Friday, March 23, 2007

The Tradition Continues

Late to posting this, as this is actually news from late January, but so it goes.

Every year, since 1949, a solitary figure has gone to Edgar Allan Poe's grave site in Baltimore to perform a tribute to the poet. This year was no exception, as the visitor left the ow-traditional birthday cognac and rose on Poe's grave. In 1993, a note was left stating, "The torch will be passed." Apparently, the man who had been making the pilgrimage each year had passed the tradition on to his son, who is now leaving the tribute each year on Poe's birthday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Our Haunted Museum

I live in New Windsor, MD, which is a typical small, Carroll County town that was a far busier place 100 years ago. There are a handful of small businesses along Main Street, but generally it's mostly a residential area now. We do however now have a small museum, located in one of the oldest houses in town, and rumor has it, we have a few ghosts. Back in the fall of 2006, just before the museum opened to the public, the local history group, the New Windsor Heritage Committee, invited a paranormal investigator to speak with the group. She was from the Gettysburg area and had spend some time a few days taking pictures in the old graveyard right behind the museum.

She told us during the meeting that she had detected a young girl's spirit in the upstairs, and had felt several other presences as well. And the photos she showed us from her trip to the graveyard were jam-packed with orbs.

If any house in town deserves to be haunted though, it's probably the Bloom House down by the railroad tracks, built in the late 1800's. Adam Bloom and his young family moved in to the house in 1890 and he opened a creamery nearby, which was, apparently, quite successful. His oldest daughters attended private school in town and life proceeded on an even keel. But several years later, Adam grew more and more despondent and his daughter Estelle later claimed that he had been heavily influenced by a traveling missionary who convinced him of his own sinful nature. Whatever the reasons, on May 20, 1898, Adam shot himself in his workshop and took quite a few hours to finally die of his wounds, no doubt in a great deal of pain. Local historian, R. Bryce Workman, has written a small book, available at the New Windsor Museum, detailing the life of Estelle (Stella) Bloom and her sister Marion, both of whom had become involved with very prominent writers during their lives, in and around our sleepy little town. At the end, though, Estelle died alone in the old family home, having suffered the ravages of both cancer and too much alcohol.

Never a Dull Moment

I know this is not the time of year that most people think of the sort of things that I classify as weird, you know, haunted houses, strange creatures, odd people with quirky behavior and so on, but I just get a kick out of this stuff, so I look out for it year-round. While, you're sitting there on your back deck enjoying the newly arrived spring weather (if and when it ever arrives here in Maryland), I'll probably be sitting in front of my PC, buried in some odd research project, trying to dig up yet more strange info to amuse myself with.

One of the odd books in my collection is a great book called Weird Maryland, which is one of a series of books about weird places in the US - nice to know we're odd enough to make the cut, eh? I consider the book a great starting point for learning more about some of these weird places around here. Even though I've lived here all my life, there were a few in the book that I had never heard of at all.

Like Midgetville, also known as Zoobieville. According to the book, there are at least possible communities of houses built for midgets in the state, but the only one that I have been able to learn more about is the one referred to as Zoobieville. On a message board devoted to hoaxes, there were several people who lived either in the northeast area of Maryland or in Delaware who had heard of or visited at some point, a place known as Zoobieville in that area. Apparently, there is an area up there known as the Valley and that is where this community is located. Rather interestingly, one of the sites that mentioned Zoobieville also made mention of a place in the area called Cult House, stating that it was less scary in the day time, though the post did mention that Zoobieville was "creepy as ever". So, I guess I'm intrigued a bit now. From the sounds of it, it must be somewhere in the area near the Delaware line, as he mentioned that before they went to Zoobieville, they had gone to "the highest point in Delaware", on Ebright Road, which runs between Naamans Road and Namaans Creek Road outside of Wilmington. A different post had talked about a midget community near Smiths Bridge Road so this place may not actually belong in Maryland at all, but rather in Delaware or possibly PA. Hmm...