Just a few minutes up the street from Ellicott City’s charming main street is the remnants of what locals call the Hell House. While there isn’t much house left, many still believe that the grounds are haunted and full of darkness.
The scenic location started out as a hotel and tavern, and being so close to the B&O railroad it was a perfect location for travelers to rest and enjoy the scenery. Then, in 1866 the Ellicott brothers sold the property to the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer for a measly $15,000 (what would now be something around $200,000). In 1867 the congregation started adding additional levels to what is known as the Upper House, 672,000 bricks were laid in the span of 18 months. Bricklayers earned $5.00 a day (today that would be $87.10 a day). Additionally a large chapel was built, along with a greenhouse, and a few other houses used for smaller schools and storage.
From 1866 until 1907 the location was used as a Roman Catholic seminary because of it’s short distance from their headquarters in Baltimore and 1882 the school was renamed St. Mary’s College. Then, in 1907 the men in seminary were moved from the Ellicott City location to New York, and the building started to be used as a place for men contemplating entering religious life, also known as the novitiate. These men would go through 14 months of learning about the religious life. They would spend most of their time in prayer and religious reading. In 1968 there was a devastating house fire which burned down much of the lower house, and in 1972 the college was shut down with only 10 in its graduating class.
In 1982 the property was bought by a developer with the intentions of converting the property into apartments, however because of it historical and religious significance many were against this plan. This plan was disapproved, and the building was abandoned.
This is where we start getting into the “Hell House” era of the property. A man by the name of Alan Rufus Hudson lived on the property as a caretaker of the property while it was owned by the Roman Catholic church, and after it was sold he stayed to look after it and keep trespassers away. Although his intentions good, things went wrong for him when on May 11, 1996 he was charged for shooting, and critically injuring an intruder on the property.
For years the site of the old school was thought to be haunted, and many believed something suspicious happened causing the school to be closed but there is a lack of evidence to support these claims. Additionally, the property has been a party spot for teenagers, and according to locals it has been used for satanic rituals. As you’ll see in my pictures below, the property has been covered in upside down crosses and pentagrams. I imagine that a lot of that is from teenagers wanting to perpetuate the rumors. Unfortunately on Halloween night in 1997 the entire building was destroyed by a fire and an investigation into the cause of the fire was indeterminate.
Being the adventurous person I am, I decided to investigate the property myself. I took my sister with me, and we climbed up the massive hill to find the remnants of the supposedly haunted house. As we walked up past the railroad tracks I was shocked as I saw numerous groups of people, young and old, adventuring into the overgrown area. The area was once was the place of an architecturally beautiful structure, and to say the least, it was sad to see what had become of the space, but in another way it was fascinating. Almost every open surface was either scorched by the fire or decorated with graffiti. Here are the pictures that my sister took while we were there:
I had a lot of fun researching for this post and visiting the “Hell House”, but I found that it was lacking in both House and Hell. Because I’m a decent human being, here are my sources: