A good storyteller brings his audience slowly into a tale. Leading them along, pulling them in, setting them up with bits of details and then . . . boo! Giving them a good old-fashioned scare.
Ron Angleberger practices the dying art every Friday and Saturday night on ghost walks in Frederick.
One recent Friday, the Candlelight Ghost Tour of Frederick drew more than 40 people. Angleberger's spine-tingling tales kept the large group riveted throughout the evening. One of the first stops is the courtyard of the old City Hall. Once a site for executions, it features the most gruesome of the night's stories. It is said to be still haunted by one man who was convicted of treason, hung (almost until death), disemboweled, beheaded and then quartered. Of course Angleberger tells the story with much more suspense and detail, but if your stomach is strong enough for that story, it will be fine for the rest of the trip.
Opponents of suburban developments will appreciate the ghost said to inhabit the Tyler-Spite House. In 1814 the government wanted to extend Record Street, which ended next to John Tyler's home. Tyler was livid because it meant more traffic coming by his residence. So he bought the property next to his home, and the night before construction was to begin on the road, Tyler and a crew built the foundation for a new bed-and-breakfast. Tyler wound up winning the legal battle that followed, but it is said that he still haunts the building in case the government wants to restart the fight.
Another stop on the tour is the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. The building was once used for embalming dead soldiers, and it is believed that many remain. Docents have heard heavy footsteps running through the building. Other signs of the departed include windows that refuse to stay shut and a forlorn-looking man in a railroad-type uniform who has been seen looking out one window -- or so the story goes.
-- Amy Orndorff (Oct. 24, 2008)