Port Tobacco Halloween Weekend Ghost Hunt

It was a cool and spooky Saturday, October 30th evening when a group of people of all ages, backgrounds and genders gathered together to learn about the history of the tiny town of Port Tobacco, Maryland— where stories and settlements date back to the 1600s and earlier.

Port Tobacco Village has the main brick courthouse centered. It’s flanked by historic homes built hundreds of years ago. There’s also a small cemetery onsite. Behind the courthouse are huge grassy fields, enormous trees, thickets and waterways …

Being an avid fan of any television programming about hauntings and shows about any searches for all things supernatural, this was my first time going on a professional full on ghost investigation. Fortunately, our group’s guides for an insightful evening at the Port Tobacco, Maryland Courthouse complex are the Burke family of Southern Maryland (Parents -Patrick, Jean and sisters Shannon and Emily), as well as members of local civic groups of Charles County. It’s fantastic to find out about a family that encourages psychic abilities. You can find out more about the Burkes (who I’d like to call the First Family of Southern Maryland Paranormal Research) and their team at SPARC.

Listen to local historian and ghost hunter in training- Brent Huber/Charles County’s podcast called Ghosts of Charles County that features the Burkes as they recount amazing and wild things that have happened during their previous events, namely at the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd (who was an integral part of the history of what happened directly after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln):

Episode 1

Episode 2

Paranormal investigators showing up:

Attendees of the event included mediums, sensitives and empaths— people who feel energies and sense the presence of the departed, or feel residual physical and mental pain of the dead and of the living.

Southern Maryland is a very old and mysterious land that’s served as the setting for much of the tumultuous early founding of the United States and for local Native American history of the tribes around the Chesapeake area. Our nation’s first president, George Washington, was a mainstay to the area. Port Tobacco also has Haberdeventure, the former home of Thomas Stone, the youngest signer of the Declaration on Independence. It’s also Potopaco land. Port Tobacco is named after the former Native American village of Potobac. The Potopaco Tribe are the ancestors of the modern day Piscataway Tribe. The town’s claim to fame also includes America’s first recorded ghost story- the Legend of the Blue Dog, who continues to guard its murdered owner’s treasure buried at Rose Hill Farm— way into the afterlife.

A painting of the famous Blue Dog of Port Tobacco up at the Blue Dog Saloon:

Shannon and Emily Burke are in their 20s and were born a couple years apart. Along with friends, they have their own metaphysical store in the town of La Plata called Sublime Soul where all kinds of classes are taught, sound baths are given and various of items and tools to make your life better and have you feeling more connected with spirit are available.

The gals of Sublime Soul

Left to right:

Madison Simon, Emily Burke, Shannon Burke, Morgan Abresch

The investigation begins!

Our early evening starts out with doing a baseline sweep/reading with Emily. We went to get a sense of the energies inside and outside of the buildings that our group would be finding out more about later in the evening.

Following Emily and Brent to Stagg Hall:

Next, Patrick gave an overview of the equipment we would all be using and also shared evidence of ghosts that he and his family have collected over the years— including photographs of apparitions and EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon). We were told that we could very well not receive any evidence at all that night. It turns out, everywhere we went was extremely active, more so that I could ever expect for a sleepy tiny township!

A participant puts on the ghost box (or spirit box) equipment:

The equipment we shared were K2 meters that read electro-magnetic activity where energies would answer our questions by lighting up green to yellow lights for “yes” or orange to red lights for “no”. People in the group also took turns wearing a ghost box vest with earphones. Ghosts use the static electricity created by the device to speak words into the earphones that the wearer would say out loud to the rest of the group. The person with the earphones could not hear the questions and kept their eyes closed in the day light, as to not read lips.

It was remarkable how many intelligent responses came from straight forward Q&As. In the Burch House, a simple white farmhouse in Port Tobacco Village, a spirit asked “recording?”. Patrick answered “yes”, to which the ghost said, “why?”. When Patrick explained, a “thank you” came through the ghost box. We also spoke with a small child “under the age of twelve” whose favorite toy is “a ball” and not a doll.

A colonial doll that would definitely scare Zak Bagans of “Ghost Adventures”—

In Stagg Hall, our group interacted with a slave woman’s ghost who did not like grown white men in the kitchen. The kitchen had palpable energy that buzzed. On the stairs of the old home, people have noted a malevolent spirit. The K2 meters are ghost box were extremely active around there.

It was mentioned that on previous investigations, a local priest would be present to “keep things holy”.

The land behind the courthouse/village is vast open fields with tall trees, backing up to a waterline of the Port Tobacco/Potomac River. Outside, in the dark, one of our group shouted out “quiet!” from her ghost box listening session. Brent Huber responds, “very quiet out here”, to which the cheeky ghost tells him to “shut up” and “respect”. Isn’t it great to know that attitudes carry on with us into the next realm?

Further down the field, several hundred feet from the courthouse, members of our group could see Native American spirits. Shannon sensed a tribal energy. The Burkes lead a blessing for our land and spirits hosts of our investigation, as we walked and talked with those who created the history of the places on which we stood.

On the stroll back in the dark from the giant field to the courthouse, Sherry, a Southern Marylander, transplant from Wisconsin who grew up in a haunted house, held a K2 in her hand. We asked if the spirit lighting it up was glad we came to visit and received an affirmative “yes” with green lights.

It was remarkable to bear witness to the interactions and communication between the living and the disembodied and to spend time with the wonderful people of Southern Maryland, who carry-on our traditions and ways— on the peaceful lands and waters.

Thank you so much to the ghosts of Charles County who truly came out in a big way to communicate with us this latter October night— and to the Burke family and friends who are amazing guides and wonderful hosts! I’ll never think about this site or any of these buildings the same way ever again…

Have you had any paranormal experiences of your own?

2 thoughts on “Port Tobacco Halloween Weekend Ghost Hunt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: