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Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry: Baltimore

Fort McHenry, in Baltimore’s harbor, is one of the United States’ oldest standing forts, having been constructed between 1798 and 1800. The fort was built on the site of a former fort which saw action in the Revolutionary War named Fort Whetstone. Just fourteen years after its construction, the fort saw its first major battle in 1814 with the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812.

On the morning of the 13th of September, British naval forces inflicted a barrage of attacks bombarding the Fort from the Chesapeake Bay. The assault was relentless, continuing on for over twenty-four hours. The Americans took losses of four soldiers killed, plus woman civilian who was gruesomely severed in half by a bomb, and another twenty-four wounded.

During the attack, a lawyer from Washington by the name of Francis Scott Key who was on a nearby ship and not allowed to leave because of his knowledge of British positions, was inspired by the battle and wrote the “Defense of Fort M’Henry” which later became known as “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Following the War of 1812, Fort McHenry saw action again as a location for Confederate soldiers, as well as their sympathizers, to be held by Union troops. The fort remained a prison until the end of the war.

During World War 1, the fort was used as a hospital for returning injured soldiers, who were in need of long-term care. Not even thirty years later, the fort again would be used during the second World War as a defense against potential attacks that never came.

Today a national historic site as well as a museum, visitors come from all around to check out Fort McHenry’s history, but some leave with an experience that was more than they were bargaining for. The spirits of Fort McHenry are active in many ways; some are playful and love the attention of the living, while others would prefer to scare them away.

There have been reports of spirits hanging from the former gallows, a woman missing half of her body aimlessly wandering, as well as other spirits ranging from Revolutionary to World War 1 consistently seen.

Besides apparitions, there have been reports of doors rattling, intense cold spots, shadowed figures, and even disembodied voices. With all the activity, there is little doubt that Fort McHenry is one of the most haunted places in Maryland.

Photo by fireandstone


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