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Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales

Tales From Down Below - Lower Dorchester County, MD

In 1970Ė72, folklore students from Salisbury University went into lower Dorchester County (referred to by the locals as "down below") and interviewed some of its residents. The students asked about legends, tales, ghost stories, traditions and rural living practices. These interviews have been preserved and are now housed in the Nabb Research Center on the Salisbury campus. I extracted several narratives that dealt specifically with ghosts or hauntings in the region. They are retyped here just as the informant dictated, with a little editing to make them readable. These short accounts of ghostly experiences felt by lower Dorchester folks weave an interesting cosmic tapestry that offers a glimpse of the private communities "down below."

From Gloria McWilliams (age twenty-four) of Fishing Creek, September 18, 1971. Gloria lived on Hooper Island most of her life:

"Our milkman, Ham Phillips, said that one morning while he was making deliveries, he saw a woman dressed in all white by the Blackwater Bridge. He approached the woman and asked her if she wanted a ride; she did not answer so he left. As he pulled away he noticed the woman was running alongside of his truck. He kept on going and the woman was still running beside him. She followed him to the bridge at Great Marsh (approximately 8 miles). When she got to the Great Marsh Bridge, she jumped over. Mr. Phillips kept on going and the lady was never seen again. Even today at Hooper Island the story is still being told. People say that this happened about seven years ago."

From Lilly Todd of Cambridge (born in Golden Hill), November 1971:

"A long time ago, a distant relative of mine was bitten by a rabid dog and had later developed rabies. At this time there were no hospitals or medications, so this relative of mine had to be cared for at home. They kept him in a locked room and fed him through a hole in the door. His condition got so bad that at times he would be found gnawing flesh out of his own body. Not long afterwards he died and was buried in Golden Hill Cemetery. To this day at times his jawbone still comes to the surface of the grave. This might sound a little far-fetched but Iíve seen this myself. My husband told me another story about Slaughter Creek Bridge at Golden Hill. On foggy nights a woman of some sort is suppose to come out of the water and call to travelers to follow her. After she calls to these people, she goes back over the bridge and vanishes in the water."

From William Gootee Jr. (age twenty-five) of Golden Hill, November 10, 1972:

"I know of a haunted house that you wouldnít believe. It is located at the foot of Great Marsh Bridge, near Hooper Island. The house used to belong to the Spicers. Iíve been inside the old place and that is the weirdest place! You can be just standing in the hallway and all of a sudden this howling and whistling and clanging starts. Itís almost impossible to trace the location of this as it seems to be coming from every direction. Needless to tell, not too many people care to look for the source either.

"Itís been said that if your car breaks down in the vicinity of the Catholic Church (about 6 miles from Gooteeís Marina going towards Hooper Island) that while youíre fixing your car, for instance changing a tire; you can feel something like a ladyís breath on your neck.

"Some have actually seen a figure like a womanís form, but whatever it was, there have been some awfully strange tales from this area. This form or whatever will not disappear until you have gotten the car fixed. Whatever it is, if my car ever breaks down there, Iím going to just leave it there, take the keys and run!"

From Diana McClain (age twenty-two) of Cambridge, October 18, 1971:

"At Bishopís Head it is said that an old woman used to rock and sing to her children before she sent them to bed at night. Bob would walk by her house sometimes when she was doing this. Then the old woman died. One day, Jimmy Bramble walked by the house and saw her ghost sitting on the porch. The rocking chair was rocking and he could hear hymns being sung from inside the house. As he walked by a nearby graveyard, he saw a lantern moving so he hid in order to see who was carrying the lantern. When the lantern went past him, he could see that no one was holding it and he ran away."


Images:  top - house in Crapo, MD (M. Burgoyne).  bottom - house in Bishop's Head, MD (M. Burgoyne)

..... more of these interviews and a complete chapter on hauntings in this region will be featured in
"Haunted Eastern Shore" - written by Mindie Burgoyne - published by History Press.

Big Lizz | Capt. Leonard Tawes  |  Crisfield Tales   |  Hanging Tree  |  Hope House  | Kitty Knight House  |   Patty Cannon  |  Richardson Maritime Museum   |  Marshall Price -Murder of Sallie Dean  |  Shoal Creek Manor  |  St Paul's Cemetery - Rock Hall   |  Tales From Down Below, Lower Dorchester  |  Two Haunted Tales from Somerset  |  Whitemarsh Cemetery  |  Willson's Chance - Ghost of Annie Belle Carter  |  Wish Sheppard - Caroline Jail


Haunted Eastern Shore by Mindie Burgoyne

Haunted Eastern Shore
Ghostly Tales from East of the Chesapeake
by Mindie Burgoyne

ISBN: 1596297204
PRICE: $17.99
160 Pages
Published by History Press
Haunted America series

Order Your Copy Today
BECOME A FAN of Haunted Eastern Shore

Book Description:

They walk beside the murky waters of the Chesapeake Bay, linger among the fetid swamps and roam the manor halls. These are the tormented souls who refuse to leave the sites of their demise. From pitiless smugglers to reluctant brides, the ghostly figures of the Eastern Shore are at once terrifying and tragic. Mindie Burgoyne takes readers on a spine-tingling journey as she recounts the grisly events at the Cosden Murder Farm and the infamous legend of Patty Cannon. Tread the foggy lanes of Kent Manor Inn and linger among Revolutionary War dead to discover the otherworldly occupants of Maryland's most haunted shore.

Haunted sites mentioned in the book include:

  • Cecil County - Holly Hall, Old Bohemia, Mitchell House

  • Kent County - Cosden Murder Farm, White House Farm, St. Paul's Cemetery & Bridge, Kitty Knight House

  • Queen Anne's County - Bloomingdale, Kent Manor Inn

  • Caroline County - The Tale of Wish Shepherd, The Murder Sallie Dean, Athol - a Child's Ghost in Henderson, Willson's Chance

  • Talbot County - The Lost City of Dover, Whitemarsh Cemetery, The Wilderness, Tunis Mills Hanging Tree

  • Dorchester County - Shoal Creek Manor, Patty Cannon's Trail of Tears, Suicide Bridge, Green Briar Swamp & Big Lizz, Tales From Down Below

  • Wicomico County - The Ghost Light Road

  • Worcester County - Cellar House, the Snow Hill Inn

  • Somerset County - Ananias Crockett's House, Holland's Island, Vance Miles House.

Tales include narratives given to Salisbury University Folklore students thirty years ago, describing hauntings, ghosts and legends of the Eastern Shore.

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Copyright 2006 -2011 by Mindie Burgoyne  All Rights Reserved. 
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