- one of the ghost is running with something in its hand ; dam good catch; in the hand looks like a hammer; now at the wall I see at least 7-faces one a little girl; you may have more,
- The second one almost looks like ectoplasm :) cool catch
- I see spirits there in 2 of your photos
- Do you see the guard? He is in there on the left top side
- A distorted face like in pain, suffering, definitely holding a hammer
The building started out as a girls finishing school, but then became a private home, a hospital/nursing home, a resort hotel, and a theater, and then was being renovated to be a nursing home, before being abandoned in the 1950s.
|I believe this photo was taken in the early 1960s.|
The Patapsco Female Institute was built high above Ellicott City -- a visible reminder to the town below about the importance of education. Originally, the slopes between the school and the small town were void of trees: it would have been a very visible message.
|A photo of the school in its hey day -- late 1800s, judging by the style of dress.|
From its opening in 1837 to 1891, when it closed, the Patapsco Female Institute served as a girls finishing school, offering courses in foreign languages, music and dance, English and arithmetic, botany, chemistry, geography, history and philosophy. Just before the Civil War, enrollment swelled to 150 girls, between 12 and 18 years old.
During the decades the school was open, it had a number of headmistresses or headmasters, including a well-respected educator at the time, Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps, and then later, Robert Archer, a West Point graduate.
Through his influence, more girls from the southern states began sending their daughters to the school. But with the onset of the Civil War, this left the school with $30k in uncollected fees from families in the Confederate states. The school never regained its peak, never collected these debts, and this started the school's decline. Three decades later, the school closed. Diaries of a few of the students show that many of the girls enjoyed their time at the school.
In the 1890s, the building was converted to an upscale summer hotel, called the Burg Alnwick Hotel, an escape for those who could afford it from the heat of Baltimore, where summer days were spent shooting clay pigeons, strolling the grounds, enjoying carriage rides, riding horses, swimming in the swimming pool, and other such past-times,
Fourteen years later, the hotel closed and the property was converted into a private dwelling for one of the descendants of the Ellicott brothers, who had established the mills and the mill town in the valley below the school. During World War I, the building was converted into a hotel for injured veterans, then became a theater in the 1930s, until WWII shut it down again.
Again it became a private home, although the owner planned to convert it into a nursing home. Local ordinances demanded that flammable materials -- wood -- be stripped from the building, and doing so apparently left only the stone shell. The conversion never happened, as the owner died. Eventually the property passed to a university in Ohio and was essentially abandoned in the 1950s to continue its deterioration undisturbed.
The most popular of the ghost stories is that a young student, unhappy with being at the school, unfortunately caught pneumonia, and died before her parents were able to get there. It is said she still wanders the halls and the grounds, weeping. Indeed, photographers have captured images of individuals in third floor windows -- in places where humans today simply could not be.
|Light up cat toys are a common ghost hunting tool. I'm not going to pretend that I choose this photo for|
any reason other than I liked the pretty color patterns it was making on the wooden slats.
Given the school's location in a southern state pre-Civil War, it's also likely there could have been enslaved individuals working at the site, although again, there are no records verifying that, and the individuals who started the school -- the Ellicott brothers -- were Quakers and opposed to enslaving people.
|The ruins today are stabilized and preserved.|
We began our ghost hunt, which was sponsored by Howard County Parks and Rec, by walking around the building and photographing it, inside and out. The group -- there were 13 of us -- were provided a tour of the building, during which we learned its history.
|The kitchen hearth and bread oven.|
After the tour, the Parks and Rec folks demonstrated some of the ghost-hunting equipment that was made available to the group, and then we were allowed to wander off and see what we'd find and experience.
|The EMF meter -- that blur of color by Lisa's feet --|
frequently lit up during our dowsing rod session.
|The blue light faded in and out peacefully when no one was close by or asking questions. |
The window used to be a doorway, and there's evidence that steps led down into the cellar.
It seems as if the Patapsco Female Institute is very active, with a number of spirits haunting its walls. Definitely a place I'd like to return to! For more about daytime tours of this fascinating place, check out a previous article.
Can't get enough ghost hunts? Check out the following ghost hunts and paranormal investigations we've participated in!
Cape May - Lewis Ferry Terminal
East End Breakwater Lighthouse
B&O Railroad Museum (Ellicott City)
Eastern State Penitentiary
Farnsworth House Inn