The village of what became as Ellicott Mills was founded during the English colonization of the area in the 18th century. The Ellicott brothers, Joseph, Andrew and John, came from Quaker Country—Bucks County, Pennsylvania — in 1772 to create what would eventually become one of the largest milling operations in the colonies. The settlement that grew around their prosperous milling operation was first called Ellicott Mills. In 1867, the town’s name was changed to Ellicott City.

It is a unique and beguiling 250 year old town. Appreciated and enjoyed by many over the years and indeed some are so attached to the area that they have never left, even after their death!

Is Ellicott City more haunted than any other city on the East coast? Some say yes. Our town has certainly seen its share of death since its founding; natural death, death by accident, devastating floods, fire, and even murder. But remember, just because a location is haunted doesn’t mean that a person died there specifically. Spirits wander and relocate, choosing buildings seemingly at random.

Spiritual energy somehow “pockets” in our town. Geographically, Ellicott City is built on a bed

of granite and granite composite … mediums agree that this feature alone attracts and channels spiritual energy. Many of the original buildings were built using rock that was blasted and carved from the very bedrock they’re built on. Paranormal investigators have also said “There are other reasons for the plethora of spiritual energy. Electricity, water and antiques.” Overhead there are transformers and thick electrical cables; the Tiber River flows directly beneath many of the buildings on the south side of town and empties into the Patapsco River at the bottom of the hill.

Many spirits are said to have arrived here piggybacking the personal effects they once owned during life and have yet to part with. Our town contains several antique stores. Paranormal experts agree that sometimes a spirit will remain with a personal item until departing for the light, such as a ring, a dress, a picture or a piece of furniture.

Quaker School House in Ellicott City. (Victoria Goeller photo)

Some of the town’s favorite forever residents are Charlie, station agent still moving freight boxes at the Ellicott City B & O Railroad Museum (oldest surviving train station in America); Dennis, construction worker who perished while the Howard House was being built; “Louisa,” at the site of a former funeral home; the Duchess of Main Street and even a number of Union Soldiers still on guard. Many more entities are scattered around the town.

Ellicott City isn’t the only location in Howard County with a plethora of ghosts. The Historic Savage Mill complex is an active site for spirits. Buildings there date from 1822. As was the case throughout the world, most manufacturing industries employed children in their operations.

There appear to be a number of child spirits who are still working and playing at Savage Mill. Shop owners and customers are surprised to frequently hear their names being whispered or even called out. Items are moved from desks and display cases overnight. A mischievous little girl continues to trip people on a staircase (thankfully no one has been injured). Rebecca, who fell to her death on another stairway, sometimes appears at the very spot where her dead body was discovered.

You can hear these and all the stories of our ghosts by signing up for tours on Friday & Saturday evenings at both Ellicott City & Savage Mill. Maryland History Tours, LLC is locally owned and operated and offers the roughly 90 minute tours. More information and tickets can be found at

They always caution tour takers to check their rear view mirrors when leaving to make sure no spirits are going home with them!

Howard County, Maryland. Open

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