Fort McHenry’s Ghostly Past: A Journey Through Haunted History

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 20 January 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Introduction of Fort Mchenry

Welcome to the haunting grounds of Fort McHenry, located in Baltimore, Maryland, where echoes of history intertwine with restless spirits. This storied fortress has witnessed battles, tragedies, and triumphs, leaving an indelible mark on the fabric of American history. As you step through its ancient gates, prepare to immerse yourself in the eerie tales that have lingered for centuries, shrouding Fort McHenry in an enigmatic aura of the unknown.

History of Fort Mchenry

Fort McHenry, located in Baltimore, Maryland, has stood as a testament to American resilience for over two centuries. Its construction began in 1798 in response to growing tensions between the United States and European powers. The fort was strategically positioned to guard the entrance to Baltimore’s harbor, a vital port city during the early years of the nation.

During the War of 1812, Fort McHenry gained international fame when it valiantly defended Baltimore against a British naval assault in September 1814. The Battle of Baltimore raged for 25 hours, with the fort steadfastly withstanding the bombardment. It was during this pivotal moment that Francis Scott Key, inspired by the fort’s resilience, penned the verses that would later become the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

In the following years, Fort McHenry underwent several modifications and improvements, including the addition of massive cannon batteries and a system of defensive earthworks. It continued to play a significant role in American military history during the Civil War and both World Wars.

Over the decades, Fort McHenry evolved from a military stronghold into a cherished national symbol, inspiring pride and patriotism. In 1939, the fort was designated a national park, preserving its historical significance for generations to come. Today, visitors can explore the fort’s ramparts, barracks, and exhibits, gaining a glimpse into the past and the indomitable spirit that earned Fort McHenry its place in American history.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Prepare to explore the chilling mysteries of Fort McHenry as ghostly apparitions roam its bastions and eerie voices echo through its ancient corridors. Step into a realm where history and the supernatural collide in an enigmatic dance of the eerie. Welcome to the haunting grounds of Fort McHenry.

The Haunting of Lieutenant Clagett

Within the ancient walls of Fort McHenry, a chilling tale of tragedy and restless spirits unfolds. In the year 1814, U.S. Army Lieutenant Levi Clagett and his men faced a devastating fate as a British mortar struck their gun emplacement. The cannon fell upon Clagett, claiming his life in a gruesome accident.

Amidst the chaos, Sargent John Shultz Clemm suffered a fatal blow from shrapnel. His friends, morbidly intrigued, salvaged the shrapnel as a somber souvenir. Now, the specter of a soldier from that ill-fated day haunts the bastion, clad in a uniform of that period. Visitors, were certain the apparition was a re-enactment actor, soon realized there were no actors at the fort that day. The ghostly figure of Lieutenant Clagett continues to walk along the bastion, a solemn reminder of the haunting history that echoes within Fort McHenry’s historic walls.

Ghostly Private – John Drew

Within the somber confines of Fort McHenry, a haunting tale of tragedy and remorse takes shape. Private John Drew, a soldier tasked with guarding the battery, fell asleep on duty, leading to his imprisonment in one of the prison cells. In his distress, a guard carelessly left his weapon within Drew’s reach, and overwhelmed with shame, Drew took his own life.

Now, the echoes of the past linger in the form of a restless soldier, endlessly pacing in the very area where Drew was caught sleeping on the job. The specter of Private John Drew remains forever trapped in his guilt, seen haunting his prison cell, perpetually attempting to correct the fatal error that cost him his life. Visitors to Fort McHenry have reported eerie sightings of the soldier’s tormented spirit, forever reliving the tragedy that unfolded within these historic walls. The haunting presence of Private John Drew serves as a poignant reminder of the heavy burden carried by those who have walked these haunted grounds.

Violent White Figure

Within the historic walls of Fort McHenry, a chilling specter roams, leaving the living trembling in fear. The white figure of a sorrowful woman is said to unleash her anguish upon unsuspecting visitors. Numerous reports tell of her pushing people down stairs and rendering others unconscious, her grief manifesting in sinister ways.

Rumors suggest she could be the grieving wife of a noncommissioned officer assigned to the fort, mourning the loss of her children during a tragic epidemic in the 1920s. With over 218 years of history steeped in trauma and death, Fort McHenry has become one of Baltimore’s most haunted places. Even with ghostbusters monitoring for evidence, the chilling history remains intact, only deepening the eerie allure of this haunted fortress. The sorrowful apparition of the white figure continues to haunt, a reminder of the emotional toll endured within Fort McHenry’s storied past.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage of Fort Mchenry

Celebrated for its rich history and chilling allure, Fort McHenry has taken center stage in numerous historical documentaries and paranormal investigations. Notably featured in the riveting series “Eternal Enigmas: Unraveling Haunted Legends,” this storied fortress has captivated investigators as they delve into its ghostly tales and chilling encounters.

In the realm of literature, Fort McHenry has left a lasting legacy, inspiring books like “The Big Book of Maryland Ghost Stories” by Ed Okonowicz and “Haunted Maryland: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Old Line State” by Ed Okonowicz. These literary masterpieces weave the supernatural stories surrounding the fort, presenting captivating narratives of its spectral past.

Today, the Fort remains a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and paranormal devotees alike, drawn by its enigmatic presence in popular culture and media. This historic stronghold exudes an aura of intrigue and the otherworldly, inviting all who seek an immersive experience in its captivating and eerie ambiance.


As you bid farewell to Fort McHenry, the echoes of the past and the whispers of restless spirits linger in your mind. The haunting legends and chilling encounters encountered within these historic walls will forever leave an eerie impression. Fort McHenry’s resilience in the face of adversity and the stories of those who once stood guard here remain etched in the annals of time, ensuring that this fortress of history will continue to captivate and intrigue generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is Fort McHenry located?
A: Fort McHenry is located in Baltimore, Maryland, United States.

Q: Is Fort McHenry really haunted?
A: Yes, Fort McHenry is believed to be haunted by various spirits, including the ghost of a sorrowful woman and other restless souls.

Q: Who is the white figure of the woman haunting Fort McHenry?
A: The white figure is believed to be the grieving wife of a noncommissioned officer whose children died during a 1920s epidemic.

Q: What kind of paranormal activity has been reported at Fort McHenry?
A: Visitors have reported being pushed down stairs and knocked unconscious by the sorrowful woman’s ghost.

Q: Are ghostbusters monitoring for evidence of paranormal activity?
A: Yes, paranormal investigators have explored Fort McHenry to document and study the reported hauntings.

Q: How long has the Fort been haunted?
A: With over 218 years of history, Fort McHenry’s haunting legacy has evolved over the centuries.

Q: Are there other haunted spots within the Fort?
A: Yes, besides the white figure, various areas within the fort have reported paranormal activity, adding to its eerie reputation.

Q: Do the ghostly legends impact Fort McHenry’s status as a historic site?
A: The legends add to the fort’s allure, preserving its historical significance while also intriguing paranormal enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Q: Can visitors experience the haunting firsthand?
A: Fort McHenry offers tours and events that allow visitors to explore the historic grounds, creating opportunities to encounter the ghostly legends.

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