until I looked on this site and saw that another girl saw the same man! Meagan

Message: I saw a ghost (?) at the Female Institute one day. I had no idea that the place had a reputation for that sort of thing, so as my friend and I were walking on the grounds one lovely autumn day, I thought nothing of the workman that I saw walking along the top structure. He appeared to have overall-type pants on and had just an average-look of a workman. The year was probably around 1996 or so. When the man got to the end of the structure, I asked my friend where the man went. He said, "What man?" I said, "The guy that was just walking on the top." He said that it was impossible. I argued with him and so sure of myself, walked around to the back of the structure to look for the steps that he must have walked down. There were none. I circled the structure several times in amazement because I had seen the man so vividly. Terry


Mt. Ida Visitor Center for the PFI

Mt. Ida

Find out more information

Historic Mt. Ida is the visitor center and office for the Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park

Mt. Ida was designed in the early 1800's by the famous architect N.G. Starkweather, who also designed the chapel that was added onto the Patapsco Female Institute in the 1850's and many homes and buildings in the Baltimore area. In the old photos and prints of Ellicott City, Mt. Ida is depicted as one of the most prominent landmarks of the town. The house was actually built by Charles Timanus (who also built the Patapsco school) for William Ellicott. He was the son of Jonathan and Sarah Ellicott and the grandson of Andrew, one of the founders of Ellicott Mills. Mt. Ida was the last home to be built by an Ellicott within the town limits. Unfortunately, William died in 1838 at the age of only 43 and he never had the chance to really enjoy his new home. In the 1850's, the house became the residence of Judge John Snowden Tyson, a member one of Maryland's most prominent families. He and his wife Rachel lived there until the 1870's and it was from this family which the ghostly legend of the house has sprung. After the death of the Tyson's, the house was left to their children. The eldest son, John, was tragically killed in a boating accident, leaving three maiden sisters behind. All three of them resided in the house until they died. The last to pass away was Miss Ida Tyson and many believe that it is her ghost who maintains a presence in the house. According to many who have lived and worked there over the years, they have heard the peculiar sound of Miss Ida's keys rattling as she roams the house. Apparently, the elder lady kept a ring of keys with her at all times and many claim to have heard these keys on various occasions. During the last years of her life, Miss Ida was recalled as a lively person who used and ear horn and a cane to move about. She is said to have loved the old house and the spirit that she left behind certainly seems to be a benevolent one. Mt. Ida has changed little over the years, still looking much as it did more than a century ago. Recent restoration work has dramatically enhanced the house and looks to make it a viable landmark of Ellicott City for many , many years to come. Visitors may visit the house and receive more information by calling 410.465.8500. The house will also be seen on the Haunted Ellicott City Ghost Tour.

Mt. Ida Personal Stories

Message: I live on Mt. Ida Dr., I have this little girl who roams my small hallway, she gets a little silly @ times and throws items out of my closet. She loves to talk and visit my 12 yr old son. He can tell you exactly what she looks like. She has a pony tail, and wears a white dress that flows. we call her Ashy Paddle. Jean

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Ellicott City's Old Fire Station


It is said to be haunted by a few of the old firemen Its said that doors slam and one of the ghost has been seen its also been said to hear footsteps.

Heart Beat Bridge
Years ago, at a house opposite the bridge, a man cut a woman's heart out and threw it into a stream by the bridge. To this day, if you go there, and turn off your engine ... you can still hear her heart beat. Off of Bonnie Branch Road
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Hell House - St Mary's College
The Truth, myths & facts

Hell House - St Mary's College
Others have seen or heard of the mysterious old staircase leading up from the road and back into the woods. Few people know the real story behind this structures, though. The building is what remains of St. Mary's College, a seminary for young men joining a Roman Catholic religious order known as the Redemptorists. The college operated at that site for over a century. more


7 Hills Road


There are seven hills behind Historic Ellicott City, which is said; Supposedly, if you hit the seventh hill at midnight, you will be chased by a demon car that appears out of nowhere. Again this is a myth, and I don't suggest anyone try this, as people have lost their lives on this road!

7 Hill's Road - Personal Stories

3 November 2012: Well, it was during the Fall of 2011. If I remember correctly, it was October 16th. Me, my sister, my mother, and my mother's boyfriend, Mike, were riding around Ellicott City b/c my mother has a fascination with the supernatural and the "unexplained." We decided to ride up Seven Hill Road. We had been driving for a while, visiting other haunted "hot-spots", so it had just so happened to be around midnight. We decided to put the "Ghost Car" myth to the test. Me and my mother have had some "unexplainable" incidents, so we thought something might happen. We made sure that no one was driving or walking so we could speed down the hills. We hit about 93 mile per hour and reached the end of the road. We had seen nothing. So we made a U-Turn and tried again. Still nothing. We had tried this about five times and got nothing. So we decided that the "Ghost Car" myth, was really just a myth after-all, that was until we turned around to go back home. We raced down the street a little after  midnight just to enjoy the "butterfly" fellings we got in our stomachs. When this dark colored truck appeared almost out of no where. We had panicked and drove even faster, hitting about 98 miles per hour, hoping the the truck would slow down and back off. If only that had happened. The truck sped up right on our tail and we expected to get rear-ended. It was just our luck when we reached the end of the road and the truck disappeared. We had not know what we experienced that night. We still think it was the "Ghost Car." But we may never know. All I can say is, I do believe in this myth. With my past of "paranormal" and that night, it is all I have to answer with what it was. You may not believe, but I must say I do. Allie


