By Amelia Blades Steward
Eleven nighttime haunted walks through historic Eastern Shore towns where ghosts, spirits, and elementals still roam could make this year’s Halloween experience one that you will remember. Chesapeake Ghost Tours makes this experience possible when its’ guides tell you stories while walking in two worlds through the old streets of Easton, St. Michaels, Ocean City, Snow Hill, Crisfield, Princess Anne, Salisbury, Denton, Cambridge, Berlin, and Pocomoke. Known as “the largest trail of year-round ghost tours in America,” Chesapeake Ghost Tours guarantees to entertain, educate, and perhaps disturb your sense of solace and calm.
Mindie Burgoyne, the founder of Chesapeake Ghost Tours, wrote all of the tours and occasionally leads walks when a guide is not available. She writes about the Eastern Shore landscape, “Tucked into that mystical landscape are small towns that grew up with the seafood, farming, and shipbuilding trades. They were full of crazy characters, and there’s something magical about that open landscape that opens portals into the ‘other world’ and the spirits of those characters peek through now and again. They may meet you on the stairs of your hotel or in a museum full of artifacts, on a nighttime walk through town, in your campsite, on a carousel ride, or in your guest room at a historic inn.”
She adds, “When I craft a tour, I try to do so in a way that tells the story of the whole town so that the characters I talk about are placed in a related setting. All haunted stories begin to sound alike after a while. What differentiates one story from the next are the ghostly characters, the setting, and how people are experiencing the presence of those ghosts in this world.”
Mindie collects her ghostly tales from various sources that include local libraries, regional books, newspaper articles, the folklore collection at the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture at Salisbury University, and personal interviews. After collecting the tales, she researches the town’s history, and then crafts a tour that tells a larger story than just the individual sites. All the tours include an evening walk through a graveyard – except for Ocean City. It has no graveyard. Chesapeake Ghost Tours has a thorough training process for the storytellers who lead the tours. Each storyteller is trained and tested in Eastern Shore history as well as the folklore of that particular town.
In the Chesapeake Ghost Walk down High Street in Cambridge, touted as the most haunted street in Maryland, soldiers, governors, jilted women, oystermen, an eccentric cat lady, a dying daughter, slain war heroes, suicidal bankers, murderous merchants, laughing children, and a one-legged sea captain are some of the spirits that hang around there.
Mindie states, “It’s an enchanting landscape that has remained largely unchanged since the British colonization. It is full of crazy characters. You’ll be ‘walking with some of them’ on every Chesapeake Ghost Walk.”
In addition to experiencing the history and mystery of the region, participants explore their psychic potential to sense ghosts. According to Mindie, for some, it is their openness to experiencing something. She adds, “As we walk, we get people to use their intuition, asking them how they feel as they come across certain properties we are showing them. Our society doesn’t recognize the importance of intuition as the ancients did. Everything today needs to be logical.”
When asked why there is an increased interest today in ghost hunting, Mindie comments, “People today don’t need to be ashamed of having an intuition about these things as they did years ago, but we still often soothe ourselves out of acknowledging the experience. Today, however, more people are sensing paranormal things. In addition, media has made it interesting.”
Ghost Walk Themes
St. Michaels – Spirits of Rowdy Women
Berlin – Walking Dead, Elemental and a Healing Tree
Ocean City – Haunted Trifecta (murder, suicide, accidental death)
Cambridge – Most Haunted Street in Maryland
Pocomoke – The Scariest Tour – Into the Haunted Forest
Denton – Town Dog Killer, Murderers, Haunted Jail
Princess Anne – Our Most Disturbing Tour – no children
Snow Hill – Black River – Mansions and Inns
Easton – 10,000 Graves – Capital City
Ghost Walks run from March through November. There are also private tours and storytelling sessions available. For further information, visit chesapeakeghosts.com or call 443-735-0771.