In searching for an interesting and reliable ghost story, I began by asking upperclassmen that would probably have more experience and time to have heard the legends and lore of Maryland. After asking many students, one of my friends knew one from her hometown of Ellicott, Maryland. This friend is a twenty-year-old junior, majoring in finance and accounting. She was born in Virginia but moved around quite a bit during her early childhood. She is Indian, and moved to India at the age of five and lived there for seven years. When she was twelve, she moved to Maryland, and finally moved to Ellicott City, where she resides. She is an only child, possibly making her less susceptible to believing in ghost stories because she never had siblings around to tease and scare her. She speaks several Indian languages fluently, as well as French. She is Hindu, and very observant. Hinduism has a great deal of mythology including ghost stories and legends, which might allow her to believe more willingly in ghost stories. She was a good storyteller, and described to me a very interesting and revealing ghost legend about Ellicott City.
The teller began describing the legend of what she knows as “Hell House” in Old Ellicott City, Maryland. She told me that it was off of River Road and is currently abandoned and rundown. She had heard that it was a female institute or an asylum for crazy women. She gave me two important details about the history during the time that it was a “female institute.” According to legend, one of the girls staying there committed suicide by jumping off the top of the building. It is said that her ghost has haunted the grounds ever since. The other event during that time period was that—accord...
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... the world. Society’s belief in the supernatural is one reason for that and these stories can be so important to that culture because of its social and cultural relationships. This story is a great example because it exposes some of these relationships in an area filled with legends and ghost stories. The performance of the story is also important because it shows the teller’s views and beliefs and how the story affects them. Ghost stories and legends have existed for thousands of years and will continue to exist as long as we continue to believe in them.
Troy Taylor. Haunted Ellicott City The Patapsco Female Institute, http://www.prairieghosts.com/pfi.html (11 October 2004).
Robinson, Mark, and Ann Tabor. The Buildings, They Are Sleeping Now: The History of St. Mary’s College, http://ann.stubbornlights.org/stmarys (11 October 2004).
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