Message: I have been to 7 hills many times 3 of them I was there t 12 on the dot and was never chased by a Demond truck. But  I was friends with one of the 2 boys who died there on November 26th and really going up there isn't worth it. I understand I'm a teenager and I do stupid things but speeding on that road is the dumbest thing you could ever do It is a long windy unlighted road. Alex
Message: OKay so I have two stories that deal with these haunted places. in one, My friend Jess said she wanted to take us to seven hills road and my other friends and I had no idea what that was. So we went along and all of a sudden Jess started speeding and going 80 down this road! My friend alex and I who were in the back seat started yelling at here and telling her to slow down. as we came over the the peak of the seventh hill we saw headlight coming straight at us and had to swerve out of the way. we slowed down cause we were freaked out and then saw someone following us in a black truck. he kept flashing his high beams at us and we were freaked out so we pulled into a drive way to turn around. the truck pulled in after us so we freaked out and tried to back out around him. Then he turned on a red siren, he was an under cover cop. Jess got yelled at severly and he told us we were lucky no one else was on the road. we said the was and he said he had been hiding out on that road and no one  else had driven on it recently. So was it the "demon truck" that almost hit us at the crest of the seventh hill? we have no idea, but it certinly freaked us out!- Meagan
Message: On the 14th of February, it was a long and gloomy night... my girlfriend and I were steadily cruising over the 3rd Hill when, suddenly, a big truck (with its highbeams on) came roaring behind us... We pulled over, and to our surprise, it just kept going. We then realized that we were immensely caught up in the hype of the mysterious truck stories 7 Hills has to offer. As we got back on our way, rather merrily from the 3rd Hill incident, we again were blinded by a creeping high beam coming straight from behind us and had to pull over on this frustratingly narrow road; again. As we made eye contact with the driver who slowly, but sternly, passed us, we saw smoke coming out of his cabin. My girlfriend started freaking out about the smoke and swears that must've been the demon truck! About 100 ft down, as we watched the truck pass by, we saw the driver flick his cigarette butt out the window and were overcome by our great sigh of relief! WHEW~! James
Message: My brother Tim was one that lost his life on this road in 1971. He wasn't driving but with a group of teens that were joyriding. I can still see the picture of the twisted car on the cover of the Catonsville Times.  Please don't try to hit the 7th or any of the hills at anytime.  This tradgedy haunts me to this day. Barb Rustic Pollihan
Message: The "myth" about the demon car is true, a group of friends and i drove through 7 hills pulling up to the hull house which is after the 7th hill when we got chased by a mysterious van where the driver couldn't be seen, until we hit route 40 when the van turned off its lights, made a u-turn and went back towards 7 hills, this was in november of 1994. this is the first of many unexplainable encounters i've had, such as witnessing a woman, dressed in a black cloak with no iris or pupils grinning at us, seeing a dark apparition at the top of hull house and when we ran, it glowed behind us... 7 hills believer
Message: I was driving down Seven Hills Road, and as I hit the seventh hill, I look in my rearview mirror. theres this truck behind me with its high beams on, as I sped up, it stayed on my bumper. I decided to slow down so it would pass me. As it passed I got a glimpse inside, there was a dark shadow figure and as we looked at each other its head caught fire. Then it drove it sped up a bit, drove directly at  a fence and went right through it nad through the trees....so scary. never going on that road again. Eti
Message: I have been to 7 hills and all those places when I was 16.  The names for the places are different though from when I was growing up.  Creepy College as we know it is the Pataspco Female Institue.  And also at that location people live underground right below it with there 3 rottweillers.  7 Hills, you cant jump the 7th hill (Heading onto the road with Sheppard Pratt on the Right hand side of you) because the hill turns to the left to sharpley.  It is the 4th hill that you can jump.  But you have to be heading on College Avenue where Sheppard Pratt is on the right hand side of you.  Trust me I know this because I have done it many of times.  I have been chased on College Avenue by a Black Truck also a Red Truck.  But I do believe it belongs to the people that live underground below Creepy College.  I seen the same exact truck parked up in the driveway that heads to the college.  Heartbeat Bridge as you call it I have always known of it as Crybaby Bridge.  You sit on the bridge and  turn off your motor and listen for the baby to cry and yes I have heard it before but only once.  Then there is a painted cross on Church Road that if you sit you car on top of the painted cross turn your engine off and honk your horn three times that Black Abbey's ghost is suppose to chase you.  I saw a see through black thing come out from nowhere and it followed us until we got back onto main street.  Also before that the only thing that we have had happened to us on the cross was a homeowner came out of his house with his shot gun.  The train tunnel where creepy college is if you go into there you will hear a train horn blow but guess what no train has appeared.  Also crybaby bridge used to be a wooden bridge and now they redid the bridge now it is concrete. #1 7 Hills Girl Jumper
Message: When I was 16 years old, my brother and I and some of our friends, who frequently would take drives up and down River Rd and Bonnie Branch Rd, just for something to do, were out for one of Our Joy rides and Just happened to Come across 7 hills by accident, it was well after midnight, me being the levelheaded one and my brother being the daredevil, I wanted to go home, it seemed like we were the only ones on the road, pitch black, dead silence, then out of nowhere, headlights right on top of us, freaked us out, thought it was going to RAM into our car, but it didn't, we sped up and pulled off and when we calmed down enough to get back on the road it was gone, it was nowhere, the road stretch for miles, its like it appeared out of nowhere, I never forgot that experience and til this day will never drive 7 hills at night. DH
Message: Supposedly another myth is said about hitting the seventh hill in Ellicott City...It is said that after midnight or on Halloween night if you go to the 7th hill and turn your lights off and pour flour,baking soda, [white powder of any sort]and when you turn your car and lights back on there will be hand prints all over your wind shield. Jennifer

Message: umm. i have been to seven hills quite a few times along with the college that barley any one knows about and if they do they normally cant find it and way i have waited out side my car and drove on 7 hills never to be chased the only thing you have to be worried about begin chased by is police officers. Tiffany


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