Calling All Ghosts: Wake Wants to Speak With Spirits

On a recent ghost tour, a woman from the Howard County Board of Tourism joked that the more spirits you consume, the more you see.

I’m unfortunately not finding that advice to be true – and I’ve certainly put it to the test. Two weeks ago in Savannah I took advantage of the city’s drinking tolerance (no open-container law) while cruising around on a trolley with Old Savannah Tours, and last night I bar hopped in historic Ellicott City as part of their Dare to Taste the Spirits Tour (just outside of Baltimore in Maryland).

Paula, My Ellicott City Tour Guide.

Nothing – not one sighting or feeling or sound (although there was this one moment in Savannah that interested me, read below). And, to be frank, I’m starting to take it personally. I mean, does Casper have a problem with me or something?

On these tours I’ve heard stories: Tables being flipped over, pennies found all over the house, dogs freaking out, the sounds of high heels on hardwood in a carpeted office, figures standing over people when they awake at night, impressions in bed sheets, doors opening and slamming, the feeling of being “passed through,” hearing voices.

Yada yada yada – it’s kind of starting to annoy me that I haven’t experienced something myself.

I’m working on a short story called The Promised Land that explores the idea of spirits and ghosts – who/what they are and why we see them as we do – so perhaps its completion will entice some visitors to my bedroom after dark.

Hopefully you will have better luck (or at least avoid the bitterness I’m feeling). Here’s the scoop on two ghost tours I recently checked out, let me know if you capture any proof.

Old Savannah Tours: Trolly Tales of Historic Haunts

I was standing in the spot where she landed on her head, the concrete crushing her face and the blood spilling out of her nose, mouth, and eyes. She had jumped from the second-story balcony, diving into the pavement below. It is said she killed herself when she found out her husband was having an affair with one of the slaves. She was the wife of Francis Sorrel, and according to the stories, she still haunts the house.

Old Savannah Tours Trolley

Today, it’s known as the Sorrel-Weed House and is widely accepted as being the most-haunted property in Savannah (it’s the final stop on the Old Savannah Tour). A guide will lead you through the house, sharing the history beyond the walls. It was here that I had the moment I referenced earlier – probably my closest call when it comes to interacting with a spirit.

Our guide pulled out an electromagnetic field detector and she held it above the table in the dining room, locating a spot where the device began to beep. I didn’t think much of it until the sensitive area began to move, both up and down and left to right (it wasn’t staying in one place, reducing the chances that the energy was coming from an eletricity source).

When she could no longer find it in the lower half of the room, she handed the detector to me (I’m taller). I was holding it up above my head, the device going off. I could trace an outline of the area – a few feet by a few feet – but soon it shifted again and I found it down near the table, literally right in front of me. I felt and saw nothing, although something was definitely putting out a moving electromagnetic field. A ghost? Who knows, but at least I finally had a hands-on experience to consider.

Sorrel Weed House, Savannah

Later, down in the basement, we were able to view the feed from infrared motion detectors. I saw “orbs” on the television screens, floating and swirling randomly throughout the room. Some say they’re nothing more than dust, but the concentration of them changed based on who was in the room, which seems to debunk that theory.

When we sent a pregnant woman into the room, more “orbs” appeared on the monitors (according to our guide, ghosts are especially attracted to pregnant women and children).

The other stop on the tour is the Pirates House Rum Cellar, where pirates used to prey on locals, turning them into slaves to work on their ships. For more information, visit Old Savannah Tours.

Howard County, Maryland: Taste the Spirits of Ellicott City

Although Washington D.C. and Baltimore are the main attractions in the region, historic Ellicott City is considered one of the most haunted small towns on the East Coast. The combination of granite, flowing water, antiques, and electricity are said to attract and retain spiritual energy.

It is a cute town, lots of shops and restaurants along a hilly street with many granite stone buildings. I found a good, interesting way to explore the different restaurants/bars was the Dare to Taste the Spirits Tour – you will not only get yourself a bit of the history, but you’ll take in the spirits of the town, in both the literal and paranormal sense.

We tasted wine at the Wine Bin and beer at the Diamondback Tavern, two of the six possible stops. As you drink and enjoy the vibe, your guide will fill you in on the tales associated with each place – the events that occurred right where you’re sitting.

More information and a coupon are available on the Howard County website.

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