by Tony Harrington
Dundalk is a historical unincorporated community situated along Maryland’s Bear Creek peninsula. The community was officially Founded in 1664 as Patapsco Neck when a British ship owner and captain Thomas Todd from Alexandria, Virginia purchased a tract of land there and built the first house which became known as Todd’s Inheritance.
The historic home was razed by a fire set by British troops during the Battle of North Point in the War of 1812. It was later reconstructed and stands to this day as a historic landmark registered with the State of Maryland.
In 1856, Irish Immigrant Henry McShane established his foundry business on the banks of the Patapsco River in the southern outskirts of Baltimore, and when the rail line at the time asked McShane to name the depot located at the foundry, he chose the name of his Irish hometown, Dundalk.
By the close of the second decade of the 1900s, Bethlehem Steel Company had constructed their shipyards on the Patapsco and began developing employee housing on a 1,000 acre tract of farmland located near the McShane foundry. Thus, the birth of Dundalk as a residential community began.
Today, modern Dundalk is an eclectic mix of blue-collar industry and white-collar housing and every stature in between. New communities established along the Bear Creek Peninsula sell for several hundred thousand dollars and boast scenic views, boat slips, and easy access to the 695 corridor for ease of travel to Baltimore City and beyond.
One of these new developments caught the eye of first-time homeowners D and J (Names withheld at the request of the source). After years of renting, the prospect of owning a home in the burgeoning community seemed idyllic.
The couple moved in to the community, selecting a three-story townhouse as their residence. The community was brand new; their home was built for them and never had a previous occupant. Prior to development, the land was simply an expanse that was used primarily as a local dumping spot.
So what exactly caused the arrival of an unwanted guest in the couple’s home remains a mystery.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas 2012, D and J set about perfecting their holiday display. They opted for simple white candles in the window for a classic theme. As they stood outside one evening discussing with their next door neighbor the use of timers to get all lights to turn on in unison, D entered the house at the ground level where he tinkered with the lights.
J stood outside with the couple’s dog and continued talking to their neighbor. She looked up at the third story and saw D’s shadow silhouetted against the sheer curtains in the window. The neighbor and J watched D pace around, bend down and presumably adjust the timer. As they were staring at the third floor window, D emerged from the house and approached J and the neighbor who shifted their gaze to him.
J stammered and pointed at her husband than to the window.
The next door neighbor too was dumbfounded. The realization that D could not possibly be in two places at once raised an immediate concern that there was possibly an interloper within the couple’s home.
“Do you have a gun?” D asked the neighbor.
The neighbor went inside his house and retrieved a handgun and handed it off to D who entered his home and ascended the stairs to the third floor room in which J and the neighbor saw the shape pacing about.
D surveyed the house floor by floor and found no sign of an intruder. The neighbor cased the outside of the home and checked the back door to see if it was unlocked, it was not.
Satisfied that there was no intruder in the home D had to figure out just what was moving inside his house. He called his wife’s cell phone and asked her and the neighbor who remained outside to tell him when he had successfully re-created what they saw.
He stood in front of the window on the third floor and walked casually back and forth. Both J and the neighbor confirmed that it was exactly that which they had seen. J took a picture from her cell phone to show D. That re-created photo has been attached to this article.
The unsettling experience left the couple shaken. Unable to rid the uneasy feeling, D went to speak to one of the real estate agents at the sales office. When he asked her if anyone else had reported anything strange, the young woman became uncomfortable and mentioned that she couldn’t comment on that.
D then asked what the land was prior to being cleared for development. The young sales agent simply said it was a dumping spot. But what had been dumped there?
Other homeowners in the area have indeed reported strange activity; the town itself even has its share of local haunts. One being a park built around an abandoned quarry where paranormal occurrences transpire to this day.
The homeowners have not yet encountered any additional shadow figures, though they have promised to keep SSI updated on the events should they escalate/continue.
SSI has done some investigation into the area and has determined that there are specific conditions and historical significance that lend to a residual haunting.
The community itself is built on land that once belonged to the Susquehannock Native tribe, who was at constant war with Maryland beginning in 1642. The tribe suffered catastrophic losses due to battle and the spread of infectious disease brought to the land by early settlers.
Additionally, the War of 1812 brought to Dundalk and Bear Creek, the Battle of North Point. The losses suffered by the British forces were 39 lives.
There are accounts of various unmarked graves/cemeteries in the area as well. Of important significance is the mention of a Bear Creek cemetery on an 1882 City of Baltimore Death Certificate for a Matilda Morris, though no historical or modern city maps indicate such a cemetery currently exists.
Additionally, there are reports of unmarked graves along the tract of land known as Todd’s Inheritance.
Dundalk’s early settlement years and beginnings as a frontier environment lends itself to the concept that there could be hundreds of unmarked gravesites, perhaps development of these new upstart communities is happening on the final resting spot of early settlers.
Also, the fact that so much of the town is nestled along bodies of water, from creeks to rivers and tributaries could also account for paranormal activity as water is a known conductor for energy.
Double all these circumstances with the accepted theory that construction will often stir up long resting spirits and we have a perfect storm of conditions that could lead to a haunting. That is, if what D and J experienced was indeed a haunting.
Not personally witnessing the events of the story we can only take the homeowners’ word as fact. Something in the house made its presence known, but what that presence is remains, for now, a mystery.
We will update the blog with more information on this story as it unfolds.